Description Discussion Thread: Confronting Sin in Counseling McMinn discussed guidelines when confronting sin during a counseling experience and the lectures reviewed some factors as well. Your thread needs to be answered in two parts: First, what would be the challenges (based on the lectures) of confronting clearly wrong behavior/ “sin” in the life of your client if you were working in a secular human services setting? Draw in concepts from the lecture to support your position. How might the approach from psychology make it difficult to confront clearly wrong behavior (worldview and perspective on attribution, for instance)? Second, assume that you counseled in a human services setting in which you could integrate spirituality and a Christian worldview. Review the following brief “case” and answer the following questions: Based on the lectures and McMinn, why can’t a sensitive Christian counselor just automatically and quickly confront obvious sin in the life of the counselee? Of the cautions mentioned by the course materials, which ones do you think counselors most often overlook? From what you learned from the lectures/McMinn, how would you best address the clearly sinful behavior of this client? Case Study Jim is a client in your counseling center, who you have seen for about 8 months. He has been cycled through several other counselors and one described him as a “basket case.” Jim has several children, each with a different mother. He casually mentions that he rarely sees them, and since he can’t hold down a job, he provides no financial support. Some of his children are now in foster care. He engages in unprotected sex on a weekly basis. Typical of many of your clients, Jim drinks heavily and abuses street drugs. He comes to counseling only because it is required for him to receive the tangible support services of your agency. You are at the point in your counseling with Jim that you’d like to “let him have it” but your counseling training did not include that as a valid counseling technique. There is obviously much more to Jim’s story but suffice it to say that he is repeating many of the behaviors he learned from his parents’ dysfunctional parenting. While you are sharing opinion here, you must demonstrate informed opinion by supporting your points with references to the course materials. Please review the Discussion Assignment Instructions Download Discussion Assignment Instructions prior to posting. You may also click the three dots in the upper corner to Show Rubric. Entwistle, D. N. (2015). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock. Peers: Katherine Taylor2:26pmAug 8 at 2:26pmManage Discussion EntryCounseling in a secular setting can be challenging when confronting a client with many different behavioral abnormalities. First and foremost we need to establish the confidentiality and ethical standards with the client. We need to make sure that we do not pass judgement on his lifestyle, as to not push him away from his therapy and recovering. Although his reasons for coming to counseling may of the purest intentions, but he is still coming and that’s something to recognize. Being a Christian counselor we must be comfortable in our own spirituality. We must know when and how to confront the “sin” with the client. We must also ensure that we do not approach the client with certain aspects until we have fully understood what they are dealing with. Gaining Jim’s trust will allow the counselor to present solutions and help them become more aware of their sin. It is discussed in our readings that sin is a sickness and we must gain knowledge on what is harboring these behaviors that are giving power to the sin. We could then create an effective intervention strategy We must decipher what the client is dealing with to develop the correct therapy of spiritual wellness. Because Jim has been through so many counselors, a softer more empathetic approach might be the best for him. Using silent prayer as McMinn suggests.Finding the underlying triggers for Jim’s erratic behavior would definitely be a good place to start in order to create a proper treatment plan. Gretchen Clarke12:16amAug 8 at 12:16amManage Discussion EntryApproaching the topic of sin in a secular human services setting presents several challenges. First, Brewer and Peters (n.d.) note, in Lecture One, that we need to understand the client’s attributional style towards sin to determine if they believe they are responsible for their own choices or believe they are victims of circumstances outside their control. Knowing if the client has a moral compass of right versus wrong actions is also important. It is also helpful to understand what the client wants. Are they looking for sympathy or help? Do they want approval or forgiveness? Is the client willing to accept consequences for actions or make restitution to those who have been harmed (Brewer & Peters, n.d., Lecture One)? If the client takes on the positions of popular psychology that labels sin as sickness, sinners as victims, and freedom from guilt as the means for healing then it will be a challenge to help this client make meaningful change. If the counselor encouraged the client to take personal responsibility for choices and take action to make changes the client may respond with anger or confusion. Helping this client to change their mindset will require a trusting therapeutic relationship and slow reorientation of thoughts. If the client has a fixed mindset regarding their attributional style, the counselor must explore ways to help the client or make a referral to a counselor who is better able to accommodate the client’s attributional style (Brewer & Peters, n.d., Lecture Two).In the case of our client Jim, who is struggling with a wide range of sinful choices, the counselor needs to respond with wisdom and humility. Confrontation is unlikely to succeed until the counselor has established a trusting therapeutic relationship with Jim (McMinn, 2011). Due to Jim’s attachment issues from childhood plus his string of failed counseling attempts we can assume that he does not trust others easily so the counselor will need to be patient in their approach. Quick confrontation or direct censure is probably something that Jim is accustomed to ignoring or brushing off with anger. By contrast, experiencing a warm welcome and a counselor who communicates firmly but kindly may be new to Jim (McMinn, 2011).I think that one of the common struggles for counselors working with someone like Jim might be losing perspective. It would be easy to feel sad for the women and children Jim is abandoning and frustrated by Jim’s lack of change. This might cause the counselor to take an attitude of superiority or try to rush the process by harshly confronting him and demanding that he make changes (McMinn, 2011). As McMinn discusses, it is easy to forget that we are all struggling under the burden of sin, blind to our failure, and in desperate need of the Holy Spirit to open our eyes. If the counselor loses perspective and adopts a judgmental or hurried spirit, they will be likely to lose the opportunity to act as an ambassador of God’s redemptive work in Jim’s life. To avoid this trap, the counselor must be faithful to the spiritual disciplines of prayer and time in Scripture. Walking humbly with the Lord will help the counselor to maintain perspective (McMinn, 2011).After taking the time to welcome Jim and create trust in the therapeutic relationship, the counselor can begin to work slowly and steadily towards change (Brewer & Peters, n.d., Lecture Two). Jim must become aware of his own need before he can seek repentance. The Holy Spirit is the true agent of change, so the counselor should be faithful in prayer for Jim outside of sessions (McMinn, 2011). When it is time to begin the work of confrontation, the counselor might try the method of pondering to help Jim consider the consequences of his choices and to examine what other choices were available to him. While pondering the possibilities available to Jim and the outcomes of the choices he is making, he may begin to understand his responsibility (Brewer & Peters, n.d., Lecture Two). Coming to understand his guilt will be very painful but important for Jim. The counselor must not rush Jim through this process either but should understand that the guilt may help Jim to recognize his need for redemption. Jim can only repent and seek forgiveness once he has acknowledged the weight of his sin and his inability to lift that weight without Jesus (McMinn, 2011). When Jim can say from his heart, “God be merciful to me, a sinner!” he can be assured that Jesus stands ready to redeem him (English Standard Version Bible, 2001/2016, Luke 18:13-14)
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