Agape Christian Counselling, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
© George Hartwell M.Sc. 4/3/2006 all rights reserved
The first thing to do in a prayer counselling session establish the client's goals. What does he or she want to achieve through counselling? What do they need from you? You need to ask. You need to write it down. You need to refer back to it in later sessions.
The goal statement:
1. helps make the counselling contract clear,
2. helps avoid 'game playing,' (See: Karpman Triangle.)
3. helps the client see that you are focused on their goals (builds trust),
4. helps define the counsellor's role and the focus of the session.
Conclusion: You are at risk if you do not ask the client to clarify goals.
Remember Jesus often asked - "What do you need from me?"
There are different ways to ask for goal clarification:
1. "What brings you here?"
2. "What problems do you want to work on?"
3. "What goal would you like to achieve?".
A positive approach ask the clients what they want to accomplish as a result of the prayer counselling. Is there a vision of health? Is there any hope for change? Does the client even see prayer counselling as a process going somewhere? You begin to find out when you ask them what their goal is for prayer counseling.
It is okay to negotiate the prayer counseling goals. You need to state what you can and will work on. There will be a time of negotiation between you and the person seeking help.
These negotiations are important. Opening moves often tell in the end game. So you, as the prayer counsellor, can reword the client's goals in a way that you would find more acceptable. See if the clients agrees with a reframed (rewarded) goal?
Some goals you can work with; some you cannot. Some goals you may not want accept in your prayer counseling session. You may believe that you would cause more harm than good be undertaking this goal and you don't want to cause any harm. It is up to you to make that clear.
Here is an example: can you accept a goal such as: "I just need a chance to talk about my problems. I need someone who can listen. I don't need any answers?"
I would like to ensure, if possible the right to pray about issues.
I could say: "I always start and end my sessions with prayer. I that okay with you?"
I would like the client to hear the prayer for a couple of reasons: one, it tells them that I did listen and whether I heard their heart and second, it tells them that I believe God is listening and is part of the answer to their life. The fact that I negotiate for this right indicates how very important my belief in God is to me. It is a testimony to God.
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