Core Counseling Skills for Ministers Webinar

This session covers basic counseling skills including verbal and nonverbal communication, listening skills, asking questions effectively, clarifying issues, etc. It also teaches the core counseling mindset.

Handout  Core Counseling Mind Map


Okay, thank you for that, Brother Arlan, and thank you again, everyone for coming. Here before us is a verse in Thessalonians and special as it talks about how Paul and Timotheus related to the Thessalonians in that church and they were gentle among them, even as a nurse cherishes her children. I think it’s a wonderful, perhaps starting point as we talk about counseling and interacting with people. You get a sense, that Paul and those that served with Paul in the church did more than just preach the gospel.

In fact, it says that in verse eight, so being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because you were dear to us and brothers and sisters, no doubt you have experienced as I have that you pretty soon find out that you’re in situations and counseling type of situations with those in your church, whether it be with a convert to those who might be struggling with something or, bending your ear about something else. And it might be in the back hall of church, or it could be in the privacy of your own study and you find yourself interacting with somebody and counseling them.

And again, if you were like me, you might wonder where should I be going with this? How should I be handling this situation? I don’t know what to say or what to do. That’s the spirit that this presentation has come from. As we have kind of sat down with the clinicians here at ACCFS, at the agency and kind of allowed them to help us understand what is core to counselling.

What is the very lowest hanging fruit, so to speak of, what it looks like to counsel. And so in this next slide, I’m gonna share with you a mind map and it’s really our attempt to put together the different things that a counselor thinks about. And so this is simply to help us engage with people and kind of have a little bit of wherewithal when we engage with people in a counseling situation. Now I’ll admit this graph right here looks a little overwhelming. So I would like you just to kind of zero in on the very center of it, because what we’ve done is we’ve taken the very center content. And we said, this is the very basic, this is the most important content is in the very center circles.

And then tonight, Brother Ron’s gonna share some of his experiences and some of his expertise in this topic and he and I will have a conversation about it, but we’re gonna move out from that center circle. So if you can’t imagine, just ignore everything on the outside of the circles.

We’re not there yet, and we might not even get there, but we’re gonna talk about the most important things first and as time allows, we’ll move to another ring and talk about some more important content as it regards counseling. So this is what we called the core counselling mind map. This resource will be available to you to download and to use in whatever way it benefits you.

So again, we’re gonna just think about the center part here and work our way out. So if we’re gonna, we’re gonna first talk about the mindset of a counselor. And when we talk about counseling, there’s a certain mindset that we have as we go into that situation with, we go into that encounter with a person and we have kind of put five things out here as being some basic content, some basic thoughts that a counselor has. And so, Ron, I want you to speak to this concept of understanding that a person, if a person has come to you, often there’s some pain there. And just understanding that there’s pain there, is a place that we start with a counselor.

So I think I’d like to go back and just comment in those, don’t return to them, verses, and just make a comment. I’m pretty sure this research is still correct but at least it used to be the number one predictor of success for professional counselors is not where they were trained, not what they’re trained in and not what intervention they use, but the relationship that they have with the person they’re talking to.

So, when we start at this very core level, it’s about connecting with that person, caring about them, and then showing that. So sometimes counselors and certainly those who are not trained as counselors, but are elected to be ministers and then become counselors, think too much about whether they have the skill set and less about narrowing into the person that they’re talking about.

So I think this fine yourself, or you wanna go on this way, these cases speak to that. So know that they’re hurting and you don’t, you’re all different. Some of you feel others’ pain acutely, some don’t, but know that they’re hurting. Recognize that ask for help is extremely difficult, not just for men, but for everybody that people have to have hope as soon as hope is done people quit unless they’re looking for some other kind of attention, but you have to leave that there and then admitting that you don’t know that you’re here to learn about what they have, but not becoming too concerned, whether you’re figuring it out accurately. First, it’s more important to engage with the person.

So the hope and the hurting. And, I think that’s really helpful to know that, for example, this one here, I don’t know, because that’s a lot of times what I’m afraid about, right. It’s like I’m in over my head with this situation. There’s a lot that I don’t understand about what’s going on here.

But the core counseling mindset is that I don’t have to know necessarily. I am not an expert, and maybe it leads us down a road of question and listening and empathy a little bit quicker than saying, oh, I know exactly what the answer is to this. So, maybe there’s an advantage there.

Yeah. So even if you think, you know, don’t say that. That will seem to people like you’re not trying hard enough to understand. You don’t need to overemphasize that I don’t know, but just be honest that I can’t know what, where you’re coming from and what’s occurring, but I’m committed to listening and finding out to acknowledge it, but don’t dwell on it.

You want, you don’t wanna ruin people’s confidence. If they came to talk to you it’s cuz they think that you have something you can give some kind of help. You don’t wanna take that sense of hope away from them. So acknowledge what you don’t know, but be humble without taking the value out of your interactions.

Yeah. You, mentioned hope a couple of times. And I think sometimes when we are in those conversations, they need help seeing hope, right? I mean, sometimes it seems hopeless and that’s part of what we do is help them see hope. Yes, but it’s one to be careful. And you can ask the question if you want to.

I would guess of the whatever number on the line, 50 or 60, that at least half of you go too quickly to that piece and trying to give them hope by ignoring what it is they’re talking about. So there should be a sense of hope. Just telling somebody it’ll be okay and it’ll be all right. And it’s not that bad.

That’s a way to demean somebody’s hurt. And, that is not gonna give them a sense of hope. We’ll go into the intervention, but initially the giving hope is just showing you care and listen. It’s not trying to talk them into it. Yeah. But be conscious. So it says mindset. This isn’t an intervention. This is, you know, what’s your thinking as you’re talking with them.

Yes. And that’s, I think that’s an excellent point that everything on this screen here is really nothing that we’ve perhaps even said or done. We’ve not acted on. It’s just something that we have in my mind, going into this setting, you know, and sometimes that’s what happens. You get a phone call and you’re on your way to some situation and your mind is going a hundred miles an hour.

You don’t even know what you’re gonna step into. These are some very helpful things, I think to say, okay, they are hurting. It’s not easy to ask for help. It was not easy for them to bring me into this situation. I don’t know. And it’s okay that I don’t know. I don’t need to be an expert here to be of use and of help.

I certainly can love, as we have there Colossians 3:14 I can certainly love in this situation and to start thinking about that hope. What hope is there? And sometimes we need that third party perspective to see the hope that a person can’t see when they’re in a situation. Yeah. So just to get a couple thoughts, so the statement, leave them with hope. There’s, I don’t know the process, how to describe it, but we borrow from other people’s emotions.

We actually borrow from other people’s confidence. So your sense of hopefulness without being too Polyannish about it. That having a sense of they will live off that. I mean, they will unknowingly sense that, and it will give them a sense of that. It, this isn’t just in counseling, but you know, you go talk to your doctor if they say so, if he portrays a sense of confidence, you feel it from people and you take it with when you leave.

So yeah, what kind of hope, you know, people don’t always have to have hope that everything’s gonna be okay. They need to have hope that I can manage the future. Yeah. So when you tell somebody they have severe cancer or tell somebody, whatever, it doesn’t matter what it is, they aren’t looking for hope, meaning life’s gonna be perfect in a week.

Yeah. But we get rid of that pretty quickly. Yeah. It’s hope that somebody will be there. It can be managed. I’m not the only one, you know, those kinds. Then that kind of sense of hope that you can give them. Yeah. So it’s a way to think. Yeah. It’s important about how you’re thinking. Probably the most difficult is when you get in a situation and you don’t feel any hope and you’re supposed to somehow hold them up and you gotta make a go of it, but yeah, you should try to get your own head around that. But what do you mean by hope? What is it you’re trying to right. To feel for them so they can borrow from that and which the gospel is that wonderful ultimate hope, right.

That can speak to every situation. And, I think that’s part of our preparation. As we prepare for whatever encounter. And, you know, I really appreciate about this too. And as Ron mentioned, it’s about that relationship with that person that you’re engaging with. And, I see all five of these things as being very low hanging fruit in terms of, I don’t necessarily need to have a counseling degree, I think, to do these five things.

Sometimes it’s just being present. I’m not gonna use names. It wouldn’t be appropriate, but I can remember my two most difficult situations and one was being asked of a hospital with a couple whose child had just been killed in an accident and could not have been more clueless, but the sense of hope was just as when he came.

Yeah. Just that they were there. Yeah. I hope that others will care. Yeah. People will be in .Soon the room was full. I mean, that happens rather quickly. Yeah. But, you could see them drawing that hope from others. Yes. And not everybody does that as a great couple. And somebody that quickly looked to the spiritual component of it.

But that hope is communicated in other ways, besides words. Yes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Very good. Well, so that is the counseling mindset. Okay. All of these are things that go on in our head as we prepare our own hearts for a time with a person in a counseling type of situation. Hopefully you can get a sense that these are all things that we can engage in. It’s just helpful as we kind of review these prior to that counseling experience. So we’re gonna now go to another ring. This next ring is entitled my bent. So now we’re moving out. Okay. That mindset was if you got nothing out of tonight, get the mindset. But if you’re ready for more, then it would to realize that we all have a bent. We all have a, we are all unique as counselors and we kind of have to be aware of ourselves. Self-awareness is that what we’re getting at here, Ron? Yeah, I think it’s very like probably of those you on the line. Most you have some time have done some type of personality assessment and they put you into either quadrants or some sector based on certain continuums. And if you look, it has this same thing, low feeling, high feeling, high thinking, low thinking. It’s important. I messed up in this. When I first looked at this, the second level, my bent is not how to do all these, the second level that’s my bent is which one are you where the mindset is addressing thought processes that you should try to have all of in place.

And, now we’re going to you figuring out who you. And some of the names I saw on the list. I think I could tell you who you are. So let’s, Ron. You could tell me who I am better than I could say myself. Maybe. So let’s look at analyzer, Ron. What describe the typical analyzer and I know you’ve confessed that you’re an analyzer.

Yeah. Hopefully not to this degree, but in defense of the analyzer. Yeah. So it’s obviously the person who’s gonna think about what’s going on. What do we need to do? And the risk that we have is that we will go to the fix too quickly. And I don’t know that it’s all men on the line, but since it’s mostly men, probably each one of you has done this with your wife where she brings up something and you just fix it quick.

And she’s like, where’s the interaction in this? This was about talking it through. Yeah. So the risk for the analyzer is going too quickly to the answer. And that is a bad idea in counseling unless somebody just wants to ask you, you know, what bank would you recommend that I get a loan from but if it’s about feelings or things they’re dealing with.

We’ll go to that in use the slide. So looking at, take the time at the continuum, we would, kind of broad brush this person as a low feeler, but very engaged thinker and not caring. Yes, but not engaging in feeling. Yes. Sometimes people like this are seeing, it’s not correct. It’s not about caring.

So, well, let’s move then to the personalizer then. So the personalizer is somebody who, again, they might care very much, but they’re not connecting with the feelings and they are not thinking, they’ve low thinking on the issue and perhaps trivializing the issue or, they’re gonna be maybe perhaps afraid, fearful.

They tend to suffer from people rather than with people here at this point. And I think, tending to be defensive and I mean, I can sense some of that myself too, that I can be defensive and that’s an indicator that I’m probably personalizing something instead of thinking and feeling like I ought to.

So just a caution that if you see yourself in that quadrant, the personalizer, don’t write yourself off. This is about awareness and knowing if that’s who you are, that you’re gonna have to be a little more careful to try to tune into their feelings and seek it through and not give in to your own anxiety.

Yeah. It doesn’t mean don’t engage. Yeah. Well, I think it’s very helpful. If I get defensive, I realize, oh, that’s nature. That’s my nature. And so I need to give myself a little of space and usually time can help my thinking and my feeling start to work themselves out. Let’s go to the sympathizer and then we’ll end up with the empathizer.

Yeah, go ahead and talk about the sympathizer. Yeah. Hopefully you can get a sense of who you are and we tend to value this until we think more about it. The sympathizer can get too into the feeling with the person and it talks may react too quickly based on feelings. It’s okay to give somebody a hug. It’s okay to cry with them. But they didn’t come just for that. They came because they’re thinking that talking this through with you will be helpful. So those of you who feel strongly, whose emotions are strong, you just have to be aware of how that can get in the way for that person, let ’em show, but then get a handle on those so that they see you as somebody who, not sure confidence is the right word, but somebody that they can trust to do something they’re not able to do.

And if all you’re able to do is just hurt with they’re not gonna have confidence that you have value to add to them. They’ll be thankful that you hurt. They’ll be grateful for that. Yeah. But it won’t take them any place. Yeah. So just like the personalizer, don’t write yourself off if that’s where you tend to be.

But be conscious of it. Yeah. And, we have to realize these, we use these words, we use sympathy. Yeah. And, very good. It’s a very good word to use. So it’s good to be, to sympathize with somebody, but we’re trying to articulate a character here with this, the word sympathizer, I think this third point really says a lot projecting one’s own experience saying, oh, I know what that’s like.

And sometimes never, never say that. Never say that even if we can. Yeah. We there’s some similarities that never is it the same. Right. Well, it says you’re not paying attention to the other person’s feelings. Okay. You’re asking them to pay attention to yours, even if you do know what it’s like, and you’ve been through it, go in there too quickly, change it.

This is like going on a really neat flight for a vacation. You come home to tell somebody about it and they tell you what it was like when they went. It’s like, they’ve already been there. Nothing for me to, you know yeah. That leaves that away, right? Yeah. Okay. And so we really want to be an empathizer as a counselor, right.

There is a good, there is the right quadrant here and that’s this one up here, which is empathizer. So with an empathizer, we have the high thinking and the high feeling where we’re tuning in to the emotional needs of that person. We are feeling with them, but we’re also engaged in thinking. That third bullet, I think, kind of off balances or shows you how we go from a sympathizer to an empathizer.

How is my experience the same or different, right. We might be saying, boy, I think I, I can understand that. And, but this is another part of this story that I, can’t, I don’t have experience in. I can only imagine what that would be like. And, that’s more of an empathizer. You may ask, how do you show that?

And generally you would, you would do it by reflecting or recognize their feelings, letting them know that you know, what their feelings are. It’s not necessarily sharing them in the sense of feeling at the same time, although it’s helpful if you can feel those, but, it’s more about telling them and assuring them that you have a sense of what they’re feeling.

Not because you went through it, but because you’re paying attention to ’em, you’re paying attention and the high thinking, the reason that it’s important is this is the person who keeps their wits about them while they’re trying to deal with something that might feel overwhelming or difficult from an emotional standpoint.

Yeah. So keeping cognition high at the same time as their emotions. Okay. Well, I think we, I think that leads us to the next ring pretty well. And, again, Brother Arlan’s taking any questions through the chat. If you wanna, if you have any questions at all, he will be sure to bring those to our attention feel free to chat and send that to the panelist.

Is that what you said, Arlan? So we’re gonna now move to the next ring because that actually answers a little bit of how do I then become an empathizer? Okay. Now that I realize that I have a bent, I have a natural, my natural inclinations are gonna manifest themselves in a counseling situation.

And it’s good that I know what those are so that I can counteract or encourage them, whatever. But I wanna be an empathizer. I wanna have high feeling and high thinking. So we’re gonna now move to the next ring. And as we move to the next ring, we’re talking about skill sets, some things to do in order to really show that empathy.

Okay. Of showing that empathy towards a person. And with the first one, I think is having that attending disposition. We can say a lot by checking our phone while they’re trying to tell their story or something. Right. So, yeah. So, just a comment as these rings go out. You notice that in some of the rings, you’re identifying where you are and some you’re identifying what should be present.

And this one, these are all options. Some of you are better listeners. Some are better forming questions, but these are really skills you can embrace. You can think about them, you can practice them. And they’re not in any particular order other than you might manage the environment first to make sure if somebody’s really distraught, that they don’t hear your kids banging in the kettle lids together in the kitchen, or, you know, the kind of thing that is too distracting or doesn’t allow you to pay attention to them. So thinking that through setting, we’re not gonna talk about boundaries. I see that’s a later webinar, but it’s an important one. And you’ll wanna remember that some of you know, already what that is, but it seems like nobody gets to meet with you five nights a week, just because they’re in distress.

You have a life you have to talk about that is where you meet the appropriateness of where you meet. Those kinds of things. Offering hope is under there. So it’s not just physical environment. It’s the environment that exists with you in that room, but you can all do this. So it’s a skill set, but it’s not skills as I would talk about a gift that you have or don’t have, but sometimes, and I think this is an important point to linger on, Ron, because we are talking about in managing an environment, it is okay to say, I can meet with you between here and there.

Right. Because I don’t know how it’s been for me sometimes I’m not quite sure how to stop or how to move on and without said defaulting on all of the previous things. Right. Right. So, anyway, this is just saying in this space of counseling setting up, those boundaries are completely appropriate.

Just so a few quick things on that in terms of boundaries, it is okay to tell somebody. I would be glad, I wish I could help you, but I think so.and so would be more appropriate cause you know, it. Whatever a skill set or some similar area. It’s okay to tell somebody. No, because you sense their engagement with you is not in a healthy place.

It is okay, and if you need to meet when there is something going on in one hour so that you have to change, they can come back. Rarely does anything good happen at not necessarily that goes bad. You’ve pretty well done all you can do in an hours up, you’ve done what you can do. Yeah. The person might still be very distraught, but they’re not gonna get less distraught.

Right. That’s as much as what you can give. So those kind of boundaries about where you meet and length of time. And once in a while, you’ll blow it. You’ll have somebody who’s just horribly distressed and you have nothing going on and three hours will go by and you wonder how you let it happen. Now just say, don’t worry about it. Don’t do it again. Don’t do it again. Reset the boundaries. And, you know, even like this point here, finding out past counseling experiences can be kind of helpful in knowing, well, you know, it gives you a little bit of a scope on, okay a lot of people have been involved, a lot of people and it might give us, you know, who are who’s on this team here, right?

Yeah. The other thing it may give you if you’re not too, if you’re not inclined to think you’re more important than you are. Some people, whenever the, somebody comes for a counseling, they assume they can, because you’re the one who can. If four people before you, haven’t, you’re probably not going to either, but our own ego can get into that where we think, you know, they’re trusting me.

And I have this thing to offer this idea, fine, offer, but be careful about how you’re managing your own expectations of what’s happening. If this, if there’s been this long string of counseling, Your interventions are probably gonna be much more marginal. Yeah. Think helpful, but definitely more marginal. Ron, let’s talk a little bit about the questioning and listening and I feel like this is, I’m gonna ask you a question. Can I become a better questioner? Can I become a better listener or do I just have the skill set that I’ve got? There is some information and maybe we’ll share later where it’s at, but there’s simple processes to do that. People will say so and so is a good listener. And, most of what that means is they’re quiet and very biblical concept about so to speak and yeah. Quick to listen. But that’s number one is paying attention yeah. To them. And that sometimes that’s hard.

Any good counselor, anybody who’s done it for a while will admit that sometime or another they probably fell asleep in a session because it got so boring. But that doesn’t work. I mean, you’re not offering anything so listening. It means first paying attention. What are they saying? What are the words? Yeah. Listening to the story behind the words.

What does it mean? And a key thing in listening is that you reflect that back at some time and under here, it’s called checking your understanding. So this bottom point there, if you don’t do that, in the person’s perception, you have not listened. Okay. Because unless they have some assurance that you got the point that there’s a lot of stress at work or that finances feel like they’re not gonna come through or with how check, what are some ways you check understanding? What does that look like? Yeah. Say something back to them. Okay. About it. Don’t just say, uh huh. Uh huh, is okay for a bit and then you need to say something about.

So, this is what I hear you say, or yes, I’m trying to avoid those path phrases that irritate people, but it, worst of circumstances, you can always say what I hear you saying is yeah. But think that, but try to say it in a way it’s more natural something you’d actually say to people. Yeah. But it’s asking, is this what it felt like?

Or is this what happened when that occurred or say. And if I was there, I think I’d feel this way. Is that what you, is that what you’re saying? Yeah. So you, you check it between you. Yeah. And often they’ll say no. Yeah. Right. But then they can, they can restate it and you can get it correctly, but you have to do that ,check it. I know sometimes I have found helping them with their vocabulary. Right. They don’t quite know what to say and. Well, let me, you know, is it like A, or is it like B you know, kind of like the, eye doctor A, B you’re moving up to the question. Yeah, the question, correct. Because the questioning is a part of listening, using questions intentionally.

So some of this in questions, just to increase your knowledge of what’s going on, you have to ask, you know, I’ve had people just say that school is so stressful and they’re not sure they’re gonna make it. And you check in their, they have all A’s and one B+. And no, there’s no papers due next week and so, there’s something else going on. It’s the idea of school. And that’s just a little example, but those kinds of questions will engage you in the listening process to get to what they’re talking about. Cause it may be that somebody’s putting undue pressure on them at school or in another relationship.

So you are kind of exploring yeah. Exploring. So you’re, so let’s explore, let’s go down this trail a little bit and find out a little bit more about the school. Right? Getting A’s getting nothing’s due. Hmm. Maybe there’s something else here you’re exploring. I would still emphasize this, especially in a first meeting, way more listening than questioning.

There’s every counselor in this office would say there’s times when they’ve had a new client, they’ve talked for 50 minutes, maybe an hour, whichever it was, the counselor talked for three to five minutes and the person leaves and says that was so helpful. And you’re like, what did I do? What did you do?

You sat there and listened and that people will talk about where can you find a place that somebody will pay attention to what you’re saying for 50 minutes? Yeah. I mean, most of us don’t, even in our marriages, don’t have time to sit down and do that, right. Or with a close friend. So don’t underestimate that the questioning might be for later.

You don’t have to get it all figured out the first time. It’s an important skillset to do, but listening is much more about, when you say that, Ron, I see this point down here under listening, realize that listening is a gift to give real, really? That must be what they leave saying. I was given a mighty gift today.

They don’t know it. Yeah, because they don’t leave saying he, listened, they leave thinking that was really helpful because they just feel better about it. There’s another piece that, and you, I’m sure all of you’ve done this where you go to somebody with a question, not something stressful, just with a question and about three fourths through the question you get the answer because talking out loud drives a different thinking process.

And that happens sometimes when you’re together, counseling, them explaining it to you at sometimes they go, they may go. Oh yeah. And you did say it. Yeah. It becomes clear to them. Exactly. Yeah. Which is great. You know, and I think sometimes, just helpful stems are helpful here. So this one here, can you share with me?

Yeah. You know, is a great way to start. Sometimes we’re having an open and closed ended questions. A closed question is a yes or no question, right? It’s not gonna be very helpful in uncovering or exploring, but having those questions that leave them open, that they’re gonna have to explain.

They’re gonna have to use phrases and sentences that gives you more information. Another easy one to remember is just, can you tell me what it feels like when, okay. And so if somebody answers that you’ll find out what it is, cause somebody’s, it’s not clear whether they’re feeling angry, yeah, or intimidated or useless or hopeless or so going to that, can you show what it feels like when yeah. So even by you saying hopeless and angry and nervous and all of those, I mean, those are all things we should, I guess it’s good to have those in my head. I’m listening for that. Right. Right. Exactly.

And they’re different from each other. So if somebody’s angry, but what you hear is sorrow, you need to find out that it’s anger. Yeah. So questioning can take you there. Yeah. Okay, excellent. Attending this position, we kind of started with that, building that safety. Let’s talk about that.

That’s important, right? Yeah. I, we’re not gonna have time to expand that very well, but it’s about making sure the person knows this is confidential, that you’re gonna believe them. You’re gonna listen to them that you’re not waiting to share this with somebody as soon as they leave and where it’s gonna go.

Whatever you need to do to do that, it depends on how they see you. I mean, the who you are, sometimes it just means closing the door and say, you know, what you share this can stay here tonight. The purpose, just for me to understand you. Yeah. And even paying attention, builds safety. Yeah. You know, if I’m handing to you sure they feel a sense of trust. Yeah. So there’s that they won’t if you’re yeah. Fiddling or sure. So just having that disposition, which again is all things that we can work on. Right. We can learn and learn all of these things. This is the next ring here. So as we think about the initial skillset ,we have come to this point again, everything before it are so critical, but, as we move outward in this mind map, we just start to add to our skillset or add to our mindset, helpful things, when we engage with people, in a counseling situation. All of this leads us to actually surprising answer and the most important answer, right.

Where we have now had that safety built where a person says, yes, I am heard, or do you hear me? And I answer the question that I’m willing to invest in them and connect with them. And so this kind of leads this to this question. What’s the goal of a counseling session. I’m sure you’ve thought a lot about that.

Well, yeah, it’s gonna depend on why somebody’s coming if somebody’s coming, because they’re not getting along with their spouse, or maybe they’re the one caused that. So sometimes you have to do some deescalation or things like that, but the point of this is you probably aren’t gonna get it done in one meeting.

And the first meeting is more to pay enough attention that they feel that empathy they feel listened to and enough connection that they’re willing to sit down a second time. With the exception there are people who, the boundaries setting boundaries would mean that we, I think we went through that.

Yes. You can refuse a second session. Yeah. If it’s not gonna go anywhere, you don’t have to let people use your time if there’s not some outcome to it, that’s not what this is about. This is about person’s hurting and would benefit from a second meeting when maybe the really raw emotions are not quite so close to the surface and you can actually talk through what are you doing that contributes to that ,or what are ways you could change that would help that person change. Right. And even by saying that too, Ron, you, that’s a coming into this mindset and coming into this session to realize I’m probably not gonna fix it and probably not now, probably not this time, but, in a process, it, we can get this in a good direction.

And so that’s gonna require more than one encounter. So just a clarification, the only time that you need to fix something in the first meeting is that somebody’s talking about hurting themselves or hurting somebody else. Somebody says they’re going to file for a divorce in two days, or, you know, something where harm is actually gonna occur ,yeah, prior to the next meeting, then you have to be careful of the otherwise give yourself permission as a second meeting to actually start working on it. If there’s not some risk that you need to take care of. Yeah. And so what that does is this is kind of the center belt buckle in a sense of this mind map.

Okay. Leading us to what the most important answer is. And that might be a little bit surprising to us, cuz I think if we encounter people within a counseling situation, like, boy, I gotta answer this question. I gotta set this straight. This I think is a little bit relieving. Hopefully, hopefully you found as I have that, I think I can do all of these things with my limited skill set and I can and I can improve in all of these areas, as I practice.

So, here’s the most important answer. And I wanna show a little bit of where this mind map goes at this point, because you might be thinking, well, have we said what needs to be said? Because that’s true. Sometimes we do need to help in some articulate ways. And so if you think about now we can have kind of two different buckets, and this is a very broad brush here that people are needing encouragement or people need helping.

And there’s a mix in both, right? But if we look at those two buckets, they do say a lot, some really need answers and some really need correction, and some really need challenge. And that’s where we step in and help. Others don’t need fixing. They need encouragement. And as we now move outward, it’s kind of helpful to think about those two different buckets because there’s a slightly different skill set in each.

And really what you’re doing at this point is setting goals for yourself. You’re defining whether you think of that as a contractor, whatever you wanna call it, but you’re thinking through where do you think it should go next? You need to talk about that with a person, but it’s really helpful to do this dichotomy say, so there’s people come with just need to talk to somebody every six months and be encouraged, this widow who’s raising two kids, or, you know, some situations they just, they need to connect and hear from you as a minister or from someone else.

I think you can make it and will be here in that sort of encouragement. As opposed to it’s Matt on the helper side, where they’re really looking for interventions. Yeah. For either information you have or information you point them to, or a better understanding of how to handle a situation, that’s difficult.

So think through that, as it splits into the, they overlap it as it goes one way or another, and I have found this helpful and, you know, young brother, you know, text me say, Hey, can we do coffee? Immediately, my mind’s turning what’s this gonna be about right. And, as I approach that going through the mindset, okay, let’s have this mindset as wasn’t easy for him to ask and all of this, what’s my initial bent, you know, and thinking through some skill, I’m gonna listen, I’m gonna question, but on my thinker is, does he need encouragement, right?

Or if he needs help, you know, and it’s a little bit helpful as we sit down. Then my questions can kind of sort out, ah, he needs encouragement. Okay. Now I’m thinking that way, different investment as opposed to he’s got a question and we need to work through that. So, that’s helpful.

Let’s briefly go through some, we’re not gonna unpack all of the content here. There’s too much, but let’s just maybe hit on some high. Hey brothers. Yeah. Could I interject you just a second, we had a couple questions come through that we’re gonna lose if we don’t jump into them. I’d like you just, if you could just build into this a little bit longer.

What does success look like then? Can you, could you that’s come up a couple from a couple different individuals. If you had a defined success in this type of a of environment, what are we looking for? What, how would you classify success? It’s a good question, Arlan, and it does not have an answer.

You have to think about what is success for that person? Every counselor, let’s say there’s times when somebody’s left and you felt like, you know, you got this one little intervention, you can’t tell that’s gonna change things. And they would say that was exactly what I needed. So success is about, what’s gonna give them a sense of hope, what will help them manage the next few days or, the next stage of their life. Or just that they feel better because somebody listened and understood me. That is success. That is all some people want is that they’re, they know their life can’t be fixed. They know things aren’t gonna be different. So I think it’s trying to think into their thinking and think about, so what did they want to happen? On a professional level, most people leave counseling before we’re done, before we think we’re done, but they are done for that time. That’s as much as they needed or as much as they could handle. So yeah, success can’t be defined. It’s a good point because we tend to define success by what we think should happen and that’s not likely to occur.

And so then you will always fail. Success is what will help them have a sense of hope and what were they wanting to have happen as long as they weren’t down realistic with it, but trying to key into. Sure. I think that’s helpful. Yeah. And, kind of a question that ties right along with that is sometimes we’re gonna get into some of these situations where we feel like it’s gonna be a little bit beyond our ability.

What are some things we should be looking for to kind of know when it’s time to go to the next level or bring in extra resources maybe refer to a counselor or something along those lines. How much time do you want on that question? Well, I promised him we’d be done in 45 minutes, so we’re getting close to that piece.

So it’s a very rational question. Probably at some point, you’re gonna have to expose people to some screening tools of some kind, but quickly, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, if a person’s in trouble with what feels like depression or anxiety or something, suicide harm. Yeah. There’s and even emotions that are gonna, if they aren’t able to go to work, you know, so if there’s disruption in their life, if they’re at home, they’re failing their classes cuz they don’t go to ’em and it doesn’t appear to you.

It isn’t apparent to you what to do. That needs help because somebody’s life is yeah. Being damaged in the process. So doing just a really quick mental health check that is, is this eating disorder, is it a bizarre thought process? Is this person depressed enough that they’re not able to function where they are in a relationship thing, is somebody being harmed.

And, I’m not sure how to do it. It’s the wrong thing to keep trying to negotiate between a couple when all they’re do is continuing to fight and you’re failing to resolve that. You need to refer that somewhere else for help. So another, if you will, 10th of that is, is anything changing as a result of you’re being engaged with them.

So no progress over time, and that’s not just for you ministers who are doing this that’s. I mean, every one of us, the counselor have been there. It’s like, nothing’s happening. You’re spending money. You’re spending time, I’m spending time, but nothing’s occurring. That means a referral or at least acknowledge.

I think those key, damage things. If somebody is losing weight cuz an eating disorder or endangering themselves, if somebody is talking about hurting themselves, talking about hurting someone else or they are so caught up in their emotions that they’re frozen within them and not able to function on a fairly rational way.

You should at least. And I, one of you will say this if I don’t say it, but to call in and ask for a triage here. You don’t have to become a client. You don’t have to sign up. You don’t have to pay for something. And the triage, I don’t know the numbers. But I know that it’s high where the triage is done by the minister who’s doing the counseling, not the person you’re counseling with. They could be either, if they’re willing to call, that’s great have them do it. But if you want some help just to find out, am I in too deep, you can call, yeah. This as one of the ministers and do that triage. And somebody, one of the counselors will talk through with you and say, oh wow, you missed some points here.

You gotta make a referral. Or say that, you know, that person’s gonna struggle, but you can encourage them in that. Yeah. So that’s an easy intervention without having to refer somebody. Yeah. Great point. I think, I think that’s helpful. I, why don’t you, we’re kind of watching our time here a little bit, but brothers, why don’t you just kind of quickly go through the next little bit and if you have any more questions, feel free to chat those in and I’ll try to grab a couple more here before we finish up.

Okay. So as we move, into the, the helper, again, we’re not gonna go through everything here, but just, so notice how the skill set we add to the skill set. We still have questioning going on, but now, instead of exploring, I’m more guiding towards truth, guiding towards understanding. So our questioning changes a little bit.

But I really liked it maybe since just some low hanging fruit here, I think is influencing. You know, whether you need to refer that person per the last question, refer that person on having you alongside that individual, sure, providing vision goes a long ways. In fact, the clinician probably is gonna want somebody next to them anyway, in an ongoing basis.

Yeah. In one of our roles as ministers and I’ve done it. I sat in this room doing a WebEx was a psychiatrist, was somebody that did not have the courage to do it alone. So, I couldn’t give the intervention, but the influence that is, would you be willing to talk to if I went with you? It convinced them that medication needed to be looked at.

And in this case it took it great. And it was a wonderful outcome, but so influencing is not like getting your way, influencing, as it mentioned, answering certain questions that might help them think in a different way. The influencing, at least I did, when this first came into the talking, it feels like it violates our code of conduct as counselors. We shouldn’t be telling people what to do. That’s really not meant that way. Influencing means opening up the scope of the options that they have, helping them to see something with more clarity than what they could see it before that influences their decision.

That’s different than saying, look, I’m your elder, I’m your minister. And you ought to do this. Yeah, not sure that’s an appropriate use of this in terms of conflict. Well, even going back to that one question about what the goal is. I think sometimes we can stay a lot by direction. If I can point the person in the direction, you know, nevermind gets them moving, but if I can just get them in the right direction as an end close, you know, show them the vision, look at what you know, this could possibly be.

And I think even these stems are helpful. How would you feel about me coming in with you, right. For that meeting? How would you feel about that? You know, you’re putting that in their idea, you know, Hey, I’ve got an idea. Would you come in with me? Yeah, I would love that is exactly what happened. That, and that’s not always an option you may work during the day.

They might have to go maybe 50 miles away. Maybe you can’t get off, but those are ideas you can use or offering to call to the counseling center and have that conversation and get them a couple names of somebody. There definitely are people who having to pick where to call and who to talk to, that’s too many choices. But if you can call in and Karen or somebody says, you know, I could have you talk to, so and so or so and so, and you share that back, you reduce those choices to two, yeah. People can handle two choices or just a choice of morning or afternoon. So those are ways that you definitely influence without saying here’s how you ought to think.

Yeah. But you moved in that direction. Yeah. And, with a fairly small intervention on your part. Sometime you’ll have an opportunity when you’re helping a person to do some teaching. And so here are some teaching tips, as you think about, these like cause and effect is classic circumstances.

You know, if this doesn’t change, what’s gonna happen, you know, let me a comment on, yeah, go ahead. Be careful the cause and effect. You wanna be careful how you approach that. You would say things like, you know, as I was listen, It seemed like, do you notice that when this happens, there’s a certain, so you’re still doing that influencing.

You’re pointing them to this. People often don’t see the cause and effect. You talk about a parent complaining about their teenager and they don’t see how, what they’re doing is causing that, but you can maybe make that connection for, or something they talk about at work that happens at this. They keep doing this, but you can take them toward this.

So what’s the sequence in which that happens. Is there anything you notice? Yeah. And sometimes share things that they didn’t notice, but now when they think about it. They do. Yeah. So it’s not saying when you do this, you, that this happens and you shouldn’t do that. It’s pointed them in that direction in a more subtle way.

Right? So those are some examples, some bullets, I think you could probably piece together the meaning behind some of those things. And, confronting Philemon is a wonderful example of how Paul does that. Stages of change is critical. And we, brother Arlan and I did a web webinar for mentors and it’s on that.

So we’re not gonna unpack that here tonight. But do know that that’s out there on the webinar space on our website. Just one is just, I would really encourage all of you to read this and understand this isn’t what happens in the first session. To understand that people have to be willing to think before they think so, just, I would encourage you to read or watch the other and know that this is a process over time. Real quickly as we move to the encouragement.

Some things to think about in this encouragement space is that is identifying a fear. So, when I discovered that this brother needed encouragement, yeah, the next thing I need to figure out his fear, what’s he afraid of? Is he afraid of, whatever it is and those are helpful.

So now I kind of know how to ask those questions because the true support is inspired by love, but directed towards fear, but I can speak into that fear. I’ve encouraged and tremendous way and provided hope. So, on this side, like the other way, it’s just really important to tune into what is it, what are the emotions they’re sharing or that they’re dealing with and speak to that the encouragement needs to be in alignment with what they’re feeling and sharing with you.

And encouragement can be small. This isn’t like, you know, the world’s gonna be great. You’re gonna get married have four kids, and you’ll be very successful. And live in a nice big house, it’s not that it’s. You know, you can look for a job you’ll you may not get one right away. Yeah. But they’ll talk to you.

Yeah. That kind of encouragement to get them going. And the last slide here as we move into the action is simply some suggestions, right? When you advocate, you are encouraging or if you’re comforting, we know what that’s like, to comfort a person in loss, providing that perspective, Ron, I think you gave that example already about helping see the forest for the trees a little bit.

And wonderfully, the gospel is a tremendous encouragement and tremendous in helping us change in the helping side of things. They didn’t comment on it before, but it’s on the helper and it’s also on the encourager, and that’s tremendous as counselors. We have the gospel as our, if you’re, if you’re not comfortable with what Scripture use, especially on the encouraging side.

Yeah. I don’t know where this document is, but I know there’s encouraging Scriptures, that we could locate here that just so you don’t have to do your own search, there’s just some good, solid, Scripture that you could use with anybody who’s stuck promises. Yeah. You, I’m not sure the document. I know it exists cause it’s set to be filed a different place.

So here we’ve kind of laid this out. We started in the center with the initial mindset. We’ve worked our way out. Just remember that the center most is the most important and when you’re ready, go on to the next. And, as you approach counseling sessions, hopefully this mind map can be somewhat helpful for you

as you approach that. Arlan, are there any questions or anything to add here? Not anything else has really popped up. I would like if we kind of just wrap this up, I would like if we could just take a moment and just, you know, what is one thing that if you could just leave the listeners with what is one thing you want them to take away, as they kind of chew on the great teaching that you’ve shared with them so far. Do you have a response to that?

Yeah, I, know my thought would be, don’t be too hard on yourself. You know, some of you were put in the ministry because you’re good speakers. Some of you were put in the ministry cuz you know the gospel and some of you were put in the ministry because the church had confidence you’d be able to help people who are struggling.

And not every minister is a good counselor, just like not every minister is good at untangling doctoral things. So know who you are, have the courage to be willing to try, but don’t be hard on yourself that there’s something wrong if this is not your gifted area and be willing to try it. If somebody comes, don’t run from it, you may do better than you think that you would.

And I hope that, one thing that I would hope, Arlan, a takeaway would be that I can do that center circle. Right. And, I know we can, and I know you brothers and sisters do that center circle and, realize that when you are doing it, you are counseling well, and you’re well on your way to being quite a very effective counselor, right.

Appreciate that brothers. Let me just kind of wrap it up and I’m gonna turn it over to you, brother, Ron, to kind of close this with a prayer. Thank you so much for joining us tonight. There was well over a hundred individuals that joined us from I lost count at 40 some churches. So, it really warms our heart to know that you were willing to take time and be with us tonight.

We pray that it was a blessing to you and an instruction to you. I will email out the recording of this webinar later on this week. These will be captured and put on that video teaching portion of our website available to watch at any time. And, if you have questions and didn’t get questions sent to us, please feel free to email myself [email protected] or Matt Kaufmann [email protected] questions or ideas for future webinars or feedback or anything along those lines, very open to it. We really look forward to this partnership that we have together where we can share together and encourage each other. And, with that, Ron, if we could ask you to kind of close us with the prayer and then we will, bid you all a good night.

Right, Father, we’re thankful we can spend this time together tonight. Always we give thanks first for thy love to us, the gift of thy son Jesus, and that we can seek out and find salvation by our faith in Thee, and in Christ’s shed blood. So we pray that for all the people that we work with or each of these brothers and the places that they work both in their preaching, their teaching and also as they’re called to serve in a counseling role. We pray that Thou would bless those people that we work with for whom life is sometimes very difficult and, others who are just seeking direction, pray that Thou would help us, that we would point them to Thee, to the gospel that they would know those are the truths they need to live in.

And that as we speak of other interventions, that they are consistent withthy Word thy Scripture and how we should love and support and encourage each other. So we just, we give Thee thanks for the time we can spend together. We lift up those who are hurting or struggling or that we can care and be available and be effective in helping them.

Thank Thee in Jesus’ name. Amen. Amen. Thank you all. Thanks. Appreciate you being here. Goodnight.