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Nouthetic Counseling - a feature of some reformed congs.


MamaJunebug

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I first saw about "nouthetic counseling" on the link to the congregation to which the Loomis family belong(ed). (Not sure the link is still there.)

Nouthetic derives from a word meaning "to admonish." The word is found a few times in the New Testament.

The nouthetic counselor intends to discover what sin in a person's life is causing problems like alcoholism, etc., and to admonish them to turn from that sin.

While admonishment is certainly the right thing to do to certain people in certain situations, there is also an opposite or complement to it.

It's "comfort/counsel," and it derives from the same word as "paraclete." Paraclete is frequently used to denote the Holy Spirit, Who comforts us by bringing us the knowledge of Jesus' salvation for us.

The root word for paraclete is found far more frequently in the New Testament than is the root word for "nouthetic."

One may draw one's own conclusions. Were one to consider seeing a "nouthetic counselor," one would do well to ask the counselor what part grace plays in his/her counseling style.

Because yes, we need to remember that we sin, but yes, we also must know that God offers us grace.

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I first saw about "nouthetic counseling" on the link to the congregation to which the Loomis family belong(ed). (Not sure the link is still there.)

Nouthetic derives from a word meaning "to admonish." The word is found a few times in the New Testament.

The nouthetic counselor intends to discover what sin in a person's life is causing problems like alcoholism, etc., and to admonish them to turn from that sin.

While admonishment is certainly the right thing to do to certain people in certain situations, there is also an opposite or complement to it.

It's "comfort/counsel," and it derives from the same word as "paraclete." Paraclete is frequently used to denote the Holy Spirit, Who comforts us by bringing us the knowledge of Jesus' salvation for us.

The root word for paraclete is found far more frequently in the New Testament than is the root word for "nouthetic

ETA: Oooh, I am a tater tot now!!!!

One may draw one's own conclusions. Were one to consider seeing a "nouthetic counselor," one would do well to ask the counselor what part grace plays in his/her counseling style.

Because yes, we need to remember that we sin, but yes, we also must know that God offers us grace.

That's the problem with us Lutherans (and Methodists and Episcopals, and UCCer's et all) we just focus on the grace of Jesus Christ too much. ;) Seriously though, the best counselor I ever had was through Lutheran Family Services. She was a Christian but didn't push her agenda on me. Her only goal was to help me. I seriously doubt LFS would ever throw "nouthetic" counseling bull at anyone!

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Somehow, I got signed up on the rare to occasional Nouthetic Counseling email list. I thought that I'd unsubscribed about a handful of times before, but I keep getting emails. Don't know why I would have continued to get them. I put a polite but not so pleasant comment in the rationale box this time when it asked for a reason for my "unsubscription."

I think that when your training, assumptions and belief system is based on the Bible, many things do have to do with sin, and when that's the case, then it makes sense that this system should be fine. But what if you are being punished for someone else's sin, and the counselor's assumption is wrong. It is healthy to say, "I can only change my response to a situation that is beyond my control," but the assumption in nouthetics tends to be different. If you have troubles, there must me an underlying sin, and there is always a Biblical solution -- no exceptions. That may not be what is intended by all those who participate, but that is a major pitfall with it. If you feel guilty because you steal, nothetics is probably good. If you are falsely accused of stealing and wrongfully punished, I don't think that nouthetics has much to offer. And what if you've had a stroke or a developed a brain tumor, and those significances are downplayed?

I've found that many Christians are horrifically intimidated by the idea of the brain as an organ in the body that can malfunction, and they are intimidated by the whole idea of psychology -- even if it is brain based and verified with brain imaging. Such is considered worldly or some kind of denial that the Bible does have answers for issues of sin. Or it is a denial of God's power or is seen as something opposed to faith.

I would never go to a nouthetic counselor.

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I've found that many Christians are horrifically intimidated by the idea of the brain as an organ in the body that can malfunction, and they are intimidated by the whole idea of psychology -- even if it is brain based and verified with brain imaging. Such is considered worldly or some kind of denial that the Bible does have answers for issues of sin. Or it is a denial of God's power or is seen as something opposed to faith.

This! I get the impression that they're opposed to the idea that actual brain abnormalities and/or chemical imbalances can affect behavior. For example, Bill Gothard has said that most mental illness is the result of personal irresponsibility.

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My fundie lite psychologists think nouthetic counseling is a sham. A dangerous sham.

Same here - I left the fundie-farm for a church that's more fundie-lite to fundie-lite-lite, and or church has pretty much the same things to say about that stuff.

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This! I get the impression that they're opposed to the idea that actual brain abnormalities and/or chemical imbalances can affect behavior. For example, Bill Gothard has said that most mental illness is the result of personal irresponsibility.

Oh, nice!!! So when my 10-year-old son broke down at the realization that life is pointless, that we all die and that eternity in worship to God sounded almost as bad as eternity in hell, it was because *he* was personally irresponsible? At 10????? Or was it *my* irresponsibility in ... what? The kid is now 30, taking meds for clinical depression and anxiety and living a full and productive life.

And he is my "own" child, not adopted. Suck on that, Goatherd.

And Jasmine B is working to be a nouthetic counselor? Tch. Does not bode well for her future freedom, at least as I see it.

Although I understand that there is nouthetic-lite, in which grace *is* acknowledged. Let's keep hope.

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Nouthetic counseling is all kinds of useless bullshit, and dangerous. (I'm reporting my article on it, originally at the old FJ.)

While Biblical counseling has been around since before the canon was solidified, a fairly recent iteration of it - "nouthetic counseling" - is actually a new invention, developed by the Reformed Christian author Jay Adams and popularized through his 1970 title, Competent to Counsel.

His invention is based on three underlying assumptions:

*** That every problem stems from the sin-nature of human beings

*** That the Bible contains an answer for every problem

*** That the average Christian, who recognizes that all problems stem from sin, is better able to offer counseling than any trained psychologist

Legitimate counselors and psychologists might teach the principles of behavior modification, and help a client through the use of talk therapy or/and medication. Adams, on the other hand, believes counseling can be boiled down to three steps: 'To confront, to have concern, and to lead to change.'

He runs the Institute for Nouthetic Studies, which offers coursework - or, more accurately, "coursework" - in nouthetic counseling as well as a certificate of completion awarded to whomever purchases the necessary materials.

Adams offers the following response to those who are curious as to how the INS evaluates the progress of its students.

The answer:

After each lecture you will find a page or two of questions in your notes. If you cannot answer the questions adequately you should review the lecture.

...and...

Anyone who wishes to pay the tuition and go through the motions of sending courses back and forth just to get a certificate to hang on the wall may certainly do so…but they will have significant stewardship issues to answer for at the Judgment Seat.

In other words, there is no oversight; no evaluation. Adams makes no attempt to determine whether his students grasp the material and instead allows them to rely on their own evaluations. He then gives them a certificate of completion, along with - I shit you not - a warning to avoid unscrupulous schools that exist only to take their money:

BE WARNED! There are some very unscrupulous people and "schools" out there on the web who purport to offer training in counseling. We would cite them by name here but the list would soon be outdated as these people come and go and change their names frequently, often using names that are very similar to those of very fine and reputable institutions. Some even offer “degrees†in counseling but are little more than unaccredited diploma mills. This is the only place you can study under Dr. Adams.

So, really, the only difference between a "diploma mill" and a "very fine and reputable" institution (such as the INS) is that the latter offers coursework created by Jay Adams. And not surprisingly, there are no prerequisites for admission.

Moreover, students are not permitted to keep copies of the lectures they've heard - and a failure to respect INS copyright will result in wasting and possible death. Seriously:

May I copy any of the lectures so I can refer to them later?

No. The lectures are copyright material and are being loaned to you to study. You will keep the notes that are included with each course for future reference. This is the same, of course, if you attended Dr. Adams’ (or anyone else’s) lectures in person. Much expense in both time and money have gone into this project and we must be able to recover those costs the same way a book publisher must copyright material in order to cover his expenses and pay his employees. The only difference with recorded material is that it is easier to duplicate electronically. It is just as wrong.

What will happen if I do make a copy (for personal use of course)?

Your conscience will smite you and you will not be able to sleep. Your body will waste away through your groaning all day long. Day and night God’s hand will be heavy upon you and your vitality will drain away as with the fever heat of summer.

In addition to information about enrollment and coursework, the INS website offers an online series called "Adams' Answers," which affords us a peek at what we can expect if we ever get "counseling" from anyone who graduated under his tutelage.

Here, for example, as how a nouthetic counselor can differentiate between depression and a "nervous breakdown":

The important difference is their attitudes. The depressed person says such things as "What's the use?" or "People would be better off without me." He has given up. On the other hand, the person with a so-called "nervous breakdown" is saying such things as "What do I do now?", "Which way should I go?" or "How do I get out of this mess?" He is perplexed; stymied.

And here is how depression is handled:

Depression usually comes from handling a "down" period wrongly. By slacking off when one feels down, he allows responsibilities to slide and pile up. That, in turn, makes him feel worse. But, if he continues to give in to his feelings even more will pile up, which leads to worse feelings, and so on ad infinitum. He follows his feelings rather than meets his responsibilities. To help him, call on him to act responsibly---regardless of how he feels.

In other words, depression is the fault of the depressed person, and the nouthetic "treatment" for it is to tell the depressed person to take responsibility for his life.

The information about "nervous breakdowns" is just as spurious:

People with "nervous breakdowns," on the contrary, are anxious to do something, but perplexed about what to do. That is because they have run out of resources. They have painted themselves into a corner and don't know how to get out of it. If they ran from problems eventually there is no place to run. If they lied their way out of difficulties, and people stopped believing their lies, they found themselves up a creek without a paddle.

In other words, a nervous breakdown is the fault of the affected person, who may also be a liar, and so...

...they must acknowledge the sin of their previous ways, repent of it and adopt God's ways out of a genuine desire to please Him. There is danger that they will grasp for what you offer as an expedient when faced with a difficult situation. Warn against this and take the time to instruct them thoroughly.

But this rabbit-hole goes even deeper. On a page called, "How will I deal with people who have suffered great loss?" Adams gives the following advice:

My friend, what you do in dealing with people in such times is quite clear: you present the gospel to those who know nothing of Christ, and you remind believers of the hope (expectation) of their eternal inheritance (1 Peter 1 :6-9).

On the same page as the above non-answer, Adams discusses the September 11th terrorist attacks, and offers the following warning about Islam - even though neither of these issues has anything whatsoever to do with the question:

No one seems to be saying it, but the nature of the religion of Islam, with its doctrine of the "holy war" is behind world terrorism.

Again, the above is located on a page supposedly devoted to dealing with grief. And yet this dipshit thinks he and his minions should be handling people who may be suffering from mental illness and even suicidal ideation.

Score! He can dig their graves with the same spade he uses to shovel his shit.

To critics who ask whether Adams has any empirical evidence for the efficacy of nouthetic counseling over other methods, he offers the following answer:

Quite frankly, [no empirical evidence]. Do you wonder at that? Let me tell you why you shouldn’t. To compare Christian counseling with other forms of counseling is to compare oranges to apples (no, let’s say, oranges and socks!).

Consider the goal of Christian counseling over against that of others. Most counseling seeks to solve a person’s problem in order to bring relief. That is the prime goal. In Christian counseling, however, the goal is to honor and glorify God, whether or not relief is obtained. How, then, do you compare the outcomes?

In other words, nouthetic counseling is pure, useless shite and Adams knows it. But would-be nouthetic counselors can pay his course fees, get a certificate of completion, and hang out their shingles anyway because that honors God.

As long as the counselor gets to feel that rush of personal power and superiority, it doesn't really matter if the victim of his bad advice improves or not.

"Buyer beware" doesn't even begin to cover how terribly, hopelessly, rottenly bad this actually is.

EDIT: MOAR by Bradley.

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Jasmine Baucham is working on getting certified as a Nouthetic counselor.

Well then, to be quite blunt, she's not as smart as I'd thought.

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Well then, to be quite blunt, she's not as smart as I'd thought.

She could be. It all depends on whether she actually believes in it and is trying to "help" people through it or if she knows it's a load of crap, but realizes the money-making potential of selling her services as a counsel to the many women who follow her online and read her articles and book.

She may be smart, but opportunistic. If so, she's not the first person in those circles to realize there's money to be made peddling stuff you know is bunk (look at the words vs. actions of most paid "antifeminists").

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Who is Jasmine going to counsel? Would she not be pretty limited to children?

Though, as a QF/P Princess, she might have people lined up to meet her, just because of the celebrity. Sad.

Going to see her might be like getting to wash Bob Mumford's car. endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/bill-gothard/

It's serving God by serving Jasmine by letting her serve you, and then you pay her. It's enhanced individuality through groupthink. "Yes, We are all individuals."

Another great review, Burris. (Sad you had to waste time working on it. I don't think it's worth that much consideration.)

THOUGHT: Maybe she's going to use it as a resume booster so that she can get into graduate school a bit easier? NWBTS, ya think? Or maybe Rice U, close to home? Then Voddie can keep an eye on her.

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This! I get the impression that they're opposed to the idea that actual brain abnormalities and/or chemical imbalances can affect behavior. For example, Bill Gothard has said that most mental illness is the result of personal irresponsibility.

Bill Gothard can bend over and kiss my fat white depressed ass, along with these so-called "counselors."

I was irresponsible--when I was not on medication. I was more than just a pain in the ass, I was causing problems not only for myself, but distress to my parents and annoying and/or scaring the living daylights out of friends. Medication--evil psych drugs--helped me to not only get my life back together, but to get it back on track. I now hold a responsible, well-paying job that I (most days) like very much.

And I wouldn't have this, and the life I have now, if I listened to the likes of Bill Gothard or these nouthetic counselors. Again, they can bend over....

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