I have long believed that no psychotherapist can facilitate real change without a supernatural anointing. In other words, counseling and psychotherapy require a gifting through the Holy Spirit.
This premise applies in a powerful way to victims of child and domestic abuse. Only a survivor of such prolonged and intense suffering can understand what another is experiencing. I mean flashbacks, fragmented memories that force their way into consciousness, nightmares, depression, rage, and all else that are consequences of having your whole personality mangled by abuse.
This belief persists so strongly in me that, as president of a seminary training Christian clinical counselors, I count the student's own suffering as the most important element by far in his or her education.
What I am about to say will seem preposterous to traditional educators. I purposely seek victims and survivors of abuse as students. Then I counsel them by telephone at the same time that I am acting as their curriculum advisor.
They receive both education and therapy by phone when they are enrolled and actively pursuing their demanding studies.
One particular young woman, who calls me several times a week long-distance, has the worst history of abuse I have ever heard of in nearly 30 years as a therapist in this field. She is being educated and healed at the same time.
When this lady is fully embowered by this process, and when her doctoral requirements are met, she will be a Christian therapist will the insight and wisdom that only suffering could achieve. God will take every bit of her terror, physical pain, shame, and self-doubt and transform the package into a priceless gift for healing others.
The question of why bad things happen to good people still circulates among us, but there is at least one real answer, that our suffering can lead to dynamic service in the Kingdom of God.
One key is to change our point of view about ourselves from that of victim to that of survivor. Such a re-framing changes everything. We come to see that there was meaning and purpose all along in what we endured. Our trials were not for nothing. They were the foundation for a life of service.
This premise holds true for many other kinds of victims having the symptoms of trauma. I have learned that all victims of physical or sexual abuse exhibit signs of trauma. Since abuse survivors share this condition with so many people, they can be a resource that is in very great demand.
Therapists able to treat any kind of trauma are extremely rare. For example, war veterans typically have a prolonged wait for treatment simply because specialists in this field are in such short supply.
We have abuse as a growing pandemic, we have war veterans, and we have millions of more people who have been traumatized by some event. The shortage of help is disastrous. The best place to look for potential therapists is in the population of victims becoming survivors.
This article is furnished courtesy of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary at http://stjamestheelderseminary.org Fr. Ewart is president of the seminary, a low-cost distance-learning institution where a respected doctorate in counseling or ministry can be obtained at less cost than a single course elsewhere.
About Fr. Heyward
Causes Fr. Heyward Ewart, Ph.D. Supports
Intervening for and treating victims of child and domestic abuse; pro-life activists; societal reform by understanding and applying correctly the...