McMinn - 4-MAT
Until a few months ago I was engaged in a weekly mentoring relationship with a high school senior from the church I was attending at that time. Through God's grace, I employed several of the techniques mentioned in this book and God used them to produce significant growth both in the young lady and in myself. One key ingredient in our mentoring relationship was prayer.
On many occasions I can remember struggling over and praying fervently about how to lovingly confront her regarding some behavioral issue only to have God beat me to the punch. In our next meeting or through a phone call between meetings, she would confess how God had convicted her and then detail her response to that conviction. Always the change was what I had been praying for or a better solution I had not considered. This greatly increased my belief in the power of prayer.
The use of scripture was also primary in our mentoring meetings. When we first started meeting I realized she had a very unhealthy sense of self. Because of unhealthy relationships with her brother, father and boyfriend, she felt helpless and unlovable. She believed she had to earn affection through meeting the demands of others. Through employing cognitive restructuring based on God's word (though I didn't know anything about "cognitive restructuring" at that time), she gradually developed a healthy sense of self and was able to take action to correct or positively affect her unhealthy relationships.
On a more positive note, I greatly appreciated the section on redemption, specifically in reference to informed consent. Ethical issues are addressed throughout the book but the suggestion of including religious values in the informed-consent form will address many potential issues and may open "an opportunity for Christian truth to be incarnated in the therapy relationship" (p. 240).
Lastly, I appreciated the emphasis on the counselor's personal spiritual walk throughout the book. We must not ask our clients to do what we are unwilling to do ourselves. Each of these "religious techniques" is really a spiritual discipline and must never become routine. Our time in prayer must reflect a precious, intimate and personal connection with our Savior. Our time in His Word must come from a deep desire to know Him better. Our hearts must be humble before Him in confession of our own sin and our constant need of His strength and the leading of His Spirit. Our forgiveness of others must stem out of understanding what we have been forgiven.
First and foremost, as with Ortberg's book, I see my need to step it up in regards to the spiritual disciplines mentioned. I believe McMinn is correct that, "the value of counseling interventions is found less in one's technical training and theoretical orientation than in one's character" (p. xi). This concept and others from this book and from Ortberg's book will become foundational to my personal theory of counseling and will be included in the personal theory paper I will be writing next week for another class.
The questions about what form of technique to apply to which client in which circumstances and whether this technique will establish a healthier sense of health or a healthier sense of need or a healing relationship will be incorporated as part of my personal therapeutic process. I believe these are important and useful questions that will help me be more discerning in the proper application of any technique, not just the religiously oriented ones.