How does Freedom Prayer partner with the counseling community?
Inner healing approaches derive from scriptural principles and pastoral experience while professional counseling is grounded in deductions from the behavioral sciences. Nonetheless, there seems to be a growing recognition of the importance to explicitly include a client’s spiritual religious beliefs and practices (SRBP) within the therapeutic structure. Quoting Kenneth I. Paramagnet, PhD speaking in an APA press release:
“Psychologists are ethically obliged to be respectful and attentive to the cultural diversity of their clients, and religion and spirituality contribute to our personal and social identities. Emerging research is showing that spiritually integrated approaches to treatment are as effective as other treatments. There is, in short, good scientifically based reason to be more sensitive to religion and spirituality in clinical practice.” March 22, 2013, APA Press Release
Recent surveys indicate the majority of patients (83%) felt there was a relationship between mental and religious health though it was discussed in only 30% of cases. The Handbook in footnote 2 goes on to recommend an intentional four-stage process for determination of the inclusion of spiritually conscious care.
One school of thought about the relationship between inner healing and counseling is the place of focus within the tripartite structure of humans: spirit, soul and body. 1 Thes 5:23 states:
“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through; and may your spirit andsoul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Just as counselors may refer clients to a medical doctor for treatment or to gain an understanding of physical problems that may inform mental/emotional issues, they may also refer to pastoral counselors or inner healing ministers to treat or to understand the place of issues lodging within the human spirit – although less understood and able to be measured. In Freedom Prayer prayer-filled encounters with Christ are the change mechanism instead of therapist-mediated or psychological theory-derived activities leading to psychodynamic or experiential psychotherapies.
Counselors themselves often integrate this type of ministry in their practices. This is described by Saunders, Miller and Bright (2010) along a continuum from “avoidant” to “conscious” to “integrated” and finally to “directive”. They state that there may be a perception among clients that psychologists are disinterested in and, perhaps, contemptuous of religiousness and spirituality. Therapist reluctance is understandable due to lack of training, concerns about undue influence, and a range of sometimes dubious advice and examples. For clients with religious beliefs integrated approaches (focus on a clients SRBP without a view to change or transform it) are the most common while, at a minimum, conscious approaches (being respectful and sensitive to the salience of spirituality to the issues at hand) should be present.
Options for partnership include counselors performing spiritual prayer ministry themselves, referring to a trusted ministry, or accompanying a client to a ministry setting. For example, this last approach is being used very effectively within a network in San Antonio, TX and in Abilene, TX.
Testimonies from Mental Health Care Professionals
(click an arrow to view more testimonies)
Through the partnership of the truths from the world of psychology and those from world of inner-healing, we can see powerful healing and transformation occur. I believe that by integrating the two, we will see more people restored to wholeness and live an abundant life as they heal their connection with God and be restored body, soul, and spirit
- LPC, San Antonio, TX
Receiving training on freedom prayer and tools, as well as time spent being a part of such a ministry team, has been invaluable to me as a counselor. Freedom tools has provided me some Biblical structure, concepts, and language that has helped me facilitate what God would like to do in my counseling sessions. I have seen God do tremendous things when this type of prayer has been conducted in a ministry setting or in a counseling session. Having a cooperative relationship with a freedom prayer ministry allows me to offer it has an additional resource to my clients. I have found referring my clients to it beneficial and appropriate. Conversely, the ministry has encouraged some clients to seek professional counseling as they may need more frequent sessions or other coping strategies or life skills.
- LPC, Abilene TX
As a licensed therapist trained in Freedom Prayer through the Freedom Resource, my whole practice has shifted to a place of bringing others to freedom using the tools that quickly get to the root of the issue that hinders. And even in the sessions where a client just wants to talk through a situation, the Presenting Jesus tool is the most powerful way to receive His wisdom and guide them into hearing His voice for themselves. I have “worked myself out of a job” in exponential ways and it is my great thrill to see others encounter His power and love that delivers and transforms
- LMFT, Director of Liberty Alliance
Professional counseling and prayer ministries work hand in hand as essential partners to facilitate inner healing in wounded lives. Working together we can maximize the freedom, recovery, and renewing of all those in need.
- MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt, Psychiatrist for the Mental Health Cooperative and Davidson County Jails
After forty years in medicine and fifteen years doing inner healing prayer ministry I can recommend any combination of prayer ministry, professional counseling or psychiatric care when needed. But for many people a ministry like a Freedom Prayer is the best place to start. I have seen dozens of folks completely healed in these types of ministries, and I am most impressed with Andy Reese and his team at a Freedom Prayer.