For those who are asking, here’s the syllabus for the D.Min. course I’m teaching at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia) this week.
To investigate how the Scriptures shape a distinctive model of counseling among believers in the local church.
Degree Program Learning Goals
This course is designed to contribute to the following D.Min. program learning goals:
(1) Demonstrate the ability to be a reflective practitioner through interrelating counseling theory and practice.
(2) Demonstrate how an advanced understanding of one’s counseling ministry should be derived from the various exegetical and theological disciplines.
Course Learning Goals
As a result of this course you should be able to:
(1) Describe the distinctive characteristics of biblical counseling.
(2) Identify the essential steps in the biblical counseling process.
(3) Practice the skills used by biblical counselors.
(4) Evaluate your level of competence in the skills used by biblical counselors.
(5) Create a vision for how counseling functions within the life of a congregation.
The class will meet on the Campus of Westminster Theological Seminary from August 14-18. Exact times and venue TBA. The course will be divided into three main sections:
THE PRINCIPLES OF COUNSELING
An examination of the distinctive characteristics of biblical counseling:
- The Counselor’s Self-Knowledge
- The Counselor’s God
- The Counselor’s Bible
- The Counselor’s (and Counselee’s) Humanity
- The Counselor’s Qualifications
- The Counselor’s Church/Community
- The Counselor’s World
THE PROCESS OF COUNSELING
A step-by-step explanation of the essential steps in the counseling process.
THE PRACTICE OF COUNSELING
The principles and process of counseling in practice. A brief look at what biblical counseling looks like in practice via various counseling scenarios, together with some practical examples via role-playing.
The class will meet from August 14-18 as follows:
Monday 14 Aug: 1- 6pm
Tuesday 15 Aug: 8.30am-12.30pm, 2-6pm
Wednesday 16 Aug: 8.30am-12.30pm, 2-6pm
Thursday 17 Aug: 8.30am-12.30pm, 2-6pm
Friday 18 Aug: 8.30am-12.30pm
Prepare a script of a multi-session counseling scenario which narrates a dialogue between you and a counselee (real, based on reality, or imaginary), with footnotes explaining the reasoning behind your approach, questions, responses, decisions, homework, etc.
1. All you know before the first counseling session is what the person’s name is and that they are coming to you for counseling. You have to “discover” everything else in the counseling sessions.
2. Demonstrate in the dialogue how you would introduce yourself, welcome the counselee, explain your approach to counseling, initiate the conversation about the counselee’s problem, etc. You may choose any common counseling problem (e.g. depression, anxiety, sexual abuse, pornography, conflict, bereavement, anger, etc.).
3. There should be a minimum of 3-4 counseling sessions, each of which demonstrate knowledge of the principles and process of biblical counseling and skill in applying the Bible’s teaching to particular problems.
4. Each session should be set out as a dialogue between the counselor and counselee. Use footnotes to highlight where you are applying your counseling knowledge, and to explain what you are doing and why. Footnotes should also explicitly demonstrate what you learned from the lectures and from the books on the required reading list. You may wish to conclude each session dialogue with a summary reflection on what you learned and what you wish to teach others from it.
5. Although it may be helpful to get input from another party (e.g. the counselee’s spouse), in the interests of simplicity, try to keep such dialogue to a minimum for the purposes of this exercise or simply summarize what you may have discovered from other sources.
6. Be realistic by showing where you made mistakes in your counseling and how you hope to learn from them in future sessions.
7. Come to the classroom module with a rough draft of the first two sessions already prepared. You may submit this draft to the lecturer between August 14-18 for input and feedback. Use the class lectures to further refine these dialogues and be prepared to present your draft to the class if called upon. You will not be graded on this part of the assignment.
8. The sessions should demonstrate that your counseling is effecting change in the counselee’s life. However, it is not necessary to have a “happy ending.” The paper should conclude with a plan for future care for the counselee.
9. The assignment should be submitted into the online classroom by November 15 using the appropriate upload link.
10. The ultimate aim is to produce a counseling dialogue that can be used as a teaching tool, by you and your fellow students, for training counselors in a local church.
Read two of the following three books. Demonstrate in the counseling scenario assignment that you have read two of the books by explicitly referencing them and interacting with them in the footnotes (indicating agreement and disagreement).
Gospel-Centered Counseling by Bob Kellemen (Zondervan, 2014)
Gospel Conversations by Bob Kellemen (Zondervan, 2015)
A Theology of Biblical Counseling by Heath Lambert (Zondervan, 2015).