Summary: Four Models of Counseling

Four Models of Counseling

Col. 1:27,28

Case Study - Pastor Baro is fresh out of seminary. He realizes that several Pastors in his district use different styles of counseling. He sees strength in the prophetic type of counseling approach as he likes to challenge people with the commands of Christ. He admires a strong counselor’s ability to go straight to the point with counselee’ problems. However, he is afraid that the prophetic counselor model is a bit too confrontational for some of his people. He has heard of several instances where a Pastor-counselor set out to command the counselee to change or risk excommunication. In fact, many church members have left the church where one Pastor uses the prophetic style of counseling because they insist that this Pastor shows little love for them.

Pastor Yusufu has considered adopting the priestly style of merciful counseling model. He likes the fact that many church members are fond of Pastors who comfort their members during times of heartaches, loss, or sickness. He sees the merciful counselor role as very much like Jesus Christ’s counseling - understanding, empathetic, and consoling. However, he is afraid that the merciful Pastor is too sensitive to the needs of the people. He has often heard that one of the Pastor’s from his village area was too quick to side with the people’s experiential views and was discipline by his district headquarters. Pastor Yusufu wants to be merciful but is afraid of compromising any of the truths of the scripture. He thinks that too much of an indirect approach to counseling in his culture will be construed as weak, innocuous, and unclear leadership.

Pastor John feels that it is important to exhort people to love and good works, so he takes a practical approach to counseling. Pastor John believes that this interactive style of counseling offers people down to earth practical solutions to their problems. As he has observed practical counselors are often the most effective since they know how to use their cultural insights in Christian counseling. However, Pastor John is afraid that the practical approach to counseling may be a bit too positive and optimistic. Furthermore, he is leery of being so practical that he offers nothing more than just common sense advice. Pastor John has a keen desire to see that a balanced point is presented to his counselee. He does not want to offer practical wisdom to people who are not fully clear about their entire responsibilities before God. He wants to see a strong follow-up ministry through his counseling, but he knows that certain people will respond better to a teaching style of counseling.

Finally, Pastor Adamu likes be very accurate in teaching his counselee from the scripture. He likes to take groups of people to the scriptures allowing the counselee to see how the scriptures can provide needed answers to every problem in life. Pastor Adamu would rather teach principles of the scripture than offer specific advice about personal problems. Pastor Adamu believes that the Holy Spirit is the best counselor whose role should not be usurped. He wholeheartedly subscribes to 2 Tim. 3:16,17 which puts much emphasis on the scriptures capacities to teach, correct, reprove, and train for righteousness. However, since he was not a great student in seminary, he realizes that many of his people struggle to read, interpret, and analyze the deeper truths of the Bible. He also has seen that too much attention to details in the scripture will disallow him from understanding how he can integrate his knowledge of other disciplines into his counseling.

Overall, each of the four Pastors have discovered that they struggle to learn how to balance the four models of counseling:

1). Prophetic - Confrontational 12:00 P.M.

2). Priestly - Compassionate 9:00 P.M.

3). Practical - Interactive 6:00 P.M.

4). Teaching - Educative 9:00 A.M.

Each of the four models of counseling have their strengths and weaknesses, but we need to see how we can use the roles, responsibilities, and identities to maximize our counseling ministry. Since counseling requires different roles and responsibilities for different people and situations, the four models of counseling provide us with four corners of a square to build our foundations for an effective ministry.

As each family, organization, and institution will tend to take on the characteristics of its leader, the balance of the four models provides the broadest kind of identifications as possible for various needs. The four poles of the counseling model can be seen as a clock or cycle that is necessary at different times and circumstances. Whenever we are stuck on one point on the clock we will quickly get out of touch with our people. But as long as we allow our counseling to cycle through the various roles we will keep in step with the changing needs of people, their problems, and their cultural changes.

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