‘I’d rather be dead than face the truth of the memories. If I admit the memories are true, I’ll be totally abandoned by my parents, family, and church. If I continue to live a lie, I’ll slowly rot from the inside – out, pretending all is well when I know I’m a zombie. My choices are lie, and die slowly; or talk, and be immediately cut off ‘.
(Wounded Heart, Dr. Dan B. Allender)
How do you help heal someone who’s sexually abused, by his/her parent? How about if the perpetrator was his/her spiritual leader too?
On a scorching – forty – degree – Celsius – Wednesday, CBN Asia’s Pastor Salvador ‘Boyet’ Bautista conducted a basic counseling training at Jesus Christ Worship Center Church at Salawag, Dasmarinas, Cavite. Led by their pastors; Abraham Baro, Leoncio Ramento, and Edito Alcaraz, the sixteen – strong trainees endured the intense summer heat and braced themselves for an equally challenging exercise ahead.
The first order of the day, the laying of the Biblical foundation of counseling. Ministering to the traumatized, grieving or person in difficult situation is part of the mandate for church/pastoral ministry. Apostle Paul underlined this when he wrote to the believers both in Corinth and Galacia.
In 1 Corinthians 1: 3 – 4, the apostle pointed out that God is the ultimate Counselor and the comforted ones could comfort others because they got comforted first by God Himself. While in Galatians 6: 1 -2, Paul stressed that counselors (you who are spiritual) should restore others gently while taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves from erring as well. He further added that in bearing one another’s burden, we are fulfilling the law of Christ.
He then quoted Dr. Larry Crabb’s statement on Effective Biblical Counseling (Zondervan Publishing House): ‘I believe that God has ordained the local church as His primary instrument to tend to our personal aches and pains.’
With these Biblical foundations properly laid, the trainees were asked to give their own definition of counseling. The answers were as diverse as were the trainees.
So how did Pastor Boyet define counseling? By defining first what counseling is not. Counseling is not giving advice or mere prescribing solution. It is not moralizing or preaching. Biblical counseling is neither analyzing nor diagnosing. It is not judging and criticizing. Counseling is also not praising and agreeing with the person being counseled.
Counseling is journeying with and helping the client/counselee understand the problem, develop capabilities & action plans to solve his/her own problem.
It calls for respecting the emotional processes of the person. And it is assuring the person of your whole presence.
We need to have a therapeutic relationship with those who are going through difficult situations in life. How?
Counselors need to understand and develop these five basic skills: Objectivity, Confidentiality, Attending Skills, Active Listening Skills, and Active Listening Responses.
When these skills have been discussed thoroughly, they were grouped into three. They were given fifteen minutes to play specific roles in a mock – up counseling session: as a counselor, a counselee, and the third as assessor of the counselor’s skill. When time was up, they were asked to share what transpired. The first refused to share the details, stressing that they swore to keep things confidential. On a scale of one to five, with five being the highest, only one counselor scored a four, the rest got rated a perfect five.
Pastor Boyet assessed their performance and gave additional pointers. He ended the training by thanking them for their desire to learn the basics of counseling despite the intensity presented both by the subject matter and the weather. And with that, he led them to do some basic stretching exercises to relax the trainees. A prayer was uttered, asking God for guidance and empowerment to another batch of partners in the ministry of helping others.
Jesus Christ Worship Center Church
Viva Homes Estates Subd., Salawag, Dasmarinas, Cavite