Author: Joshua Waulk

Shame: Is It Crouching at Your Door?

There’s a type of sadness that often lingers in the air in many counseling sessions. It isn’t always easily identified, especially early on in a counseling relationship, but through the process of listening and peeling back the layers and years of a person’s life story, it eventually rises to the surface. It tries to hide, but once you see it, its presence in and influence over the heart is unmistakable. That it has to go is undeniable. We often confuse it with guilt, the legal term we assign to one adjudicated guilty of breaking the law. But we aren’t dealing with guilt. That...

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Too Tired to Care

During my law enforcement career, my comrades and I were repeatedly instructed to use caution when responding to an emergency call because, as the saying went, you were no good to anyone and a drain on available resources if you were involved in a vehicle crash on the way. In a similar fashion, biblical counselors, like first responders and other crisis care agents, are susceptible to a phenomenon known as compassion fatigue. While compassion fatigue may not leave the counselor stranded in an overturned vehicle, it does threaten to sideline them for a lack of awareness or appropriate caution....

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Stuck in a Rut: Responding to Emotional and Spiritual Inflexibility

By the time couples, individuals, and parents make their way to the counseling table, they often consider themselves to be stuck in patterns of thinking and doing that seem unalterable. For the biblical counselor, identifying not only the symptoms (presenting issues) but also the underlying (heart and/or bodily) issues are keys to establishing an action plan that will promote true and lasting biblical change. Theoretically, the process of gathering data and problem solving according to Scripture should be fairly straightforward, but as one pastor recently said, “We’re dealing not with algebra problems, but with human beings.” Deeply Embedded Problems...

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Taking Every Thought Captive

“I’m stuck, and I feel like God’s nowhere to be found.” “I can’t get over how they treated me—like I’m something less than human.” “There’s no hope for me. I’m sorry I’ve wasted your time.” “This is just God’s will for me. There’s no use in praying.” I frequently hear these types of emotionally charged sentiments from counselees who are experiencing a season of depression. On occasion, I’ve been persuaded that the roots were at least partly physiological, but more often, there’s been an identifiable circumstance that gave rise to the person’s change in mood (job loss, illness, death...

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Finding Hope in Gospel-Centered Counseling

In my years of work as both a police officer and now a biblical counselor, I have found that one common thread running through most, if not all interactions with people seeking help is their desire for hope. Whatever circumstance they face, they seek the assurance that things can change for the better. It has been my observation over time that this search for hope is usually buttressed by the expectation that I, as either a first responder or counselor, would be trustworthy to either dispense hope or ensure them of a basis for it. Hope, as it turns...

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