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Christian Counseling That Reall Works

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The book Christian Counseling That Really Works was a great book to read. It gives examples of twenty five techniques that one can use in counseling. The book talks about the compass therapy approach, which I thought would be a very helpful tool when working a counseling session. I am looking forward to putting some of these techniques into action in the years to come. The Compass Therapy combines counseling or therapy with Christian beliefs. A counselor must use good counseling techniques with Christ’s healing power. Study cases have shown the there are two polarities that make up a persons personality. These polarities are love/assertion and weakness/strength. These polarities make up what they call the LAWS of personality and relationships. These LAWS can help you choose between healthy and unhealthy personalities. The LAWS break down into four quadrants of a circle. The four quadrants are called love, assertion, weakness and strength. The circle represents boundaries. These boundaries separate people from the world giving each person their own identity. Not one quadrant is better than the other. The key is to develop a person into a well balanced use of every quadrant. Love is the bonding agent that connects people to one another. The love quadrant joins people together by using gentleness, affiliation and common interest. It deals with persons caring. This love quadrant deals with many sensations. Some of these sensations are kindness, thoughtfulness, consideration, forgiveness, goodness, tenderness, compassion, fondness, faithfulness, fellowship, friendship and sacrifice. These sensations work together to form love. No one loves all of the time. Love works to allow you to stand with and for others. Christ’s name when dealing with the love compass point is the Good Shepherd.

Assertion allows you to stand over and against others. Assertion gives one the strength to give ones point of view. It also gives a person the courage to challenge unfairness. Assertion deals with disputation, self expression, confrontation, disagreement, argumentation, and individuation. Everyone sooner or later will run into bouts of anger and discontent. The compass theory tells us that assertion works together with caring. This combination works on getting a successful resolution from a conflict. When Jesus is compared to the assertion compass point, his name is the Lion of Judah. The weakness quadrant deals with uncertainty, vulnerability, and soul-searching. The weakness compass point helps people in developing empathy and humility for others. When dealing with weakness, it can be very hurtful. It can deal with grief, disappointment, anxiety, depression, identity, confusion, frustration, emptiness, guilt, suffering, alienation, self-doubt, hopelessness, and helplessness. We learn from the Bible that Paul wrote the Psalms during times when he was writing from the weakness compass point. People are strengthened when they admit to communicating to God and others. Jesus’ name when dealing with the weakness compass point is the Lamb of God. Christ dealt with the strength compass point when he dealt with his disciples. Christ had to be strong to ward off temptation, demonstrating social justice and staying focused on doing his Father’s will. Jesus also had a strong prayer life. He had the strength to stay on his path of life that would eventually lead to his death. Jesus was referred to having many names that dealt with the strength compass point. These names were Prince of Peace, Mighty Counselor, Lord of Lords, Bread of Life, Living Water, Light of the World and the Resurrection and the Life. A psycho spiritual answer in Compass Therapy frees a counselee from inordinate anxiety, psychogenic depression, false guilt, overbearing pride and self-defeating behaviors to be more Christ-like. As the counselee becomes more alert with their self-responsibility, God’s will becomes more apparent in the personal and interpersonal domains. It works together to bring about personal identity with one’s social outlook. The compass theory actualizes the equation of personal identity, intimacy and community. It helps to balance one’s identity in a healthy way. The Self Compass works to allow people to see how they are and how they can work well with other people. It helps the counselee have a balanced life as they live through their existence. There are four virtues when we try to grow to a complete person in Christ. These virtues are found when you combine the tensions of love, assertion, weakness and strength. These virtues allow for a counselee to be able to see their direction of growth as opposed to having no direction at all. When a counselee uses the compass points to fully benefit from their interplay, the virtue of caring comes from the love point. Courage is the virtue from the compass point of assertion. The virtue of humility yields from the weakness compass point. Finally, you have the virtue of esteem which comes from the strength compass point. When these four virtues are balanced in people, the LAWS of personality and relationships are followed. When the virtues of caring, courage, humility and esteem compliment each other, they form developmental consequences of rhythmic personality functioning. This means that the Self Compass initializes a developing person the traits of personality and interpersonal heath that Jesus Christ exampled. Compass Theory intertwines and proves that the model of personality functioning, with the faith in the Lord’s guidance toward personality completeness, forms a relationship. With the use of therapeutic treatments, a healing is accomplished when self-defeating behaviors are replaced with healthy behaviors. The Compass Theory helps to heal, transform and to understand behavioral dysfunction. It uses action techniques to help a counselee move toward personality wholeness, interpersonal fulfillment and the psycho spiritual benefits of compass living. In the book, a story of Mrs. Sanchez was used. She was stuck on the strength compass point and her husband was stuck on the weakness point. After some counseling sessions, we found out that Mrs. Sanchez has become like her mother. The Self Compass helped her to recognize that her controlling behavior was a nemesis rather than a blessing. The counselor directed Mrs. Sanchez toward the weakness compass point. With the use of the weakness compass point, Mrs. Sanchez was able to counterbalance her controlling behavior. During the sessions, Mr. Sanchez was helped to move from the weakness compass point to the assertion compass point. He was able to show his love for his wife and son. This was all new to him. He was able to forgive his wife and form a stronger bond with her. This allowed them both to work together to make decisions about their son Jason. Jason noticed that mom and dad was working together more and became more involved in his life. He started feeling that he was getting the respect that he deserved. In time, he started helping out more around the house. In the story with the Sanchez family, the version of Self Compass that was used is called Trends Self Compass. This version shows actual trends in the outermost level, and more strong and constricted trends in the inner levels. The rigid trends tend to mess people up when they don’t use the whole Self Compass. When you combine two levels to show how they can work together, the counselee sees immediate hope. They tend to see that they are stuck in one area. This allows them to work on constructive steps toward the whole of their personalities and relationships. The Compass Theory tells us that when one of the compass points is used more than another, manipulation occurs rather than becoming a complete person. Through the Compass Theory, one can see how their growth as a whole person can be resistant to growth. As one is stuck in the inner perimeter of the constricted compass, one can lose the strength of love and it will move one into a dependent trend. If assertion is not checked, it can turn into the aggressive trend which will allow blaming and resentment. When weakness becomes overblown, it can turn into the withdrawal trend which will lead to detachment and avoiding people. Over use of the strength area will put a counselee into the controlling trend which will be shown by dictating and judging. When a counselee is fixated on one compass point, the trend for that compass point will be evident. The counselor can find out which compass point is being used more or less and direct the counselee into healthy use of the compass points. This will give the counselee a more balanced life style. When people are stuck in a dependency state, they place their worth in what others think about them. They want to know if others approve of every little thing they do. This tendency to have others approve of them will tend to cause severe mood swings in the person. On the other hand, when a person is continually encouraged, they can have a life of happiness. Without the happiness being encouraged, the person will quickly become depressed. People who stay in a dependency state are usually naïve and gullible. They don’t like conflict and will usually believe what you are saying to make you happy. They live for the approval of others. Some dependants can become stuck in the love compass point. This will give the person a view that if they could just find the right person to love then everything would be alright. People can become stuck on the assertion compass point. They will have much inner pain which will allow them to blame, attack, and vent to others around them. Many people who are stuck in the assertion compass point will hold grudges and will try to get even with a person. The emotions of bitterness, spite, and hatred fill their minds. They will tend to get abusive with those around them and not feel a bit of guilt for doing it. The person will tend to look at their family as their personal property. They will tend to be overly jealous, stubborn and prideful. Their way of thinking is that they are always right. They will try to intimidate a person. An aggressive person will at times be quite charming if it allows them to get what they want. They can be charming on the outside, but deep down they are very strong minded and ready to lash out at you if you cross them. They will tend to not let anyone get very close to them. They view compromise as a sign of weakness. The aggressive person will view God as an angry God. Their view points of God are that he will punish the weak, and that he hates those that are different from their way of thinking. When one is stuck in the weakness compass point, they will tend to dwell in their helplessness. The will give up and give in to intolerable situations. They will tend to sleep a lot. They will procrastinate and tend to walk around in a perpetual daze. They tend to think that they are unattractive. Their main emotion that they deal with is sadness. Their body will become numb to reduce the feeling of anxiety. The person stuck in the weakness compass point is usually shy and have feelings of inferiority, panic, and self-pity. They dwell on their fears and insecurities. The person tends to not take risks and always takes the safe route. The only relief that they can get is to get away from everyone and withdraw to a place where they think they are safe. The person stuck in the weakness compass point will have an uncomfortable relationship with God. They believe that God doesn’t like them because of their weakness. People stuck in the controlling trend of the strength compass point tend to have many problems. They are usually too proud to ask for help and too strong to apologize to anyone. Their competitive nature tends to not allow them to get intimate with anyone. They tend to be very self-centered and quickly turn into very controlling people. These people who are stuck in the control trend view God as a power figure who is judgmental and demands perfection. They tend to serve God through believing that the religious traditions should be obeyed precisely. Compass Therapy helps those who are stuck in a certain compass point. Counselors strive to transform a counselee into balancing out all compass points. It is known that even small steps will help to improve a person’s communication with God and other people. These small steps of improvement can reach a counselee in intellectual, emotional, and spiritual ways. Swapping out the bad tendencies with the growth of good tendencies will allow a person to grow in flexibility, emotional vitality, and spiritual openness to God’s revealing will. The Compass Therapy deals with dependent, aggressive, withdrawn and controlling tendencies. These tendencies are only temporary. They give the counselee a direction for growth and change. Once the behaviors start to change, the tendencies will gradually disappear. It is recommended to talk to a counselee about the Self Compass sometime in the early sessions. This will give you some time to figure out what is wrong with the counselee and to work on ideas to solve their problems. A counselor needs to be very careful not to be trapped into the behaviors of a counselee. A dependent counselee will bring his or her need of approval in to the counseling session. One should work on the counselee into staying in touch with a desire for healthy assertion. A counselor needs to be careful not to devastate a counselee when the initial confrontation begins. The counselor should take it slow and discuss with the counselee, how they first acquired the dependency trait. Once the session progresses, you can work on artfully frustrating their tendencies to lean on you. Remember, they have a desire to make others happy. Work on showing them that they are capable of showing love and assertion. This will work to balance out their behaviors. The Kleenex technique is designed to bring inner problems in to sharper focus. In this technique, they use the tissue to make something that symbolizes their jitters. At first they might caress the tissue or possible fold it neatly. Don’t be surprised if they switch from a gentle caressing of the tissue to a full blown ripping and tearing of the tissue. This allows them to go in to an assertive mode to relieve tension. This technique enables one to make their inner feelings become more visible. To counsel a person stuck in the aggressive area, one should remember that they normally don’t seek counseling for insight or change. They usually set up with a counselor because someone is forcing them to do so because of their aggressive behavior. They usually think that nothing is wrong with them. It’s always the other persons fault. It’s good to realize at the beginning that they don’t really want your help. At times, you can help the person with constructive criticism by giving up your need to help them. Keep the session focused directly on him or her. If they don’t like your counseling and tell you that they are going to quit, then let them. The counselor needs to offer accurate feedback so the counselee will think that they are being understood. This will allow you to offer information about the real consequences of their aggressive tendencies. This allows the counselee to understand more about their relationships without them focusing on their anger. This technique is named after Socrates. The Socratic probing brings forth the feelings of isolation that show up when dealing with a person’s aggressive trend. Compass sketching is another technique used by counselors to show a person’s direct participation in self discovery. This technique uses a blank sheet of paper and a pen. The counselor draws a self compass on it. The circle represents the counselee and the four compass points are key things about the person. The counselor labels them love, assertion, weakness and strength. The counselee rates each one according to their perspective of themselves. During the rating of each point, the counselor can bring forth another technique called counselor self-disclosure. A counselor should never tell about his personal problems but there comes a time when sharing principles learned from life can be very benefiting. After the counselor self disclosure, another technique can be done toward the end of your session called positive self-fulfilling prophecy. This technique shows the counselee how they can grow. It’s an imaging technique where you show the counselee a definite strength with an image of how that strength can be used in improving growth in other areas. When a couple comes in for a joint session, a technique called mirroring can be used. This technique uses a certain area of behavior that one of the counselee’s shows, and it is shown back to the person as though viewing through a mirror. When this technique is done, it’s like watching your self on video. This allows them to study them selves and see what it is about them that irritate people. In time they will learn and correct their behavioral tendencies. A person stuck in the withdraw trend will hide themselves from normal life activity. It’s like they build a wall around themselves for protection. Pastoral counseling can be a huge help in liberating lives. Slow progression can frustrate counselors when dealing with withdrawn people. A time shuttling technique can be used to thaw out frozen feelings when dealing with depressed people. This technique uses imagery to open the counselee’s mind to new possibilities. This is also a type of role playing technique that allows the counselee to talk to their loved one who died, like the example mentioned in the book about Arthur and Connie. It allows for release of guilt feelings and allows the counselee to move in to the emotional modulation technique. The emotional modulation technique puts the counselor out of site behind the counselee. This allows the counselee to experience what feelings may come up and lets the counselee be able to determine if it goes along with any inner feelings. The counselee is allowed to release his emotions and work toward recovery. It allows for communication and release of regrets. As tension lessons, the behavioral rehearsal technique can be administered. This allows the counselee to go over some external motions and allows both counselor and counselee to explore the components of the situation. The behavior rehearsal technique lets you explore real life situations and brings for unconscious emotions and physical sensations. In some instances it is more helpful to go over the real life situation with the counselee. Once the behavior rehearsal technique is underway, an interpretation technique can be started. This technique can bring forth a reason or reasons why they problems persist and give awareness to its cause. If the counselee turns down the interpretation then you should quickly back off and revert into emotional reflection. This will modify your explorations and will allow for discovery to continue. When one stiffens up in the neck due to tension moments, a technique called muscle melting can be used. You want the counselee to think about their neck being like a wet noodle. It’s like you let your shoulders just melt down in to your body. It relaxes the trapezium muscle. The tension in this muscle constricts veins and increases blood pressure. This can quickly cause tension headaches. The releasing of this tension can cause gradual growth and regaining of self esteem. Inner peace can be established as the counselee puts more trust in God and sees him as a friend whom they can trust. Compass Therapy brings forth a psycho theology of hope and transformation. The tools of this therapy include the Self Compass, the Human Nature Compass, and many techniques for intervention, personalities of the counselors, and an active trust in the Lord. This allows the counselor and counselee to grow together not only in work relationships but also in Christ. The Compass Therapy works toward continued growth and development throughout life. There are three phases that will help a counselor produce a productive counseling session. The first phase is the warm up. This phase consists of a greeting, listening, and empathetically reflecting the counselee’s thoughts and emotions. The next phase deals with action that brings forth the opposing problem and brings into light possible growth and change. The last phase deals with closure of the current problem. This phase allows for the counselee to learn how to calm down, which lets the counselee receive therapeutic gains and allows for emotional closure. The technique called peer mentoring allows the counselee to link up with another person who has had similar problems. In a short period of time, the counselee bonds with the other person and results can come very soon. This tends to shorten one on one time with the counselor and puts more time with the person who is linked up with them. As this union grows, another technique can be used called projective analysis. Projective analysis lets the counselee discuss his or her own projections and works toward neutralizing those projections. The abbreviated word association technique lets the counselor say a word and the counselee tell another word to associate with that word. You can also use photos and ink blots for the counselee to express what they see. This directs into the territory or emotionally charged word association and follows up with disclosure and exploration. As the abbreviated word association technique is being used, a following technique called normalization can be used. This technique uses a counselee’s experience that is causing them problems, and shows that this experience is common to other humans. This technique balances out the way the counselee looks at their bad habit. The purple rhinoceros technique works on neutralizing ones obsessive cognitive fixation. The counselor tells the counselee not to think about the purple rhinoceros. He mentions it a couple times putting emphasis on the purple rhinoceros. The counselee tries their best to not think about the purple rhinoceros but realizes that it is impossible. This lets the counselee to realize that the harder you try to forget something, the more you tend to think about it. This technique allows for the counselee to understand that it is ok to think about what’s giving them problems. The metaphor construction technique takes over the counselee with a vivid presentation of an otherwise complex principle. It allows for the use of metaphors to let the counselee remember something memorable. These metaphors make sense to the counselee and allows for self-understanding and human growth. The metaphors become necessary when a counselee doesn’t have proficiency in reasoning or verbal fluency. Physical symbolization uses different forms of visceral experiences instead of talking and reasoning. Some counselees understand visualization better than talking. A counselee who has trouble talking about his or her problems can use physical symbolization to show concrete symbolization, modeling, and skill acquisition as part of the healing process. To promote emotional closure, the towel twisting technique can be very valuable. This allows the counselee to get physical without hurting anyone. It can release anger that has been in a counselee for years. As the counselee releases anger out on the towel, relaxation can occur quickly. The grip on the towel can lesson and muscle tension can ease. These are signs that the counselee is working toward emotional closure and a healthy conclusion. The lean against the wall technique can develop trust between the counselee and the wall. This in turn allows for the counselee to rely on God and symbolizes a felt sense of the meaning of letting God control their lives. There are three scriptures that a counselor can use during the counseling session. Psalm 37:4-5 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. The second one is 1 Peter 5:6-7 which says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due to time. Cast all you anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” The third is Mathew 6:31-33 which states, “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will I eat?’ or ‘What will I drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. As the counselee gains trust in the wall, the counselor moves the exercise into a more active trust in the Lord. A technique called conditional alignment lets the counselor take the counselees viewpoint and puts forward pure curiosity and interest that will lead to a more in depth emotional self-closure. This technique allows the counselor to give out new information, reflect over conflicts, and point out crucial consequences. It also allows for a bonding between the counselor and counselee. The counselor must make sure that he lays no guilt on the counselee and has not made any false alliances. Another technique that works well with conditional alignment is called collaborative implantation. This technique usually works well after a couple sessions have passed. It allows for the counselor to plant seeds or courage, caring, humility and esteem in counselees. These seeds can grow and work on ones personal balance and interpersonal fulfillment. As the collaborative implantation technique is administered, another technique follows in the counseling sessions. It’s called behavioral prediction. This technique uses a prediction in the counseling session that lets the counselee begin thinking about the problem. Once the behavioral prediction technique has been administered, another technique is followed up called congratulatory affirmation. This technique challenges the counselee’s thoughts about life and relations. It makes them look at new aspects of life. Behaviors are very predictable because the counselor has the LAWS of compass theory on their side. It allows the counselor to predict other people’s behaviors with quite a bit of accuracy. After several months of therapy, the grandma’s rule technique can be administered. This technique structures the counselee’s life around rules, that when followed, the counselee receives rewards. It can be a great technique to help with behavioral management. If the rules aren’t followed, then there is no reward for the counselee. No matter what the age of the counselee, the principles of the Compass Model, joined in with proper techniques, helps make a union between dysfunctional behavior and actualizing growth. A Self Compass inventory can be very effective for stimulating discussion. This inventory is a simple survey about the counselee and which compass points the counselee is strong in and which ones they are weak in. It is usually done in the beginning sessions. One of the inventories used in conjunction with the Compass model is called the Million Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI). This inventory survey picks up on Axis I clinical syndromes and Axis II personality disorders. The Self Compass inventory allows a counselee to see what trends they are stuck in and where the areas are that they can make improvements in. During the inventory, a counselee will mark true or false in each of the four sections. After the counselee is done, the counselor will add up all the T’s in each section and place them in the appropriate section on the Self Compass Graph. The counselor then sees where the most T’s are and that is what compass point the counselee is strongest in. Then the counselor and the counselee know where the areas are that needs the most work in. This can be a very uncomfortable time for the counselee because they become comfortable in their strong areas but don’t necessarily feel good about the weak compass points. The urging from the counselor for the counselee to grow in these weak areas insures interpersonal growth in the realms of spiritual and mental health. The book Christian Counseling That Really Works by Dr. Dan Montgomery has many great insights on how to do different techniques when it comes to a counseling session. Twenty five different techniques were discussed in detail. These different techniques cover a very wide range of therapeutic helps. These techniques will take time to master but should provide great help in a counseling session.

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