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Nouthetic Counseling and Cognitive Biblical Counseling

4. Compare and contrast nouthetic counseling and cognitive Biblical counseling. In your opinion and based on what you have learned to date, which theory gives you the best Christian-based orientation to counseling and offers the most theoretical content to help clients get better, and in what ways? How could you use both theories to help clients?

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4. Compare and contrast nouthetic counseling and cognitive Biblical counseling. In your opinion and based on what you have learned to date, which theory gives you the best Christian-based orientation to counseling and offers the most theoretical content to help clients get better, and in what ways? How could you use both theories to help clients?

Cognitive Biblical Counseling

Cognitive therapy is built on the view that psychiatric problems are concerned with states of mind, rather than the biological state of the brain or other parts of the body. It must be acknowledged that brain/body and mind do affect each other, but that is not the same thing as saying that depression, for example, has largely physical origins. A central idea here is that our feelings are influenced by our thoughts. If we are having troublesome feelings (for example, depression or anxiety) , counseling is aimed at tackling them by finding the distorted thoughts leading up to those feelings, and undermining their convincingness, having first found more realistic views on the same things. The more realistic views then gradually take over, pushing aside the ideas that were causing the problems.

For example, Collins has many critics. He supports the "All Truth is God's Truth" perspective, as well as the "medical model," and he believes all of the principle psychological myths (described in detail by the Bobgans in PsychoHeresy): (1) that psychology and its underlying psychotherapies are science; (2) that the best kind of counseling utilizes both psychology and the Bible; (3) that people experiencing mental/emotional/behavioral problems are "mentally ill"; and (4) that psychotherapy has a high record of success (http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exposes/collins/general.htm). See some good comparisons in the attached article: Comparing Counseling Theories).

However, there are Bible Scriptures that clearly support the need to change our thinking, as also recognized by nouthetic counseling perspectives, but adding "with the help of God" the client can change.

I think both are useful taken together. For example, there are helpful in finding new ideas to replace troublesome ones; and some parts of the Bible (particularly the Proverbs) reflect on thoughts and the ability to change them (that is, to learn).

1. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.[James 3:3-5]
2. Be careful of how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. [Proverbs 4:23]
3. Worry can rob you of happiness, but kind words will cheer you up.[Proverbs 12:25]
4. Being cheerful keeps you healthy. It is slow death to be gloomy all the time.[Proverbs 17:22]
Cognitive theories also focus on the importance and role of learning new ways of thinking e.g. renewing the mind based on Biblical principles.
5. Never correct a conceited man; he will hate you for it. But if you correct a wise man, he will respect you. [Proverbs 9:8]
6. People who listen when they are corrected will live, but those who will not admit that they are wrong are in danger. [Proverbs 10:17]
7. Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice. [Proverbs 12:15]
8. A warning given by an experienced person to someone willing to listen is more valuable than gold rings or jewellery made of the finest gold. [Proverbs 25:12]
9. People learn from one another, just as iron sharpens iron. [Proverbs 27:17]
10. Even if you beat a fool until he's half dead, you still can't beat his foolishness out of him. [Proverbs 27:22]
11. One conclusion we can reasonably draw from this collection of proverbs is that the first thing we must learn is to learn. To start with, we are often full of pride, which draws us to thinking that we are right, our views are right, and other views are wrong and so we should not change our views when we encounter more realistic ones (because that would devalue the views we previously held).

See extra information at the end of this response and the attached article that makes comparisons between between nouthetic (Adam) and cognitive theorists (Collins).

Nouthetic Counseling

It is proposed by Jay Adam. However, although Nouthetic Counseling is failry modern, the word itself is biblical. The word, used in the New Testament primarily by Saint Paul, is translated "admonish, correct or instruct." This term, which probably best describes Biblical counseling, occurs in such passages as Romans 15:14: "I myself am convinced about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and competent to counsel one another."
Psychology as a science, in its data collection aspects, is not rejected by Nouthetic counselors. Developmental, and some other forms of psychology, are accepted as legitimate. On this particular point Bobgan (1989) puts it this way,

"When we speak of psychology we are not referring to the entire discipline of psychology. Instead these counselors are speaking about that part of psychology that deals with the very nature of man, how he should live, and how he should change" (p. 4, http://www.learntheology.com/counseling_theories_biblical_counseling.html).

From this perspective, although many sincere Christians have adopted pseudoscientific therapies in their counseling techniques, Jay Adams writes,

"In my opinion, advocating, allowing and practicing psychiatric and psychoanalytical dogmas within the church is every bit as pagan and heretical (and therefore perilous) as propagating the teachings of some of the most bizarre cults. The only vital difference is that the cults are less dangerous because their errors are more identifiable?
(1979, http://www.eternalministries.org/articles/ComparingCounselingTheories.htm#_ftn22).

As a nouthetic counselor, Adams believes that theology is very important to counseling and that psychology and the Bible cover ...

Solution Summary

Compares and contrasts nouthetic counseling and cognitive Biblical counseling. It also discusses which theory gives the best Christian-based orientation to counseling and offers the most theoretical content to help clients get better, and in what ways. It also explains how to use both theories to help clients. Supplemented with resources on these theories, as well as Scriptures that reflect the cognitive aspect of biblical counseling.

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