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A New Paradigm for Counseling

Have you ever gone for counseling? Most counseling fails miserably. Years ago studies showed that most people get better quicker without counseling than they do with it. There's a chat room on AOL called PSYCHIATRY IS A SCAM. I couldn't agree more. Most psychiatrists are little more than modern medicine men, legalized pushers whose only prescription is ... a prescription. Like the old Jefferson Airplane song, "One pill makes you smaller, the other makes you tall, but the one that, mother gives you, won't do anything at all."

Such is the long term effect of medial psychiatry. They figure out what you need and give you a pill for it. They needn't do the truly hard work of figuring out why your life got derailed and help you get it back on track. Just take a pill. Everything will feel better.

The problem is pills treat symptoms and have side effects. They may help you function, but they take away your life and may even get you addicted so you can't live without them or worse, push you to the brink of suicide.

Even Christian counseling is flawed. Some famous Christian authors on counseling are little more than baptized medical psychiatrists. Instead of taking God at His Word when He said He would heal all our diseases, they believe that some people need drugs their whole life. Drugs should be used until you get healed, not as a substitute for healing.

I found out how incompetent Christian counseling was when my marriage was in trouble. My wife and I went to seven different counselors. Maybe one and a half knew what they were doing the rest simply didn't have a clue. We ended up divorced. Mind you, I'm not blaming them for our problems they just didn't have powerful solutions.

 When we mess up our lives, and we all do in varying degrees, we don't just need advice, we need power.  Power to change, power to become whole, power to heal our wounds.

When I was in seminary I read a statement I'll never forget. It said, "When people come to you for advice, the last thing they want is advice." That's great advice! People want to be heard, understood, cared for, and even transformed. They almost never want advice and if you give it to them, they may never come back. Most advice feels like rejection, or judgment. Most advice is given before we hear the matter properly, and long before we ever comprehend the root causes of people's problems.

That's why years ago, when people heard and saw the healing that others were getting from my ministry and sought me out for counseling I decided if I were to truly help them I had to devise a new paradigm for counseling. People didn't need advice, they needed therapy that heals.

Here's what I mean. Most counselors use a 50 minute hour. They work with a client for 50 minutes, and then have ten minutes to regroup for the next client. I found that after 50 minutes with a client we are just getting to a productive place and we have to quit. It's also a rip-off to charge someone for an hour and give them 50 minutes. It's no wonder people take years to get anywhere!

When I work with a client, I prefer to take as much time as we need to make real progress. Sessions may last 75 - 90 minutes or even two hours or more but we always make sure we get somewhere.  If they can't afford to come each week that's fine. Usually people need longer than a week to process what they experience anyhow. We can meet every two weeks, or once a month if need be. But each time we meet we make real progress.

Because of the healing dynamic this works far more efficiently than traditional talk therapy. The first client I used healing techniques on made more progress in three long sessions than she would have made in three years of cognitive therapy. I remember one client, a former nun, who had seen her therapist for ten years and owed her in excess of $11,000! In three sessions we got to the core issues and healed her pain to the point where she didn't need to see me again. Total cost?  A few hundred dollars.

Remember, God anointed Jesus to heal the brokenhearted, liberate those who are bruised, and set the captives free. He didn't anoint Him to spend endless hours in emotional archeological digs into the bottomless pit of people's lives. And the works Jesus did and greater, we can do. Healing our pain is one of those greater works. In Jeremiah 31, this was prophesied as a powerful end time ministry to prepare people for their eternal destiny.

I remember when a close friend attended one of our retreats. After a session he shared some amazing things he experienced during that exercise. He then said that as a teenager, he had gone for counseling twice a week for over three years to deal with a problem and never got it resolved. The cost of that therapy in today's dollars is well in excess of $50,000. It's a good thing he came from a wealthy family! In ten minutes at our retreat he replayed the incident that triggered his problem on the inner screen of his mind. He saw what made him the way he was and, more importantly, how to heal the underlying pain.

I saw him a few weeks later. He told me he recently consummated a business deal worth over five million dollars. He said he could not have accomplished that had he not healed the pain of that childhood incident.

Healing doesn't cost, it pays. When people tell me they can't afford to go to a retreat or they can't afford to get healing ministry I tell them they can't afford not to. It's cheap compared to the high cost of staying broken.


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