Steps in the Process of Biblical Counseling for the Person Who Struggles with Sin

Three things must be constant in order to help people with problems.

  1. Remember that this is the work of the Holy Spirit. You are an instrument for change in His hands.
  2. Scripture is therefore central to helping a person experience justification and sanctification. God receives glory and lasting change occurs when we disciple a person in love and humility with the power of the word of God.  We must use Scripture, rather than opinions, methodologies, or fads in helping a person break free from sinful bondage.
  3. Always, always, always, bring the person hope through the gospel, through the work of the cross.

Much of this will overlap, need to be repeated often to the counselee, and should be the basis of each sequential step. We do not move onto the next step until the counselee is firmly grounded in the current step. Progress is to build upon the previous weeks journey.


Phase 1. Initial Assessment and meeting

  • Goals; build hope, listen to the person before assessing the problem and formulating an opinion or advice. Build trust with them. The initial meeting may need to be an hour and a half to two hours.  Longer for couples.
  • Build hope. Share 1 Corinthians 10:13 as well as Romans 8:28
  • Be quick to listen slow to speak, slow to prescribe a solution. Proverbs 18:13 &17,.Explain the counseling process
  • Secure a commitment; to Honor God, do what God says, to do homework, and to attend a Bible teaching church every week.
  • Investigate their salvation and spiritual maturity. John 14, Romans 8, 2 Cor 5:17
  • For unsaved people, counseling becomes evangelistic rather than sanctification.
  • Radical Amputation (For work with addictions and extreme issues) Matthew 5:29-30


Phase 2 Building Hope and researching root causes

  • Goals: build hope and trust. Further understand the problem.
  • Probe with questions as to their salvation. Discuss justification.
  • Assess prayer life, Bible involvement, church participation.
  • Assign Personal Data Inventory.
  • Motivation is to honor God.
  • Scripture memory.
  • Christ and Your Problems by Jay Adams, an exposition of 1 Corinthians 10:13.
  • Utilize the tool of homework.
  • Work from truth rather than emotion.


Phase 3 Setting a course for the days ahead

  • Evaluate Personal Data Inventory
  • Pursue and understanding of the root cause of the symptoms.
  • Ask Questions
  • Look for compounding problems and the problem behind the problem (Presentation Problem)


Phase 4 Begin to teach on how sin affects us.

  • Discuss habits and sanctification. (Put ons and Put offs) Romans 12:1-2
  • Display and create an understanding of compounding problems.
  • Discuss emotions, attitudes, values, behavior.
  • Use Scripture to illustrate the power of the cross for change.
  • Use questions to draw out of the counselee what you need to discuss.


Phase 5 Confront Sin

  • Address sin issues.
  • Confront the person in their sin.
  • Use Scripture to discuss sin and its effects (Emotions, attitudes, values, behavior)
  • Look for conviction of sin.
  • Discuss repentance and the cross.
  • Until the person is convicted of sin, they cannot move forward.


Phase 6 Repentance and change

  • Repentance
  • Discuss redemption.
  • Discuss restoration and seeking forgiveness.
  • Discuss Habits and how to change. Ephesian 4:28
  • Radical amputation checkup
  • Put off/Put On
  • Provide support for change and hope.
  • Discuss the means of sanctification
  • Discuss the role of the Holy Spirit
  • Behavior modification vs. heart change.
  • Why people fail to change.
  • Discuss the disciples role of prayer and Bible reading with memorization and application.
  • Discuss the value of church attendance.
  • Focus on the change of heart, not just actions.
  • The goal is to honor God. Building an abiding relationship in Him.
  • Emphasize abiding in Christ.


Phase 7 Letting Go When to Discontinue Counseling

  • Give hope
  • Review progress
  • Is the tool box filled?
  • Are there streaks of success?
  • IS the thief no longer stealing but working to aid others?
  • Are the biblical principals embraced?
  • Is change and repentance embraced?
  • Schedule followups.



Resources  The home of the Association of Certified Biblical Counseling  RPM is a great blog to encourage you and keep you up to date.  The Association of Biblical Counselors  Faith Biblical Counseling Ministries  Paul Tripp  Associated with Faith Lafayette, IN this store has great resources at some of he lowest prices available

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