Thursday, 13 May 2010

Counselling does not deal with the soul

Or so Carmela Soprano says. On hearing that her husband is going to therapy she says that is doesn't deal with the soul, that's something else, but it's a start.

I found this a fascinating comment on the way our society thinks of the soul and of religion. People seem to think of religion as basically counselling with a spiritual edge. So Carmela thinks that ordinary counselling is good but religion is better. It strikes me that many religious people think like this and that most people think of religion as sort of some weird form of counselling! People who are struggling in life can find help in counselling but religion might prove a cheaper option!

However, despite all the depressing assumptions she seems to be making about Christianity what she says is ultimately right. Counselling may be good but ultimately it cannot deal with the soul. She speaks better than she knows. Lots of people, Christians included, have things which they need to get out and talk through with someone, this is a good thing and it worries me that so many Christians are so insular. However, talking through issues is not really what Christianity is about. Church is not a place for people simply to talk about the different life pressures they have. No Christianity is a place which offers you a way to sort out our soul.

Humanity's problem is not something that can be solved merely by counselling (helpful though it may be). No our problem is that we have a propensity to do bad things and to not do good things. What we need is to find forgiveness and some hope that this can change. Counselling and self help cannot do this so Jesus dies to make it possible. He pays the price for our sin so that we can be forgiven and he offers salvation to our soul so we can look forward to being perfect in his new perfect world. Christianity is not and must not be simply a spiritual version of counselling because ultimately it offers forgiveness and salvation for our soul which no counsellor can grant us!


  1. I can wait to be perfect in a new perfect world! No more sin! how amazing will that be to never sin again or have to say sorry to God for letting Him down again!

  2. Hey follow Stuart and not me!!! I was here first! is it because I'm a traitor???!!

  3. Send me a url and you will be right on my list. I normally click on your links as they come on twitter!

  4. ok I will forgive you just this once! :-) here is my url

  5. After reading this I wish that I had the chance of religious, or Christian counselling instead of the useless psychiatric counselling I was subjected to many times during the years I dealt with serious depression. Regular counselling left me in tears and with more questions and feelings of lonliness than I started with, if it helped at all. Most of the time the counsellor would give up after a few sessions and tell me that counselling wasnt for me. I even took a course in basic counselling in the hope that I could 'counsel myself'. Its not until now that I realise that having access to counselling with a Christian or church would have made so much difference and would probably have helped me overcome the depression much sooner. Psychiatric hospitals and clinics need to be offering support (or links to) from the client's/patient's own faith as well as regular CBT or psychoanalytical counselling.