Monday, September 12, 2016

A Counseling Case Study

I think that my favorite kind of counselee is one who has had a life-changing event, and now is just not sure how to cope biblically with it. This is true with almost everyone I know who is suffering with chronic pain or disability.  But, when you think about it, the inability to cope with a new trial is what brings just about every counselee through my door. A physical trial may have been brought on by trauma, disease, or some other event, but other types of problems (grief, anxiety, depression) have a point of origin too, and can be just as debilitating. Those of us who struggle with chronic pain sometimes think that we are a special case, and that our problem is unique. But in reality, chronic pain and limited mobility are "common to man" problems:

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. ~1 Corinthians 10:13

The Bible says that no temptation to sin can come in any kind of package that has not been dealt with before. That's what Paul means when he says "common to man." Self pity, a victim's heart, and a cry of injustice will never be allowed for us, just because we think we're especially pitiable. No, our pain and limited activity do not give us a license to complain, or to bow out of opportunities to minister to God's people. 

Maybe you don't suffer with chronic pain yourself, but you know someone who does, and you want to help her. What should you do, and what practical steps should you take in counseling her? What passages of Scripture would be most helpful, and how can you help her to understand their application? This week, I have some answers for you over at Biblical Counseling for women, where I'm presenting a Case Study called, "Jane's Pain." There, you'll find the first three sessions of my counseling process with a hypothetical woman named Jane. 

I would encourage you to visit Biblical Counseling for Women for the next two weeks (session one was already posted last Tuesday, 9/6/2016). I think you will find it helpful, whether you are counseling yourself or someone else. On a personal note, this time of year really ramps up in counseling cases, and I am finding myself much busier than I've been in a long time. I hope to get back to posting regularly here soon. I appreciate your patience, and covet your prayers as I seek to lead others Near to the Healer in their trials.