Compare and Contrast Dr. Larry Crabb's Book Effective Biblical Counseling Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Bible Counseling

Goal of Christian Counseling

Dr. Larry Crabb sees human problems through two lenses: the first category involves problems that result from "…natural or physical causes" (things the individual has little or no control over). Examples of those kinds of problems include learning disabilities, a chemical imbalance within the person, and other issues that result from "perceptual dysfunctions." Crabb's goal is to fill the basic needs of a person, and under Christian counseling he feels the basic need is for "personal worth," which can be satisfied through two important inputs. One is a kind of "longing for significance" -- that is, the person longs for a purpose, for importance, for a meaningful job that has a positive impact. The other is to have security through being accepted (p. 2).

Part ONE: Goal of Rogerian Theory of Counseling (Client-centered therapy)

The client-centered approach by Rogers is designed to allow the client to have the "freedom to live according to this reality" -- the reality of one's collective experiences -- and the therapist can facilitate the client's understanding of his or her own reality by remaining "non-directive" but supportive in the meantime. It is Rogers' belief that each person has a desire that is "innate" to fully develop "all potentialities" and to help the individual be drawn to those things which help "enhance" the full potential of the person.

Part ONE: Goal of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This therapy is designed to reach a goal of helping clients "identify and change maladaptive behaviors"; the way in which this is done is by using several approaches, including the goal of having the client "un-learn" old undesirable responses and replace those inappropriate responses with more desirable ones. The goal is having the client play "an active role" in the process.

Part TWO: Basic Concepts of Christian Counseling

Among Crabb's many concepts in his narrative is the problem of "fallen man"; that is, Christians are urged to turn to Christ for their answers, and not to think for themselves. There is an empty space in all humans, and of course it is a human desire to fill that empty space, so the idea is to fill that space with God's love and His message. Another concept is that people are "thirsty for love (relationships) and for "impact" (significant events). Hence for a Christian to become "truly self-actualized" is to be motivated to quench one's thirst by adhering to God's plan, which is to live full lives by pushing away those things that fill up the empty space but are not fulfilling in a Biblical sense.

Another of Crabb's points is there are specific elements that must be "exposed" for healing and change to take place. People have relational pain, which is caused when hopes are "crushed" and they are not fully loved. This concept presents distance between people (in the hopes of avoiding additional pain), because protecting oneself from more pain is actually a way of isolating one's self, and that is not healthy, Crabb explains. People have the ability to chose, but if people don't depend on God, and become obedient to Him, they are wasting their opportunities. Another concept Crabb puts forward as an example of the concept of making choices is masturbation. When people masturbate they are using their ability to choose what they want to do, however, there is no "true joy" in achieving an orgasm, Crabb asserts; the concept one should approach is not personal and momentary pleasure (in order to relieve one's self from pain) but rather to "trust God for personal fullness" rather than superficial fullness that comes from masturbation.

Part TWO: Basic Concepts of Client-Centered Counseling

First of all, Rogers' concept of recovery for a troubled person posits that when a person is listened to by the counselor, in a genuine way, and the counselor is actively listening deeper than just hearing the client, and is showing "empathy" to the client's world, the counselor then can fully relate to the client's feelings and sensitivities. There is a need for the counselor to "validate" the emotions of the client. Only by doing this will the client be able to self-actualize.

Secondly, say for example that the client has a serious psychological problem, in order to allow the client to have an open path for healing and recovery, Rogers suggests that a "trusting and respectful environment" must be created. So the two concepts are first, client-centered therapy means the counselor (therapist) must first truly hear and relate to the client by listening and actually indentifying with what the client is trying to say. And next, by establishing an environment in which there is trust both ways, the door can be opened to healing and the client is by way of learning how to come to terms with serious emotional issues.

Part TWO: Basic concepts of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

The two parts that make a whole approach to therapy -- in terms of fashioning the best possible therapy to deal with psychological problems -- are cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. The cognitive concepts are designed to help clients recognize "self-defeating thought patterns" and the behavioral concept is designed to help people adjust their behaviors away from destructive actions and into more positive approach. The concepts of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy entail structured visits with the client; and each visit is specifically tailored to meet one goal, i.e., there is a very specific agenda each time the client gets together with the therapist. This concept is based on consistency and expectations; the client knows precisely what is to be covered and addressed in each session; there is no wandering through a laundry list of ideas that need to be expressed. The client may be suffering from depression but instead of prescribing anti-depressants, the therapist addresses the client in a positive way and has the client focus on the fact that "…there will be a day in the not-too-distant future when formal therapy will end," so very strong sessions must take place otherwise that end to therapy will be postponed.

Part THREE: Christian Counseling's Basic Strategy

There are more strategies espoused in Crabb's approach to counseling than in either of the other two under examination in this paper. The difference between some of Crabb's concepts and strategies is blurred in a way because they are both concepts and strategies. For example, the three things a counselor needs to know in order to understand the emotional makeup of a person are: a) where did the emotions originate from? There are pleasant and unpleasant emotions and there are constructive / destructive emotions in every person. Addressing the emotions helps the counselor determine where they came from; any emotion that interferes with the relationship with others or in particular with God is destructive; b) the counselor as a strategy must help the client learn from emotions because while emotions can let us know there is a problem, they can also "guide us in what questions to ask…"; and c) a client must be able to "feel" emotions to be able to understand how to handle them.

The three central emotional problems that are part of the problem become part of the answer for the client in terms of healing. Approaching "anxiety" helps the client understand that when a goal is not guaranteed, anxiety is a natural outcome of that experience. Hence, by having an unattainable goal the client is going to have pain and feel guilt, so the strategy is to get him or her to realize that. The second stage in this strategy (after the client sees how anxiety is produced) is to identify the goal that is unattainable (is it Biblical?) the client needs to see why. And the third stage of this particular strategy is when the counselor tries to relate to the "wrong patterns or beliefs that have contributed to the client's problems" (p. 11).

Part THREE: Basic Strategy of Client-Centered Therapy

Simply put, Rogers' strategy is to first enter the client's world if possible; entering the client's world means having an open mind and an open heart to whatever the client's issues are. The therapist has listened and evaluated what he has heard in terms of the client's ability to gain control of "inner forces"; the therapist is not passing judgment at this point, he is only becoming part of the client's world, which may be a confused, conflicted world but nevertheless the therapist must be able (through training) to visit that world. Empathy plays a huge part in the therapist's ability to enter that world.

Secondly, the therapist is reflecting a genuineness that the client can pick up on and respect so the therapy can move forward. Once that level of communication and understanding is achieved, and trust is firmly established, the environment is now created from which client-centered therapy can be effective. People who know they are listened to, they can "move forward" in an attempt to "create more order and integration into their lives through self-generation and self-propelled growth" (Rogers).


Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Andrews, Linda Wasmer. (2010). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. Encyclopedia of Depression.

Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood Press.

Cherry, Kendra. (2010). Client-Centered Therapy. Psychology. Retrieved February

18, 2013, from

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