The Care & Discipleship Podcast exists to cultivate a resource for the church that addresses practical, current issues regarding biblical counseling. Episodes contain a variety of formats including conversations with IBCD counselors, interviews with speakers, and even recordings with a live audience. Never miss an episode by subscribing with your preferred podcast app. You can also Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep informed about future releases. We love to hear from you, so submit your questions or comments and we’ll try to address them in a future podcast.
Executive Director Jim Newheiser talks about key issues related to dealing with the aftermath of unfaithfulness including important data gathering questions, how to approach emotional affairs, what each spouse needs to hear most when adultery has taken place, and common pitfalls in helping these situations.
Executive Director Jim Newheiser speaks about issues related to Christians using psychotropic drugs and how we should approach these situations from a biblical counseling perspective.
Having been someone who’s gone through the struggle in real time, real life, and then now as you watch yourself on the videos do you feel like you and Caroline, do you feel like it is an authentic representation of that process?
Yeah. Especially in cutting it down into three different sessions and trying to work with the time lapse in between them and still tie in the first session to the second session. I do think it’s a pretty good picture of what it could look like. The timing, it depends on the willingness of the counselee on how willing they would be to do the homework that was assigned and how the lord changes the heart ultimately. I do think it was pretty true to form in terms of the motions that are felt. When somebody feels like they really can be honest in front of someone and bear their soul and say things that they don’t want to say to anybody else because they’re embarrassed about them or they think are wrong I think you can really get down to the heart of the issue. I think Carolyn just portrays a person that’s very safe to be with. I would imagine that in one of the end of the sessions she says that she just prays for a connection, especially with the younger counselees that only the Lord can really draw a connection between her and the counselee if the counselee is going to feel safe enough to really be open with them. I think that was real in the videos that Danielle felt safe with Caroline. That she could be honest with her.
You start out at the beginning not wanting to be there. Watching it it’s almost uncomfortable watching you give that attitude to your councilor. Were you ever surprised by what you said or how you came off to her.
No. Watching it I almost feel like realistically that would have played out longer if we had had lots of sessions to go through. Me personally going through my eating disorder and people encouraging me to go to counseling that I didn’t want I was not kind for many sessions. It’s a pride issue and it’s an embarrassment issue about not wanting to admit that I have an issue that I cannot fix on my own. You want to go in and say, “I can fix everything on my own and that I’m choosing willingly to do these things and they’re not really as bad as what everyone around me is saying that they are.” Yeah, realistically if it could have been longer I would have been worse longer. Transitioning into bearing worse and then slightly softening at the end to move onto the next session, that was a little bit of an adjustment from a normal setting. It played out all right.
I’ve been really sadden by how often in the context in even solid evangelical churches these cases have come out. It’s very grievous. I guess if you would have taken thirty years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be having this experience. I don’t think that it’s because it’s gotten that much worse in thirty years as much as it as an ordinary church member I didn’t see as much as there was. In terms of the various ways counseling comes to me, adultery cases are a large percentage of what we have to deal with, and it’s heartbreaking.
Do you think that is increasing among the church, or do you think it’s just more that you get hard cases?
Yeah. I’m sure there are people accumulating statistics, and you see as the culture becomes more corrupt that we’re in Corinth, and so it’s not surprising that there’s more Corinth-like behavior or even people coming in with a past. They go back to those old sins sometimes, just temporarily. I would think it’s increasing just as the cultures become more corrupt sexually. What I have seen increase is more people talking about homosexual sin, but in terms of adultery, it’s always gone on. You go back to King David. You go back to the page of scripture, sexual sin has always been an issue. Both in terms of actual adultery, lust, and wandering hearts.
People also talk about emotional affairs. Just as we’re kind of laying the ground of thinking about adultery, how do you classify those or think about those, either as situations are brought to you or as someone throws out that label?
Have either of you in your experience with biblical counseling gone down the road with somebody where you’ve been pointing them to the scriptures, working with them and somewhere down the road what you discovered is that there is an underlying medical issue that you weren’t aware of that the person had that they were struggling with maybe? We’ll talk about this a little bit later but as it pertains to their diet or an actual disease that they have. Have either of you experienced that, saw that we have a physical problem here that needs to be dealt with before we can begin addressing where they’re even at spiritually.
Yeah, that’s not an uncommon thing. I think probably the most common one that I run into as a physician is with sleep deprivation. I could probably look out across this crowd and say, “How many of you slept eight hours last night raise your hands.” Anybody out there? One, two, a couple back up there. Good for you. Most Americans are sleeping six hours or under right now and that is by definition sleep deprivation. I think that’s a reasonable thing to inquire about and would come to your attention. If they can’t resolve it by turning the television off and going to bed a little earlier then you would want to move them on to a doctor.
We’ve seen cases before where a doctor would later say, “Well this person’s thyroid level is off.” That would be a factor. I think sleep has also been huge, where people go nuts when they’ve been sleeping almost none. A couple things I would add, one would be these are influences, they’re not determinative. Just like you’d want to know about a person’s life history, something happened to them, they were abused as a child, that’s relevant but it doesn’t turn them into something. Someone may have something going on physically or even with their brain that that’s an influence and you want to be aware if you can become aware. Sometimes you’re trying to help people and you’re getting nowhere and you might want to send them to a doctor because maybe there’s something going on here, I can’t figure out, some influence I’m not aware of.
- Listen to this episode: 004 Interview with Charles Hodges & Jim Newheiser
- Good Mood Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder by Charles Hodges (book)
- Spring Seminar 2016, Medical Issues & Biblical Counseling (audios)
- Spring Seminar 2013, Moods and Medicine (audios)
- The Loss of Sadness: How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder by Allan V. Horwitz and Jerome C. Wakefield (book)
- Christ & Your Problems by Jay Adams (book)
- Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Jeffery M. Schwartz (book)
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You don’t have to have a counseling center to be effective in your community. In fact, you know, I would argue from scripture that it’s you know, as you go you’re preaching the gospel so you know, the church is gathering together to be equipped, to be encouraged, and then we disperse, right? We go to our work places, we go to our schools, we go to our neighborhoods. That one-on-one ministry, where now we have some equipping to be able to address some of those life issues, you know I think as a pastor I’m thinking I want the average person at our church to be able to you know, talking to their neighbor next door that evening and a life issue comes up. You know, a teenager that’s addicted to something, or you know, they’re having marriage problems. I would hope that a believer at that point wouldn’t say, “Well hey, let’s go to our community counseling ministry,” although they could do that, but that they would engage them wisely and in a loving way from the scriptures to give them gospel hope in that moment.