Biblical Terms Used for Counseling Term Paper

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(Byrd and Byrd, 1993)

The process of healing can be found, for example, in Luke 13:10-17, which refers to a woman who has been crippled for eighteen years. The healing takes place by the laying of hands on the women by Christ. In John 5:1-18 we have the story of a seriously ill man placed at pool waiting for healing. This episode stresses the importance of listening to Christ's instruction and the man is healed when Jesus tells him to take up his pallet and walk. The aspect of instruction and counsel in the process of healing will also be dealt with in more detail in the discussion section. The healing through thought is also stressed in Matthew 8:2-4, when Jesus cures a man of leprosy.

3.1.2. Discussion

Easton's Bible Dictionary refers the term healing in the Bible to Ephphatha which is "...the Greek form of a Syro-Chaldaic or Aramaic word, meaning "Be opened," uttered by Christ when healing the man who was deaf and dumb (Mark 7:34)" (Easton's Bible Dictionary: Ephphatha). This is significant, as the term is also related to our present understanding of the therapeutic implication of 'opening up "or disclosing his or her inner thoughts and feelings - which in turn faculties psychological healing.

Furthermore, in Strong's Lexicon we find the Hebrew term for healing as follows:

8585 t'alah the-aw-law' from 5927; a channel (into which water is raised for irrigation); also a bandage or plaster (as placed upon a wound): -- conduit, cured, healing, little river, trench, watercourse" (Strong's Hebrew Lexicon Search Results: "healing") the idea of healing as a conduit and a channel also serves to relate to counseling and the therapeutic process. The patient or the subject is modern counseling is involved in a process of disclosure and opening up, as it were, of the hidden and problematic aspects of life and personality.

In the sense of the Biblical definitions and descriptions of the terms noted above, the therapist opens up channels and avenues that can facilitate healing. The difference of course lies in the fact that the precipitator of all healing is seen as God, acting through Christ in the New Testament. However, as has already been suggested in the introduction to this paper, there is a growing acceptance of the view in therapy and counseling that the counselor is a facilitator who opens up avenues for healing - avenues that are greater and more significant possibly than the counselor or a particular theoretical stance. This means that counseling in the secular environment is becoming more cognizant of the importance of religious and spiritual aspects of healing and intervention in the process of counseling. As Garzon (2005) states; "...therapists are sometimes challenged in their work with appropriately religious clients to develop treatment components that incorporate the Bible" (Garzon, 2005. p.113). Garzon emphasizes the perceived importance of the Bible in counseling.

Scripture remains a rich resource for clinicians in their work. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb. 4:12 (NASB)

(Garzon, 2005. p.113)

3.2. Correlation with the terms wisdom and communication

Related to the above and to the view of counseling in general is the view of counseling as it relates to the word "wisdom." This term occurs 234 times in 222 verses in the KJV. (Blue Letter Bible) in Pr 12:18 - we read: "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Blue Letter Bible). This suggests a correlation between wisdom, counseling and the healing process. Biblical commentary on this aspect is as follows:" the wicked is snared...While the wicked, such as liars, flatterers, & c., fall by their own words, the righteous are unhurt. Their good conduct makes friends, and God rewards them "(Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible:CHAPTER 12).

This aspect is explored in more depth in the Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible.

Those that have grace and love it will delight in all the instructions that are given them by way of counsel; admonition, or reproof, by the word or providence of God; they will value a good education, and think it not a hardship, but a happiness, to be under a strict and prudent discipline. Those that love a faithful ministry, that value it, and sit under it with pleasure, make it to appear that they love knowledge.

(Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible: Chapter 12)

The above serves to link healing and counseling to the value of wisdom in a number of ways; including the idea that counseling is a form of wisdom. This in turn relates to the term deception or the avoidance of deceiving thoughts, which is another important aspect that is found in modern counseling terminology, such as self-deception. Self-deception is referred to in the Bible in terms of the natural propensity in mankind towards self-deception in the Old Testament. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17: 9.; Crosswalk)

The following definition of self - deception from the ACCI (American Community Corrections Institute) is enlightening in this regard.

Self deception is a dysfunction of the mind that allows individuals to continuously act in a negative manner. Without intervention, the cycle of justification and deception gets worse. The result is resistant people stay in denial and blame others for their problems. (SELF DECEPTION)

Therefore this view would tend to relate counseling terminology to a certain extent with the Biblical idea of self-deception where self-deception is seen as a deviance from the wisdom and the instruction of God

These correlations have a number of implications for contemporary counseling praxis. In the first instance, Byrd and Byrd (1993) refer to the concept of intercession that takes place as a component of Biblical healing. This is turn refers to the importance or communication in the process of healing, which also reflects on the importance of the process of communication in counseling that taken place in the Bible. This also relates to the importance of communication in the process of contemporary counseling.

These treatments appeared to be coincidental with the intercession and were intended to be ways of communication with the person receiving the healing. The gestures of touching, or application of some substance (e.g., dipping into a pool of water), or verbal instruction appeared to be concrete aspects of the healing treatment that occurred with the intercession to God. Prayers were not necessarily verbalized by the intercessor. However, in each case the reader assumes that the prayer is in fact the healing treatment.

(Byrd and Bird, 1993)

The Biblical concept of healing therefore carries within it the idea that the individual has a certain amount of power to overcome ill-heath or various problems. This power is however dependent on the aspect of listening, obedience and acceptance that the term "opening up" would tend to suggest. In modern counseling this relates to the view that, "... mind sets do contribute to the lowering of anxiety associated with concern over death, or at the least loneliness" (Byrd and Byrd, 1993) Some theorists are of the opinion that these Biblical terms and the way that they interact with contemporary counseling suggests a more holistic view of the counseling and the balance between body and mind. The holistic view is succinctly seen in Christian Biblical terms by Byrd and Byrd (1983)

The holistic principles discussed by Perls (1969) place great importance on the balance of our body and mind, body and soul, thinking and feeling, thinking and action, and feeling and action. These ideas contribute to the great potential for healing offered by belief in one's self and the empowerment that comes from those beliefs, as well as the empowerment that may come from belief in the power of a supreme being who can alter disabling conditions.

(Byrd and Byrd, 1993)

The implication of the above is that from a Biblical perspective the Word of God and the actions of Christ are the source of healing and counseling power; while in a secular context this would refer to the counseling expertise of the therapist or counseled. This apparent divide is an aspect that continually occurs in a comparison of these terms; yet there is also a sense in which the similarities between the Biblical and secular counseling terms are indicative of a correspondence rather than an antagonism of meaning. This aspect will be further explored in the analysis of the word 'counsel'.

3.3. Counsel

This term occurs in 30 verses of the Old Testament and in two verses in the new Testament (Crosswalk) the concept of counsel or counseling is related to the word advice and the Word of God. In 1Ki 22:5 we…[continue]

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