L301: Lesson 8: Counseling Skills
Leadership 301 • Sermon • Submitted
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Key Verse: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonder Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
Purpose: The purpose of this lesson is to equip the disciple / leader with important principles for basic counseling.
Recognize that all true and enduring counsel originates from GOD.
Psalm 33:12-13 (NKJV) “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.”
Proverbs 21:30 (NKJV) “There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord.”
Be filled with the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18; Isaiah 11:1-2).
The Spirit of THE LORD.
The Spirit of WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING.
The Spirit of COUNSEL and MIGHT.
The Spirit of KNOWLEDGE and THE FEAR OF THE LORD.
Stay rooted and grounded in the WORD OF GOD.
Build yourself up by PRAYING in the Holy Spirit.
Ask God to impart to you the GIFTS you need to counsel effectively.
Pray for the INDIVIDUAL(S) who need counsel.
Make sure you have fresh BREATH and a pleasant FRAGRANCE.
Avoid the use of onions, garlic, etc. and use breath mints.
Be led by the HOLY SPIRIT. Trust Him to guide and direct you as you counsel.
Establish a comfortable ATMOSPHERE where people can feel free and open to share.
Provide a private place free from distraction and interruption.
Greet them with a warm and friendly smile.
Let them know you care and are there to help.
Counsel only those of the SAME gender as yourself.
People in need of counsel are usually very vulnerable emotionally. Counseling only with persons of the same gender prevents opportunities for temptation and for emotional attraction or dependency.
Do not meet alone. Private sessions with a person of the opposite sex make the counselor vulnerable to accusations and suspicions which are almost impossible to defend against.
If a person of the opposite sex seeks your counsel, assure them that you care but that it is in their best interest to seek counsel from another person of their own gender. Help them establish a contact if necessary.
Warning: Be cautious of any person of the opposite sex that insists that they must counsel only with you and refuses to counsel with anyone of their own gender.
If a person of the opposite sex must be counseled, do so only with your spouse, their spouse, or another person present.
Do not touch a person of the opposite sex any more than necessary (1 Corinthians 7:1).
Always remember the counselee’s NAME and use it often (unless otherwise indicated by the counselee).
Explain to the counselee that JESUS is the True Counselor and that your job is to simply help the person discover His solution for them. Begin the session with prayer inviting Jesus to come as the Wonderful Counselor to bring hope, help, and healing.
This invites the presence of God in the counseling session.
This removes undue pressure from the counselor to solve the counselee’s problem.
This establishes an emphasis of responsibility toward God rather than toward the counselor.
This releases hope and expectancy toward God.
Be a good LISTENER.
Ask the person to share with you any area in which they are needing help.
Listen with the ear of the Holy Spirit.
Watch your expression and do not act shocked by what you hear.
Ask diagnostic QUESTIONS.
Ask questions to get to ROOT ISSUES. (Do not use a lot of time focusing on fruit. Get to the root.)
Ask questions for CLARIFICATION.
Ask questions to get INFORMATION.
Ask questions to get UNDERSTANDING.
Ask questions to determine OPTIONS.
Ask questions to establish a SOLUTION. It is easier to get a person to follow through with a solution that they have been a part of discovering than it is to get them to accept a solution with which they do not agree or understand.
After listening and asking questions, RESTATE to them in your own words what you have heard them say.
Example: “Let me tell you what I am hearing. You are saying that the problem stems from a fear of being hurt by others. Is this true?”
If you have stated the problem correctly, then you may minister to them with biblical counsel.
If you have NOT stated the problem correctly, then go back to listening and asking questions until you can do so.
Always walk in LOVE.
You are God’s agent of reconciliation, restoration, and healing.
Do not condemn, criticize, preach, talk down to, or get loud.
Watch your tone of voice and speak in love.
Be wise with your words. The words you speak can heal or hurt. They will be remembered long after you have forgotten them.
Give the person BIBLICAL counsel.
Tell the person that any true and lasting solutions must come from the Bible which is God’s Word.
Distinguish between biblical counsel and your own opinion. Make God’s word authority and your opinion just that, an opinion. Give your opinion sparingly.
If issues of relationships with others are involved, help the counselee to decide to RESPOND in love.
Remind them that God loves them.
Remind them that God loves others, even those who may hurt them.
Remind them that they are not wrestling against flesh and blood but against Satan and his demonic forces operating through others (Ephesians 6:12).
Help them to choose not to react but to respond in the love of Jesus. (WWJD — “What would Jesus do?”)
Even if difficult choices must be made that could be misunderstood, help them to walk things out in a loving manner.
Lead the counselee to decide to believe God by becoming a DOER of the Word and not a hearer only.
Bring the counselee to a decision on what biblical option they will follow (if more than one option is available).
Do not allow the counselee to dwell on the problem. Give them homework in the scriptures.
Make it clear that simply saying they will follow God’s counsel will not work if it is not obeyed (Matthew 7:24-27).
They must determine not to allow circumstances and adversity to move them from obeying God’s word since these things are temporal and subject to change. God’s word never changes but will change the circumstances. Trust in God, regardless of circumstances.
Hold people ACCOUNTABLE to the counsel given.
Keep confidential records of what was discussed, and the counsel given. Use these records as a form of accountability.
Generally, the counselee must make all the decisions. We can only give biblical counsel, not dictate.
If the problem persists, ask the counselee if they have followed the counsel given. If they have, then determine if the counsel given needs adjustment or if the person needs to be patient and to keep standing on the Word.
If the counselee will not follow the counsel given and keeps focusing on the problem, then tell them that you cannot continue to counsel with them. Counseling is only helpful as people are willing to follow the counsel. Assure them that while you can sympathize with their problem and will love them unconditionally, ongoing counseling is conditional upon accountability and follow through.
Always PRAY with them.
James 5:13 (NKJV) “Is anyone suffering? Let him pray.”
Prayer seals the counsel and response with God.
Prayer casts our cares upon the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7; I Peter 5:7)
Prayer is petitioning God’s help and grace (James 4:2, 6)
Prayer opens the door for the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Always be open to the ministry of SIGNS and WONDERS.
Allow God to use you as He wills in the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Always WEAN people from you and help them learn to DEPEND upon God.
Do not get involved in marathon counseling sessions. Set a time that is convenient for you and stop when the time is up. Set up another time if follow up is necessary.
Do not get involved in long term and ongoing counseling with the person. This usually happens for two reasons:
A dependency of the counselee upon the counselor rather than upon God.
An unhealthy desire on the part of the counselor to be needed or to be sought out.
Do not be afraid to say “No, I cannot meet with you at this time.”
Remember, weaning is not easy on the mother or the child, but it has to be done if the child is to develop into maturity.
Do not attempt to counsel others beyond your KNOWLEDGE or ABILITY.
Avoid portraying yourself as a “know it all.”
The goal is to genuinely help people, not to impress people.
It is biblical to send harder cases up the “leadership ladder.”
Exodus 18:22-23 (NKJV) “And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they will bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will go to their place in peace.”
EDUCATE yourself to be a more effective counselor.
Seek wisdom, knowledge and understanding from others who have been effective in biblical counseling.
Learn to seek counsel in your own life.
Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV) “A wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.”
Proverbs 15:22 (NKJV) “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors, they are established.”
Maintain absolute CONFIDENTIALITY in counseling except in the following cases:
If a person is threatening to harm themselves.
If a person is threatening to harm others.
If a person is in danger or is being harmed.
If a person has been involved in sexual misconduct with a child.
If a person is involved in illegal activity or inappropriate behavior that could affect the church or its membership.
In matters in which there is a deep spiritual concern that will not go away after being committed to God in prayer.
Any of the cases above should be shared privately with the appropriate leadership or authority.
NEVER counsel a person
To stop taking medication
Not to have surgery or not to seek medical help
To get a divorce
To have an abortion
To break the law (unless man’s law violates the Law of God)
To remain in an abusive environment
Not to report physical or sexual abuse of children
To do anything contrary to scriptures