Increasingly in counseling, I find myself saying some form of this question…
“What do you think of all of that…?”
Let me explain…
The Personal Ministry of the Word
If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written on biblical counseling, then you know I often compare/contrasts:
- The personal ministry of the Word—biblical counseling.
- The pulpit ministry of the Word—biblical preaching/teaching.
You also know that I seek to encourage counselors to take advantage of the blessings of the personal ministry of the Word—factors like:
- The opportunity for give-and-take interaction between counselor and counselee.
- The ability to talk with a counselee about a pertinent passage rather than simply talking at or just teaching to
- The power of trialogue: In a monologue I talk to or at you. In a dialogue we engage in gospel conversations together. In a trialogue there are always three persons present—the counselee, the counselor, and the Divine Counselor through the Word of God and the Spirit of God at work in the people of God.
- The opportunity to engage in spiritual conversations and scriptural explorations where the counselor does not simply teach the passage. Instead, the counselor helps the counselee to draw out relevant biblical truth for their life.
So, “teaching at” does not need to be the primary “method” a biblical counselor uses.
But When We Teach—Follow Up…and…Check In…
Still, “teaching” can be one legit aspect of the biblical counseling process. This is especially true when “teaching” is not a “canned” one-size-fits-all lesson, but rather the exploration of a pertinent passage that is selected because of it’s particular relevance to this unique person with their specific issue.
Now, back to our title: “What do you think of all of that…?”
When I do spend some time during a session “teaching” a passage (exploring together how the truth of the passage relates to the life of the counselee), I always seek to follow up and check in. Instead of droning on with my “teaching component,” I take advantage of the interactive nature of the personal ministry of the Word, and I seek to follow up and check in. I stop talking, and I say something like:
- “What do you think of all of that…?”
- “What do you make of all that…?”
- “I’ve yacked for long enough. What do you make of what I’ve just shared from this passage…?”
- “Let me stop now. Of what I’ve just shared, what is most relevant to you…?”
- “What do you think God may be wanting you to do with these truths…?”
- “Let’s do a check in. How would you summarize how this passage relates to you right now…?”
- “I’ve rambled for a bit here… What stands out to you as most important from this passage for your life…?”
- “I’ve shared a bit about how I see this passage relating to your life. Any pushback? Any questions? Thoughts?”
- “What do you do with all of this…?”
I probably say this same follow up and check in question a dozen different ways. You can add your own dozen. The key—stop talking; invite interaction.
Discipleship Counseling: Giving a Fish or Teaching to Fish Scripture?
Why is this so vital? If all we do is teach at counselees, then we “give them a fish.” They learn (perhaps) one truth.
But biblical counseling should be discipleship counseling. We equip our counselees how to explore and apply Scripture to their own lives. In this way, we work ourselves out of a job. We empower counselees to be their own best biblical counselor through the self-counsel process of relating God’s truth to their own lives and relationships.
Plus…checking in helps us to know whether or not we’re communicating in a helpful way. We can assume a counselee “gets it.” But we may not be “getting them” and they may not be “getting it.” So, stop. Follow up. Check in.
More About Trialogues
Above I shared a number of ways to word the “general follow up and check in question. But exploring a text gets much more personal and specific than just that. For 100s of samples of how to craft/create trialogues specific to your unique counselee and a particular passage relevant to their personal issue(s), check out Gospel Conversations: How to Care Like Christ.
Join the Conversation
How do you follow up and check in?
Let me check in with you? What do you make of this blog post? “I’ve yacked for long enough. What do you make of what I’ve just shared in today’s blog…?”