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Comparison Paper: Effective Biblical Counseling: A Model for Helping Caring Christians become capable Counselors By Dr. Larry Crabb


PACO 507




1. Primary goal Dr. Larry Crabb from the beginning of his book states that the purpose in writing this book is to think through a model of counseling that can be intergraded into the functioning of the local church to be carried out in the context of the local body of the church. [1] Crabb teaches that the goal of all Christian Counseling should be to free people to better worship and serve God by helping them become more like the Lord. The goal is maturity.[2]

2. Development of problems and personal need Crabb teaches that Christian Counselors must be sensitive to the depths of selfishness resident within human nature. It is the responsibility of the Christian believers to continually remind and exhort each other to keep in view the goal of all true counseling which is the promotion of spiritual and psychological maturity.[3] Without a clear understanding of how problems develop, counseling can become nothing more than a warm, friendly conversation of good intentions. [4] Counselors must differentiate between needs and wants. We need significance and security in order to persevere in faithful living.[5] The key element behind most psychological problems and symptoms is an obstacle which interferes with reaching the individuals chosen goal.[6]

3. Biblical integration Crabb uses the Bible throughout this methodology. Many of us place top priority on becoming Christ like in the middle of our problems but on finding happiness. The

overriding goal must be in every circumstance to respond biblically, to put the Lord first, to seek to behave as He would want me to.[7] Crabb does a effective job with integration between the Bible and Psychology in his four types of counseling models.

4. Formula for change Crabb teaches several stages of counseling that are centered on teaching biblical thought patterns, behaviors and feelings. The eight Stages of Biblical Counseling are: first to identify problem feelings (Crabb, 149). The counselor must move to a consideration of goal-oriented behaviors. Secondly, the counselor seeks to identify goaloriented (problem) behavior (Crabb, 151). When the counselor identifies the goal, which the person has been pursing, they can specify basic assumptions. Third, Once the counselor identifies the problem thinking, they will start the task of convincing the client of change and direct them to a biblical solution (Crabb, 153). Fourth, Crabb emphasizes Teaching. (Crabb, 155). Teach the client biblical tool to use to combat the problem thinking, like quoting the Word of God, prayer and affirmative statements. Stage five involves securing a commitment to act on the basis of the newly learned assumption (Crabb, 156). Stage six is the obvious follow up to stage five: plan what your client will do differently now that their thinking has changed. Stage seven is seeking to plan the difference / carry out biblical behavior (Crabb, 159). Stage seven is simple the identification of the lack of sin related feelings and the presence of spiritual feelings. Lastly, stage eight is seeking to Identify Spirit-controlled biblical feelings (Crabb, 159). Stage eight is having the client express their new feeling and habit and learns to rely upon the Holy Spirit to help them control and maintain their new feelings and habits.

5. Balance of theology and spirituality Dr. Crabb teaches that all problems should be viewed using biblical foundations, and integrating only those components of psychology consistent with the Bible. People are motive to meet their needs. Until a persons needs are met, they are operating from a deficit of being self-seeking. This goal will never be given up until it is recognized that personal needs are met only in a relationship with Christ.[8]

6. Human personality Dr. Crabb lays out what he believes the structure of human personality in the fifth chapter, Personality Structure - Taking Apart the Watch, of his book. He believes that humans are made up of: The Conscious Mind, which is the evaluation of what happens to us. (Crabb, 88) and The Unconscious Mind, which are basic assumptions that a person firmly and emotionally hold on to about how to meet ones needs of significance and security (Crabb, 91). 7. Counselors function and role

Dr. Crabb teaches that the local Church should provide alternative resources for dealing with these problems within the body where people can benefit from the healing potential inherent in body functioning while they receive appropriate counseling help. Counseling and life in the body should not be separated. The church should develop a model of biblical counseling, which can be integrated gracefully into the local church. Effective counseling requires both a caring relationship and an understanding of human functioning.[9]

8. Major contribution to counseling Dr. Larry Crabb has made and continues to make major contributions to Christian counseling by teaching the importance of Church involvement in counseling. Dr. Crabb identifies three different levels of counseling that can take place in a local church. The first level is a Christian giving encouragement to another who needs it. He stresses that this first level of counseling is and can be facilitated by any Christian. The second level is the level of exhortation. The person counseling would look at problem in person needing counseling and come up with something that person could do to improve the situation. The third and final level is the level covered by most of Crabbs books. This is the level of enlightenment. The thinking behind the clients problems will be explored to find out where it deviates from a biblical norm. This level is usually only done by a counselor who has had specific education and training.[10]

9. Limitations of this counseling theory One of the boundaries is the idea that Crabbs system of needs only takes into account good desires or longings. Crabbs system does not take into account that even our desires have become sinful. Crabb approaches the counseling situation with the idea that the clients goal is wrong. The Bible shows not only can the goal be wrong but the desire can also be sinful. Owens (1993) speaks to this point when he says, "But Scripture also speaks of evil longings or desires (Gal. 5:16). All the longings men feel are neither neutral nor related to our certainness" [11]

10. Classification (nouthetic, biblical, Christian, Christian psychology, integrational, etc.)

This author would almost classify this book integrational, while others will classify it as nouthetic. Dr. Crabb compares behavior patterns "with his understanding of biblical behavior patterns, and commands change."[12] Ron Hawkins teaches that Christian counselor help people to see their problems and then see how to get of problems. Contributions by various Christian Counselors and authors like, Dr. Larry Crabb will equip other Christian counselors to help people solve the various problems they find themselves in.[13]


Dr. Larry Crabbs Effective Biblical Counseling: A Model for Helping Caring Christians Become Capable Counselors is an excellent book overall. Crabb teaches and promotes the belief that God has ordained the local church to be his primary instrument in counseling and helping people. This author found the book to be a resource that will be continually referred to in the life of ministry and that much can be gleaned from this for counseling, preaching, and teaching on the subject of Christian Counseling within the Church. Some practical ways that this material will be applied are: First, in the life of the church that this counselor is in, members will be trained in biblical counseling. Secondly, curriculum will be developed to aid in the training of these members to better assist them in the counseling process. Third, Dr. Crabbs book has wet this readers appetite to read more in the area of counseling for more clarity and understanding. Fourth, When counseling, This counselor will seek to identifying problem feelings, behaviors and thinking by helping them to think biblical. Lastly, this counselor will seek to not just accept everything in the area of counseling and psychology as being correct.

References Crabb, L. (1986). Effective biblical counseling: A model for helping caring Christians become capable counselors. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Powlison, D. (2010). The Biblical Counseling Movement. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press. Owens, J., (1993). Christian psychologys war on Gods Word. Santa Barbara, California EastGate Publishing. Hawkins, Ron. (n.d.). Introduction to theology and spirituality in counseling. Lynchburg, Virginia: Liberty University on line: PACO 507, Presentation one/Forum one. (Accessed 11-1-13).
------------[1] Crabb, Larry (1977). Effective biblical counseling: a model for helping caring Christians become capable counselors. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing. p.13. [2] Ibid, 22. [3] Ibid, 22. [4] Ibid, 113. [5] Ibid, 116. [6] Ibid, 127. [7] Ibid, 20. [8] Ibid, 84, 85. [9] Ibid, 14 [10] Ibid, 16. [11] Owens, J., (1993). Christian Psychologys War on Gods Word. Santa Barbara: EastGate. 27. [12] Ibid, Crabb, 149. [13] Hawkins, Ron. (n.d.). Introduction to theology and spirituality in counseling. Lynchburg, Virginia: Liberty University on line: PACO 507, Presentation one/Forum one. (Accessed 11-1-13).