Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God’s Resources in Scripture Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Biblical counselors have worked for decades to demonstrate that God’s resources in scripture are sufficient to help people with their counseling-related problems. In Counseling the Hard Cases, editors Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert use the true stories of real patients to show how the truths of God’s word can be released to bring help, hope, and healing into the lives of those who struggle with some of the most difficult psychiatric diagnoses. From pastors and academics to physicians and psychiatrists, a world-class team of contributing counselors share accounts of scripture having helped overcome bipolar, dissociative identity, and obsessive compulsive disorders, postpartum depression, panic attacks, addiction, issues from childhood sexual abuse, homosexuality, and more. The book also shows how the graces of Christ, as revealed in the Bible, brought powerful spiritual change to the lives of such people who seemed previously burdened beyond hope by mental and emotional roadblocks. Contributors include John Babler, PhD, Kevin Carson, DMin, Laura Hendrickson, MD, Garrett Higbee, PsyD, Robert Jones, DMin, Martha Peace, RN, Steve Viars, DMin, and Dan Wickert, MD.
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|Listening Length||11 hours and 3 minutes|
|Author||Stuart Scott, Heath Lambert|
|Narrator||John Behrens, Lisa Wright|
|Audible.ca Release Date||May 18 2021|
|Publisher||B&H Publishing Group|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #59,670 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#472 in Pastoral Counseling (Books)
#1,607 in Christian Ministry & Evangelism
Top reviews from Canada
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It is the word of God and we should see it as Gods authority in all areas of life including counselling.
Top reviews from other countries
I wish to highlight three chapters specifically, though I enjoyed all of them.
I found Chapter 3 (Brian and OCD) to be particularly surprising. That his OCD behavior was literally a habit that had formed over time because of sinful desires was astounding. I would have never expected that. That's part of the power of this book--it shows readers that there is hope for counselees who are "hard cases" and that, perhaps, the diagnoses that make them "hard cases" really aren't so complicated, hopeless, and defeating after all. There is hope. It's amazing what persistent sin can do to someone, but even more amazing to see what God can pull someone out of.
I also found Chapter 9 (Jason and Homosexuality) to be emotionally moving and very encouraging. It is a difficult thing to struggle with homosexuality and Christians would do well to remember that. Especially in light of today's unhelpful and confusing culture, Jason found true help and true love in Jesus Christ, a church family, and a counselor. I am glad that Kevin Carson, the counselor who contributed this chapter, admitted the very real fact that homosexual struggles may never go away. That doesn't mean that they have to be life dominating. There are two choices: serve God or serve self. And our goal is to serve God (2 Cor. 5:9). By His power, no sin has to be life dominating. Not even homosexuality.
I was wary of Chapter 7 (Tony and Bipolar Disorder) because I do not know that I agree with that form of counseling. While I recognize that the weekend of counseling was to be followed up with accountability by the advocate and the church community, I think Tony may have been given too much in too short of time. Education is a process. And since a main part of Biblical Counseling is education, I think Tony may have been better served with long-term counseling. However, I do think that the concept of having an "advocate" is a good one, and when I am a certified Biblical Counselor I may make that part of my counseling. I also thought it was wise to give Tony something intensive in the immediate. It just seems that Tony would likely need more counseling. It takes time for people to change.
Thank the LORD, the editors, the contributors, and the counselees (anonymous though they may be) for this work. It is a very real work dealing with very real people (mostly), both counselors and counselees, and a real God who causes real change. This is a book every Biblical Counselor should have. No case is exactly the same. But these cases provide hope for the counselor and for the counselee. These cases also help give examples of ways to frame counseling and how to approach various "hard cases".
Joshua Wagner, Biblical Counseling
Crossroads Bible College
Scott, Stuart and Heath Lambert, eds. Counseling the Hard Cases: True Stories Illustrating the Sufficiency of God's Resources in Scripture. Nashville: B&H Publishing, 2012. 318 pp. $32.99.
Many Christian Studies and Biblical Counseling students have read many textbooks on the different philosophies of counseling, including integrationist, non-integrationist, and a whole wide array of theories within these two major camps. What is lacking, however, in many of these textbooks, as good as they are for what they accomplish, is the real life, "when the rubber meets the road" examples of how these counseling philosophies will look in their day-to- day ministries. Thankfully, Drs. Lambert and Scott have written such a book with Counseling the Hard Cases, a book that tells the stories of real people, with real problems, and how each Biblical counselor sought to apply the truths of the Scriptures to those particular cases. Many students and counselors alike will find this to be a helpful resource to come back to time and time again.
The book begins with an introductory chapter written by Dr. Lambert, explaining the approach to counseling that the authors of this book ascribe to, including a defense of the sufficiency of Scripture in counseling. This introductory chapter is a very good primer looking at the landscape of Christian counseling over the last few decades, going back to Jay Adams in the 1960s. The chapter is not bogged down with details and theories, but is perfectly sufficient to give a reader with no prior knowledge of the biblical counseling movement a sort of lay of the land before digging into the particular hard cases.
Following this introductory chapter are ten chapters, each written by a different counselor concerning different people and cases that they have counseled over the years. These cases are written by both men and women biblical counselors, and they include cases ranging from sexual abuse, postpartum depression, anorexia, and homosexuality. Since each chapter is written by a different author, concerning different cases, there is no set structure for each chapter. Some authors spend more time discussing the particular issue and less time on the actual counseling treatment, and vice versa. Some also spend a significant amount of time discussing their particular counseling ministry and why they do things the way that they do. While there is much variety in how the chapters are written, one thing remains constant throughout them all: each counselor is devoted to the absolute sufficiency of the Scriptures in addressing these hard cases that many write off as outside the bounds of Biblical Counselors. Each author shows how they dug below the surface issue, whether it be OCD, paralyzing fear, etc., to identify the heart and sin issues lying beneath in order to offer the hope of the Gospel and the healing therein.
The major strength of this book is its accomplishing exactly what it set out to accomplish, namely, to show that the Scriptures are absolutely sufficient for all areas of life, including what many deem as the "hard cases" that biblical counseling is not prepared to handle. The authors of this book, who are actual counselors themselves recounting cases they have handled throughout their years of ministry, prove that this is a misconception and that the Scriptures are sufficient in and of themselves. One of the most interesting chapters to me was
￼written by Dr. Lambert, chapter four on "`Sarah' and Postpartum Depression." At the end of the chapter, in his conclusion, Dr. Lambert asks the question, "Are you equipped to help a young woman wrestling with thoughts of killing her baby and herself?" (109). The answer that I would give before reading this chapter is a resounding, "No!" In fact, I would have likely said that Biblical counselors relying solely on the Scriptures would not be prepared to handle such a case. Now, admittedly I still do not feel prepared myself to handle such a case were it to come before me. However, I was filled with confidence in the Scriptures and hope in the Scriptures' sufficiency as I read how Dr. Lambert handled this case, and the hope that he offered in the Gospel of Jesus!
The only weakness that I would identify in this book is something that I have mentioned already, which is the lack of structure from one chapter to another. This was sort-of frustrating to me. I found some of the structures of the chapters very helpful, such as those by Dr. Lambert and Martha Peace, but others not so much. For example, I thought that Dr. Higbee's chapter focused too much on his personal counseling ministry, Twelve Stone Ministries. While I enjoyed reading about each counselor and how the Lord has brought them to where they are today, most of them did this in a page or two and then spent the rest of the chapter discussing the "hard" case. While I understand why he did it, I felt that Dr. Higbee's chapter was too focused on the process of his Twelve Stone Ministries counseling process. That is a minor critique, but a critique nonetheless. In addition, I felt that other chapters focused too much space on the problem and not enough on the actual process of counseling that person.
Overall, I found Counseling the Hard Cases to be an extremely helpful book, and one that I envision myself turning to time and time again in the years to come. More than anything else, I found myself coming away from reading this book with a renewed confidence in the sufficiency of the Scriptures for all areas of life, which is exactly one of the things I think the contributors of this book would hope for.