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JAMAICA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

AN EXAMINATION OF MY PERSONAL REASONS FOR WANTING TO BECOME A COUNSELLOR

A PAPER SUBMITTED TO MISS DIRNELLA ANDERSON IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE COURSE GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING FIELD PRACTICUM

DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE

BY MARK SMITH

KINGSTON, JAMAICA JULY 20, 2011

AN EXAMINATION OF MY PERSONAL REASONS FOR WANTING TO BECOME A COUNSELLOR I arrived at church at the regular time for teaching Sunday school. This morning would be different, as I was given a letter upon entering the chapel by one of the Sunday school teacher, addressed to the Pastor, but already opened and read by all the teachers present. It contained disturbing words written by a young lady intended on ending her life that morning. In it she clearly stated how she would commit the act and who was to be blamed for her death. We were confused as to what to do, but after calling my Pastor, who was unable to reach her immediately, myself and two others went to her home and spoke with her. None of us were trained counselors, and had never dealt with such a situation. However, at the end of about seven long hours, she was still alive. This experience taught me two things: once you love and care for people you must be ready to weep with them and rejoice with them, and being a leader in the church, as I am, you must at all times be ready to counsel. Wayne Oates is accurate in saying that The pastor, regardless of his training, does not enjoy the privilege of electing whether or not he will counsel with his people. They inevitably bring their problems to him for his best guidance and wisest care. He cannot avoid this if he stays in the pastoral ministry. His choice is not between counseling and not counseling, but between counseling in a disciplined and skilled way and counseling in an undisciplined and unskilled way.1 Although I am not a pastor, this spoke volume to my life. In fact, from the time I gave my life to Christ I was convinced that God was leading me down that path of being a leader and a counselor, directing my life according to his will. This was based on the number of persons that not only looked up to me as a leader, but also sought my counsel in many difficult areas.

Wayne E. Oates, (ed). An Introduction to Pastoral Counseling (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing Groups, 1959), vi

Initially, I did not want to go against the will of God, but overtime I found within me this great love for people and enjoyment in helping them. I am convinced that counseling is one of the most effective ways of ministering to the needy. In fact, the Bible encourages mutual sharing. According to Galatians 6:2, (one of many passages), when we bear one another's burdens, we fulfill the law of Christ. Undoubtedly, counselling is a part of helping to bear each others burden. Thus, driven by my zeal for Christ and his ministry, my hearts desire was to study counselling in depth. If I am going to ask people to put their well-being in my hands then I have the responsibility to be the best I can be. Gary Collins believes that it always is difficult to evaluate our own motives2 for wanting to become a counsellor. Although he believes that a sincere desire to help people is a well founded reason, he further asks some pertinent questions that requires consideration; questions such as is there evidence from others that your counselling really has a positive influence? Do you find counselling to be personally fulfilling?3 Pertinent questions indeed, and although I want to answer with a resounding yes, I can only trust God to help me in giving my best in this area. Finally, I want to leave a positive mark in the world, to be able to come home every night doing something I feel have great value and makes a real difference. In doing this, I want to give myself greater value, by helping others toward their life goals by achieving one of my own: doing something I can be proud of. However, when all is said and done, I want a stable career; one which I am in control of. Moreover, I want to fulfill Gods purpose for my life; rough as I know it will be. I want to create a better life for me, and for my family.

Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide (USA: W Publishing Groups, 1988), 24. 3 Ibid.

Over the past three years the training has not been easy, but then again, I never expected it to be; and I can safely say that my initial passion has not been extinguished and is now burning even more brightly. I am looking forward to my new future filled with all the new skills I have gathered and those I shall learn along the way. Looking back to when that initial decision was made, I am sure that my answer would still be the same now as it was then. Why do I want to be a counsellor? Why wouldn't I! Training to be a counsellor is not just something you do, but something you be, and I wanted to be a counsellor. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me (Phil. 4:13).

BIBLIOGRAPHY Wayne E. Oates, (ed). An Introduction to Pastoral Counseling Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishing Groups, 1959. Gary R. Collins, Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide USA: W Publishing Groups, 1988.