Christ Centered Counseling: Next Steps

I have been overwhelmed at times with the kind and generous comments and emails I’ve received in the months since my book, Making Christian Counseling More Christ Centered (MCCMCC), was published. Thank you to all those who have read it, and those who have responded with reviews at WestBow.com, Amazon, and GoodReads. I have been so pleased at the number of people I have met through this project, both within church bodies that have “Lutheran” in their name, and those who simply recognize Martin Luther’s contributions to the history of the church. There seem to be so many who want to make their soul care more centered in Christ. I pray that this little volume is helping readers to do just that.

The first half of MCCMCC summarizes Luther’s soul care theology; the second half is a smattering of soul care techniques that flow from that theology. At the end of my book I wrote this:

I do have hopes and plans for other aspects of this project, God willing….  I hope that we can share with one another other soul care strategies that we develop that flow from this soul care theology of Luther and the Scriptures. If you have other strategies you have been using, I would love to know of them, and collect them into a central place to share with others. I am not sure yet if that central place will best be a website or a second volume or both. Be assured that if you have such strategies, I would love to be involved in sharing them and giving credit to their developers. (207)

I also mentioned the need to develop empirical evidence to show other clinicians and third-party reimbursors that these strategies do make a difference. My book was never meant to be the “final say” about Christ-centered strategies, but the beginning of what I hope will be a long and fruitful conversation between many of us.

To that end, I am so pleased to announce the beginning of the “Next Steps” of this project. This blog post is an invitation for you to write me descriptions of other strategies that you have been using, or would like to see developed. Additional theological insights are also welcome. I have spoken with many possible contributors already. Here are some of ideas about possible content to share:

  • How might other First Article (Creation Grace) concepts, like Adaptive Information Processing model from EMDR, contribute to better care of souls? What other First Article (Creation Grace) concepts should we be paying attention to? (Here is where professional Christian counselors may really be able to help pastors and other soul care givers who do not have a First Article background.)
  • How might strategies for spiritual trauma and the spiritual aspects of all trauma be more centered in Christ?
  • How might Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy or other couples therapy strategies apply more Christ centered approaches?
  • How might the metaphors of Christ as Victor & Christ as Victim be used as counseling strategies?
  • How does the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, use the Word spoken by soul care givers to convict and comfort believers?
  • How can congregations help in the soul care of other members of the body of Christ?
  • How might Christ-centered strategies, like those in the book or this blog, be taught to Stephen Ministers or other lay soul care givers?
  • What other aspects of Luther’s theological teachings could be used to develop soul care strategies?
  • How might the writings of other theologians (e.g., John Calvin, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Martin Bucer, Kierkegaard, Bonhoeffer) contribute more to this Christ-centered soul care conversation today?
  • Sin as Self-Defeating Behavior, and it’s Gospel responses.
  • How can soul care givers use Mindfulness and other meditation strategies in faithful, Christ-centered ways?
  • How can we develop “evidenced-based” practices to show empirically that Christ-centered strategies can reduce Anfectungen like guilt, shame, or meaninglessness, and increase peace and well-being?

I want to take the best of what I receive and share with others here. Normally this site is for Concordia Seminary faculty to share their theological insights with readers, and I am hopeful that perhaps some of my faculty peers will want to contribute to this regular blog. But primarily I am looking forward to soul care givers “in the trenches” to contribute, both Christian counselors and pastors. The blogs can be short (a few hundred words), even just throwing out an initial idea that needs further exploration. Or they can be longer (1,500+ words) and bring out more depth.

If you are moved to send something in, or just want to throw out an idea, please email me at marrsr@csl.edu. Or comment below.

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