A Deeper Journey

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free                                                                                         John 8:32 (KJV)

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…”                                Viktor E. Frankl

I talked yesterday about the spiritual element in our human nature which gives meaning to our life. As I discussed, all spheres of the human experience ideally should be addressed when we are in counseling. I also understand, and completely agree, that the client will direct where they want to go in the counseling process. The client, in coordination with the counselor, sets the goals of treatment. My job as counselor is to help guide that path, honoring the destination that the client wants.

A few years ago, I had a client who told me right from the start that she wanted no part of a spiritual discussion in counseling, after I had discussed my general theoretical approach. Of course, I honored that request, and we proceeded several sessions, discussing her depression, and some of the lifestyle choices that she shared that were her attempts at finding some joy and pleasure in her depressed state of mind.  

One time, early in a subsequent session she said that she felt that something was missing in her life, and she could not get her hands on what it was. There was a void that she could not fill. I asked her about her earlier request to not bring spiritual values into the counseling. I told her that I wanted to continue to honor her request, but without at least exploring that part of her life, we may not make the progress she would want.

The client agreed to the idea of discussing her spiritual values and beliefs, and how that influenced her life and decisions. Our discussions became deeper and more thoughtful. She opened up about some very difficult past experiences with religion that had wounded her. The counseling took a better turn, and opened up for the client some resources that she said she wanted to consider more fully.

I bring this up to demonstrate that without a holistic approach, paying attention to our inner being and our behavioral responses to that, progress is usually hindered. Indeed, I am not saying by any means that clients must adopt my belief system. I do think that it is necessary for people to be completely honest with themselves about what they do believe, or do not believe, and that such truth will set them free. Then the choices that we make can be with our full ownership and acceptance of the consequences.

Prayer: Thank you for the meaning you set in our soul and life, Amen

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