Ep. 283 Why Our Counselor Training Program Is unlike Any Other

Ep. 283 Why Our Counselor Training Program Is unlike Any Other

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Shows Main Idea – One of the things that I talk about in our Mastermind program is how there is no passing or failing: how traditional education and training work. Appealing for a good grade could be one of the worst things we could do for our students. We’re developing leaders, which is more than making sure they have the right information. In addition to their competence, we assess and help them in areas of character, compassion, and courage.

Life Over Coffee · Ep. 283 Why Our Counselor Training Program Is Unlike Any Other

Show Notes

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More Than Education

Most biblical counseling training organizations focus on teaching their students the correct facts about the Bible and counseling. Counselors must know how to counsel by using the right information, but counselors need much more than that. An academic mindset is a singular approach that could lead to horrific results in the counseling office.

Let me illustrate:

  • Suppose the student struggled with the fear of man. They would withhold the truth, or their insecurity would tempt them to become angry with their counselees.
  • Suppose the student procrastinated. You would not trust them with the difficult things that come up with counselees if they have a habit of putting off things they do not prefer to do.
  • Suppose the student could not manage the program consistently. Organization and consistency are at the heart of the gospel. If a person does not know how to manage their time well, they will have a hard time balancing family, priorities, and counselees’ unending requests.

If the only thing we looked for in a student were the right answers, we would miss these character development issues: insecurity, temptation, habits, procrastination, organization, priorities, etc. Counseling is much more than giving the right answers; it’s the role of seasoned leaders.

Academic Plus

In addition to providing a world-class curriculum for our students, we go beyond giving them the right answers. If I can learn the student’s strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, behaviors, likes, and dislikes, it will help me serve them better. It will also give indicators of what they can do well or not so well. God did not create all Christian equally.

In most biblical counseling training programs, the student receives the information, and then they have to parrot it back to their trainer to prove they know the information. That is an inferior academic model that teaches facts alone. We’re developing leaders because good biblical counselors need much more than Bible information.

Illustration – We have a report that a student has to do, applying five articles to their lives. The assignment has a word count from 250 to 300. We do not tell them much about this assignment.

  1. It’s reading five articles.
  2. It’s making a personal application.
  3. It’s a specific word count.

Here are a few things that I’m looking for in that report:

  • How well do they apply it personally?
  • How frustrated do they get doing the assignment?
  • Some students do not say enough.
  • Some students like to talk too much.
  • Some students use filler like quotes and scripture to meet the word count.
  • Some students repeat themselves to get the word count.

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The reason for being less directive is because we’re looking for more than just telling them what to do, and they parrot back the right answers. This assignment is like a counseling session.

Let me illustrate: The counselee gives you a data dump of information. This Mastermind assignment is typically the student reading 10,000 words. The student has to apply it in 300 words personally: I have described a counseling session for you.

  • The assignment is less directive on purpose because you do not script any counseling situation.
    • How pneumatic, discerning, and insightful is the student?
  • How comfortable is the student with a less-directive assignment?
  • Or, how comfortable is a student meeting with someone without a script?
    • I want to know this early in the program to see where the starting place is with that student.

Uncertainty is the standard in all counseling situations. If you’re not comfortable with uncertainty, you won’t be a good counselor.

  • The counselee dumps a lot of data on you.
  • You have to sift through the data to find the most vital points.
  • You do not give them the same word count that they gave you with their data dump because they don’t have the retention to remember that much information.

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Building Leaders

We must know if the student is a leader as much as we want to give them the right answers. Some students think it’s the homework that we assess the most. Not true. It’s everything else, and then the homework is last.

One more example: We require our students to interact with the folks who come to us for help. It’s a supervised training aspect of our program, which provides a vital piece of assessment data on each student.

  • Some students are eager to jump on the forums.
    • Others are scared.
  • Some procrastinate.
  • Others ignore it like I’m not going to notice.
  • Others make excuses.
  • Some of them are eager to learn, fail, grow, and mature.

I take leadership development seriously, and I want to serve the students in the most effective ways, but I won’t do that if I do not know them. Besides them being the best that they can be, the more vital thing is the counselee. It’s always the counselee.

If the student is insecure, temperamental, stubborn, divisive, or inconsistent, can’t calendar plan, doesn’t keep commitments, and needs hand-holding, [fill in the blank], I need to know this because, ultimately, we’re releasing them onto hurting souls.

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If you want to learn more about our training, start here. There are four areas that we address with all our students.

  1. Character – The kind of person is just as important as what he knows.
  2. Compassion – Do they exhibit patience and kindness to others?
  3. Courage – Do they have the backbone to do hard things?
  4. Competence – Do they have the academic training to be a biblical counselor?

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