AAAH! Where Do I Start? – Ladies Biblical Counseling [ARTICLE – Vickie Jett]

(Editor’s Note: In this article, Mrs. Vickie Jett provides valuable counseling guidance to ladies who are called upon and needed to counsel other ladies.)

People are hurting all around us and seeking for help and answers!  While we may feel intimidated or distracted by the world’s philosophy and claims that hurting people need an “expert,”  biblical counseling is a ministry of the local church.   The purpose of biblical counseling is simply intensive discipleship with the goal of getting a person to love God and love His Word.    We may be tempted to forget that the answer to life’s problems is simply truth, which is the Holy Bible!  II Timothy 3:16 breaks the process down clearly, as it tells us that God’s Word is profitable for doctrine (truth), reproof (what’s wrong), correction (what’s right),  and instruction in righteousness (how to do it)!

Godly men in the church hold the position of authority and responsibility and have a sincere, God-given desire to help all the members of the church–both male and female.  Frequently, the solution to help a hurting lady has been to have her meet with the pastor or another male church leader for counsel.  Yet there can be some hurdles to avoid when a man considers counseling with a lady alone:

  1. Attachment.  A man listening to the emotional needs of a lady may be tempted to become emotionally attached.  It is natural for the man to want to fix what is broken, especially with a hurting female.  Families and ministries have been destroyed by unbiblical, inappropriate emotional attachment between members of the opposite sex when the original intent was purely to be a spiritual help.  Even if this emotional attachment does not lead to physical misconduct, the damage is done!
  2.  Association.  Even when a man that is counseling a woman is being a good steward spiritually and emotionally in giving godly guidance and protecting his heart from temptation, the amount of time invested in this other lady can raise damaging questions.  The time and relationship association with each other can negatively affect their testimonies, even if there is no improper emotional or physical attachment.
  3.  Accusation.  Unfortunately, it has been proven that all it takes to destroy a good testimony is an accusation.  If the hurting female misinterprets an innocent action resulting in false accusation, or even if she deliberately chooses to make a false accusation of impropriety, the benefit of the doubt is given to the accuser and can cause devastating problems until (or even if) the accusation is proven unfounded.

What is the answer for avoiding these hurdles?  Assistance!  There is a need for ladies to prepare themselves to be of assistance in the local church to their husband/pastor, and to assist other ladies experiencing problems of living.  To avoid these potential problems, it is recommended, if a woman is requesting counseling assistance, that another lady assist by either meeting personally with the lady, or being a presence with the male counselor.  Since older (more spiritually mature) ladies are clearly commanded in Titus 2 to teach younger (less spiritually mature) ladies, we can be confident of God’s help in this area.  Also, Genesis 2:18 clearly states that ladies are to assist their husbands, “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”

With that goal in mind, here are some practical admonitions to help guide ladies who are counseling ladies as assistants.

  1. Authority. The lady counselor must have the permission of the pastor.  Counsel given outside of his authority in the church is simply ungodly counsel!  We ladies can be sensitive to needs and sometimes want to be ‘fixers’ when we see other ladies struggling.  It is important that ladies be cautious with this, and, while we are commanded to exhort and encourage, we should not seek for opportunities to counsel others.  Ladies should submit to their authority and allow the pastor to be the guide here.
  2. Accountability.  
    1.  For the counselor.  We must be spiritually accountable to the Lord before assisting others!
      • II Timothy 2:15; study the Bible in order to be a ‘workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’
      • Proverbs 1:5; be open to counsel from God’s Word for yourself.
      • James 1:5; pray for wisdom and Holy Spirit guidance for yourself and others.
    2. Be accountable to your husband/pastor for the counsel you are giving to others. Make sure you give godly, biblical counsel under his guidance.  As a reminder, this is not about you and your opinion!
    3. Keep accountability records for protection.  Unfortunately, we live in a society that can be contentious.  It is strongly recommended to keep good notes and records of each of the meetings.  It is helpful for a resource and to remember what has been said.
    4. Accountability for the counselee is also beneficial for helping them move forward in their spiritual growth.  It is important that they are assigned weekly homework and held accountable for completing it.   Someone who does not complete the weekly assignments may be indicating that they simply want attention, rather than spiritual redirection through intensive discipleship.
  1. Appointments.  Do not allow a counselee to unnecessarily monopolize or demand all your time or take you away from your family.  Plan and schedule the counseling meetings with a:
    • Set time.  Best to set an appointment (45-60 minutes)
    • Set place.  At a place other than your home (church is best).
    • Set number of times.  Usually about 6 -7 weeks, once a week.
    • Set format.  If a personal, one-on-one meeting format is the plan, we strongly encourage that other formats not be introduced into the counseling picture with the counselee.  For example, phone calls, texting and social media contacts can be an overwhelming pull on your time.  We recommend that the communication regarding counseling subjects be kept to a minimum outside of the weekly counseling meeting.
  1. Actively practice “biblical counseling,” II Timothy 4:2; confront the problem (reprove), talk to the individual involved with what is wrong (rebuke), and offer a biblical solution (exhort).
  1. Teach biblical alternatives to sinful choices!  Practice “Put Off/Put On.”  The Bible teaches us to Put Off/Put On.  Ephesians 4:20-32 teaches to “put off” all that belongs to the old way of life, and to “put on Christ.”  God does not make a person guess what to “put on,” as His Word tells us what must be removed and what to replace it with.  For example, Daniel offered counsel (Daniel 4:27) and said to “break off thy sins by righteousness,” (righteousness is “right doing)  “and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.” (notice a specific action).   The New Testament also gives direction to Christians in regard to this principle in Galatians 5, Ephesians 4, Philippians 4, and Colossians 3.  When something negative (sinful) is eliminated, it must be replaced by something positive (righteous).  This is a process of learning new habits, and studies show it takes about 21 days to learn a new habit.  Personal experience supports the idea that it usually takes 3 weeks (21 days) to put off, and 3 weeks to put on (a total of 6 weeks) for success.  To help the counselee put off and put on, we can give…
  2. Assignments – Instruction in Righteousness (Homework): Philippians 4:9,  Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”  The process of learning is clearly given here!  We need to assign  homework so the counselee can see, hear, receive, learn = do.  What types of homework?
    1. Bible studies that address their specific spiritual problem.  Primarily because we could not find good sound biblical and local church material, we began writing simple counseling guide Bible studies as tools to help with this need.  The counseling guide booklets are designed with the goal of providing homework assignments for hurting people that would direct them toward the Bible for the answers needed.  Process?  We usually meet with the counselee, give an overview of the guide, then assign the counselee to work through one each week.  The next meeting, we review that one, then go on to the next.  In most counseling situations, we have them work through the counseling guides for anger, bitterness, troubling thoughts, sense of worth, and commitment.  We also include others that apply to their specific problem, for example: depression, fear, discouragement, pride.
    2. Basic discipleship homework.
      1. Attend church every service.
      2. Take notes during the sermons and lessons.
      3. Keep a daily prayer journal.
      4. Keep a notebook with notes from their daily Bible reading.
      5. Keep a daily blessing notebook

Remember the goal to help hurting people is to get them to have affection–to love God and His Word!  This will give them HOPE and HELP!

Author Bio: Vickie Jett was raised in a Christian home in Texas and was saved at five years of age and surrendered to full-time service as a teenager.

She has been married for 44 years to her husband, Jamie.  They have three children, Jason Jett, Joshua Jett and Rachelle Mardirosian who are all serving the Lord in various ministry capacities.  They also enjoy seven grandchildren ages fifteen and under.

Their ministry together has included almost twenty years in the pastorate in Texas and Wyoming.  They have also served twenty years at Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, as the Deans for fourteen years, and currently as full-time faculty.  Vickie teaches the Ladies Classes and Ladies Counseling Classes at HBBC.

Her education experience includes: Western Wyoming College (A.A.),  Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College (B.A.), Salt Lake Baptist College (M.A., D.C.M.), and Bethhaven Christian Counselor’s Seminary (MA., Ph.D.) in Biblical Counseling

She and her husband have co-authored a series of biblical counseling guides that are currently available through the Baptist Times.

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