This is a weekly post that highlights resources from other counselors that I have found helpful. The counselors may be from the biblical counseling, Christian psychology, integration, or secular counseling traditions. By linking to a post, I am not giving it my full endorsement, I am merely indicating that I believe it made a unique contribution or raised an important subject for consideration.
Telling the Truth To Yourself by Chris Moles
So often when I ask men to share with me how they came to be in a batterer intervention group I find they are eager to “set the record straight.” Generally speaking, most of the men I have worked with put forth a great deal of effort to convince me that they are in fact victims. Some will vacillate back and forth between excuses ranging from unfortunate circumstances to a feminist agenda bent on destroying families. Regardless of the rationale one truth remains consistent, they are being treated unfairly. The temptation for these men is to deny their own responsibility, usually by highlighting their partner’s problems. Many will insist she needs the class far more than they. Sometimes it may seem like I’m out to get them or that I’m unwilling to listen to their side of the story. The reality is that change will not happen in our own hearts as long as we continue to defend our own pride with lies or half-truths.
- If you want to grow in your ability to be honest with yourself, even when you’re angry, consider my post “Learning Relational Wisdom in Conflict Using James 3:17-18.”
Draw Your Life – A Therapeutic Exercise by Esther Marie Smith
What would you learn if you could see your whole life displayed on a single piece of paper? You might be surprised by what you discover. A simple way to draw a representation of your life is through a timeline. I like to do a timeline exercise with people who have complicated and busy life histories. Most of us do! Writing out a timeline can feel incredibly therapeutic for people who have pasts and presents that feel overwhelming, complex, and confusing. Putting the facts down on paper helps sort through the mess.
- If you liked this exercise, consider “Sketching Our Marriage Story” which is a comparable exercise for engaged couples from the “Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Foundations” seminar.
Biblical Counseling and Church History, Part One (12 Minute Video) by Bob Kellemen and David Powlison
Drs. Bob Kellemen and David Powlison discuss how a greater understanding of church history lends richer meaning and a greater sense of context to the work of biblical counseling.
- If you’re a fan of counseling and history, consider my post “Dietrich Bonheoffer on Psychiatry.”
Arrogance vs. Confidence: What’s the Difference? by Scott Berkun
A long running debate in my own mind is the difference between arrogance and confidence. Here are two definitions…
- If you like thinking through distinctions like this, consider my post “Lying vs. Living Falsely: Is There a Difference?” for another important clarification.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Ability to Read Emotions by Susan Krauss Whitbourne
The ability to decode emotions is a basic social skill. Knowing whether the people you’re with are happy, angry, fearful, or sad will help you gauge how exactly to interact with them. In people with borderline personality, who are defined in part by their difficulties in relationships, the risk would seem greater than for most. On the one hand, they may become highly attuned to the facial expressions of the people they’re with, so as to determine whether they’re going to be rejected. In this case, they would be biased toward reading more negativity into people’s faces than is justified. Alternatively, they may show an “empathy paradox” in which they are overly sensitive to any emotions, both negative and positive. Finally, they may fail to read emotional cues entirely, and therefore be under-attentive to how others are feeling.
- If you benefited from this article, see the “What I’m Reading” section below for a biblical counseling perspective.
What I’m Reading
Borderline Personality: A Scriptural Perspective by Cathy Wiseman. Frantic efforts to avoid unpleasant feelings. Perceived abandonment. Profound depression or extreme rage. These symptoms control sufferers of borderline personality disorder, as their intense feelings rule their hearts and choices, fill their relationships with disunity and strife, and seem more real to them than God’s Word or his Spirit.
But Cathy Wiseman shows us, in this detailed, thorough, and helpful study, that God’s Word holds the solution and his Spirit alone can heal the havoc of borderline personality disorder. She maintains that the loving assistance of a team of believers is also crucial, and she provides a wealth of information for biblical helpers, including an analysis of the disorder and its symptoms, exercises to use in counseling, and a list of references and resources.
Tweets of the Week
“There is a final reason I think that Jesus says, ‘Love your enemies.’ It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
| #MLK | #MLKDay |
— Martin Luther King (@MLK_quote) January 14, 2018
“Sin is misusing the freedom, which is God-given, to say no to the one who makes it possible to say anything.” J. Deotis Roberts
— Phabienne Anderson (@PhabienneVera) January 4, 2018
My heart is broken upon learning of a terrible sin a dear friend struggled with for so long, alone, coming to light only after doing great harm.
This prompts me to urge anyone tempted by or caught in sin:
PLEASE, GO—SOONER, NOT LATER—TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW WILL STEER YOU RIGHT.
— Karen Swallow Prior (@KSPrior) January 11, 2018
On the Lighter Side
Because, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” Proverbs 17:22.