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A Book Analysis of Caring for People God’s Way
Clinton has become famous for his approaches of Christian Counseling, which are based on scriptural and divinatory advice for solving daily problems in life and coming up with new explanations for new conditions. His approach to twenty first century problem solving is important in tackling new fears that have appeared as a result of the contemporary era of developments. Caring for People God's Way is a wide-ranging introduction to Scriptural counseling that informs and prepares aides to provide a firm Biblical inspiration, direction, hopefulness, and individual development to others. Essentially, the aim of counseling, as the authors puts it, is to change and improve the way a client thinks, feels, and acts in a goal-directed technique. It is thought-provoking to read over a list of blunders of therapists that the authors provide since it is something most persons do not think through, being the mindset of the individual in control of the discussion to generate answers. Some of these include trying to save a patient instead of endowing him/her, assuming the counselor knows the problem, and panicking instead of settling down (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The authors provide these stages in a declaratory manner without being preachy, and they seem more concerned with building a moral relationship for problem solving than commenting on matters of unskillful therapists. This status of authority is more highly regarded as a therapist should be establishing an information base without laying claim to be the origin of the whole world’s knowledge. A counselor has to be a God-fearing person as one cannot advise other people without himself/herself having strength and authority in counseling (Clinton, 2007). Special consideration is given to the wishes of broken hearted individuals and what the Word of God states regarding how counsel can possibly alter an individual's life. The book also presents Christian counseling in a methodical, gradual mode that summarizes the process in a practical way. It then relates the process on the basis of the most ordinary problems encountered by Christian therapists. The issues discussed include depression and bipolar disorders, loss and grief, stress and anxiety, anger, sexual addiction, and suicide. This review analyses the aforementioned issues one by one while looking at the impressive answers given by the book about the said problems. This book practically instructs Christian counselors on how to handle their clients who are faced by such difficulties while providing effective models for fighting the problems (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Significant Issues Raised in the Book
Depression and Bipolar Disorders
The authors do a great job of identifying the cogency of every person’s emotional state. The individual despondency or depression that is easily ignored by outsiders is recognized in this book. This is also a contemporary approach that does not presume that every person is living in a Christian sphere or in some old-fashioned setting of moralities and simple values that ignore grave concerns. In the introduction, the American Association of Christian Counselors, which functions as a ministry undertaking to monitor inquiries and user intelligent pastoral leadership, is presented. Depression assumes various forms and occurs at different levels. Everybody, now and again, experiences emotional states of depression and unhappiness. However, when this feeling becomes persistent and pervasive, an individual may be undergoing a major depression. Spirits of misery, despair and self-disparagement can become devastating and can considerably disrupt an individual’s capacity to operate properly in the ordinary errands of everyday living (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Bipolar disorders, on the other hand, are caused by biological vulnerabilities, genetics, and stress. The authors acknowledge how important the diligence is in Christian Counseling and seek to offer a distinct and less complicated content to bring freshness and favorable atmosphere into the therapy dialogues, which is so significant in generating appropriate decisions. Depression is a multifaceted issue that has many causes that frequently interconnect to produce and prolong this life-incapacitating disorder. When unhappiness and anger are suppressed for a long time, both depression and outpourings of anger can arise. Sometimes, depression may be triggered by a profound sense of loss, such as losing a job, property or even a loved one. Other contributing factors include genetic sensitivity or biochemical instability in the basic carrying agents of the brain, which may lead to severe depression (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The book goes on to explain how children may convey their feelings by accidentally wetting the bed, being restless or generally having unpredictable behaviors. Continual brooding, separation anxiety, sudden crying or sorrow, withdrawing and isolating oneself from kith and kin may also suggest depression. Teenagers may express their depression through a rebellious conduct. When this is not dealt with in an appropriate way, for instance, punishing the teenager, then the depression will probably increase (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
All through adult development, individuals may experience depressive feelings which are caused by different issues and challenges of life like pressures in relationships, careers, and family life. Depressed people can feel irritated, nervous, conceited, spiteful, uninterested, confused, dreadful, guilt-ridden, disgraceful, and desperate. They frequently try to defend against destructive feelings by continually doing some actions that would supersede their miserable feelings with something more enjoyable. Such actions may consist of the irrational use of liquor, drugs, food, sexual activities, and money or some other objects or substances, leading to negative effects. This effort to self-medicate is intended to get rid of depressive feelings, but, in reality, add to their continuance (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Loss and Grief of Work
Grief is a general response to loss. It is an ordinary reaction to the loss of any important person, entity, or opportunity. It is an experience of anxiety and deprivation that can show itself in one's behavior, thinking, emotions, physiology, spirituality, and interpersonal relationships. There are five stages through which a person experiencing grief undergoes before finally accepting the loss. First, the person undergoes the denial stage, whereby the individual refuses to accept the occurrence of the loss. The person tries to behave like everything is normal, but in reality, he/she is undergoing a physical trauma. After this, the person experiences anger, whereby the reality has now set in and the individual is experiencing distress. This individual will try to avoid people or blame them for the loss. Then the grieving individual will reach the bargaining stage. At this stage, the grieved tries to recover but is filled with questions of regret such as ‘why?’, ‘if only…’ The person may then reach the depression stage, where he/she has mixed feelings of guilt, anger and regrets. Such people will try to blame themselves for the loss. Finally, the grieved will come to accept the loss that had occurred and try to move on with their lives. This is the acceptance stage (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The grieved should be allowed to mourn as it is a process that is a natural, inherent, and God-given for human beings to accept and adapt to the loss. The authors of the book combine the established methods and concepts like the five grief stages with different tactics of thinking together with the guidance of Christian scriptures to new claims. This volume is one of its kind and just the right one for counselors in search of rejuvenation of their set of courses and practices (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Substance Abuse and Sexual Addiction
Any kind of bad addiction whether drug or sexual addiction is a sin and a disorder that comprises any kind of irrepressible, obsessive, insistent, and destructive use of substance or sexual activity. Sex addiction commonly begins in the form of psychological imaginations, masturbation, pornography, and then, in some cases, intensify into cybersex, prurience, prostitution, sexual assault, child molestation, and incest. It is sinful to indulge in these kinds of sexual crimes and gratify the hankerings of the evil and immoral world. It is a manner by which one tries to fulfill their desires outside of Heavenly Farther. In short, obsession with sex is the idolization and worship of the sexual practice. It is also a disorder in the sense that it has noticeable indications and an instinctive headway that, if not treated, can get worse and in the end lead to demise. What is more, just like any other disease, sexual addiction can have a physiologic root in the sense that it can be habitually stimulated by brain interaction (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Another type of addiction discussed in the book is that of drug and substance abuse. Some of the mostly abused drugs and substances include marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol, among other drugs. Drug addicts often possess some characteristic behaviors, which may include mood swings, developmental issues, feelings of self-worthless, depression, aggressiveness and hostility, anxiety, and so on. These individuals might become dangerous sometimes due to their changing moods. Just like sexual addiction, substance and drug abuse is also sinful, and such individuals require biblical counseling in order to heal (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Stress and Anxiety
Stress is the development of an emotional or behavioral symptoms caused by many problems, which can be categorized under Adjustment Disorders. The signs of stress and anxiety include loss of concentration, a fast heart rate, loss of appetite, sleep interruptions, rapid or shallow breathing, interpersonal conflicts, and repetitive behaviors among others. The authors go further to divide stress into two groups: chronic stress and acute stress. Chronic stress is a result of ongoing and prolonged stressful situations that eventually cause constant pressure, thus becoming chronic. Acute stress, on the other hand, is a reaction to an instant threat, vulnerability or loss provoking the flight or fight response. Normally, this kind of stress disappears once the causal agent is over (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The book cites that anger is a God-given emotion which is mentioned all through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Anger may be a reaction to frustration, and everyone has to cope with it at one time. Since everyone experiences anger at one time, it is normal that different people, due to the differing personalities and natures of humans, show that anger in different styles. As stated in the book, dealing with one’s anger in a constructive approach can really work to an individual’s advantage when he/she learns his/her feelings. In fact, it is Scriptural to show anger suitably. Often, Christians, just as their non-spiritual colleagues, let anger control them instead of learning how to manage these sentiments in a productive way. The book describes various styles in which Christians can express their anger, which include Cream-Puff, Locomotive, and Steel Magnolias (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The Cream-Puff style is characterized by suppression of the feeling. Such people have a tendency to be ambiguous about their thoughts and feelings. Their motivation is to protect themselves or other people and evade conflicts in every possible way. Individuals are usually oblivious of the trouble cream-puffs are going through as their quietness prevents their desires and worries from being discovered. Cream-Puffs are so absorbed with other people that they cannot listen to God and do not understand His involvement with every other person but them. They express regret rather than show their anger. It is difficult to tell when they are angry as their anger usually appears restrained and emotionless. With time, their anger becomes suppressed so much that they end up becoming unaware of their anger (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Unlike the Cream-Puffs, the Locomotives are assertive of their feelings and they will not tolerate someone else interpreting their emotional state for them. A Locomotive believes he/she can construe the emotions, actions or situations that are pushing him/her to be angry. They give the impression that they are calm and self-reliant, but, in the real sense, they are flooded with anxieties. They will not praise others for the reason that they want compliments from others. They do not at any one time admit that they are wrong, even when they are, and are so engrossed in fulfilling their needs that they do not care about the desires of other people. They certainly do not wish for other people to realize their weaknesses. The locomotive character responds in an explosive manner and his/her aggressiveness is usually expressed through judging, demeaning and embarrassing others. Scriptural values are not important to them; rather, they apply conflicts as reasons to blame others (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The last type of personality is the Steel Magnolia, and this individual is passively belligerent. Such people appear lenient and kind hearted on the outside. Steel Magnolias are usually composed, angelic and peaceful just as a person rooted in the kindheartedness of God ought to be. Regrettably, these individuals are paradoxical. Within the peaceful window dressing, the Steel Magnolias are boiling with anger, resentment, anxiety, and confusion. The trouble is that they portray themselves like Cream-Puffs. They are not oblivious if their problem, but one minor mistake and they burst with anger (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Everyone can identify with one of the mentioned anger styles. Luckily, God has given humans an alternate healthy anger to practice - assertiveness. Assertive persons can react in a manner that keeps their sentiments at a balance without demeaning or disgracing others. They are upbeat, feel delight in helping other people, and are tough, but loving. They take time to ponder on their anger and are not ultraconservative. They are straight and show admiration for others without using crushing remarks. The idea is handling the anger before it occurs. One has to know when peculiarly exasperating actions, situations, or involvements spring up or when one has to interrelate with annoying persons. Planning one’s response before reaching a danger level eases the state of affairs and empowers a Christian to react scripturally rather than emotionally. Equipped with this, a Christian will be in control instead of out of control (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Impressive Answers Given
An impressive answer given about loss and grief is that the only way to overcome grief is to go through it. When one is not allowed to grieve, it is a great disservice to them as it slows down or even prevents their healing. However, there is such a thing as pathological grief, which requires a special help. However, healthy grieving for the loss is a part of life in the world. Unfortunately, humans live in a grief-denying society. When one loses something or somebody, a Christian leader or the society is likely to tell him/her to get over the loss as soon as possible and to get back to their daily lives. In other words, the society denies one the chance to grieve. And since the symptoms of grief overlap with those of depression, grief, even the healthy grief, is increasingly seen as something pathological (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus promises that there will be a time and place when there will be no more tears. Christians should long for that day since, until then, grief will be a part of the human experience. In the Book of Romans, Christians are called to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn (Clinton, 2007). However, the inclination to feel uneasy when others are disheartened can lead one to make serious mistakes in their effort to assist. Some of the mistakes include trying to justify why the loss occurred and giving blunt statements such as ‘if only you had done such a thing, the loss would not have occurred.’ Such statements are demoralizing and uncalled for. Sometimes one might decide to share their experiences with the grieved and give instructions on how they overcame it. Such remarks and comparisons do not reduce the victim’s sense of pain and may even increase feelings of isolation, guilt, and desolation (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009). What one needs to do is to let the grieving person express his/her feelings, and if there is a need, encourage them to do that. Also, one should be there and show love and care to the depressed.
The book also offers impressive interactive interventions for handling depression. These consist of: self-monitoring, use of graded task assignment, use of behavioral experiment to overcome shame, assertiveness training and relaxation, listening to music and participating in other pleasurable activities, and observing good hygienic and nutritional measures. Psychological treatments for a bipolar disorder, on the other hand, involve pharmacological medications, which have the potential of improving the worth of life and enhancing strategies for coping with stress (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Answers given for the addicts include effective guiding of sexual addicts, and this requires that the counselor examines the basis for the compulsion, which will encourage, enlighten, and guide the addict in understanding of how the biological, psychological, emotional, and social spheres affect and strengthen their addiction. Firstly, an addict suffers from a hereditary sin, with which all human beings are born. This sin acts as a starting point for predisposition, preconditioning towards defiance and also towards satisfying the desires of the flesh. The inner part of the being is invigorated and obliged to sin, and thus, the only way to conquer this is through a restoration of life. One has to get saved and believe in the Lord in order to overcome all these human temptations. Any efforts to restore an addict without the Biblical guidance will yield insignificant outcomes at best. These changes will eventually and infinitely do the patient no good (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Secondly, sexual addicts are victims of an environmental and societal sin. Humans are not only born into sinfulness, they are also born into sinful families and societies. An addict is born into a sinful nature, which is fostered by the surrounding customs, values, and beliefs. In light of this environmental support, the restorative process for both sexual and drug addicts will have to have a healthy environment free of any temptations. The addicts should also be encouraged and supported in order to move towards accepting and forgiving themselves as well as those who wronged them (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
In summary, it can be observed that the main concern for the addicts is a spiritual interpersonal problem. Their addictive behaviors are established eventually upon a broken relationship with God, which has created chaos in their lives. Owing to this broken relationship, the addict constantly makes bad choices and decisions, which then support the compulsion conduct. This behavior is constantly reinforced by the sinful environmental and social factors as well as satanic dynamic forces. Addiction is a disease as well as a sin that ought to be addressed from both sides. The ultimate answer to this problem is to mend the broken relationship with God. In the book, all behavioral deficits are given a thorough analysis with corresponding answers that eventually lead to the healing of the patient. No matter what the deficit or the problem is, all answers are aimed at achieving a successful therapy. Generally, Caring for People God's Way attempts to provide impressive answers to solving the mentioned issues. Its goal is to bridge, in the long run, a positive sense of self-esteem that can solve concealed issues beneath the surface as well as a byproduct of successful healing (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Fit of Answers with my Personality and Ministry
The authors talk of Christian counseling as drawn from God’s greater affection as well as the service to the church, with which I do agree. First, without being closer to God, a counselor may not offer a wise or sound pastoral counsel. This will result in the counselor not caring for the patient according to the way of God. The Bible's authoritative role in Christian counseling is one of the features making it distinct from the other kinds of counseling. God’s direction is acquired only from the Bible, which convey all the concerns of life either in a direct or indirect way, thus specifying the alternatives in decision making (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
This method makes the use of scriptural texts very straightly and instant, although it is, perhaps, short of imperative precautions against detrimental use of Scriptures in counseling. The authors provide a proper analysis of this tactic, appreciatively recognizing the necessity for challenge and adjustment, yet cautioning against an exceedingly argumentative style. The book advocates for counselors to be accountable in their practices just as Jesus was when He practiced divine accountability to His Father all through His ministry. By being accountable, a counselor is able to make wise ethical decisions, which would be beneficial to their clients and the society as a whole. I also do agree with the ethical conduct of ‘do not harm’. Every being is a creation of God and for that reason has the right to life and respect (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Agreeably, Christian counselors ought to recognize and support the natural God-given self-worth of all human beings. Therefore, irrespective of one practicing harmful attitudes and actions, Christian counselors should always express love and care to all clients or anyone they come across in the course of their practice. These counselors should also disregard issues of race, gender, ethnicity, class, political or religious affiliations as the love of God is unconditional and so must be that of a Christian counselor (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Another aspect that fits with my personality and ministry is that of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a gift of God. Forgiveness can bring healing to every aspect of an individual’s life. By receiving clemency from God and being prepared to forgive other people as well as oneself, a person is able to find restoration in the religious, emotional, and physical manifestations of humankind. Forgiveness is an idea that countless persons never think through. It looks as if it is getting lost in the quickly changing, far-reaching society. As people take care about their day-to-day activities, forgiveness turns into a second thought that somebody else ought to ask instead of a lifestyle. Jesus died on the cross as an indication that human sins were washed, thus they were forgiven for all their sins. His dying on the cross acted as an example that humans should always forgive and release each other from wrongdoing, just as He did on the cross. He saw that humans would always wrong one another in one way or the other; hence, He made a way out for humans even before they required it. This action of heavenly absolution postulates that there exists wickedness in the world and human race needs forgiveness (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
With respect to this, a human sin distances them from the devoutness of God, generating powerlessness within humans to overcome their antiquity of sin. Forgiveness then has come to be a ruling articulated over human’s lack of ability to free themselves from the captivity of their sins. There is no remedial conduct, control, or punitive reparation that can cure the human sinful nature. Humans need to accept humbly the only alternative acceptable to God, and that is the gift of forgiveness, as He is the only one who can bond the detachment between humans and Him, by tolerating human beings with their sin and dearth. In the book of Luke, God says that humans have been forgiven abundantly, so for that reason they ought to love and be loved abundantly. All through His ministry, Jesus talked over and over again about forgiveness. Through undergoing a profounder level of the love and forgiveness of God, human beings can extend that equal love and forgiveness to other beings. This is a norm every believer should practice on a regular basis in order to counter bitterness, hard heartedness, or anger (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Another different aspect that is in line with my personality and ministry is that of anger management. The book Caring for People God’s Way describes several anger styles in which an individual can handle their anger. In the book, the authors ask clients about the gains of anger when it is properly channeled. Some of the answers are that it improves general physical, psychological, and spiritual wellbeing, it improves the state of marriage and bonds with offspring, and it clarifies and protects individual limits. A point made by these authors is that there is a difference between not handling anger and lingering over bygone bitterness or glitches (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
The manner in which Christians learn to handle their anger can develop into a private routine. Since the Holy Spirit lives within people and fills their hearts, they can alter how they cope with their tussles. They will then be able to overcome any kind of damaging vice that the devil throws at them as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. This may not occur immediately. Actually, it possibly will not happen instantly, but we also did not cultivate our routines by doing it only on one or two occasions. God’s promise is that, provided that Christians seek His kingdom first, all these destructive vices will be a thing of the past as they will learn to master their sentiments, particularly anger, bitterness, and resentment. This promise calls for rejoicing to all and especially those who are prone to negative emotions (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
Another thing that the book mentions is that, though the counselors are equipped with gifts by God to counsel patients, it is the duty of each and every other individual to help each other in our day to day lives. This is very true as God Himself is a wonderful counselor and Christians ought to emulate His ways (Clinton, 2007).
What I Would Have Deleted or Included to Strengthen the Book
What I do not agree with in the book is the issue of Christian counselors not supporting assisted suicide or euthanasia. First of all, if a patient is suffering from a terminal illness and is undergoing a lot of pain, then I do not see the reason why a counselor could refuse to support euthanasia as this will end the pain and suffering that the patient is undergoing. Then again, assisting a patient to die does not translate to harming the patient, but it is simply granting the patient his/her wish. In due course, I would add to the book that, as Christians, we ought to sympathize and show compassion to others. This way, a counselor might want to put himself/herself in the shoes of a terminally ill patient who is undergoing extreme agony and, thus, support assisted suicide. In this case, the counselor is assisting and not harming the patient. In any case, a Christian counselor is supposed to honor the goals of the client and, thus, should honor the patient’s wish to die and end suffering (Clinton, Hart & Ohlschlager, 2009).
This is great for everyone and especially for those individuals seeking for an opportunity to provide assistance to persons undergoing difficulties, as it gives a lengthy and orderly description of how to overcome various difficulties that humans face on a daily basis. In general, the book has a great use in helping to overcome a number of issues in life. Without a doubt, the authors of the book are gifted counselors and writers. This guidebook to support therapists is an opportunity to offer hope, care, and empathy to an evil world where broken emotions have resulted in a disorder. By reading this book, a counselor will be equipped with wise guidelines and deep understanding for providing counsel even to the most devastated client. This volume provides a dynamic method to therapy in God’s manner. Time and again, many people will try to find counsel in every other place but Heaven. Now, this text will provide guidance on how to seek counsel and how to show others that there is a hope in God.