Teach A Person to Fish...

There are times in biblical counseling that the counselor connects with someone who is particularly needy both spiritually and emotionally.  The person desires to draw their counselor into every aspect of life and latches on tightly.

This can be a good thing, in that the biblical counselor should be living the kind of a life that someone can imitate (Imitate me). In biblical counseling we are not concerned with maintaining professional distance as psychology promotes. Because biblical counseling is discipleship it is often helpful to develop a relationship with your counselee.

It can also be problematic when the counselee begins to view the biblical counselor as their savior or stops searching for truth apart from the counselor. Yes, I am there to assist them understand how to overcome sin and deal with the problems they bring to the counseling table. However I will fail if I somehow give the counselee the message that I am "all that" or the fount of all wisdom! No counselor, biblical or otherwise has all the answers to every problem. The only counselor who does is our Wonderful Counselor, Jesus Christ so it is to Him we all must turn for our salvation and for absolute inerrant truth.  We find that truth in the Word of God.

I follow the "teach a person to fish" model in my biblical counseling relationships. When presented with questions on doctrine or when I think the counselee needs more information or teaching than I can (or should) give them, I supply them with a list of resources - on line, audio, print- that they should access to find the answers to their questions.  My list is comprised of pastors, preachers, teachers, and other that I trust and that agree with my theological viewpoint.  None of this however, replaces the Bible.  All of it is based on the Bible and filled with Scriptural truth and sometimes exposition.  I firmly believe part of my job is to teach the counselee to fish for her own dinner so she can build the skills necessary for self-counsel down the road.

This approach takes me out of the position where the counselee is liable to build a dependence on me instead of the Lord. My role in her life is to be temporary in nature (at least in this capacity). Should a lasting friendship develop as a result of biblical counseling, great! But otherwise, I am a temporary companion for a season of life.  Just teachin' others how to fish.