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Christian Counseling

There is an unending stream of hurting and needy people who desperately need counseling.
There are many potential Counselors, who if properly prepared, could do a wonderful work for the Lord in helping and counseling people.
God promises that in the end-time He will raise up excellent Christian Counselors.
Isaiah 1:26
"And I will restore thy … Counselors as at the beginning:"

· An introduction to Christian Counseling.
In understanding Christian Counseling there are four questions we need to consider:
1. What is Christian Counseling?
Christian Counseling is a Counselor carefully, skillfully and sensitively, listening to and understanding a person's problems. Those counseled, can then be given and experience solutions to their problems.

2. Why do we do Christian Counseling?
People experience various kinds and depths of problems, therefore their problems need to be skillfully diagnosed and solved. They need the help and advice from trained Christian Counselors.

3. Who is qualified to do Christian Counseling?
Only those who care for people in a Godly way should do Christian Counseling.
Christian Leaders, Pastors and Lay Christians who have been trained may do Christian Counseling. One of the most important requirements to counsel is personal experience. Trained and happily married Counselors are most effective in marriage counseling.

4. What are the tools used in Christian Counseling?
There are six tools used in Christian Counseling:
1. The Bible.
2. The personal experience of the Counselor.
3. Counselor Training.
4. Reference Counseling Material.
5. Prayer.
6. The help of trusted family or friends of the counseled person.

· Christian Counseling.
Although counseling does not always work, it is desperately needed in our society today and is never a waste of time. Jesus spent many hours talking to needy people about their problems. The Apostle Paul encouraged those who are strong, to help the burdened and the weak.
Romans 15:1
"We that are strong, ought to bear the infirmities of the weak"
Galatians 6:2
"Bear ye one another's burdens."

Counseling attempts to understand and help people who have problems. It helps them to deal with losses, disappointments, hurt, mounting pressures, tensions, failures, inferiorities, depression and guilt. It helps those counseled, to experience understanding, relief, healing and restoration. It helps them to experience a change of perceptions, values, attitudes and behavior.
Christian Counseling should be consistent with Biblical Teaching in dealing with problems. Its ultimate goal is for the Counselee to develop spiritual values, have a true spiritual experience with God and have the problem solved.

· Methods of Christian Counseling.
There are three things Counselors need to consider when counseling:
1. In Counseling they need to do seven things:
1. Gain the attention of the Counselee.
2. Carefully listen to what the Counselee says.
3. Observe the Counselees behavior and body language.
4. Lead the conversation in the right direction.
5. Lovingly and gently confront the Counselee's problems.
6. Share needed information with the Counselee.
7. Support and encourage the Counselee toward success.
2. These seven aspects have four things in common:
1. They give the Counselee hope.
2. They correct ignorance and educate the Counselee.
3. They bring about a definite positive change.
4. Counselees experience self worth and success.

3. There are eight steps in Counseling and they are:
1. Establishing a friendly relationship between the
Counselor and Counselee.
2. Building rapport by sharing thoughts, feelings
and showing empathy.
3. Exploring the details of problem situations,
bad experiences and diagnosing the problem.
4. Planning action and setting goals to solve problems.
5. Taking progressive steps to achieve the goals.
6. Bringing the Counselee into Gods Presence.
7. Ensuring the continuation of the Counselees success.
8. Successfully completing the Christian Counseling.

· The Counseling Session.
There are five important aspects of a Counseling Session:
1. It needs to have a definite date and time, giving the Counselor sufficient time to prepare.
2. The venue needs to be easily accessible for the Counselee, including the disabled.
3. The seating needs to be comfortable.
4. It needs to render complete privacy.
5. The duration of each session should be for a period of time that is acceptable and convenient for all parties concerned.

· The Christian Counselor.
There are eight things Counselors need to consider about themselves:
1. The Counselors Motivation.
Do we counsel because we have a real desire to help people in need, or is it because we have some ulterior motive.
Usually those who have the right motive in counseling, enjoy it, find it fulfilling and are successful.

2. The Counselors role.
To be effective, Counselors must have a clear understanding of their responsibilities, the role they play and always be vigilant.
Counseling is not just a friendly visit.
It is not to find fault with or condemn the Counselee.
It is not an experience that should be done hastily.
It is not a dominating or controlling experience for both parties.
Neither of the parties should become impatient.

3. The Counselors frustrations.
Counselors often open themselves to power struggles and personality clashes with Counselees. They can become vulnerable to exploitation and failure. Counselors should never be misused or manipulated by the Counselees they counsel.

4. The Counselors personal intimate feelings.
Counselors are normal people and should guard against having their personal feelings being affected in the counseling session. During marriage counseling when discussing intimate marriage details, Counselors have to guard against being emotionally and sexually affected. In Pastoral Counseling, it is advisable for the Counselors Spouse or another Christian to be present during Marriage Counseling.

5. The Counselors Ethics.
The Bible is the ultimate standard by which all ethical decisions are tested.
To guide Christian Counselors in behaving ethically in counseling, here is a seven-fold code to consider:
1. Counselors should always seek what's best for the Counselee.
2. Counselors should keep all information of the Counselee and the counseling session confidential.
3. Only with the permission of the Counselee, should any information be shared with anyone.
4. Counselors should refrain from giving advice for which they have not been trained. (Like legal or medical advice.)
They should always seek to honor God in counseling and refer a Counselee to someone else, if they feel they are not being successful. This must be done in co-operation with the Counselee.

6. The Counselors burnout.
Counselors soon discover that counseling is hard work. Dealing
with problems and hurts of others, can have a draining effect on
them. They may experience feelings of fatigue, futility, frustration or irritability. This can cause the Counselor to be ineffective and feel a loss of purpose. This condition is called burnout.
To avoid this, Counselors must be strengthened in Prayer
and the Word of God daily. They must understand that after doing their best, they need to give the situation over to God. Counselors need to take time off to relax, be refreshed, improving their abilities and skills to Counsel.

7. The Counselors effectiveness.
A Counselor acquires the knowledge and experience, to
counsel with people. Mastering the art of counseling does not come overnight. It comes by hard work, dedication and perseverance. What is learned needs to be applied.

9. The Counselors Sources of reference.
Counselors are not an island unto themselves. We always need the help, advice and support of others. In different areas and categories, we build up different sources of help and reference. The greater our sources of help and reference are, the more effective our counseling will be.
Here are some categories of reference:
Above all, Jesus Christ is our "Wonderful Counselor" and the
Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Guide.

· Dealing with specific Problems.
Here are nine kinds of problems that Counselors deal with:
1. Personal problems.
There are at least five of them, namely:
1. Guilt.
There are several reasons why people feel guilt.
People feel guilty about things they have done in the past.
There conscience causes them to feel guilt.
Guilt causes people to experience negative things.
It often causes moral pain and remorse for wrong things done. It is often accompanied by shame, depression, anger and self- condemnation. People feeling guilty often apologize profusely for what they have done, or angrily blame others.
There are effective ways of dealing with guilt.
Counselors need to convince those with feelings of guilt, that God mercifully forgives what they have done wrong.

To experience this forgiveness, those who are guilty need to be honest and admit that they have done wrong. They need to ask God and those who they have wronged for forgiveness.
Isaiah 55:7
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon."

Preventing guilt.
The only way to prevent guilt from recurring is to prevent a person continuing to do wrong. If they cease from doing wrong they will experience forgiveness and learn to appreciate new moral values.

2. Anxiety.
There are three causes of anxiety namely:
1. Feeling threatened.
People feel threatened when there life is in danger. They also feel threatened when their ability or character is questioned and their self-image or self-esteem is at stake.
2. Experiencing conflict.
People experience inner conflict, when the decisions they make cause them pain, displeasure or inconvenience.
3. Experiencing fear.
People experience fear, when what they need for life or existence is threatened.
These could be needs of:

Anxiety causes three reactions in people namely:
1. Physical reactions.
Anxiety can produce headaches, skin rashes, ulcers and a variety of physical problems. Persistent anxiety can cause the body to break under pressure over a period of time.
2. Escape reactions.
Many people try to cope or escape from anxiety by their addiction to food, alcohol and drugs.
3. Spiritual reactions.
Anxiety can motivate people to seek Divine help and drive them toward God.

Helping those with anxiety.
A Counselor should in a calm, caring, reassuring way, introduce them to Jesus Christ. He will love, help them and change their situation.
If circumstances are causing the anxiety, Jesus will change the circumstances.
If behavior or lifestyle is causing the anxiety, it can also be changed.
If time is needed to effect this change, the Counselee will enjoy the help and support of the Counselor and others.

Paul has a word for those with anxiety.
Philippians 4:6
"Be careful for nothing." (Don't worry about anything)

3. Loneliness.
Loneliness is an inner emptiness and a feeling of isolation from people. Lonely people have an intense desire for a relationship with those around them. They need to be wanted, understood and esteemed by people.
Loneliness is caused by the tendency of people in society to withdraw themselves from others. Suspicion and fear of strangers often causes people to avoid contact with others. The inability to communicate with people can cause isolation and loneliness.
Loneliness is often the cause of low self-esteem, depression and addiction.
Lonely people need to do six things:
1. They must admit they have a problem.
2. They must identify the cause of their loneliness.
3. They must be helped to develop self-esteem.
4. They must reach out and communicate with others.
5. They must learn how to listen and talk to other people.
6. They must experience Gods presence and dispel loneliness.
Hebrews 13:5
"For He said, I will never leave you or forsake you."
Matthew 28:30
"Lo I'am always with you, even unto the end of the world."

4. Depression.
Depression can be experienced for shorter or longer periods of time. It can be moderate or severe. It causes people to feel miserable, inefficient and self-critical.
It tends to affect the immune system of the body causing physical illness.
It often causes suicide.
There are several things that cause depression namely:
1. Physical illness.
2. The side effects of addiction.
3. Sleep problems.
4. Diet problems.
5. Genetic problems.
6. Psychological problems.
7. Unexpressed emotional feelings.
8. Feelings of guilt.
Depressed people need to do eight things, namely:
1. Understand that all people experience discouragement.
2. Understand what is causing their feeling of depression.
3. Avoid circumstances that cause the depression.
4. Reject depressive thoughts.
5. Refuse to talk depressive talk.
6. Find support and be helped by other therapeutic people.
7. Surround oneself with happy and positive people.
8. Take care of their health.
David spoke to himself and said -
Psalm 42:5
"Why art thou cast down O my soul? Hope thou in God."

5. Anger.
People who have anger often try to keep it under control and suppress it for as long as they can. It often surfaces in verbal reactions, cursing, negative physical acts and violence. People try to hide it behind closed doors. Anger often erupts in an outburst just like an erupting volcano. It is a baffling and most unpredictable emotion.
The only type of anger that may be permissible is controlled Godly anger.
There are six things that cause anger, namely:
1. Feeling frustrated with someone or something.
2. Feeling humiliated.
3. Feeling rejected.
4. Feeling threatened.
5. Experiencing a temper tantrum.
6. Psychological problems.

In dealing with anger, seven things are important, namely:
1. Recognize the source of the unacceptable anger.
2. Humbly admit and confess the anger.
3. Ask for forgiveness for the expression of anger.
4. Learn steps to control the anger.
5. Always follow these steps when getting angry.
6. Avoid angry people and situations.
7. Allow love to overcome all anger.
Ephesians 4:26
"Be angry and sin not."
Galatians 5:22
"The fruit of the Spirit is love."

2. Problems when experiencing different phases of life.
We will deal with five phases of life.
1. Childhood.
Children inevitably experience problems when growing up. These are problems of learning disorders, rebellion, violence, speech problems, mental disorders, hyperactivity, physical and social problems. These have been studied and analyzed by Psychologists and Scientists.
They are the result of seven causes, namely:
1. Neglect or child abuse.
2. Instability in the home.
3. Unsatisfied needs of the child.
4. Learning disabilities.
5. Mental retardation of the child.
6. Attention deficit disorder of the child.
7. Traumatic experiences such as accidents.
Children are seen to be gifts from God and should be appreciated as such. Parents are responsible for the upbringing and nurturing of their children. Parents need to love and appreciate their children.
Ephesians 6:4
"Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."

In dealing with child problems, nine things are important, namely:
1. Clearly understand what the child's problem is.
2. Seek a solution to the problem.
3. Counsel the child.
4. Carefully communicate to the child what is to be done.
5. Encourage the child to patiently continue.
6. Continually manage the child's progress.
7. Reward the progress of the child.
8. Always be honest with the child.
9. Ensure the spiritual success of the child.

Taking care of children, is of utmost importance to God. We can bring them to God with their problems at any time, and He will receive them.
Matthew 19:14
"Jesus said, suffer little children to come unto me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

2. Teenagers.
Teenagers have very different needs than that of children. Their interests lie in society trends, friends, sex, independence and often things that are fast and noisy. They often say and do things that are shocking to their family and others.
The problems they experience often rise out of one of the following, namely:
1. Physical changes that take place in their body.
2. Sexual development in their body.
3. Changes in their relationships with people.
4. The development of their values.
5. Worries about the future.
6. The opinions and influence of friends.
7. An identity crises.

There are nine ways to deal with teenage problems:
1. Clearly identify their problem.
2. Let them understand they have a problem.
3. Seek a solution to the problem.
4. Build rapport with them.
5. Set goals to overcome the problem.
6. Encourage and support them to achieve success.
8. Educate them to prevent potential problems occurring.
9. Build a strong spiritual foundation, to build their life upon.

3. Adulthood.
This period of life extends from the late teens to the late thirties. It is an era where people can richly enjoy education achievement, love, sexuality, family life, parenthood, occupational advancement and creativity. Out of these experiences many problems arise.

There are eight categories that give rise to adult problems, namely:
1. A lack of values governing a persons thinking and reasoning.
2. A lack of skills and competency in a person's performance.
3. A lack of confidence in a person's life.
4. A lack of goals and direction in a person's life.
5. A lack of warmth and intimacy in relationships with people.
6. A feeling of being trapped in a relationship or job.
7. A lack of knowledge and the ability to successfully parent.
8. Pursuing uncreative and unsatisfying activities.
There are seven ways to deal with adult problems, namely:
1. Clearly identify the problem.
2. Let them understand they have a problem.
3. Find a solution to their problem.
4. Carefully plan the steps that need to be taken to help them.
5. Carefully monitor their success.
6. Encourage them as they progress.
7. Help them to grow in self-esteem and spiritually.

4. Middle Age.
Middle Age covers the period in age, from the late thirties to the late fifties. It is a time that could mean different things to different people. For some it can be the prime of life, for others a crisis and for others a launching into the best half of life.
It is a period that is often characterized by self-evaluation of situations, beliefs, values and achievements.
Here are some of the problems that middle-aged people face:
1. A realization of unfulfilled goals and dreams.
2. An experience of declining vitality.
3. An experience of aging.
4. An experience of boredom.
5. Physical change of life experiences.
6. Marriage problems.
7. Career problems.
8. Feelings of inferiority.
9. Feelings of depression.

Here are twelve ways to help middle-aged people to deal with their problems:
1. Clearly identify their problem.
2. Win their trust and confidence.
3. Help them to understand the nature of their problem.
4. Let them see their problem can be solved.
5. Clearly plan the steps of solving the problem.
6. Lead them through the steps.
7. Encourage and motivate them towards success.
8. Motivate them to have a good diet and do exercise.
9. Let them pursue a vocation that fits their interests and ability.
10. Encourage them to relax with a hobby and good music.
11.Let them enjoy their marriage, children and grandchildren.
12. Ensure their spiritual growth and well-being.

5. Vintage Years.
The vintage years commence and continue from the age of sixty.
There are ten kinds of problems that older people encounter:
1. They experience physical changes in their body.
2. They experience cosmetic changes in their appearance.
3. They experience sensory changes of hearing and sight.
4. They experience diminishing sexual changes.
5. They experience sickness and physical immobility.
6. They experience a slowing and retarding of mental faculties.
7. They often experience economic problems.
8. They often experience a loss of confidence and self-esteem.
9. They often experience loneliness.
10.They often experience uncertainty and a fear of the future.
There are ten ways to deal with problems of the aged:
1. Clearly identify their problem.
2. Win their trust and confidence.
3. Help them understand the true nature of their problem.
4. Help them be realistic about their problem.
5. Help them to take steps to solve or cope with the problem.
6. Motivate them to exercise and follow a good diet.
7. Encourage them to use their minds with stimulating material.
8. Let them be creative in serving others.
9. Let them make good use of their leisure time.
10. Encourage them to pray, read their Bible and attend Church.

3. Problems of loss.
We will deal with four experiences of loss.
1. Inferiority.
People who compare themselves with others often feel inferior, inadequate and incompetent. These self-perceptions lead to low self-esteem and a poor self-image.
There are eight major causes of inferiority:
1. Feeling guilty and remorseful about wrong things done.
2. Shame and rejection and failure, arising from the past.
3. Failure to achieve unrealistic expectations.
4. A negative pattern of thinking about and criticizing self.
5. An unreasonable value system of society, imposed on people.
6. Unscriptural beliefs about the need to be humble and inferior.
7. Becoming isolated and feeling unloved.
8. Being too weak to overcome deficiencies.

Ten ways to counsel people with inferiority:
1. Show them genuine love and support.
2. Clearly identify the cause of their inferiority.
3. Help them to have insight into their feeling of inferiority.
4. Share the Biblical principles of self-worth and self-esteem.
5. Stimulate a new feeling of self-worth and self-esteem.
6. Give them praise and affirmation as they progress.
7. Let them learn new skills of improving themselves.
8. Let them have a positive attitude.
9. Let them confess things of the past they feel guilty of.
10. Help them to continue growing spiritually.

2. Sickness.
Sickness falls into four categories:
1. Minor illnesses.
2. Major illnesses.
3. Terminal illnesses.
4. Disabilities.
The human body is an amazing organism, but it does not last forever in this world.
There are fourteen aspects of counseling the sick:
1. Determine the sickness category of the person.
2. Remind them that minor illnesses are temporary.
3. Remind them that all people experience sickness.
4. Be very careful and compassionate with the sick.
5. If necessary, deal with fear, self-pity or Hypochondria.
6. Where sickness persists, let them seek medical help.
7. Deal with all a person's questions, of sickness and suffering.
8. Help them to deal with the pain.
9. Help them to seek healing for the sickness.
10. Stimulate a realistic hope of being healed.
11. Share with them the Biblical teachings of Divine Healing.
12. Stimulate their faith to trust God for healing.
13. Create a positive healing atmosphere around them.
14. Make sure that they are saved and ready for Eternity.
Exodus 15:26
"For I am the LORD that healeth thee."
Isaiah 53:5
"And with his stripes we are healed."
Mark 16:17
"They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Encourage the sick person's family to do the following things:
1. Respect the sick persons dignity and privacy.
2. Create guidelines for people to visit the sick person.
3. Help the sick person to relax with soft Christian music.
4. Avoid all unnecessary noise and disruptions.
5. Respect the feelings and wishes of the sick person.
6. From time to time, ask the sick person if they need anything.
7. Have spiritual people stop by for encouragement and prayer.

3. Grief.
Grief can best be described as a feeling of loss, sorrow and mourning. It often begins with a period of shock causing a prolonged period of sorrow, intense crying and sometimes collapse.
There are six things that cause grief:
1 The death of a loved one.
2. The failure of a loving relationship.
3. The suffering of a loved one or close friend.
4. Experiencing the loss of a precious possession.
5. Experiencing illness and intense pain.
6. Fearfully facing an uncertain future.

Grief often causes four things:
1. Physical health.
2. Emotional feelings of sorrow, loss or anger.
3. Psychological denial, helplessness and confusion.
4. Social disruption in the family and tension.

There are ten important ways of helping those who have grief:
1. Identify the cause of a person's grief.
2. Comfort and surround the person with love.
3. Let them express their feelings.
4. Allow them time to grieve.
5. Let them experience the Lords presence.
6. Let them be comforted by the Holy Spirit.
7. Give them Biblical counsel to help deal with their grief.
8. Create a support group around them to help them.
9. Ensure their re-adjustment to changed circumstances.
10. If necessary, refer them for more specialized counseling.
Isaiah 53:4
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
Revelation 21:4
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes;"

4. Financial.
People often experience financial loss or some form of financial embarrassment.
There are six things that cause this:
1. An ignorance of how to create wealth.
2. An inability to manage finance.
3. A lack of appreciation for the value of things.
4. Unwise financial decisions.
5. Laziness.
6. Waste.

There are twelve ways, people can avoid and overcome financial loss:
1. Realize they are God's Stewards of all their possessions.
2. Know that they will be held accountable for Stewardship.
3. Realize that all the good things they have, come from God.
4. Always give God the First-fruits, of all they have.
5. Learn how to manage all their resources and wealth.
6. Always seek Godly financial counsel in making decisions.
7. Be careful of loving money, using it resourcefully.
8. Always be honest, have integrity and keep their word.
9. Joyfully and cheerfully give to the poor.
10. Avoid wasting money by staying within a planned budget.
11. Always keep good financial records.
12. Learn all the Biblical Principles of finance.
Satan has used financial pressures to enslave and hassle people. God however has used finances, to bless and use people to be a financial blessing to others.
Philippians 4:19
"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
Malachi 3:10
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
Luke 16:10-12
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?

4. Relationship problems.
We will deal with six relationship problems.
1. Singleness.
People experience singleness at least once in their life. They experience different durations and qualities of singleness. Singleness is not a social stigma. Both being single and married is acceptable in society. Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul were single and never married. Peter was married. Priscilla and Aquila, were a married couple working as a team for the Lord.

There are several reasons why people experience being single:
1. They have not yet found a life-mate.
2. They have chosen to remain unmarried.
3. They have experienced a break-up of their marriage.
4. Their life-mate has died.
Singleness can cause any of the following seven problems:
1. Stress and frustration.
2. A loss of direction in life.
3. Loneliness.
4. Low self-esteem.
5. Emotional problems.
6. Sexual problems.
7. Financial and tax problems.

There are seven ways to counsel those experiencing singleness:
1. Recognize the problem of singleness being experienced.
2. Let them experience comfort, love and acceptance.
3. Let them do realistic life planning for their future.
4. Encourage them to take the steps that are needed.
5. Let them patiently wait for change to take place.
6. Encourage activities that will alleviate loneliness.
7. Assure them that the Lord is always with them.

2. Choosing a Marriage Partner.
Finding a marriage partner is different in many places all over the world. In many cultures, marriage is arranged by the parents of the couple. In most western cultures, the marriage partners choose each other. In some cultures marriage has become obsolete, with couples just living together.

For Christians, the following eight aspects are important:
1. Christians should only marry Christians.
2. They should seek Gods will when choosing a life-partner.
3. They should consider all the responsibilities marriage brings.
4. They should pray about their marriage partner.
5. They should consider aspects of family, culture and finance.
6. They should realize that marriage is a Covenant of promises.
7. They should realize that it should not be ended in divorce.
8. Marriage partners should receive pre-marital counsel.

Genesis 2:24
"Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."
2 Corinthians 6:14
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:"
Ephesians 5:22-25
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

3. Marital problems.
In the western world marriage is not a very stable institution.
There are eight reasons why marriages encounter problems:
1. The incompatibility of the marriage partners.
2. The infidelity of the marriage partners.
3. Irreconcilable differences between marriage partners.
4. The mounting stress of problems and financial difficulties.
5. The interference of family members or friends.
6. A breakdown of communication between marriage partners.
7. Sexual problems between marriage partners.
8. Religious differences between marriage partners.

There are thirteen aspects in counseling marriage problems:
1. Identify the specific issue creating the marriage problem.
2. Let the couple separately talk about their marriage problem.
3. Let them separately express their frustrations and desires.
4. Bring the marriage couple together.
5. Share with them the Biblical principles of marriage.
6. Instill in them a hope of solving the problem.
7. Teach them how to communicate constructively.
8. Teach them to listen to each other's problems.
9. Teach them on how to agree on making decisions.
10. Teach them how to respect each other's opinion.
11. Encourage them to forgive each other's faults.
12. Help them to accept future marriage goals.
13. If necessary, refer them to someone else for counseling.

4. Pregnancy problems.
There are three kinds of pregnancy problems people encounter:
1. A wife not being able to become pregnant.
These five aspects are important in counseling:
1. Give the married couple love, comfort and encouragement.
2. Advise them to seek medical help.
3. Explain that children are a gift from God.
4. Pray with them for God to bless them with a child.
5. Let them trust God for this miracle.
1 Samuel 1:2, 10, 20
"But Hannah had no children.
And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.
When the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel."

2. A woman becoming pregnant outside of marriage.
There are ten important aspects of counseling:
1. Give love, understanding to the parties concerned.
2. Try to involve the pregnant couple in counseling.
3. Bring calm to both the families of the pregnant couple.
4. Advise the pregnant person to receive medical help.
5. Let them consider the possibility of marriage.
6. If not, let the mother consider keeping the child.
7. If not, let the consider giving up the child for adoption.
8. Let all parties consider the financial implications.
9. Let all parties consider the emotional and social implications.
10. Let them confess their mistake and pray with them.

3. A person wanting to terminate the pregnancy in abortion.
There are three reasons why people consider abortion:
1. They feel ashamed and try to cover up their mistake.
2. They feel unable to care for a newborn child.
3. They feel the need to abort a child that is deformed.

Consider these nine aspects when counseling such a person:
1. Let them realize that their unborn baby is a human life.
2. Explain that abortion is the killing of a human life.
3. Explain that God abhors murder.
4. Explain the option of adoption instead of abortion.
5. Explain that mistakes can and will be forgiven.
6. Explain that care is available for their newborn child.
7. Point them in the direction of that help.
8. Let them consider all the aspects to make a wise decision.
9. Pray with them and surround them with lots of love.
Psalm 127:3
"Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward."

5. Divorce problems.
God takes no pleasure in the divorce of anyone.
Mark 10:2-9
2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him.
3 And he answered and said unto them, what did Moses command you?
4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, for the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.
6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Once two people have experienced divorce, it is possible that they will encounter certain other problems in the future.
There are ten aspects that need to be considered:
1. Divorce is often followed by loneliness.
2. Divorce often causes financial and credit problems.
3. Divorcees encounter a new social environment after divorce.
4. They need to re-learn skills of communication and socializing.
5. They need to deal with new relationships.
6. They need to deal with emotional self-control and sexual abstinence.
7. Explaining their divorce to family and friends may be difficult.
8. Finding and enjoying a new identity will be necessary.
9. Maintaining a healthy relationship with the ex-spouse and family is necessary.
10. Children of divorcees should be allowed to continue a
loving, healthy relationship with the ex-spouse and family.

6. Remarriage problems.
It is Biblical for divorced couples to remarry each other again. When couples consider remarriage, they should consider the following:
1. They should ensure their love for each other.
2. They should ensure that the problems that caused the divorce,
have been dealt with.
3. They must be sure that they have forgiven each other.
4. They must share this information with all effected parties.
5. They must prepare for their re-marriage with counseling.
6. Their re-marriage should be a Biblical one.

After the remarriage, the couple should:
1. Continue loving each other.
2. Be honest and realistic with each other.
3. Always communicate with each other.
4. Seek advice and counseling when needed.
5. Actively serve God together.
6. Keep each other's physical, social and sexual needs at heart.
7. Set mutual goals and face the future with confidence.

A divorced Christian seeking to be married may do so under the following conditions, namely:
1. If their divorced spouse is deceased.
2. If their divorced spouse committed adultery.
Matthew 19:9
"And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery."
1 Corinthians 7:8-9
"I say therefore to the… widows …. if they cannot contain, let them marry:"

4. Addiction problems.
Matthew 6:24
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other."
Galatians 5:1
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

Let us focus on five addiction problems.
1. Alcohol addiction.
Alcoholism is serious and causes health, social, moral and spiritual problems. It inevitably leads to untold misery and emotional pain. Alcohol abuse is often the cause of traffic accidents, murders, assaults, abuse and death. An alcoholic can be described as a person who consumes alcohol excessively and uncontrollably.
There are seven causes of alcoholism:
1. The influence of the environment in which we live.
2. The influence of family and friends.
3. Peer pressure and the expectations of the culture we live in.
4. Socializing and going to parties.
5. Stress, anxiety, inferiorities and feelings of depression.
6. Shyness and loneliness and a need for a feeling of euphoria.
7. Heredity factors.

Consider thirteen aspects when counseling an alcoholic:
1. The alcoholic must admit that they need help.
2. Discover the cause of the alcoholism.
3. Assure them that they can be cured of the alcoholism.
4. Help them to receive treatment for the alcoholism.
5. Lead them to Christ.
6. Pray for their deliverance.
7. Let them set goals for a new way of life.
8. Let them seek new friends who are non-alcoholics.
9. Encourage them to be a part of a church and grow spiritually.
10. Enlist the help and support of those around them.
11. Let them to regain the confidence of everyone.
12. Being realistic and hardworking will bring them success.
13. Let them be careful and vigilant to avoid any re-occurrence
of alcoholism, trusting God for continued victory.
Leviticus 10:9
"Do not drink wine nor strong drink."
Proverbs 20:1
"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.""

2. Drug addiction.
Drug addiction can also be described as chemical substance abuse.
A person can become dependant on a drug after being exposed to its dosage over a period of time. Some drugs are more dangerous than others and an overdose of them can result in death. Some drugs like "heroin" can cause addiction very quickly.

Drug addiction can be traced to five causes:
1. People experimenting with drugs for pleasure.
2. People trying to escape from reality by using drugs.
3. People feeling pressurized by others to try drugs.
4. People digressing from one drug, to more dangerous drugs.
5. People using drug medication without supervision.

These twelve aspects are important counseling drug addicts:
1. Establish the fact of their drug addiction.
2. Find out what drug they are addicted to.
3. Gain their confidence and win them to Christ.
4. Give them understanding and love.
5. Immediately let them seek medical help.
6. Pray with them for their deliverance.
7. Let them set goals for a new way of life.
8. Let them seek new non-addicted friends.
9. Encourage them to be part of a church and grow spiritually.
10. Enlist the help and support of those around them.
11. Let them regain the confidence of everyone.
12. Let them be careful and vigilant to avoid a re-occurrence
of drug addiction, trusting God for continued victory.
John 8:36
"If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."

3. Food addiction.
Many people experience one of two eating disorders namely:
1. An addiction to food that causes obesity.
2. A false perception of being obese and trying to shed body
weight. (Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia.)
It is characterized by induced vomiting, using laxatives and
excessive exercising to loose weight.

There are five physiological causes of obesity namely:
1. The body structure.
2. Genetic causes in the family.
3. The type of food our diet consists of.
4. Physical disabilities or abnormalities.
5. Lack of physical activities and exercise.

There are five psychological causes of obesity namely:
1. Stress.
2. Depression.
3. Feeling sorry for ourselves.
4. Emotions of anger and fear.
5. Experiencing boredom.

There are eight aspects in counseling those with eating disorders:
1. Let them admit their problem.
2. Let them discover the cause of their problem.
3. If necessary let them seek medical and other help.
4. Give them comfort, understanding and love.
5. Let them envisage and plan a new eating lifestyle.
6. Let them do the needed physical activities and exercise.
7. Continue to motivate them.
8. Remind them that their body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost.
1 Corinthians 6:19
"What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?"

4. Sexual addiction.
There are several sexual activities from a Christians point of view, that are abnormal and grossly evil. They are fornication, adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality.
Many victims become addicted to these forms of sexual behavior and uncontrollably, live out their sexual fantasies.
To counsel them the following aspects are important:
1. Identify their sexual addiction.
2. Help them to understand it, in light of Scripture.
3. Let them see Gods plan and design for them to enjoy, normal, satisfying, sexual behavior.
4. Let them envisage and plan a new sexual lifestyle.
5. Let them present their body as a Temple to God.
6. Let them experience this controlled new peaceful lifestyle.
7. Continue to encourage and love them.

5. Gambling addiction.
Gambling has negatively affected the lives of millions of people. Its process causes people a physical adrenalin rush in the body and an emotional high. It can become an addiction of uncontrollable compulsive behavior. In addictive gambling, a person loses the ability to stop gambling in spite of financial or other losses.
There are seven aspects in counseling addicted gamblers:
1. Let them admit their gambling addiction.
2. Give them love and understanding.
3. Explain the harmful effects of gambling to themselves, their family and others.
4. Let them plan and envisage a new non-addictive lifestyle.
5. Let them move out of the gambling circle of influence.
6. Create safeguards against any gambling re-occurrence.
7. Continue to encourage and motivate them.

6. Mental problems.
Mental problems can also be described as mental illness.
They manifest in five different ways, namely:
a. Nervous breakdowns.
b. Emotional disturbances.
c. Mental disorders.
d. Depression.
e. Insanity.

There are several hundred disorders that have been classified into various categories of symptoms and severity of disturbance.

In counseling those with mental problems or those indirectly affected, there are six aspects that are important:
1. Try to identify what their problem is.
2. If necessary, let them seek medical and psychological help.
3. Lead the person to Christ and salvation.
4. Give them love and understanding.
5. Minister deliverance if they are demon possessed.
6. Let them experience a new, normal lifestyle.

2 Timothy 1:7
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
Mark 16:18
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils;"

7. Spiritual problems.
From time to time, everyone encounters a spiritual problem. There are seven reasons why people experience spiritual problems:
1. They are ignorant about certain spiritual things.
2. They are confused about certain spiritual issues.
3. They are hurt when falling short of their spiritual dreams.
4. They have roots of hate and bitterness in them.
5. Their value system is distorted.
6. They are intellectually or emotionally imbalanced.
7. They lack spiritual perseverance.

In counseling people with spiritual problems the following eight aspects are important:
1. Find out what their spiritual problem is.
2. Give them understanding and love.
3. Address the problem gently with guidance and instruction.
4. Help them to forgive and remove all hate and bitterness.
5. Lead them to Christ and salvation.
6. Let them experience spiritual growth and balance.
7. Let them receive and continue in sound Bible Teaching.
8. Let them enjoy the fellowship of strong balanced Christians.

8. Restriction problems.
There are four kinds of restriction problems, namely:
1. The Physically handicapped.
There are several kinds of physical disabilities and they are:
1. Impaired hearing.
1. Those confined to wheelchairs.
2. Those with walking problems.
3. Those with vision problems.
4. Those experiencing sickness and pain.
5. Those with allergy problems.
Such people are often restricted and confined to places because of their limitations.

2. The emotionally and mentally handicapped.
These disabilities include:
1. Those with limited mental abilities.
2. Those who are mentally retarded.
3. Those who have had illnesses and treatments of the brain.
4. Those who have been injured in accidents.
5. Those who have been affected by military combat.

When counseling those restricted with disabilities, the following aspects are important:
1. Find out what their disability is.
2. Have compassion and understanding for them.
3. Let them accept their temporary limitations.
4. Help them to plan their life within those limitations.
5. let them get the help they need to bring some relief.
6. Try to make things easier for them.
7. Solicit the help of those around them.
8. If possible, help them overcome those disabilities.

3. Aids Victims.
There are millions suffering with Aids in the world today. Most victims tend to withdraw and isolate themselves from society. They often experience rejection from people who ignorantly feel threatened of being contaminated Aids.

In counseling Aids victims, ten things are important, namely:
1. Have compassion and understanding for them.
2. Let them understand that people are ignorant about Aids.
3. This situation will change as people become Aids educated.
4. Let them live within their limitations.
5. Let them get the help they need to get relief.
6. Try to make things easier for them.
7. Get the understanding of those around them.
8. Where possible, help them overcome their disabilities.
9. Educate their circle of influence on aids.
10. Lead the Aids victim to Christ and salvation.

Many aids infected people have adjusted their lifestyle to make things more comfortable and achievable.
Luke 1:37
"For with God nothing shall be impossible."

4. The incarcerated.
Those incarcerated is prisons and detention centers experience
Several things, namely:
1. They experience isolation.
2. They experience loneliness.
3. They experience fears.
4. They experience stress.
5. They experience worry and concern for their family.
6. They experience peer inmate pressure.
7. They experience feelings of inferiority.

When counseling the incarcerated, several things are important:
1. Give them compassion and understanding.
2. Find out what they are concerned about.
3. Identify their needs.
4. Find out how their family is doing.
5. If possible, reach out to their families needs.
6. Lead them to Christ and salvation.
7. Let them envisage a new lifestyle.
8. Help them to grow in their spiritual life.
9. Help them experience a new self-worth.
10. Let them enjoy Gods presence in their life.
11. Let them reach out to help others who are incarcerated.
Matthew 25:36
"I was in prison, and ye came unto me."

Many have experienced a dramatic change of their life while
being incarcerated. Christian counseling is a true and
effective way of helping those in prison.
Hebrews 13:5
"For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

· The law and Christian Counseling.
The laws covering counseling issues, differ from Country to Country and State to State. These laws determine who is legally competent to Counsel and what educational requirements are required for professional Counselors.
Pastors and Christian Workers who do Christian Counseling, with scripture as a basis, are probably exempt from many of the laws that apply to Professional Counselors. Christian Counselors need to determine how their local laws affect them.

It would be helpful to read this Christian Counseling book several times.
It may be used as a source of reference from time to time.


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