Page 17 - EMCAPP-Journal No. 17
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traversing from a client’s current desire to      practices both in, and out of session. For
             feel better, to setting up a collaborative ex-    example:  homework  may  include  reading
             ploration of ways to live in the tension of       about  God’s  presence,  or  comfort;  Psalm
             the  already-not-yet  of  the  kingdom.  This     126 may be used to work with ambivalence
             work  often  provokes  strong  ambivalence        surrounding  good,  yet  hard  choices;  the
             within clients, with felt sorrow juxtaposed       Apostles Creed may be meditated upon to
             with hope, as they come face-to-face with         restructure a habitual focus on just one of
             their lived reality and how their focus on        the three Horizons. The Christian tradition
             specific  Horizons  of  significance  impacts     supplies plentiful resources to assist in this
             their  choices.  From  such  discussions,  the    work. A thorough examination of these re-
             therapist can assist the client in a process      sources is beyond the scope of this work,
             of meaning making.                                but  the  interested  reader  is  directed  to
                                                               Johnson’s work on Soul Care (2017).
             Process 3: Meaning Making                         T:  It seems  to me  that your present mo-
             The  Christian  therapist  does  not  simply      ment experiences of “if things are going OK
             teach  the  redemptive  historical  moment        or not” has a lot of power over your whole
             and its meaning. Rather, the therapist reco-      life experience, even though you feel like
             gnizes that the client must internalize their     your faith says other things to you.
             own experiential understanding of meaning         C: Yeah, I wish I could believe better! Or,
             over time. Said differently, the therapist as-    really, I guess it just stinks that Heaven is
             sists  the  client  to  personally  re-evaluate,   so far away… then at least things would go
             and re-organize the three Horizons of Signi-      right!
             ficance (self, community, God). To do this,       T: Part of you really just wants to get to hea-
             therapists wonder about the client’s prima-       ven where it feels good. I get that. And I no-
             ry focus (often the self) as it relates to other   tice even as you say it, that “feeling good”
             Horizons.  An  exploration  of  the  original     has a very primary position in your life. Loss
             contexts and systems that led the client to       or broken doesn’t fit in.
             their understanding of life is paramount. It      C: Are you suggesting wanting to feel good
             is within this exploration that clients disco-    is bad?
             ver what taught and sustained their views         T: Not at all, I think it fits right in with being
             of  how  life  should/would  work.  Curiosity     human—that God made us with that inten-
             is warranted, and the therapist can assist        tion. We so often learn that feeling bad just
             the client in courageously criticizing distor-    shouldn’t exist. Yet it does. Your faith holds
             ted aspects of the client’s understanding of      out that heaven is coming, but we aren’t
             life. This is facilitated as both therapist and   there yet. That comes to mind as we hold
             client name, hold, and dismantle, harmful,        this in tension?
             distorted,  and  inaccurate  understandings       C: In my family, if you were sad, you weren’t
             and  internalizations  of  life  experiences.     ‘trusting  God  enough’…  that  seems  so…
             The client’s new awareness, emotions, and         backwards.
             emerging  sense  of  meaning  come  to  the
             fore, and the Christian therapist can assist      The interchange above, both begins an ex-
             the  client  to  explore  Godly  longings,  and   ploration of the client’s Horizons, and as-
             redemptive  historical  truth  and  meaning,      sists the client to begin criticizing what they
             through scripture and other sources. This         previously  knew.  The  therapist  is  not  shy
             process energizes a new perspective of self,      about asserting worldview truths that are
             community,  and  God’s  world,  that  under-      shared with the client, which is necessary
             girds  new  behaviors.  Clients  are  suppor-     to  avoid  a  purely  individualistic  critique.
             ted by experientially and intellectually en-      When the client begins to show energy to-
             gaging  the  three  Horizons  through  active     wards  a  new  understanding  and  choices,

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