Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review: The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women

Recently, my church went through a series on pastoral counseling from Master's Seminary that is available for free on YouTube. It is essentially biblical counseling taught to pastors, but applicable to everyone. It was wonderful, and although at times it was a little dense with information, I highly recommend it.

When I saw The Biblical Counseling Guide for Women by John D. Street Jr. and Janie Street available for review, I was excited because it fit in exactly with what I had just learned!

First, what is biblical counseling? Or, what is the goal? According to the book,
"In short, it is to help a counselee live a life of obedience and faith, and thus to be more Christlike (John 6:35-40). This is accomplished by living out the implications of the gospel in the midst of your problems, seeking to bring all of your life under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. The goal is not simply a short-sighted attempt to get a woman out of her problems, even though, when a person follows Christ's admonitions, her problems will often eventually be resolved."
(Lest you balk a the end of the last sentence, it does go on to say, "However, some problems will not go away, even after you have faithfully obeyed Christ." You'll have to buy the book to read the rest.)

This book is not a handbook filled with charts and lists of Bible verses. That's not to say that the information isn't there, but it is in story form.  Each chapter details the story of a woman and the sin with which she is struggling. It works through the entire process, often starting at a point before she realizes that she needs help. It is essentially a case study on various issues that incorporates biblical counseling principles and applications. It addresses the most common features of each issue but is not meant to be comprehensive.  

The chapters included are:
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Appearance
  • Bitterness
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Chemical Abuse
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorder: Anorexia
  • Grief
  • Guilt
  • Marital Unfaithfulness: Adultery
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Panic Attacks
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Transgenderism
  • Victim of Abuse

Now, I like charts. A lot. And I felt a little deflated when I realized they weren't there. But, I realized, the benefit of this approach is that I need to read and assimilate the material instead of just referencing it. In other words, in order to use it, I need to own it. I can't take a shortcut and flip to a chart. Need a verse on anxiety? Tsk, tsk...read the chapter, study the verses and context - no shortcuts!

One of the features that the book contains to help you own the information are questions for discussion. Here are a couple of samples from the chapter on anxiety:

  1. Many people make excuses for ongoing sin, saying that some sins cannot be overcome, that they are just a part of who we are. Read Philippians 4:4-9 and 2 Timothy 6:16-17. Write down the reasons why these excuses cannot be true.
  2. What aspects of God's character are under attack when we fail to put off sinful anxiety?
As you can see, these questions will be very helpful in helping you understand the material.

I highly recommend this book for every woman. Not only will this help prepare you to biblically counsel a friend, but it will also give you compassion and understanding for those that struggle with sins that you don't. 

Disclaimer: I received this ebook free from the publisher.


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