Basic Approaches To Counseling
Counseling Method
Causes For
Counselor's Approach


Regression of natural desires with
sexual & social maladjustment

with emphasis on childhood experiences



Lack of self-
Affirmation of self 

self-directed growth



needs & potential
Redirecting of 
priorities to fulfill 
personal needs with
self fulfillment


Playing out of 
inappropriate roles 
from learned past experiences
Re-education of mechanics of roles

(parent, adult, child)



Wrong learned
based primarily upon 
a reward system omitting punishment
Reality Therapy

(facing issues)

Refusal to accept 
current reality
resulting in blame 
and escapism
with facts

(obeying God)

Sin and a lack of 
understanding spiritual knowledge, wisdom,
and truth
Application of the 
Word of God 
by hearing and 
obeying God

 Strengths and Weaknesses
"There are many devices in a man's heart;
nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand"
(Proverbs 19:21).

Psychoanalysis attempts to have people recall, interpret, and work through childhood experiences.  Childhood experience may dramatically influence adult life.  Emotional wounds (especially parental abuse) may influence many areas of the adult life.  However, psychoanalysis often over emphasizes the sexual aspect. Furthermore, just recalling a negative childhood experience does not bring emotional healing. Only God through Jesus can accomplish that.  Also, false doctrines and concepts learned in childhood may cause inner conflicts in adulthood.  However, the lies must be confronted with the truth of the Word.

Non-directive Counseling emphasizes the importance of getting the individual to share his problems.  The individual may need to unload and air his problems, and it is important the counselor affirms the worth of the client by listening.  However, just sharing doesn't bring resolution to the problems.  It is also important to allow the individual come to a conclusion; however, it is more important to direct the individual to the correct conclusion.  Furthermore, if the individual had the answer within himself he wouldn't really need a counselor.  Furthermore, so called "common knowledge" is not always true knowledge and is, in fact, often wrong.

Existential Counseling attempts to relate the unfulfilled "needs" and "potential" to issues and to aid the individual to redirect their energy to best fulfill their needs and reach their potential. Every person "needs" to have certain needs met.  However, man is not to look at himself to fulfill his needs or potential.  God is to be his source.  Furthermore, what the individual or even the counselor may consider to be the proper priorities may not be what God considers to be the priorities.  Man is to be God-centered, not self-centered.

Transactional Analysis emphasizes the proper playing of roles (child, parent, adult). This is a favored approach in communications in the business world.  An adult should not treat another adult as a child.  Neither should a parent of a child treat the child as an adult. However, even proper role playing may not change a rebellious attitude. Everyone is not O.K. Furthermore, this approach to counseling gives little allowance for the principles of authority.  Transactional Analysis normally does not address the truth that God works through authority to teach, correct, discipline, prosper, empower, and protect.

Behavioral Counseling says that we are simply a product of our environment; therefore, we need to be reconditioned through the proper training.  It is true that society (especially the home environment) exerts pressure on people to behave in a certain way.  Furthermore, some relearning may be necessary.  However, we are not robots or simply a products of our environment.  Behavioral counseling often pits reward against punishment.  The preferred approach in behavioral counseling is reward because it generally gets better results.  However, the combination of both is seldom used as balanced in the Scriptures.

Reality Therapy approaches counseling from a confrontational perspective.  The counselor confronts the individual with the facts of life, expecting him to face up to the issues.  It is true that we are to confront people with the truth in love as directed by the Holy Spirit.  However, the problem is that most troubled people are running from the issues. Some professionals have categorized some forty defense mechanisms that people use to avoid facing the truth.  Often people run from the issues because they don't see any solution for their issues; therefore the counselor must also offer true solutions to the issues.

Biblical Counseling aspires to the truth that God has an answer for every issue and actively intervenes in the lives of individuals.  The answers are found in the Word of God and revealed by the Holy Spirit.  When an individual responds correctly in faith to the Word of God, God will bring solutions to his problems, peace of mind, and fulfillment. Each approach to counseling is based upon some truth;  however, only the Biblical Counseling approach is based entirely upon the truth which can produce effective, long lasting positive results.  Furthermore, the other approaches may lead one even into greater difficulties.  One also should note that many Christian counselors, because of their secular training, use primarily one of the secular approaches to counseling along with some Scriptures.

Whole Person Counseling uses the Biblical Counseling approach.
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