I choose to fully disclose what I believe and my approach because transparency is important in building a trusting relationship. It is also important for a client to have as much information as possible about a provider before making a decision. Many clients, including those who are not Christians, have expressed appreciation for my honesty.
Respect and Compassion
Since everyone is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26), I will seek to treat everyone with compassion and respect. All men are created equal and imbued with intrinsic dignity and value. Therefore, I will treat my clients the way I would want myself and my family members to be treated.
Body and Soul
Man is both biological and spiritual. Our physical body suffers from various diseases and injuries. Psychological issues can have biological etiologies. Thus it is appropriate and helpful to discern biological causes and treat them accordingly. Medications are helpful and even necessary in many conditions.
At the same time, man is more than a purely physical being. We are also spiritual. Our decisions and thoughts flow from our hearts. It is also important to look at “heart issues” in treating psychological issues. “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
Psychiatric diagnosis (DSM V, ICD-10) provides a helpful description of various conditions. It is useful for communication. However, a psychiatric diagnosis does not explain the causes of the condition.
Comprehensive treatment considers one’s physical, social, spiritual condition, and is not driven by the diagnosis.
Sin and Suffering
Sin and suffering exist. We sin because of our depraved nature (Genesis 3), and we suffered because of 1) being sinned against, 2) the result of our sins, and 3) living in a fallen world (sickness, accidents, death, etc.). Thus it is important to have the right expectation when we are facing various difficulties. Suffering is to be expected and can even be an opportunity for growth (James 1:2-4). Moreover, God helps us overcome various temptations.
When we are in the midst of suffering, we need to maintain a healthy perspective as well as assume responsibility for how we are responding to suffering.
Change is Comprehensive
The process of change is more than behavior modification or gaining insight. Sure, change can happen by altering one’s action and gaining self-knowledge. However, comprehensive and lasting change comes from being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) with the renewal of the mind (Romans 12:2). Deep changes and growth happen through believing in the saving work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Bible is the authoritative, infallible Word of God. It instructs us how to think and live rightly in God’s world (2 Timothy 3:16). I engage the Scripture on a regular basis during counseling.