Biblical Versus Mainstream Counseling Terminology

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Biblical Versus Mainstream Counseling Terminology
Patricia Daugherty
Liberty University

In the counseling profession today, there is quite a bit of controversy and discussion about Christian counseling compared to conventional counseling. As the terminology of both the Bible and mainstream counseling are analyzed, distinct similarities are evident. This analysis of key Biblical and contemporary counseling terminology will show examples of basic terms, their meaning, and usage in both settings. One of the results revealed during this research was that many counseling terms are used in conventional counseling have similar meanings in the Bible. This study shows that certain words that are used in the field of counseling today are indirectly built upon Biblical principles.

Biblical Versus Mainstream Counseling Terminology
There are many opinions and much debate concerning the use of the Bible and Scriptures in the counseling setting. Many in the secular community have questioned the use and the legitimacy of the results of counseling sessions that are based wholly on a religious belief system. Many feel that since counseling that revolves around Biblical beliefs is and not based on scientific experiments and results is it not a valid form of diagnosis and treatment. Based on the research of Howard, etal (2005), Psychology is the result of man-made theories and scientific studies and has no foundation built upon religious beliefs.

Psychology is known as the study of the mind and is an academic discipline that bases its theories on the scientific method and the study of human behaviors. Psychology attempts to understand the role of a person’s mental functioning and their social behaviors all the while trying to determine any underlying physiological issues. Psychologists study such things as personality, emotion, behavior and interpersonal relationships, and the unconscious mind (Ganje-Fling & McCarthy, 1991). They base their diagnoses on previously studied mental disorders and develop treatment plans based on those diagnoses.

There is an obvious difference between the psychological direction of counseling the Biblical direction of counseling. Psychology deals mostly with the study of theories and concepts that have been developed by scientists as opposed to the Bible’s study being focused on God and his direction of how we should live our lives. God has laid out his guide for us to follow in the Bible and Christian counselors work to help their client’s use His guide to work through their troubles.

Both of these views have seemed to be on opposite ends of the spectrum for as long as counseling has been in existence. Over the past several years, there has been a surge to try and integrate these two views into one view that will be more beneficial for the client as well as the counselor. The problem with this idea is that there has been so much debate between the professionals in each of these over the years that they do not want to admit to a common ground between the two. Clinton & Ohlschlager (2002) discuss the importance of the use of the Bible in contemporary counseling sessions and the use of contemporary counseling terminology and techniques in Christian counseling. They suggest a more liberal approach to the counseling session one in which the Bible is used to enrich the counseling session and make it more rewarding for everyone.

The research that was completed in this analysis was done to demonstrate how important the role the Bible and its terminology can be to contemporary counseling. The research was conducted on several terms that were commonly used in both the Bible and the counseling profession. It was determined that were many terms used in counseling today that are also mentioned in various verses in both the Old and New Testament. The research showed that many of...
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