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  • Writer's pictureStephen Greggo

Lightening burdens: By the pound or by the ounce

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Leading productive initial consultations requires remarkable helping skills. So much occurs in those early dialogues to mold a mutual understanding of change. It takes amazing craftsmanship to track information, recognize multicultural factors, forge an alliance, and inspire hope. Beyond the skills required for clinical proficiency, Christians who counsel issue a special welcome in those formative conversations.

Our intent is to humbly represent Jesus Christ as he issues his great invitation to the weighed down and weary. Counseling conversations are invitations to shed burdens and experience rest. The gospel offers freedom through a grace-filled relationship. Jesus makes an offer to provide a custom-fitted yoke to carry those earthy struggles. Included in his promise is release from the guilt of past transgression and eternal restoration for the soul (Mt 11:28-30). Jesus promises rest.

Mental health professionals (MHPs) enter helping relationships to set in motion the means to procure refreshment, ease struggles, and increase strength. In each initial encounter, we communicate a tangible extension of our Lord’s compassion to those with burdens. The client’s request and the organizational setting will determine if this message is expressed in spoken words. The essential element is extending the invitation of redemptive grace in Jesus Christ to arouse hope and vitality. When client and counselor come together and the client’s burden is identified, named, and changed, they find hope that relief is within reach. This inspires hope right from the outset of care.

Assessment is a vital aid in this mission. It introduces a legitimate method for unpacking burdens and provides a sequence to quantify difficult subjective episodes that tend to defy verbal description. When one has precision in understanding, degrees of change can be defined. By making the pieces of a problem clear, it’s possible to determine how to suitably prioritize what to reduce and remove. Exposing the divisions of a burden can assist a client in the throes of a struggle. Concrete depictions make it feasible to remove stressors at once or bit by bit. Either way, the right assessment strategy, completed at the optimal point in the therapeutic relationship, can ease a burden because clients are enabled to eliminate it piece by piece. This is highly practical when one’s perceptive senses are blunted. Further, regular quantitative measurement can aid clients in discerning when a heavy load is actually becoming less arduous to bear. Assessment not only supplies a focus; it inserts a scale to mark progress. Good instruments magnify the increments of change so there is recognition of Jesus fulfilling his promise to lighten the load.


Steve Greggo

Except from Assessment for Counseling in Christian Perspective (Greggo, 2019, IVP).

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