In this compare and contrast paper I will highlight the differences and commonalities between Larry Crabb’s biblical model of counseling, theories, and techniques of Rodgerian theory called Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). All of these theories are a form of psychotherapy. Couselors today use techniques such as pharmacological intervention and cognitive and behavioral therapy. They are not wrong in using these techniques, but rather should seek the Lord and take a biblical approach in therapy. Part 1: Goal of Christian Counseling
In part one – “A Few Preliminaries”: of Crabb’s book titled Effective Biblical Christian Counseling, Larry Crabb states that “The goal of biblical counseling is to promote Christian maturity, to help people enter into a richer experience of worship and a more effective life of service” (Crabb, 1977). Larry Crabb then goes on to explain that Christian maturity is achieved by “MOVE OVER” which is dealing scripturally with problems and circumstances, and “MOVING UP” which is changing a person’s character to being more like Jesus Christ. The definition of counseling according to the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary is the “Professional guidance of an individual by utilizing psychological methods especially in collecting case history data, using various techniques of the personal interview, and aptitudes.
The difference in secular counseling and Christian counseling is that Christian counseling integrates biblical methods of dealing with problems. The secular models of counseling such as Ellir’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT), and Cognitive- Behavior (CBT) contrast in the area of Christian counseling’s ultimate goal that was mentioned earlier. Psalms 1:1-2 states, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (Bible). Part 2: Basic Concepts Larry Crabb in chapter nine – “A Simple Model for Counseling”, shows us his seven stage model for counseling. In basic concept Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT), and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) contrast Larry Crabb’s model of Christian counseling.
These two of the three secular counseling theories and techniques use nothing religious. Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) does. The article titled Religiously Sensitive Rational Behavior Therapy: Elegant Solutions and Ethical Risk states that, “Dispite REBT’s wide usage and empirical support, the intentional application of REBT to the treatment of religious clients is a fairly recent innovation” (APA, 2000). REBT is the only theory besides Larry Crabb’s theory that proposes a religiously sensitive model of therapy. Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Rodgers’ Client-Centerd Therapy (RCCT), and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) methods all show that the client is the center of focus, as Larry Crabb’s method has Jesus Christ as the center focus. In chapter two – “Christianity and psychology: Enemies or allies?”, Larry Crabb talks about four approaches for developing a true biblical counseling strategy. The four approaches are the Separate But Equal, Tossed Salad, Nothing Buttery, and Spoiling the Egyptians.
Larry Crabb states that the “…fourth approach to integration that in my mind strikes a needed balance between the unintended carelessness of Tossed Salad and the overreaction of Nothing Buttery. Tossed Salad correctly assumes that the secular psychology has something to offer but does not pay enough attention to a possible mingling of contradictory presuppositions. Nothing Butterist appropriately demand that every bit of Christian counseling be thoroughly consistent with biblical revelation but throw out all psychology, including those elements that are (perhaps accidentally) consistent with scripture. The model I am proposing might be labeled Spoiling the Egypians” (Crabb, 1977). Part 3: Basic Strategy Two basic strategies or concepts are found in part three – “Basic Strategy: How to Understand and Deal with Personal Problems” in Larry Crabb’s Book.
The first concept is “needs” and the second concept is “motivation”. People have needs of significance and security. In reality only Jesus Christ can give a person significance and security. Philippians 4:19 in the King James Bible states, “But my God shall supply all our needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (KJV, Bible). Larry Crabb states that, “…motivation is the drive or urge to meet our needs. It is that sense of momentum that impels us to do something to become significant and secure. We are willing to expend tremendous personal energy in an effort to satisfy these needs. We call this profound, compulsive willingness to meet needs motivation” (Crabb, 1977). On the topic of motivation in Christ, Poverbs 3:5-6 in the Bible states: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Bible). When it comes to personal significance, security, and motivation, the three strategies besides Larry Crabb’s strategies contrast Larry Crabb’s basic end goal.
Ellis’s Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT), and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) contrast because their end goal is the client and psychiatrist meeting the clients need and not Christ. Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT) compares to Larry Crabb’s Strategy by using biblical strategies with the counselor actively listening to the client with empathy and respect . Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT) also assumed that the therapist, to prduce positive outcome, was required to feel and demonstrate unconditional positive regard and genuineness toward the client” (Kensit, 2000). Part 4: Developing a Counseling Program in the Local Church Ellis’s Rational, Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), Rodgers’ Client-Centered Therapy (RCCT), and Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) contrast with Larry Crabb’s developing a counseling program in the local church, obviously because they are secular forms of counseling that do not look to Jesus Christ or the Bible to meet the client’s needs. Larry Crabb states that, “Paul reminded the Thessalonian Christians that he had worked with each one individually in his efforts to guide them toward spiritual maturity (1 Thess. 2:11). The local church must assume responsibility for the individual personal care of each member.
Obviously no ministerial staff can deal adequately with the staggering needs for individual attention and concern within the body “(Crabb,1977). Conclusion People would not need counseling as much if they would seek godly counsel. We would find all that we need if we would only turn to Christ for it. Mathew 7:7 states, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Bible). References American Psychological Association. (2000), Profesional Psychology: Research and Practice Vol. 31, NO. 1, 14-20
Crabb, L. J. (1977). Effective biblical counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House.
Kensit, D. (2000). Rogerian theory: a critique of the effectiveness of pure client-centered
therapy. Counseling Psychology Quarterly, 13(4), 345-351.