The Counseling Models of Dr. Larry Crabb and Dr. Ron Hawkins: A Brief Critique
I am not impressed with Dr. Hawkins' model as I disagree with some key aspects of his Concentric Circles and I find it to be, overall, simplistic and seriously lacking in integration. Due to spatial considerations, I will focus only on my primary disagreement, which is with his understanding of the core self - specifically the manner in which he differentiates the regenerate and unregenerate. Scripture clearly tells us that, upon salvation, we become "a new creature; the old things passed away" (II Cor. 5:17, NASB, emphasis mine). This concept of being completely freed from or dead to sin is reiterated throughout Paul's writings (reference Rom. 6:4 and 7:6; I Cor. 5:7; Gal. 6:15; and Eph. 2:11-16 and 4:24). Thus, I disagree that regenerate individuals retain an "old sin nature" and are only different from unregenerate people because they have the addition of the Holy Spirit. They are different because they are re-born and have a new nature that is clean and holy and desires to follow God.
While the "Spoiling the Egyptians" integrative approach that Crabb claims to ascribe to is not overtly evident in his models, concepts or therapeutic process, he does offer some valuable truths that I wholeheartedly ascribe to. Crabb notes that "the primary problem with people today is misplaced dependency" (1977, p. 139). Biology and other external factors aside, I believe this is foundational concept for Christian counseling. Scripture tells us that God has "granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness" (II Peter 1:3, NASB). When our dependency for having our basic needs of security and significance is on anything other than the Lord God, we will have problems.
I also appreciated Crabb's inclusion of "the basic direction (heart)" as part of the human personality. For the unredeemed, this accounts for the sin nature which leads man naturally to oppose God. For the redeemed, it accounts for the new nature which leads man to naturally desire and obey God. This fits well with my understanding of the affects of salvation on the human self.
Overall I found myself more aligned with Dr. Crabb and his concepts than with Dr. Hawkins, especially as it applied to their models of human personality and the manner in which the redeemed are differentiated from the unredeemed. This was a key aspect for me in assessing these models. Dr. Crabb's model provides a better frame for expressing the transformation that salvation brings to a person's base nature.
Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical counseling: A model for helping caring Christians become capable counselors. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
Hawkins, R. (n.d.a.) [Speaker]. Effective Biblical counseling. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.
Hawkins, R. (n.d.b.) [Speaker]. Hawkins' model for guiding the counseling process. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University.