By Barney Armstrong, MA, LMHC, Bellevue Christian Counseling
We are made in the image of a God who lives in a mysterious community we have come to know as “Trinity” – a unity of three persons in eternal vibrant communion with each other. As Christians, we believe that humanity is called into the life of the Divine. This communion is life itself. Everything flows from our invitation into the story of God.
The life that our interconnectedness produces speaks to any need we have. At heart, we are relational beings and we feel the brokenness of our world in the disconnect, distortion, and subverting of our relationship with God, with family members, with Christians, with the Church, and with others in the world at large.
So addressing psychological needs will ultimately have the goal of redeeming relationship. By “redeeming” we mean something more than just a return to normal. God doesn’t just fix old things. He gives life and calls into being that which doesn’t exist. In our relational problems, we sense something in the mix somewhere that was already dead, weak, or didn’t exist at all.
The Advantage of the Christian Therapist
The Christian therapist has relational goals in sight. The tools that secular theorists have developed for us over the last 150 years help us to detect relational disconnects and untangle those relational snarls. Psychodynamic methods per se are a rather direct sensing of those interpersonal glitches. The therapist can often feel them in session and give feedback so that the client can sense them also as they happen.
It is part of human nature to do all sorts of things as defenses, in fear, to avoid, to hide, to rationalize, and to accommodate guilt. Those patterns crop up in various ways and a therapist notices all sorts of things in the interpersonal exchange; conflicts in thinking, misinterpretations of past events, telltale nuances in the client’s presentation of their story, reticence, awkwardness, self-deprecation, and more.
The therapist has the freedom, and the client has the luxury, of seeing these things together in session in a safe place. Such encounters and freedoms don’t happen in our everyday encounters.
With the advantage of counseling, interpersonal growth can be unleashed and advance at a greater pace.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.com -“Man And Woman Holding Hands” by tungphoto