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David Powlison Essay

1981 words - 8 pages






JULY 04, 2013

Table of Contents
Summary of Material………………………………...........................................................3
Practical Application…………………………....................................................................7 
Works ...view middle of the document...

He is also a Senior Editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling. Nouthetic counseling is a form of pastoral counseling that affirms that counseling should be based solely upon the Bible with the main focus being sin as the underlying cause of most problems or issues. The objective is for the counselee to grow in their personal relationship with God.
Personal Needs and Problem Development
The nouthetic counseling approach does not have a detailed process for identifying personal needs or problem development.  One’s personal need is defined as being estranged from God because of sin. Powlison is quoted as saying:

“If we start from the Scriptures' view of people, the two great commandments define our fundamental need. We have a need to love God with heart, soul, mind, and we have a need to love our neighbor as ourselves. Yet we don't love God, we don't trust God. We trust, love, serve, want any of thousands of other things. So we also have a need for the gospel—for forgiveness, for change.” (Stafford, 1994).

In its various forms, sin is the root cause of all functional problems. Problems causing people to seek counsel can be grouped in the following manner. 1) Understanding that humans are social creatures, most problems are ultimately relational problems. 2) Bad feelings such as, depression, anxiety, and fear can be viewed as a point of contact and not necessarily a guide to where counseling should proceed (Powlison 2010, 102). 3) Behaviors are seen as obedient or sinful. Sin (bad behaviors) is not passed off or downplayed by labels like alcoholism or schizophrenia. 4) Faulty thought patterns and faulty beliefs are viewed as sinful. 5) Negative reactions to misery and suffering are also viewed as sin.  Within nouthetic counseling, there is not an emphasis on investigating causes behind behaviors or feelings, but rather a focus on going forward and becoming more like Christ. The focus is not on the problem, but it is directed toward Christ as the solution. 

Bible Integration within Methodology
An integral piece of nouthetic counseling is that the Bible is foundational. According to Powlison, God's word should be the beginning and the end of biblical counseling methodology. The Bible not only defines biblical counseling methodology, but it also defines the truth about people and the process for change (Powlison 2010, 97). The Bible also sets forth a structure to deal with hurting individuals in the form of the church and the pastoral roles within the church. While Powlison has been trained in the psychiatric and psychotherapeutic disciplines, he stresses that the highest and best solution for hurting people would be found in biblical counseling as opposed to programs within secular mental health institutions.
Formulas of Change
The biblical counseling approach Powlison has formulated is labeled as “Idols of the Heart” comprehensive counseling (Christian Counseling 2013). This approach allows for the heart to be the area where all...

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