Protecting Your TIME
Learn the wisdom of referral. You need to know when something is beyond you – entails many sessions or is too involved. Examples are: any type of abuse,
Keep a list of Christian counselors, psychiatrists, etc. you can refer to.
To protect yourself limit your sessions to three. Not only is your time valuable but if the person needs more than three sessions he/she should be referred out..
Assign homework. If you are “working” on their situation by giving your time, they need to work also. This will sort out those who are just wanting to vent and not change. Tell them when they do the assigned work you will see them.
Examples of assignments:
Self-Esteem –Read Telling Yourself the Truth by Backus, write down your negative self-talk each day and then refute it, keep a journal of your devotional life, and give certain scripture passages to read. An alternative book might be Boundaries by McCloud.
Rejection – Read The Root of Rejection by Joyce Meyer. Possibly another book would be The Art of Forgiveness by Smedes. Write out behaviors that they want to change. Choose one of the behaviors to work on each day.
Sexual Addiction – Refer them to a Men’s group (at another church if you don’t have one). Have them read Every Man’s Battle by Arterburn or Pure Desire by Ted Roberts.
Divorce – Read Growing Through Divorce, work on some of the listed questions in the back of the book.
If the counselee doesn’t follow through on their assignment don’t see them again. If they aren’t willing to work on getting better, why should you? This way you weed out those who aren’t serious about changing from those who want to change. Your time is valuable.
Learn to validate – Validation is merely acknowledging verbally what you are hearing them say and what they appear to be feeling. You can “see their pain”. Sometimes you can simplify your life when you learn to truly validate after a person speaks of pain. That in itself can be a healer.
Example: I can see you have been through a lot of very difficult situations.
I can see you are experiencing great pain. I can’t even imagine how difficult it might be to go through something like that.