The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities even suggests that, “psychological theories are not proven, and since the proximate cause of mental-emotional problems is spiritual, one should rely on Biblical principles for [emotional] healing” (Mills, 1999). In the book, Dr. Anderson even suggests that mental illness is a form of distortion of our understanding of who a person regards themselves to be and the way they view their relationship with God. When this is distorted, it can result in what is secularly considered to be mental illness.
In this sense, it is quite natural for people to wonder when a condition should be diagnosed as a psychological problem and when it should be treated as a spiritual problem. According to Dr. Anderson, this is completely antithetical to the holistic form of treating people, as both conditions affect one another. There are two central ideas that make up Christian Discipleship Counseling: they are having the right view of the world in a Biblical sense and the centrality of the Bible and the Gospel in general. The latter will determine the way in which the counselor approaches counseling their subject, whether they encourage them to walk according to what God commands or help them to bring glory to God so that their life will be better. Having the right worldview in the Biblical sense is important, as this is where true healing can come from.
The Structure of Christian Discipleship Counseling
The organizational structure of Christian Discipleship Counseling is another central theme discussed in Dr. Andersons book. As scripture states, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ” (Holy Bible, Timothy 2:5). As described in this scripture and in Dr. Andersons work, there is only one real mediator between the person who needs counseling and God, and the counselor does not serve to replace God in the persons life (Anderson, p. 38). The counselor has certain responsibilities toward the person they are counseling, including praying for themselves and the person they are counseling, recognizing their role in the spiritual guiding process.
They should also be ready to completely serve and be dependent on God, as John 6:44 says that “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”
A counselor has a responsibility to resist from arguing with the counselee. John Scott is quoted in Dr. Andersons work as saying that, “you cannot pander to mankinds intellectual arrogance, but you must cater to their intellectual integrity.” This is because there are many people who will purposely incite argument. There are others who need help. It is not the job of the counselor to deal with those who seek out argument, but to have the clarity of mind to see the difference between those who quarrel for attention and those who genuinely take issue with something.
Discipleship counseling is about helping people be mentally and spiritually healthy and helping everyone come to God on their own terms. It is often regarded as a persons duty to help others come to Christ and discipleship counseling is just one way of doing so.
Anderson, D.N. (2003). Discipleship Counseling. Ventura, CA, USA: Regal Books
Mills, L. (1999). Developing a Christian Critique of Psychotherapies for Undergraduates. Retrieved from Council for Christian Colleges and Universities: http://www.cccu.org/professional_development/resource_library/developing_a_christian_critique_of_psychotehrapies_for_undergraduates
The Bama Research Group. (2009). Bama Studies the Research, Offers a Year-in-Review Perspective. Ventura, CA, USA.
The Bama Research Group (2009). Bama Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians Over the Past 13 Years. Ventura, CA, USA: The Bama Group, Ltd..