This week we will explore the question, “In what ways, under what circumstances, and with which clients should we use prayer in Christian counseling?” You will discuss in-depth the ways in which prayer in counseling is an effective approach to true self-change.
The online lectures and McMinn suggested some “cautions” or possible negative impacts when using prayer and Scripture in counseling. The importance of those cautions may be better understood in seeking to apply prayer and scripture with a client. Read the case study below and respond to the following:
1. What would you consider the most therapeutic use of prayer with this client? Why?
2. What would you consider to be the most therapeutic use of Scripture with this client? Why?
3. As you consider the integration of psychology and theology, discuss how you would integrate theology into this case. What aspects from psychology would you bring into this case?
4. How do your responses to the first two questions mesh with your response to the third? Do they integrate?
Mary is a 28-year-old woman who was referred to counseling as part of her discharge plan from a local psychiatric facility to which she was admitted as a result of a suicide attempt. She was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. There was also suspicion that she might have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Mary’s father sexually molested her throughout her childhood. He was a pastor and would often quote from the Bible as justification for his abuse of her in an attempt to keep her quiet, such as “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12). At one point when she was approximately 14 years old, Mary became pregnant by her father. When she suffered a miscarriage at the hospital, she disclosed the repeated rapes by her father, and when the doctor at the hospital made the appropriate referrals to police and social services, Mary was placed in foster care. Mary still reads her Bible regularly; however, she questions why God would allow her father to do what he did to her. During counseling, she told the therapist that she was still a believer, but that there was a great distance between her and God.