group discussion with replies in first person

Discussion Question: 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:

  1. 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?
  2. Of the cautions mentioned by the course materials, which ones do you think counselors most often overlook?
  3. 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.

Replies: In your responses to 2 classmates, follow the suggestions in the grading rubric for responses to classmates.

Group Discussion Board Forum Instructions

The purpose of these Group Discussion Board Forums is to expand your thinking about the course materials or apply course materials to counseling scenarios. Some of the discussion board questions have a strong analytical component, as fitting a graduate level course. As a basis for your reflection/evaluation/application, you will be asked to review the content covered during the discussion modules/weeks.

In response to the posted discussion question (Modules/Weeks 2, 4, 6, and 8), post your thread by the date specified using at least 400 words. The grading rubric does not grade for word count. However, realize that too many words may indicate wordiness, but too few words may indicate incomplete thought. In addition to supporting your initial comments from course materials (with proper, current APA citation), the integration of a Christian worldview is always appropriate.

To foster discussion, you will be required to reply to the threads of at least 2 classmates. Your reply must be of appropriate length (at least 200 words), but word count is not a grading criteria. In addition, your instructor may ask you to reply to the instructor’s follow-up ideas as part of the discussion board requirement (and included in the grade). When you reply to student or instructor posts, expand the discussion. Limit “I agree” statements, but rather explain the reasons why you agree or disagree. Expand ideas, challenge thinking, probe, and ask for clarification. In all discussion board work, keep these points in mind:

  • Use appropriate netiquette,
  • Write at graduate level, and
  • Cite in-text per current APA format and list references at the bottom of your post.

When citing any of the presentations provided in the Reading & Study folders, your references must look like the following:

Brewer, G., & Peters, C., (n.d). [Insert audio lecture title or notes title]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.

So, for example, a reference would look like this:

Brewer, G., & Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506 Week Three, Lecture One: Christian spirituality and the ministry of counseling. [PowerPoint]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.

First reply:

Amy Elrod

Discussion_Forum_4_Elrod

COLLAPSE

The challenges for confronting sin during a counseling session would be: make sure that the counselor does no harm to the client by asking what is in the best interest of the client with the confrontation, not act out in anger or with an attitude if the client is not compliant or argumentative, utilization of the power dynamic with the client, and lead the client to a redemptive and restorative relationship with God (Brewer, n.d). Without the incorporation of spirituality in session, the client is not seeking a relationship or need to heal their brokenness through Christ. Instead, confession may lead them to simply want to be told that they will be okay, feel more shame and remorse, or rely too heavily on the counseling relationship instead of taking personal responsibility for improvement. If the client’s attribution style is that of psychology or external, it would steer the client away from owning their responsibility for their actions and want others to pity them for being the victim.

It is not recommended that a counselor use direct censure since it can pose a significant risk to the clinical relationship and the rapport that has been achieved. It is also possible for the counselor to perverse the power dynamic by thinking that he/she is superior to the obvious neglect and lack of improvement in Jim’s case. This is probably a man that does not respond well to being berated and may very well put up a wall or switch to another counselor if shamed. McMinn states that the “counseling relationship works well when it mimics the redemptive relationship experienced with God through Jesus” (McMinn, 2011). Jesus knew that Judas and Peter would betray Him, but He sat with them and ate his final meal beforehand. We are to show this same type of love to others.

A caution that I think counselors consistently overlook is the humility aspect of counseling. It is so easy for anyone to judge another based on their sin, but what we all tend to forget is a sin is a sin is a sin. Jesus wasn’t excepting of certain sins nor did He rate them from least to worst. We all sin every single day and sometimes without purpose and to God any sin is forgivable and every person worth love and forgiveness. It could be relatively simple for a counselor to draw their own assumptions about a lifestyle or perversion that was not their own, in addition to, being more educated and knowledgeable could lead to an air of arrogance and dismissal of the client’s underlying need.

Jim may see nothing wrong with his behaviors if he is modeling his parents actions or has an attribution style of being the victim and helpless; maybe his world view is he was born bad and cannot be any different. Or maybe he feels as if he is so far gone, what would be the point of trying to change now. Instead of being another condemning nag to Jim, I would get his consent to introduce spirituality into his sessions and show him, through Scripture, that an unconditionally loving and compassionate parent did exist and He wanted to be a huge part of Jim’s life. I would use the pondering and questioning aspects of confrontation as McMinn described. I would reiterate the fact that we are ALL sinners, but we all have the capacity to determine our paths in life with God as our pilot. I would also refer Jim to a mental health medication clinic to be evaluated for an underlying mental disorder that may be driving his substance abuse and impulsive, risky behaviors. In session, he and I would work through the fact that everyone chooses their actions and everyone reaps the consequences. He may have had problem parenting, but he could change that cycle with parenting support and faulty thinking changes. If Jim was suffering from alcoholism or an opioid addiction, I would refer him for detox before continuing counseling sessions.

Brewer, G., & Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506, Week 7, Lectures 1 & 2. Sin, Confession, and Redemption in Counseling & Counseling Methods Related to Confrontation and Confession. [PowerPoint]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.

McMinn, M.R. (2011). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling (Rev. ed.) Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

Second reply:

Kasson Weldon

Discussion Board: Forum 4

COLLAPSE

There are several challenges that I would face as a counselor in a secular human services environment. The first challenge is that the perception of sin is different in the world or arena of psychology. The terminology in psychology is sin is seen as sickness and because of this view it has an external attribution where the focus is to minimize sin (Brewers & Peters,2019).

Also, it causes the client to see themselves as a victim blaming others for their choices and removing personal responsibility. It allows the client to come up with their own personal perception & interpretation of what is right and wrong versus the perspective that come from theology where God law is standard for truth and right and wrong (Brewers & Peters,2019).

It is important that a sensitive Christian counselor first connects to the person before he tries to address or confront sin in the life of client. Brewers & Peters mention that every client that we meet is first a stranger due to sin and it ultimately God at work through the gifts of conviction, contrition and repentance in the life of our clients (Brewers & Peters,2019).

Two cautions that I believe are mostly overlooked by counselors. The first is the counselor’s self-awareness. I don’t believe many counselors ask what is my attitude and motivation towards the client? Making sure that you have an empathic and humble attitude towards the client and are doing what is in the best interest of the client not what more convenient, comfortable and self-serving for the counselor. Secondly, I believe that the power dynamic of the client relationship is very overlooked. According to McMinn he mentioned the importance of how we use our power in the counselor/client relationship. This takes humility an awareness our own weaknesses, strengths and limitations and putting them in a proper perspective (McMinn,2011). I believe that there is delicate balance between not creating a dependency of the client towards counselor or the other extreme is imposing your will onto the client. McMinn mentioned that it important for the counselor to discern when the client is look for the approval of counselor rather than making choices and changes based on their own personal sense of identity and freedom (McMinn,2011).

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.

Honestly the first thing I would need to address is myself and how I’m actually feeling anger towards Jim. My motivation towards Jim cannot be to let him have it but to do what’s in the best interest of Jim. Secondly, I would seek consultation from my supervisor or a more experienced counselor. It’s been eight months and it appears that Jim is not making progress.

In three crucial areas Jim has not moved forward he doesn’t’ have an accurate awareness of self. Jim seems to lack a healthy sense of right and wrong and demonstrates many out of control behaviors. Jim also doesn’t show any remorse, repentance and willingness to take responsibility for any of his actions. Jim has not benefited from the therapeutic relationship.

I would pray for Jim but at this stage I feel that it would be important to confront Jim’s behavior with the goal of redemption in mind. Eight months is a significant amount of time where I believe a level of trust and support has been established.

References

Brewer, G., & Peters, C. (2019) (n.d.). COUN 506, Week 7, Lectures 1 & 2. Sin, Confession, and Redemption in Counseling & Counseling Methods Related [PowerPoint]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.

McMinn, M.R. (2011). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling (Rev. ed.) Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.

 
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