Page 17 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 11
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space to preparation for the act, such as cha-    between Spirit and spirit, as the first speaks to
             racter development and spiritual growth, than     and transforms the second. Remembering that
             on hearing the voice of God (e.g. Barton, 2012).   we have the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit,
             Others point out the importance of communi-       we  should  never  hesitate  to  ask  for  wisdom,
             ty  in  discernment  (e.g.,  Smith,  2003;  Barton,   guidance,  and  the  peace  of  his  presence.  The
             2012). There is a revival of interest in mystical   paraclete reveals truth, inspires, and illumina-
             and contemplative spirituality, and the practice   tes. At times the therapist needs to emphasize
             of spiritual disciplines such as silence, solitude,   implicit integration; other times explicit, or he-
             and reflective Bible reading (e.g., Foster, 1998,   aling prayer. At times clients need refining fire,
             Willard, 2012).                                   other times cleansing water, or a gentle dove.
             In line with some of this research and reflec-    We always need the life breath of the Spirit, the
             tion, I am learning to trust my intuition more,   loving source of life who whispers in the wind
             though  I  am  a  far-from-perfect  discerner.  As   or overshadows us with a cloud, surrounds us
             mentioned, I often incorporate times of silence,   with his redemptive presence, renews our spi-
             and encourage clients to pay attention to their   rits, and changes our hearts of stone into flesh.
             own  emotions,  images,  and  intuition.  I  assist
             people to grow in self-awareness, attending to    Spiritual  discernment  is  indispensable  to  the
             their senses, and especially learning about co-   Christian counselor. It is an art but can also be
             gnitive limitations that may block the work of    learned. Considering ways in which the Spirit
             the Spirit. I encourage imagery work as appro-    communicates  can  assist  both  therapist  and
             priate  and  share  my  biblical  and  theological   client. We can be attuned to the thoughts that
             knowledge as appropriate. I assign homework,      spontaneously  appear  and  cultivate  listening
             and encourage participation in a spiritual com-   with both heart and mind. We can incorporate
             munity, and the practice of spiritual disciplines.   times of silence to provide space for the Spirit
             (And I advise the same for myself but am fre-     to speak. We can encourage the use of image-
             quently non-compliant!)                           ry, metaphor and imagination as ways to intuit
                                                               the truth. Recall that the therapist provides the
             Conclusion                                        community to aid the client in discernment.
             In the triad of the paraclete, the patient and the   Both theology and psychology appear to be ad-
             psychotherapist, the first is the most important   vocating finding a balance between intellectual/
             but also perhaps the most elusive. Having the     rational  and  emotional/imaginative  faculties.
             “one who comes alongside to help” and acting      The counseling setting is perhaps an ideal place
             as “temporary assistant” to the Holy Spirit is a   to practice the interplay of reason—understan-
             delightful  gift  but  also  a  sobering  experience.   ding,  learning  coping  techniques,  adjusting
             We must never forget that the primary purpose     thought processes—and intuition—listening to
             of the Spirit is to reveal Christ, not to be used   emotions,  images,  and  the  Spirit.  For  examp-
             as a therapeutic tool—“the wind blows where it    le, if a client is having difficulty with a limiting
             chooses” (John 3:8). This wind may be a gale or   thought, we can use both cognitive behavioral
             a breeze; this breath surrounds and indwells us.   techniques and pray for insight regarding the
             It behooves us to retain humility and attend to   roots of the thought, attend to the client’s emo-
             our own spiritual, emotional, and mental selves,   tions, and use prayer healing. Reason can help
             as  well  as  being  responsible  with  professional   change intellectual paradigms, which can then
             development.  Self-awareness  opens  channels     open  space  for  the  Spirit.  The  Lord  can  heal
             for the Spirit.                                   through  both  rational  and  intuitive  means.
             We need to be aware of the delicate dialectic of   However, an excessive use of logic may impe-
             the  Spirit  as  powerful  but  personal,  transcen-  de healing. I suggest we need to recover liste-
             dent but tangible, and seek the subtle balance    ning from the heart. We may not always know
             between  education  and  experience,  compre-     whether we are using our own clinical skills or
             hension and contemplation. As we work with        being guided by the Spirit, but I am not convin-
             our clients, we can observe and guide the dance   ced it is always necessary to know. If we ask for

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