Saturday, April 27, 2013
I'd like to focus this blog post on intellectual development and the idea of "brainwashing." This funny article gives on overview of supposed ways that parents are brainwashing their children to have certain political beliefs. We'll come back to the idea of brainwashing but first I'd want to give an overview of the stages of intellectual development we discussed in class. The first stage is dependence where people depend upon others or authority figures for their information and knowledge. This can include television, school, church, or even parents. The second stage is independence which is where individuals start thinking about what they believe and forming their own answers to questions. This is when people start to take responsibility for their answers and this stage often starts in the rebellious teenage years. The last stage is interdependence and this is when you learn to have your own beliefs and opinions but also have the ability to work with others. This includes working with others that have different beliefs and opinions from yourself.
This topic is very important as future counselors we are called to help promote the autonomy and health of our clients. It is easy to laugh at the idea of someone being "brainwashed" into believing something but we have to remember at the hundreds if not thousands of messages people receive daily. Someone that watches a lot of television is force fed hundreds of commercials, soap operas, and shows that are trying to convince our clients what to believe. As counselors we need to help clients decipher why they believe what they believe and if it truly is in line with their core beliefs. This means when a client is considering leaving their spouse because their favorite TV show makes divorce look easy or makes them believe that divorce will bring more happiness and a better looking spouse, we need to challenge that way of thinking.
The point that I am trying to make is that everyone is daily inundated with thousands of messages that ultimately have the ability to influence our beliefs. People need to realize that they are not bullet proof from these messages. Our bosses, peers, favorite TV shows, the billboards on the way to work, and even our parents are trying to convince us of something we should believed. We far too often believe something without looking at its merits and it is time that we stop.
Friday, April 26, 2013
An attachment style can tell a lot about a person and their history. Attachment styles develop from things that were done wrong or right towards a person by a caregiver. Attachment styles can show a lot of hurt and a lot of happy in a persons life. In counseling sessions it is important to understand a persons attachment style if it is one that has a great effect on that persons presenting problem. Just understanding an attachment style may be able to help the client understand him or herself and why they do the things or feel the things they feel. A client could come into your office with problems with her mother. She does not feel emotionally connected to her mother and it affects their relationship significantly. She does not feel a strong desire to develop a strong/close relationship but she feels like she should have that desire. She wrestles with not having that deisre to have that relationship with knowing that she should have that desire and it is important to have a strong bond with your mother/caregiver. Therapy could open her eyes to the attachment style she has developed. Going thoroughout life with these feelings and no understanding of where they came from and why can be difficult. If she works with a counselor to understand these feelings and her counselor explains to her that she has an avoidant attachment style, that may shine some light on how she feels. It will giver her understanding and she will no longer feel like she is left in the dark with her own emotions. That can open the door to exploring why she may have that attachement style and move on from there to having a successful counseling session.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Monday, April 22, 2013
Two weeks ago we had a lecture on Attachment Theory. We talked about how our interaction with caregivers early in life influence the way we relate to others for the rest of our lives. These interactions cause us to form beliefs about ourselves and others and give us an overall understanding of how the world works.
Our beliefs about ourselves are tied into our self-esteem. If we feel good about ourselves, have confidence in ourselves, or generally like ourselves our self-esteem is high. If we dislike ourselves, feel that we have no worth, and don't believe we can do anything right then our self-esteem is low. Low self-esteem affects our mood, the way we act, and how we treat people. If we don't love ourselves we can never fully love others or allow others to love us. So how do we raise our self-esteem? How do we know what to believe about ourselves? And furthermore, what does God think about us?
An article I read by Stanley J. Gross suggest that people can do several things to raise their self esteem such as stopping self-destructive behaviors, practicing self care, slowing impulsive responses, learning essential life skills etc. By changing our actions and treating ourselves well we can improve our view of self.
But that is only the way we treat ourselves. How does God see us?
Another article from WikiHow speaks to changing our self esteem through God. Although it is a generally secular source, the article talks about how God loves all of us and died for our sins and then rose again from the grave three days later, conquering death. Because of this, God loves us and sees us as beautiful creatures. He delights in us and we have the power to accomplish anything through Him. The article encourages us to study the Bible and search for examples of God's love for us and our worth. By doing those things we can see ourselves through Him and become able to love ourselves more.
How Does this Relate to Counseling?
It is very important to understand how self-esteem works within a person. Many client's will come in with problems that in some way relate to how they view themselves. It will be imperative to be able to utilize secular methods and Christian methods in working through these issues with people. If we can help others understand that God thinks they are worth something and wants them to love themselves and have good working relationships they may be more prone to change. Using the secular resources can help that change take practical form and transform the way a person lives.
These articles pointed out practical ways in which someone could improve their self-esteem. In utilizing this whether in professional or lay counseling we can help people get a better, and more accurate, view of themselves. This improvement of self can help others change the way they interact within relationships and ultimately with God. If a person can love himself, they can be loved by God, and then love others.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
|Illustration of a Cooperative Wedding|
During the latest class discussion the topic of homosexuality was brought up. I asked the professor a question about sexual orientation and marriage, where he posed the question is there a difference between a married man who has a thought about having sex with another women and a married man who has a thought about having sex with another man. This was about a week and half ago and I'm still pondering on this question. Some would say if the physical act wasn't committed then it is okay where others would say it is a sin. To tell the truth, I still don't know the answer. In both scenarios the subject of cheating is relevant, but in the latter scenario does the homosexuality aspect play a larger role?
I found an article which talks about marriage and homosexuality titled, China's Fake Gay Marriages, http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/04/19/china-s-fake-gay-marriages.html. The article tells how up until 1997 homosexuality was a crime and until 2001 it was listed as a mental illness. It further explains how different cultural factors have led homosexuals in China to seek out cooperative marriages. Cooperative marriages are described as a homosexual male and female entering into marriage for the illusion and benefit factors of a heterosexual couple. With the rise of Internet, it is making this practice easier to access. It also provides a more feasible alternative for closeted homosexuals whom in the past would marry heterosexuals to stay within tradition and please their parents.
Even though this practice may not be readily practiced in the U.S. (from what I know) it makes me think about the ramifications of certain restrictions that are and could be placed on homosexuality. Just a few short decades ago, homosexuality was not something to be discussed in public, much less full church services being dedicated to the sinfulness of homosexuality, but over time this topic has been the discussion of many debates, positive and negative. When it comes to homosexuality-as a Christian counselor or a counselor that is Christian (I do believe there is a difference) how would you respond to a client that wants to address their homosexuality?
During our class discussion there was an article that was talked about, written by a former student, entitled Being Gay at Jerry Falwell's University http://m.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/04/being-gay-at-jerry-falwells-university/274578/?fb_action_ids=10100817199063878&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map= . The article, as titled, describes a student’s coming out as gay after growing up in the church and attending a Christian University. During class, a few students commented that shouldn't we be telling him that he is wrong and doing wrong, when the professor remarked that he knows it is wrong. I had my hand up to speak and as soon as the professor made the comment, I was like thank you! Finally!
The bible says that homosexuality is a sin and anyone who grew up in a Christian home or has any basic knowledge of Christianity knows that homosexuality is a sin, however, when I hear that we need to tell them that it is wrong or what they are doing is wrong, it makes me wonder why do people think or assume that people are oblivious. Maybe this is just my point of view when I hear that comment, but just like a little child that has been taught right from wrong, and then steals a piece of candy, they know it's wrong or just like a person who cheats on their taxes or their spouse, they know it's wrong, but in my opinion it seems like homosexuality and homosexuals are much more looked down upon and discriminated against than a thief or an adulterer.
When it comes to counseling and homosexuality, I'm sure for most counselors whether (psychology or biblical) there is a lot that needs to be thought of before work can begin. Either way you look at the situation it just does not seem cut and dry. When counseling a person who has an issue with their sexuality, many issues may need to be addressed other than them being attracted to the same sex. Some concerns that maybe faced involve intrapersonal issues including self-esteem, guilt or confusion because of the attraction to the same sex, personal hate or dislike because of the feelings that are inside, thoughts or actions of self-mutilation or suicide as well as mental health and eating disorders. Interpersonal issues can include bullying by others, words, feelings and actions expressed by parental figures and/or siblings (negative, positive and sometimes a combination) as well as discrimination, which can include hate crimes. So for present and future counselors, it is imperative that all issues be addressed and dealt with versus just concentrating on the sinful nature of homosexuality.
I mentioned the above two articles and the class discussion because homosexuality is something that fires me up, especially when it is accompanied by the hate talk. Yes the bible says that it is a sin and I am not writing this to disagree, but I am writing this to express my feelings about the hate that is expressed. I recently spoke to a friend who advised that she is in search of a new church because the pastor at her current church (and other churches in the area) seemed hypocritical. She advised that sermons were based on the immorality of homosexuality but nothing is ever said about fornication (in which the pastor has two daughters who are unmarried with children). I too agreed how I have been in the congregation quite a few times and heard my fair share of immorality sermons focused on homosexuality, but that immorality never extended to sexual addictions or adultery or other sins that are also in the bible. I thought sin was sin? I really wanted to write about this subject just so people can see a different perspective than is normally expressed in the media (yeah or nay). My opinion is not about yeah or nay, right or wrong, sin or not sin, but about acceptance and/or understanding of the individual.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
God Attachment by Tim Clinton and Josh Straub
Attachment Theory and Religion: Childhood Attachments, Religious Beliefs and Conversion. By Lee Kirkpatrick and Phillip Shavert
Two Dimensions of Attachment to God and Their Relation to Affect, Religiosity, and Personality Constructs. By Lee Kirkpatrick and Wade Rowatt
How this relates to counseling:
It goes without saying that we all are going to encounter clients who are struggling with homosexual tendencies. Instead of referring them because we don't agree with their behaviors, we need to show compassion and instead counsel the person through it. Yes that will be difficult to do if we are in secular settings because many of those practices teaches us how to assist someone in coming out, but I still believe that we can be loving and try to understand the hurt the person is feeling underneath. There is always some way to love someone. And as I have said in my previous post, we ALL have a struggle of some kind. A person with same sex attraction just happens to wear their struggle on their sleeve.
My personal response:
I took a class here at Liberty in undergrad called "Addictions and the recovery process" with the late Dr. Pitts. He was an absolutely brilliant man and I learned a great deal from him. He is a recovering drug addict so I really respected his insights into the struggles of addictions especially since I'm the daughter of two recovering drug addicts myself. In this class, we talked about homosexuality which at first shocked me. But the more he unpacked it the more it makes sense to classify homosexuality as a sexual addiction. When placed through that lens, it hits home for me. Seeing both my parents struggle through their recoveries, I understand how hard it is to resist an addiction. So instead of making homosexual people out to be these monsters, how about we instead take a step back and look for the hurting person within them. I guarantee there's hurt there. And we as counselors need to be much more sensitive to that. The church spends all this time preparing missionaries for their trips over seas by teaching them the language, the culture, the dress codes, etc. so why aren't we attempting to do the same for the homosexual community? Why aren't we attempting to reach out to them and love on them so as to create opportunities to share about the healing ministry of Jesus Christ? Why are we seeing them only for their sinful behaviors? That makes no sense to me.
I think these two pictures sum this post up perfectly: