Category Archives: The Christian Therapist

Biblical Counseling to the Addicted



I. Establish Involvement

A. Biblical Examples

Acts 20:31 — “Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears.”

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 — “But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.”

B. Definition

Building a relationship with the counselee where you put yourself in a position to help

Proverbs 27:6, 9b — “…So a man’s counsel is sweet to his friend.”

The counselee needs to see the counselor as a trusted friend or advisor.

Recognize that the counselee may never have had such a relationship before.

C. How Involvement Is Established

1. Be available (Acts 20:31; but keep balance of Gal. 6:2 and 6:5).

2. Show compassion.

3. Take counselee seriously.

4. Express confidence in counselee’s ability to obey Scripture.

5. Receive counselee’s disagreements without being defensive.

6. Observe confidentiality.

7. Be honest.

8. Model fruit of the Spirit.

9. Communicate clearly.

10. Be a good listener.

11. Be solution-oriented.

II. Gather Data

A. Why Gather Data

1. Which one? 1 Thess. 5:14

2. Which approach? John 4:7-42

3. What is true issue? Jer. 6:14

B. What Kind of Data to Gather

All categories of life


R—Resources and Relationships



C—Conceptual (Thinking)


C. How to Gather Data

Ask proper questions:

1. Extensive and intensive

2. Relevant

3. Questions that find facts

4. Open-ended

5. Specific

6. Withhold judgment.

7. Mark important areas for further questioning.

8. Observe countenance.

9. Information from others

D. Importance of Listening

1. Necessary (Prov. 18:13)

2. Requires self-control

3. Listen for:

– Wrong goals

– Expectations/lusts

– Blameshifting

– “Can’t,” “unable,” “too much”

– Victim mentality

– Calling sin sickness

– “Rabbit trails”

– What counselee doesn’t say

– Hopelessness

– Evasiveness

– Exaggerations

– Defensiveness

– Judging another’s motives

– Willingness to accept responsibility


III. Make a Proper Interpretation

A. Example of Interpretation

Mark 6:45-52

B. The Process of Interpretation

1. Compare all data and responses to God’s Word and example of Christ.

2. Look for themes and patterns.

3. Use biblical labels and terms (Mk. 7:21-23; Gal. 5:19-21).

4. Put data on “witness stand” and ask it questions.

5. Prayerfully study data.

6. Form tentative interpretations (USE SCRIPTURE).

7. Pray.

8. Gather more data.

9. Get input from another counselor.

10. Explain to counselee and get feedback.

11. Form a strategy—prioritize.

IV. Provide Instruction

A. The Nature of Counseling Instruction

1. Biblically based and accurate

2. Christocentric

3. Action-oriented

4. Differentiate between biblical directives and human suggestions.

5. Make method appropriate to counselee’s learning style.

B. The Development of Counseling Instruction

1. Topical work lists

2. Personalized chain-reference Bible

3. Become familiar with particular teachers and material

4. Take advantage of training resources

V. Give Homework

A. Reasons for Homework

1. Translates what is discussed into action.

2. Puts responsibility for change where it belongs.

3. Helps decrease dependence.

4. Saves you time–finds those who mean business.

5. Continues counseling between sessions.

6. Says you believe things can be different today.

7. Provides data for future.

B. Mechanics of Homework

1. Be specific.

2. Make it involve knowing and acting.

3. Review at next session.

4. Examples:

– Scripture

– Pamphlets

– Books

– Tapes

– “Log” lists

– Journals

– Devotions

– Church attendance

– Loving deeds

VI. Give Hope

A. The Need for Hope

1. Generally…everyone (2 Cor. 4:8)

2. Specifically…those who:

– Have had problems for a long time

– Have serious or difficult problems

– Have had life-shattering experiences

– Have failed

– Are spiritually weak

– Are elderly

– Experiencing marriage diffic


– Are facing marriage

– Are depressed

– Are suicidal


B. True Hope vs. Empty Hope


– Due to wrong goals

– Denying reality

– Due to mystical thinking


– Result of salvation (1 Pet. 1:3)

– Based upon Scripture (Psa. 119:49; Psa. 130:5)

– Realistic (Rom. 8:28)

C. How to Inspire Hope

1. Share the whole gospel.

2. Help them grow in relationship to Christ.

3. Teach counselee to think biblically.

– About God’s character

– About possibility for good

– About divine resources

– About nature and cause of the problem

– About language used

4. Be solution-oriented.

5. Be a model.


The bottom line of biblical counseling:

Gather information, make a biblical interpretation of the issues, and give a biblical answer (along with true hope that living to please God is possible). All this is done in the context of genuine love and concern for the individual.


Compulsive Gambling


One dictionary definition of gambling is, ‘the act or practice of consciously risking money or other stakes without being certain of the outcome’. This definition, however, does not adequately explain all that gambling involves. A more precise definition, which takes account of all the factors involved in gambling, may be stated thus: ‘Gambling is an act by which one party consciously risks money or other stakes in the hope of gaining at someone else’s expense (I.e., if I win, he loses, and vice-versa), without giving anything of value in terms of goods in return (to the person from whom one has gained).’

It is immediately obvious from the last part of this definition that gambling is sinful. It involves breaking the eighth commandment: ‘Thou shalt not steal’. Gambling is basically an attempt to gain something at someone else’s expense without giving adequate value in return. The fact that the parties involved agree to this transaction is irrelevant and cannot justify it, any more than the fact that two men agree to fight a duel justifies one of the men killing the other. An agreement to do something wrong is itself wrong. If the one who gambles wins, he is a thief; if he loses, he is guilty of wasting that which the Lord has given to him in trust, whether money or property.

“The Federal Drug Administration estimates sport wagers at $70 billion in 1984. Even that number may be conservative. In 1981 the National Football League made its own estimate that pro football alone was attracting $50 billion a season. . . . It is not being overly dramatic to say that gambling poisons the atmosphere of any game it comes near.

Compulsive gambling is a disorder characterized by an overwhelming, uncontrollable obsession to gamble.

Among some of the typical behavior patterns associated with pathological or compulsive gambling are: a preoccupation with gambling; spending more time or money than can reasonably be afforded; and continuing to gamble despite adverse consequences that affect family, relationships, or educational or vocational pursuits.

Non-pathological and pathological gambling are currently stratified into four levels according to severity of consequences:

  • Level 0 – Non-gamblers
  • Level 1 – Social Gamblers – no ill effects from gambling
  • Level 2 – Problem Gamblers – some significant negative consequences due to gambling
  • Level 3 – Compulsive Gamblers – suffer severe consequences that can include financial devastation, divorce or damaged relationships, impaired physical or emotional health, job loss, and legal difficulties. People affected by compulsive gambling are at higher risk for suicide than most other populations.

A recent comprehensive study on gambling prevalence in the United States and Canada indicates that young people are particularly at risk for developing a severe gambling problem, with a rate of more than twice that of the general adult population. The study also shows that at least 13% of all college students will experience some form of a gambling problem in their lives. At least 90% of all adolescents will have gambled at least once by age 18. (Harvard School of Public Health)

Compulsive gambling shares many characteristics of other addictions, and is often called the invisible addiction. Latest views of this problem consider it more an addictive behavior than an impulse control disorder. When losing, compulsive gamblers become emotionally caught up in trying to win back losses, and when winning become overconfident that they will win more.

Gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term "Problem Gambling" includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as "Pathological", or "Compulsive" Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences.

Gambling, both legal and illegal, is a phenomenon gaining unprecedented acceptance. Because it is so widespread, Christians must look at this activity to determine the ethical and moral implications.

Gambling Defined



Advocates of gambling often try to place this activity in the same category as other ventures which involve risk. They describe farming, business, insurance, and even investments as gambling because the outcome is unpredictable and losses can occur. In this way they hope to transfer the respectability of legitimate ventures to gambling.

L. M. Starkey, Jr., has made the following helpful observation: Life does have its normal risks which one must accept with faith and courage. These normal risks are in no sense equivalent to the risks in a game of chance. Gambling devises artificial risks in the hope of excessive gain far beyond what the investment of time, money, or skill would justify. In gambling the chance is unrelated to any creative effort called for by the farmer or the stockbroker in the responsible investment of his mental, monetary, and physical funds.

To distinguish gambling from risks involved in legitimate venture it will be helpful to recognize three factors integral to gambling: (1) An incentive consisting of money or merchandise is offered. (2) The prize is acquired primarily on the basis of chance. (3) A payment of money or other consideration is required to become involved in the chance taken.

Gambling then is recognized as any activity in which wealth changes hands, mainly on the basis of chance and with risk to the gambler. Creative effort, useful skills, and responsible investment are not integral factors.


cause gambling exists in many forms and people in increasing numbers are exposed to its temptations, the responsible Christian must form an opinion concerning its propriety. The legalization of gambling by government or its acceptance by some religious organizations cannot be a criterion for evaluation. The Christian attitude must be determined by the principles of Scripture.

God’s Attitude Toward Gambling

God’s people in Bible times apparently were not greatly tempted with gambling. It seems the vice manifested itself only when Israel was dominated by heathen nations. When gambling did occur God clearly indicated His attitude concerning it.

During their Babylonian captivity the Israelites came under the influence of people who gambled. As a result some of the captives also became involved. To these people God through Isaiah said, "But ye are they that forsake the Lord, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number" (Isaiah 65:11). As indicated in some modern translations of the Bible, the Hebrew words translated "troop" and "number" were names of the heathen gods "Gad" and "Meni." To the heathen, Gad was the giver of good luck. Meni was the god of bad luck.

The translation of Isaiah 65:11 by James Moffat is as follows: "But ye who have forsaken the Eternal, ye who ignore his sacred hill, spreading tables to Good Luck, pouring libations to Fate, I make the sword your fate."

E. H. Plumptre, late Dean of Wells, has pointed out that Gad was worshipped as the greater fortune, the giver of good luck. Meni was worshipped as the lesser fortune. George Rawlinson, who at one time served as professor of Ancient History at Oxford, has indicated the name Meni "designated a deity who apportions men’s fortunes to them."

The sin for which some of the Israelites were condemned was trusting in luck rather than God. Isaiah made it clear that trust in God and trust in luck cannot coexist. If people rely on chance it is evident they do not rely on God. Isaiah described those who trusted in gambling as "they that forsake the Lord" (Isaiah 65:11).

Biblical Principles

A careful reading of Scripture makes it clear there are numerous Biblical principles which indicate gambling is an evil to be avoided. When people recognize God’s authority they will honor the principles which indicate gambling is evil.

1. Gambling is wrong because it is a disregard of responsible stewardship.

The Bible clearly teaches that all things belong to God. "The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein" (Psalm 24:1). Since all things belong to God, man is placed in the position of a steward who must give a proper accounting for everything given to him in trust.

The first step in a faithful administration of this stewardship is the giving of self to God. The believer must recognize he is not his own (1 Corinthians 6:19). He has been redeemed with a price, not of silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18,19). The churches of Macedonia set a worthy example of personal dedication when they "first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 8:5). Life, with all it involves, is a stewardship to be administered for the glory of God.

People who honestly dedicate themselves to God will also recognize that all they possess must be handled as a stewardship. The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) indicates that the good and faithful servants administered the talents entrusted to them in such a way that the master was pleased. The wicked and slothful servant failed in his administration and suffered the appropriate consequences.

When people recognize their stewardship responsibilities they will not consider gambling in any form a proper administration of divinely bestowed resources, time, and ability. Even the ethics of the world will not tolerate those who gamble with resources put in their trust. Christian responsibility transcends all other responsibility, and for the Christian, gambling is wrong. It is a total disregard of the principle of stewardship. It is a prostitution of God-given assets which should be used to glorify God and advance His kingdom.

2. Gambling is wrong because it involves a chance of gain at the expense and suffering of others.

The nature of gambling is such that a person has a chance of gain only because others have suffered loss. The economic benefits come only to a very few. The financial loss is borne by many who usually can least afford it. The fact that people involved in gambling are commonly referred to in derogatory terms by its promoters is an indication of the status to which they are reduced. Whether or not the financial loss is excessive, gamblers are basically losers while the operators of gambling establishments are the winners.

The suffering caused by gambling is totally inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture concerning love. Not only is the Christian to love those who are lovable, but even enemies. God’s people are to love their neighbors as themselves. The principle of love will prevent Christians from gambling because of the damage it does to others. The principle of love will cause Christians to oppose any effort by the state or any other organization to legalize any activity based on a weakness of people which degrades society.

William Temple, late Archbishop of Canterbury, stated the Christian position well when he wrote:

Gambling challenges that view of life which the Christian church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the divine order of nature. To risk money haphazardly is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. The attempt (inseparable from gambling) to make profit out of the inevitable loss and possible suffering of others is the antithesis of that love of one’s neighbor on which our Lord insisted.

3. Gambling is wrong because it is inconsistent with the work ethic of Scripture.

Throughout Scripture the importance of work is emphasized. In several places the correlation between working and eating is stated. The Old Testament reminds us, "He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread" (Proverbs 12:11).

In the New Testament the same principle is stated with great forcefulness. To the Thessalonians Paul wrote: "When we were wi
th you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat" (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Not only does the Bible require that man should work for the necessities of life, but it also warns against the something-for-nothing, get-rich-quick approach. "He that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent" (Proverbs 28:20). "He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil [envious] eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him" (Proverbs 28:22). "Wealth gotten by vanity [without labor or exertion] shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase" (Proverbs 13:11).

In the wisdom of God man was assigned work in the garden of Eden even before the Fall (Genesis 2:15ff). Though sin resulted in a change of the nature of work (Genesis 3:17,19) the responsibility of working was never rescinded. Any effort on man’s part to circumvent the work ethic of Scripture can result only in failure. Gambling, whether to secure wealth in a hurry or to place bread on the table, is inconsistent with what the Bible teaches about work.

4. Gambling is wrong because it tends to be habit-forming

Gambling, like other evils, has a tendency to become an addiction. As in the case of alcoholics and drug addicts, compulsive gamblers are dominated to the extent that they risk not only money, but everything meaningful in life. They have lost control of themselves.

This condition is contrary to the teaching of Scripture. The Word of God points out that a Christian will refuse to be brought under the power even of lawful things (1 Corinthians 6:12). The person indwelled by the Holy Spirit will be characterized by temperance, or self-control (Galatians 5:23).

Those who have studied gambling addiction seem to agree there are six symptoms characteristic of compulsive gambling: (1) The activity becomes chronically repetitive. (2) It becomes a mania which precludes all other interests, including the home. (3) A pathologic optimism replaces the ability to learn from previous losing experiences. (4) The ability to stop in a winning situation no longer exists. (5) In spite of initial decisions to gamble only so much the addict invariably risks too much. (6) The activity seems to produce an enjoyable tension consisting of both pain and pleasure.

It is obvious that habitual gamblers are under the control of the compulsion to gamble. Rather than being servants of God, they are servants of a desire they cannot handle. Paul described the condition clearly when he wrote, "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey" (Romans 6:16). Because of the degrading possibility of addiction, gambling should be considered an evil.


Christian Responsibility in Relation to Gambling

When the various truths of God’s Word are considered, the Christian cannot adopt a neutral stance toward gambling. There are responsibilities which he cannot ignore.

When the Bible instructs believers, "Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31), it certainly precludes gambling. God is not glorified when people put their trust in chance rather than in the Lord. When God’s Word teaches that we should "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22) it precludes gambling. There is no way in which a practice can be considered anything other than evil when it violates principles of God’s Word concerning stewardship, consideration of others and the dignity of honest labor.

Those who want to live according to Scripture will refrain from participation in any form of gambling. As the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) they will also do all within their power to discourage the legalization of gambling, whether to raise money for charity, church, or state.

Gambling is a game of chance. It involves a conscious risk in hope of making a profit, as in playing the lottery. Greed is often the motive in gambling and is prohibited in the Ten Commandments (Exo. 20:17). Believers are to keep themselves from every type of evil (1 Thes. 5:22). Rather, the Old and New Testament teach the importance of hard work, integrity and steadfastness in achieving one’s goals (2 Thes. 3:10-12; Pro. 12:11). Those who illegally benefit from the gambling losses of others are often stealing (Pro. 20:10; Eph. 4:28).

Since institutions like the stock market also involve chance and the transfer of value from one person to another, one might ask, how do the stock market, futures, or insurance policies differ from gambling? Purchasing insurance or investing in the stock market does involve some risk. But the money is invested for the development of a business or the provision of one’s financial security. Chance is not the predominant factor. Gambling, however, is based on chance, using pure luck to acquire “easy money” or get rich quick. Some religious groups have used games of chance like bingo as a means of fund raising.

There can be serious consequences from gambling. Such things as a loss of income, indebtedness, and strained family relations are among them. Games of chance can affect the mental, emotional and spiritual health of a person and may result in addiction. Gamblers Anonymous seeks to help those who have become addicted to gambling. 

A sovereign God is Lord over all of life and is not subject to games of chance (Psa. 33:6-12; Isa. 46:8-11; Rom. 11:36). He provides for the financial needs of believers according to His will (Phi. 4:19). But He usually uses hard work, industry, and a moral lifestyle to provide for those needs.


Casting of Lots. The casting of lots under the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament was a common practice (Num. 26:52-56; 1 Sam. 10:20-21; 1 Chr. 24:5). It was used to make decisions for God’s people. Matthias, a replacement for Judas, was chosen by lot (Acts 1:26). The early church evidently discontinued the practice, relying instead on the Holy Spirit, the principles taught by the early Apostles elders, and approval by church body (Acts 6:1-6, 13:1-2). Casting lots therefore cannot be equated with the modern idea of gambling.

In His Grace Forever,

Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP

Young Adult Crisis Hotline and

Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD


The Bending Process :Examination

In the process of counseling as pastoral counselors are instruments to bring specific categories doctrine in helping people examine their heart in light of the Word of God. We help them in their process of bending toward God’s mind instead of their own mind. This process of bending takes time and care. We are to present them unto God in the process of their personal decisions toward the truth. We help individuals realize that absolute truth is the way to begin to think rationally and with sober thoughts. To think with sober thoughts in John 8:32 brings great freedom. Acting on truth releases the power of freedom into your life and circumstances. The turned and changed mind will be a spiritual awakening and source for strength.

The path of surrender and freedom depends upon how we assist them to look at themselves. This is defined as living the life of Faith which is to begin the journey of a yielded life. This process unfortunately is often clouded with worldly introspection and toxic guilt. The reason introspection causes guilt and not a genuine repentance is because it uses the cognition.

Cognition Definition:

The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.Those processes involved in the gathering, organization, and use of knowledge.Reasoning by direct retrieval involves retrieving a known fact from memory to solve a problem. Reasoning involves constructing or retrieving images from conceptual memory and examining or manipulating them to solve a problem.
The internal structures and processes that are involved in the acquisition and use of knowledge, including sensation, perception, attention, learning, memory, language, thinking, and reasoning. Cognitive scientists propose and test theories about the functional components of cognition based on observations of an organism’s external behavior in specific situations.
Cognition throughout life can be broadly described as an interaction between knowledge-driven processes and sensory processes; and between controlled processes and automatic processes. Over time, there is a trade-off between the amount of surface information that is retained in the internal representation of objects or events (bottom-up processing) and the amount of meaning that is incorporated (top-down processing).
The process of cognition which the mind acts and states. This reflection depends upon self-consciousness instead of God-consciousness. A reflective looking inward is the spy of self that looks to condemn instead of building and bending toward the will and Rational expression of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

When we examine ourselves, we try to test the quality of our hearts with the Word of Grace, not the word of self-condemnation. The Word of Grace develops God’s character in which God’s nature rationally through the Word of God helps our mind to prove and ascertained the quality of one’s own state. This also through Grace internally changes us from within which then changes our conduct. This process has to start with our motives which is developed first in the Battleground of our Mind. Motives particularly cause action concerning our feelings. The reflective examination reveals with the mirror of living water the true state of our spirit, soul, and body. The process of examination does not produce toxic guilt or shame because it is God centered and not self-oriented. The examination produces the consciousness of who God is and what he has done not who we are and what we have done.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center

Call Toll Free: 1-877-702-2GOD


REV. C. H. Spurgeon is these excerpts below from the New Park Street pulpit sermon # 218

“Stand not only on the mountains of your public character, but go into the deep valleys of your private life. Be not content to sail on the broad river of your outward actions, but go follow back the narrow nil till you discover your secret motive.Look not only at your performance, which is but the product of the soil, but dig into your heart and examine the vital principle. “Examine yourselves.”

Examine: that is a scholastic idea questions him, to see whether he has made any progress,—whether he knows anything. Christian, catechize your heart; question it, to see whether it has been growing in grace; question it, to see if it knows anything of vital godliness or not.

A military idea. “Examine yourselves,” or renew yourselves. Go through the rank and file of your actions, and examine all your motives. Just as the captain on review-day is not content with merely surveying the men from a distance, but must look at all their accoutrements, so do you look well to yourselves; examine yourselves with the most scrupulous care.
And once again, this is a legal idea. “Examine yourselves.” You have seen the witness in the box, when the lawyer has been examining him, or, as we have it, cross-examining him. Now, mark: never was there a rogue less trustworthy or more deceitful than your own heart, and as when you are cross-examining a dishonest person—one that hath bye-ends to serve, you set traps for him to try and find him out in a lie, so do with your own heart. Question it backward and forward, this way and that way; for if there be a loophole for escape, if there he any pretence for self-deception, rest assured your treacherous heart will be ready enough to avail itself of it.
And yet once more: this is a traveler’s idea. I find in the original, it has this meaning: “Go right through yourselves.”

The Christian Therapist

The Christian Therapist and

Learned Helplessness

The apostle Paul wrote the believers in Thessalonica to “warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). The term-translated therapy indicates service rendered to people in times of turmoil. In its historic context, therapy (or counseling) is the attentive, careful helping of others.

The history of the word “therapy,” the Greek therapeia, with its derivatives therapon, therapeuo, and therapontos, gives birth to some illuminating meanings for the current practice of Christian counseling. Therapeia means, “Service.” The therapon is the servant who renders careful, experienced, watchful, meticulous, skilled, obedient, painstaking service to the one to whom he is intimately responsible.”

Notably the closest Greek synonym for therapon is diakonos, which also means “servant.” We can glean from the resemblance of the therapist and minister. In fact, in the ancient world, therapeia was commonly translated into Latin as ministerium. Among the Greek words signifying “servant” (therapon, diakonos, oiketes, pais, doulos), the most intimate of these is therapon, which always refers to personal, considerate, and confidential act of service.

The word “psychotherapy” may sound like a purely modern term, but its roots are ancient. The New Testament example of the therapon is Jesus Christ, the message and means of God’s intimate, healing, restoring service to all people (Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:18; et al). God Himself is the therapon, according to the kerygma, which means “proclamation.” The therapeia which He renders is the reflection of God’s redemptive love, portrayed in the banishment of demonic powers, and was made clear in the occurrences of the last days of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

The issue of the lawfulness of rendering therapeia on the Sabbath became a volatile point in the ministry of Jesus (Matt. 12:1-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:1-11; et al). The religious culture of the time of Jesus’ ministry did not want to see any therapeia on the Sabbath, but instead, they held to their own rigid interpretation of the Law regardless of the damaging consequences to those they were responsible to serve. Jesus, however, offered therapeia on the Sabbath as a sign of the emerging reign of God, thus intruding on the holy day with His ministry to sick bodies and tormented souls.

Many passages of Scripture depict Jesus’ interwoven ministry of teaching, preaching and healing. His life and ministry validated Isaiah’s prophecies of the Messiah as the Servant who comforted the anxious, encouraged the depressed, reconciled the hostile, and healed the lame and blind. The three-fold ministry of teaching, preaching, and healing, remains a concise summary of the purpose and mission of the church.

The authority of Scripture and the role of psychology are important to anyone interested in Christian counseling. Some people use the term integration to refer to the relationship of the Scriptures and psychology, but this term can be misleading. The Bible and psychology are not two equals blended together. The Word of God is the ultimate authority by which all theories and practices are measured.

Psychology is man’s attempt to analyze the human condition and provide assistance. Most psychological theories contain some valid observations of human behavior, but they are usually based upon erroneous presuppositions about both man and God. Secular theories and practices, however, cannot provide the ultimate source of healing power: The love and strength of Jesus Christ. He is our Creator and Savior. He is the one who can touch our deepest needs and bring light and life. God reveals the nature of man as well as His own nature.

The Christian counselor’s goal, however, extends farther to include helping with the love God with all our heart and to live by biblical values. In accomplishing this goal, the Christian counselor may present the gospel to someone who is not a believer or is unsure of his faith. He encourages the person to confess his sin and experience forgiveness, and also, to extend forgiveness to others. He helps the person understand proper behaviors and to take substantive steps to act appropriately and responsibly.

The Christian, of course, has uplifting values to motivate and guide, as Paul wrote, “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

As a servant of Jesus Christ, called to love and to strengthen others out of a full heart, the Christian counselor has limitless resources as he or she experiences the wisdom of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. The counselor, just like the client, is in the process of growing in the knowledge of God and is being watered, pruned, and shaped by the Spirit’s work. This process makes the counselor increasingly effective and competent to counsel.

After, Careful study, selection, and orderly combination of compatible concepts from a variety of sources, based on the principle that “all truth is God’s truth.” People seem to yearn for a clear, simple answer to life’s complexities. Many p

eople view psychological problems through a simplistic lens and desire one definable set of problems and solutions.

The GRACE Model – The psalmist proclaims that man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14-15). We are made in the image of God, but we are deeply fallen. Our complexity includes physical, mental, emotional, behavioral, and social aspects of our being. Virtually every problem we have is multifaceted; its solution is then multi-modal.

For instance, an addict has chosen coping mechanisms outside the will of God to block pain and to gain a sense of value or control. There are usually factors outside his control, and therefore, outside his responsibility, such as childhood trauma, poor parental modeling, cultural reinforcement, and biochemical deficiencies. The biochemical dependencies may require detoxification. Effects of depression may require medication to enable the person to think clearly and make wise choices. New communication skills need to be learned, and new courage needs to be acquired in order to follow through with the communication and the skills. Repentance is right and appropriate in particular points of responsibility, but we do not repent of the wounds received from others or of biological factors outside our control.

Though the symptoms and the contributing causes of a person’s problems are multifaceted, the root cause of all human problems is our fallenness, manifested in apathy toward God, rebellion, and a desire to keep control of our own lives whatever the cost. All of our relational, behavioral, and emotional difficulties spring from this underlying condition. Physiological and psychological analysis certainly has validity to enable us to understand the dynamics and destructive powers in our lives, and also, to help us gain insight into channeling our motives and energies into constructive attitudes and behaviors. At the deepest level, however, the sin problem exists and must be addressed so that people can be rightly related to the God who created them and loves them, and so they can draw on His strength and wisdom to live more healthy lives.

Some have questioned the validity of Christians’ use of medications for emotional problems. Gary Collins writes:

Among Christians, resistance to psychotherapeutic medication probably comes from those who believe that drug use is a sign of spiritual weakness. Many feel that Christians shouldn’t have overwhelming struggles and psychological problems. When stresses arise, these people feel that prayer, trusting the Lord and meditation on Scripture are the only Christian ways to cope with anxiety. If the Lord has allowed us to discover new chemical tools to counteract the biological bases of human problems and to help us cope temporarily with the stresses of life, are these necessarily wrong? When drugs distract us from facing problems or prevent us from seeking biblically based solutions to our struggles, and then using them is not right. But psychotherapeutic medications can help us relax so that we can think more clearly. Their use is neither wrong nor an indication that we lack faith.” (Collins, 1988)

The complexities of the human experience demand that counselors carefully take a complete history on each person. Past and current emotional traumas, environmental and family difficulties, physical problems, behavioral manifestations need to be considered in order to make an accurate assessment. The goal is that the person will feel better, but also take steps toward knowing, loving, and following Christ.

For Christians, recovery is inherently a part of the process of sanctification, including foundational spiritual issues of our identity, repentance, and our motivations. Bible-based teaching, prayer, meditation and other Christian disciplines must be used knowledgeably.

Learned Helplessness

Some Depressed people became that way because they learned to be helpless. Depressed people learned that whatever they did is fruitless. During the course of their lives, depressed people apparently learned that they have no control.

The marketing experts at Hallmark say that 15 million Americans now attend weekly support groups for chemical addictions and other problems. (Some “experts,” as we shall see, place the figure much, much higher.) Another 100 million relatives are cheering on their addicted loved ones. This means that half of all Americans are either “in recovery” or helping someone who is.

“Only a small percentage of the brain is under conscious control. We are responsible for this part of our thought processes. The vast majority of brain function is Subconscious.” Moreover, they point out, only “twenty percent of our decisions come from the conscious, reasoning mind. The rest come from deep within.”

Along these same lines, an article on recovery in the New York Times cited the Psychiatric News, which said: “Addiction medicine is at risk of becoming the laughingstock of the medical community by forcing everything into a Procrustean model of addiction.” Procrustes was a giant in Greek mythology that seized travelers and made them all fit in a bed, either by stretching them or cutting off their legs.

Another example of mislabeling is the practice of calling behavioral problems “diseases.” Now, of course, there are some mental disorders that can affect behavior—schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and some forms of depression—t

hat are associated with physical diseases. But does this mean that behavior can be diseased? It is critical to recognize that there is an element of volition in behavior that is not present in real, biological diseases.

Stanton Peele, in his book Diseasing of America: Addiction Treatment Out of Control, says that “disease definitions undermine the individual’s obligation to control behavior and to answer for misconduct. They legitimatize, reinforce, and excuse the behaviors in question—convincing people, contrary to all evidence, that their behavior is not their own.”

Critics thus emphasize that a “disease” is something one has; “behavior” has to do with what one does. Addressing this issue, anthropologist Melvin Konner said: “We would all like to point at an illness—a psychiatric label—and say of our weak or bad actions, ‘That thing, the illness, did it, not me. It.’ But at some point we must draw ourselves up to our full height, and say in a clear voice what we have done and why it was wrong. And we must use the word ‘I’ not ‘it’ or ‘illness.’ I did it. I. I.”


Is the reestablishing of self-esteem the key to “recovery?” While I believe there is a biblical basis for the Christian’s sense of worth that is based on being created in the image of God and being the object of God’s love (as evidenced by Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross), I believe the answer to this question must be no. First, scientific studies have shown no cause-and-effect link between self-esteem and behavioral problems. Moreover, when self-esteem is given priority it can easily conflict with the development of traits which the Bible accords much greater priority: self-denial and genuine humility (Mark 8:34-35; Rom. 12:3; Eph. 3:8; Phil. 2:3; 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).

Related to this, based on reading a representative sampling of Christian recovery books, I don’t think the doctrine of total depravity has received sufficient recognition in the recovery movement. Yes, Christian recovery leaders clearly acknowledge that people are infected by sin. However, more often than not the bad in our lives is presented as being more the result of unjust social conditions or growing up in a bad environment. As one critic put it, “in place of the idea of original sin, recovery experts put forward their own first cause of all our ills—the American [dysfunctional] family.”

We must emphasize that regardless of the attainment of self-esteem, people will continue to behave badly and suffer the consequences for their actions because they have a nature that is bent on evil. Feeling good about ourselves will not remove or alter this depravity. Hence, seeking self-esteem as a solution to inappropriate behavior seems misguided.

A past-present connection can not be denied regarding how people behave. But I do question whether such an in-depth examination of one’s past history and “resolving” childhood conflicts is a precondition to correct or appropriate behavior. I can’t go along with the idea that “we are bound (or condemned, some would say) to repeat the family experience we remember” (emphasis in original), and that “unresolved issues in childhood doom the emerging adult to recreate, to repeat, the past.” Besides, experts tell us that peoples’ memories can and often do distort the facts to one degree or another. Hence, a detailed investigation into the events of one’s past may not yield an accurate picture of what actually happened in that distant time anyway.

The apostle Paul had a legalistic upbringing, and was guilty of severely persecuting the church prior to his conversion. But instead of focusing on the past, he declared, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).

In His Grace Forever,
Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline and
Biblical Counseling Center

Crisis Intervention in Family and Marriage Counseling

Family and Marriage Counseling

Crisis Intervention in Family

and Marriage counseling

The concept of “family” is vague and uncertain. While some still hold to the scriptural definition, or at least something akin to it, others have very different ideas. In the extreme cases, folks believe it is all right to physically abuse or even to kill their own flesh and blood. Of course, the vast majority of us can see immediately that this is wrong. However, there are innumerable other ideas which are socially acceptable, yet fall far short of the scriptural pattern. The acceptance of these ideas has had disastrous results.

For example, many households contain only one parent. While in some cases this occurs through no fault of the remaining parent – for instance, when the spouse has died – in other cases, it is the result of the parents’ own decisions. This situation is not good for the children. Consider the following excerpt from a recent column in the Providence Journal:

“Nearly 75 percent of children without fathers spend part of their childhood in poverty. They are more than twice as likely as children from two-parent families to be held back in school and more than four times as likely to be expelled or suspended. They are likelier to die in infancy. Likelier to need treatment for psychiatric problems. Likelier to be injured in an accident, to score poorly on I.Q. tests, to abuse drugs, to become criminals, to commit suicide.”

“Above all, children born and raised out of wedlock are far more likely to get pregnant as teenagers and have children out of wedlock themselves – and thus to begin the cycle anew.”

These factors have an obvious and immediate financial consequence for society: paying for the drug rehabilitation, psychiatric treatment, larger police forces, court time, jail space, and of course the next generation of unwed mothers and their children. More devastating than the financial consequences, however, are the moral consequences.

The people living this lifestyle lose their sense of personal responsibility, dignity, and self-worth. (We are discussing here situations wherein children are intentionally or recklessly conceived out of wedlock.) They develop the attitude that the government ought to provide them their basic needs. On the other hand, those who work to support themselves, and thereby provide for the poor through paying taxes, begin to resent those who receive the help. Thus, we have different segments of society hating and resenting each other. Moreover, those who work begin to feel that the government owes them something, as well. They begin to look for more and more services and handouts from the government, driven by the selfish attitude that they ought to get some “return” on their “investment”. The result is a nation degraded by citizens who complain that they are not being given what they “deserve”. Rather than going out, working, saving, and sacrificing to earn what we want to have, as our parents and grandparents did, modern Americans wait for a handout or a big win at the lottery. Even as we live the most luxurious lives known to man, we wallow in self-pity because we do not have everything we want. This is not how God wants us to live; He loves us, and wants much better for us.

The single-parent arrangement is not the only one that leads to trouble: not by a long shot. Another example is the household wherein both parents are career professionals. Rather than being content to live a simple lifestyle, both parents are working full-time jobs outside of the home in order to gain more and more material wealth, or at least to maintain a more luxurious lifestyle than they otherwise could. So, rather than seeing a father who sacrifices to provide for his family, or a mother who sacrifices to nurture her children, the children instead see two parents who are in continual pursuit of material comfort and worldly pleasure. Is it any wonder if such children grow to be selfish and materialistic? Again, rather than coming home to a mother who teaches and guides him, the teenager comes home to the television, which shows him all manner of fornication and violence – in the most glamorous light. Alternatively, since there is no one home to know where he is, he just stays out and involves himself in violence and fornication – and intoxicants.

These are by no me

ans the only problems, which modern American families make for themselves. The list goes will continue in America without strong Biblical standards. However, this book is not intended to change society, but to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The above examples are offered as illustrations, to show what happens when we do not follow God’s pattern for the family. As with all of God’s instructions, He designed the family with our best interests at heart. When we follow His ways, we not only have heaven to look forward to, we also live better lives here. This rationally seen when we consider the impact the modern American version of “family” has had upon our children.

Crisis Intervention in Family and Marriage Counseling

Five Approaches to Family and Marriage Conflict:

1. Avoidance: The most commonly used style in conflict management, reflects the belief that it is impossible to both accomplish our personal goals and maintain relationships while in conflict. The basic strategy of avoidance is to withdraw, avoid, suppress, and deny the existence of conflict. The person using this style is unassertive, neither pursuing his or her own interests in the situation, nor supporting others in achieving theirs. Avoided conflict will typically resurface at some point, most likely with more intensity and greater potential for destruction that when first identified.

2. Accommodation: The accommodating response to conflict is characterized by a high concern for preserving relationship, even if it means conceding one’s own goals. Relationship is preserved with out conflict. The accommodator may feel guilty if he or she causes conflict. Other reasons for choosing this approach include a high need for acceptance by others, and the belief that accommodation will allow those needs to be met. The person who uses the approach of accommodation accepts the burden of responsibility for maintaining the relationship. Accommodation can be effective and ineffective in approaching conflict.

3. Competition: The competitive, win-lose style of conflict management is characterized by very high concern for the achievement of personal goals, even at the risk of damaging or destroying relationships. The person who uses this style may not desire harm to come to others, but he or she is willing to sacrifice almost anything to achieve personal objectives. People who employ this type of style do not always go head to head with opposition. Some times they work subversively. At other times they us the power of words to humiliate and weaken their opponents, until they finally bring them under control. As with avoidance and accommodation, the challenge is not to decide whether competition is good or bad but rather when to wisely choose to use it.

4. Compromise: The person with a compromising style of conflict management proposes the middle ground to others. It reflects some willingness to compete for particular resolution but also some accommodation of the relationship between the parties. This approach is based on the premise that no one can be fully satisfied, so all those involved must submit some of their personal desires to serve the good of both parties. The sense of compromise can have a negative connotation. Compromise can lead to half-hearted commitments and reoccurring conflicts under the guise of new issues. Compromise like avoidance, accommodation and competition, can be appropriately and inappropriately utilized.

5. Collaboration: The collaborative style combines a high concern for both people and objectives. Moving beyond the adversarial positions of conflict. Understanding the true needs of the parties and use a creative process to find a mutually –satisfying solution. Collaboration is not always possible or even desired. Collaboration holds great potential for those in conflict. The effects of the collaborative style are positive when it is consistently applied. Increased trust, stronger relationships, enthusiastic implementing of goals and higher resolution of conflicts are often achieved


  • A state of disharmony between incompatible persons, ideas, or interests; that clash.
  • A striking or dashing together.


  • Any interference that may affect the interests of others; especially, with the affairs of another; mediation.

In mediation of crisis or conflict we often encounter danger and opportunity. Instinctively we avoid places where disagreement is common or potential for conflict is high, because we sense danger in those places.

The Latin word for conflict “confligere” means to strike together. This gives us a mental picture of physical conflict escalating to the point where one person angrily strikes at another. The situation presents danger to the people involved in the conflict and those around them.

Conflict has been described as a situation in which the concerns of two people appear to be incompatible. Conflict also exists when two people try to occupy the same place a t the same time. They violate personal boundaries.

Wherever there is conflict, there is the possibility that how it is handled (or not handled) will result in those involved.

In Marriage and Family Conflict the crisis are most apparent in our differences over facts, methods, values, and goals.

  • Conflict over facts: What we believe to be facts.
  • Conflict over the methods: Not only do we differ what should be done, but we experience great disagreement over how it should be carried out.
  • Conflict over values: just as a conflict can arise and result from a clash of incompatibility of different perspectives on facts, and methods, it also can result over different values. Values are those ideas, habits, customs, and beliefs that are characteristic of social communities.
  • Conflict over goals: conflict is a clash of perspectives as people express different goals.

There is a clash of different perspectives on facts, methods, values, and goals.

Also the conflict will reveal and reflect different attitudes and emotions:

· It is interpersonal: Closely connected with who we are as people.

· It is intrapersonal: Closely related with how we interact with each other.

· Conflict is capable of bringing to the surface unconstructive emotions that are irrational.

· Conflict presents an opportunity to change, to struggle, to grow to reflect God’s power of reconciliation in relationships.

Anybody that is conflict free is not experiencing growth… the important changes in us takes place with in the framework of struggle.

Acts 15:36-40

36 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.

Can you imagine the tension as Paul told John Mark tha

t he was not invited on the journey?

Can you sense the tension the next time the two men we together?

Were the two of them able to resolve the conflict by themselves? Or were others involved in mediating it?

Can you sense the celebration that was there as they sat together toward the end of Paul’s life?

They grew through conflict. They saw the opportunity for growth and took it.

We need to imagine grace of God’s presence than will produce harmony, even at the point of greatest conflict.

1TIMOTHY 2:5-6

5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Strong’s # 3316 is Mesites • from 3319; TDNT – 4:598,585; n m • AV – mediator 6; 6 • 1) one who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or form a compact, or for ratifying a covenant

The simplest translation of the word mediator is “in the middle.”

Seven stages of the Family and Marriage mediation process:

1) Prepare for mediation

2) Begin the mediation

3) Communicate about the dispute

4) Define the issues and set the agenda

5) Clarify information and uncover hidden interests

6) Generate and assess options for settlement

7) Bring closure and settlement

1) Prepare for mediation –

Prayer an important resource that is often overlooked.

You are investing in the resolution not the conflict.

2) Begin the mediation –

Set up and establish some basic ground rules

The beginning of the mediation process is when the individuals are the most rational, to establish rules they will use when the conflict is more acute.

3) Communicate about the dispute –

Communication in conflict resolution operates in two ways, speaking and listening.

It is important that the both parties hear each other. – To listen carefully.

We as the mediator must assure them that they will get an equal opportunity to talk.

We also a mediator must remind them when they say things that are not productive and may be more harmful.

This is where be become the manager of communication between their communication.

4) Define the issues and set the agenda –

a) Clarify the issues

b) Reframe them in more objective terms

c) Set the agenda for problem – solving work.

These steps diminish uncertainty and provide direction.

Taking the issues in the order they are identified, or ranking the issues in order of importance to the both.

5) Clarify information and uncover hidden interests –

While the issues are easily identified in most conflicts, the interests may be hidden.

Addressing underlying needs is essential in resolving conflicts.

What else is going on?

6) Generate and assess options for settlement –

The people in the conflict create options that will meet their interests.

These options must be assessed to see if they are practical and possible.

These options must not only create a solution, they must include thoughts on how the solution would be put in place.

Tunnel vision – they have invested so much time in their time, resources, and emotions in their position, it is difficult to leave it and move on to the resolution.

Our role is to expand their vision – open up the tunnel – so that the alternative solutions are clear and easily accepted.

7) Bring closure and settlement –

Constructive dialogue has identified issues and interests, creative solutions have been proposed, and now it is time for the individuals to decide whether the will accept a proposed solution, or continue the conflict.

Acceptance or rejection.

I believe that this process of mediation is a very complex and must be treated with the utmost care and consideration for all parties in crisis, dispute or we as counselors can cause more damage than when we have intended to bring healing. Therefore, this process of medication is not just a formula and must be looked at as adaptable for every diverse crisis in the realm of Family and Marriage counseling. I have enjoyed to see the precious Holy Spirit guide and direct the diverse times of turmoil and provide a way of escape for numerous families devastated by conflict and crisis. We must not be the way an individual is touched because if we are then eventually the individual will again return to conflict. Me must allow the Holy Spirit to be the counselor and let him do the work in peoples lives. We are mere tools in the hands of a loving God that wants to minister harmony to those hurt in the turmoil of conflict and pain.

In His Grace Forever,

Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP

Young Adult Crisis Hotline

and Biblical Counseling Center


Christian Counselor

As a Christian Counselor

As a Christian Counselor, I base my philosophy of counseling on the passage in Romans that tells us how to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”.
How do we do this?

Philipians 4 tells us to
1)not be anxious, but to take our requests to God,
2)focus our minds on positive things,
3) learn to be content in life, and
4) praise God for everything.

God then promises us
1) he will guard our heart and minds,
2) He will give us strength for the task,
3) He will give us peace.

To transfer this head knowledge of the scriptures to heart knowledge we need to put these things into practice. Often our relationship with God has been distorted by many of life’s circumstances. I want to help my clients see the truth about God as He reveals himself in scripture. Furthermore, it is my hope that as God see you through your suffering He will heal you and use you to bring honor and glory to Himself and to use you according to his good purposes.

You might ask, “What if I don’t want any of that religious stuff?” I can assure you, you will not get any preaching or sermons unless you ask direct questions about the spiritual side of an issue. I will meet you where you are at in your spiritual journey.
I believe that everyone needs a little help from time to time in this journey of life. I try to learn form everything that happens to me in life. I believe God is using me in His work to bring help and hope to people He brings to my office. I am a trained professional clinician and provide scripturally sound counseling in a safe, non-judgmental and respectful environment.

Differences between Christian / Biblical Coaching and Secular Coaching

There are many differences but primary is the underlying foundation. Secular coaching is humanistic and relies on the client’s self-imposed goals. Christian coaching is Christ-centered. Within Christian coaching, there is a three-way relationship between client, coach and Holy Spirit. Secular coaching involves a two-way relationship between coach and client. Many Christian coaches have found it frustrating to work with secular programs and secularly accredited Christian programs because of the high infiltration of new age philosophies. You won’t find that here at Young Adult Crisis Hotline. The bible distinctly tells us to seek only the counsel of other Christians. It is important to note though, that while we offer Christian Coach training and certification, the techniques learned are also applicable with secular clients. Seek Him first and God will lead those to you, who need what you have to offer.

In His Grace Forever,
Pastor Teddy Awad, CMHP
Young Adult Crisis Hotline
and Biblical Counseling Center