The Bible emphasizes that God Himself intends marriage to be a lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman. God declares His hatred of divorce (Mal 2:16). Both the Lord and Paul appealed consistently to the creation ordinance of marriage for their teaching. The Bible nowhere demands oreven recommends the divorce. Instead, forgiveness and reconciliation are urged (1 Cor 7:11). Any exceptions are given grudgingly, as a way of regulating sinful conditions. In short, the easy acceptability of modern divorce is foreign to the Bible.
Marriage and family crises began in the first family created by God, and they still continue today. Even though culture and cultural issues have convinced some followers of Christ to conform to the secular worldview of marriage and divorce, the Scripture supplies ageless answers and explanations to troubled marriages and families. On occasion, supplementary guidance can be accomplished through pastoral counseling in a methodical and Biblical counseling setting.
Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling (SFPC) offers an effective, beneficial, and economical technique that is profitable to pastors and church leaders exhausted by the requirements of ministry. Shifting the prominence from the issue to the solution, Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling, provides practical solutions from the Word of God. SFPC is a strong, efficient, and substantiated method of beneficial, biblical change in individuals and couples. It provides a substitute to strictly problem-focused counseling techniques, whether they claim to be biblically-based or secular methods. The intended outcome of SFPC is to support counselors with the knowledge and means in order to be prosperous during the counseling session, as well as encouraging individuals, couples, or families to repent and get back on the righteous path.
The most important part of any counseling sessions is to make sure that you collect the right data. SFPC encourages the collection of sufficient data and asking of personal questions that truly get the counselee to open up about their problem. This writer suggests using Jay Adam’s Personal Data Inventory Form (PDIF), which may be found in his book, The Christian Counselor’s Manual: The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling. Once the right questions are asked and sufficient data is collected, the counselor gets a better sense of what he or she may have to deal with in the counseling sessions.
Employing the SFPC method compels the counselee(s) to recognize all elements of his or her problem and be accountable for his or her actions. It is quite challenging to find contentment in an undetermined problem. If a person or couple is being counseled, it is also challenging to gravitate towards success if they are encouraged to be primarily focused on the good or happiness.
There are several presuppositions underlying this method. First, all people are created in the image of God and are His image bearers (Gen. 1:26). Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” This verse of Scripture explains why the most practical and beneficial pastoral counseling considers the complete person: body, soul, and spirit. Sin is the main cause of most problems that life brings individuals, couples, and families. Counselees must be willing to admit their sin and commit to making the necessary changes to benefit themselves, their spouse, their family, and, most importantly, their Lord.
The goal of a counselor implementing SFPC is to be completely concentrated in listening to the counselee(s) and cooperating with counselee(s) to understand biblically the need for change that will allow reconciliation with God and others. The amount of sessions suggested by the SFPC approach is five to six fifty-minute sessions. If additional counseling sessions seem necessary, counselees are then referred on a case-by-case basis.
The goal of the counselee(s) in SFPC is to be changed into the image of Christ by being established on the path of righteousness through the principles of God’s Word. Transformation may occur quickly or it may occur in accumulative steps. Kollar explains, “Progress is measured by observing the work of the Holy Spirit as He begins to produce spiritual fruit in the life of the counselee. The by-product of this spiritual growth will be satisfaction and joy in Jesus.” This is the ultimate goal of SFPC.
Because one must realize that it is ultimately God’s job to bring about change in a person (Phil. 1:6) and it is the job of the counselee(s) to progress in the sanctification process (Phil. 2:12-13), SFPC is concise, usually resulting in five to eight sessions. Under the direction of the biblical counselor and, most importantly, the Holy Spirit, the counselee(s) sets definite and individual goals and manages precise and direct focus with explicitly defined results. Consequently, the counselee(s) is/are assigned homework tasks and encouraged and expected to keep an account of every day for the counselor to survey with the counselee(s) during every meeting. It is paramount for the counselee(s) to properly follow the guidelines set forth by the counselor in order to make the process of focusing on a solution a successful one.
Also, SFPC recognizes the fact that counseling has not set timetable and may be needed periodically throughout the lifetime of the counselee(s). With that being said, completion of counseling is dependent upon the counselee(s) reaching the definite and individual goals set at the start of the counseling process. Subsequently, if the counselee(s) is unsuccessful with progression or degenerates in their spiritual walk, they may find the need to follow up with the counselor to seek a clearer solution from God’s Word. If SFPC is done properly, the counselor is committed to finding a solution for the counselee(s), and the counselee(s) is determined to truly change under the Holy Spirit’s leadership, no matter how long that might take.
All counselors, both Christian and secular, have the common goal of seeing their counselee(s) change. There are tons of different counseling techniques and methods, but all of them have some elements in common. Namely: (1) an issue or disagreement, (2) the essentiality of change, and (3) a profitable solution. True biblical counselors are dependent upon the principles and teachings of God’s Word as their primary counseling tool and guide. An operative and prosperous pre-marital and marital counseling program is an essential ministry of every effective and biblical local church. All theoretical approaches to marriage counseling have advantages and disadvantages. When one considers the myriad of available methods and practices of counseling, it is best to find the helpful features of counseling techniques derived from the Bible to develop a counseling model that can and should be implemented in the local church.
Even though marriage is a God-ordained and created institution, a married couple will sometimes go through trials. Many challenged couples will seek counseling, and if the couple is involved in a local church, they will most likely turn to their pastor for help. Also, it is believed that the number of people who seek marriage counseling is far beyond the number of people who seek counseling for depression, family tension, alcohol or drug abuse, anxiety, spiritual concerns, past traumas, or other areas of crisis. Solution-Focused Pastoral Counseling is an effective and time efficient technique that is ideal for pastors and church leaders who are oftentimes overburdened by the fulfillments of ministry. SFPC is a strong, efficient, and substantiated method of beneficial, biblical encouragement for individuals, couples, or families to repent and get back on the righteous path. The theory is biblically supported and is easy to implement in the local church