Describe the importance of language in counseling. Give examples.
Language is a vital aspect of counseling as it is the basis for our communication and ability to gain Involvement with the counselee as well as being the means to indicate how men define the parameters of their thinking. The counselor’s ministry will consist of using words that are filled with hope, seasoned with grace (Col. 4:6), and driven with the message of the Spirit rather than the wisdom of men (1 Cor. 2:13). The world uses language to minimize sin or use non-sin, made-up titles to describe sinful patterns (i.e. schizophrenia, bipolar, mental disorders, etc…) but the counselor is to retrain the counselee to use biblical terminology to define problems and sins (Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim.3:16).
It is also very important for the counselor to watch how the counselee uses his or her words. This is particularly the case when addressing the counselee’s use of labels. The counselor should be alert for danger phrases that people will often use when being counseled, including “I just can’t”, “He makes me angry”, and “It’s not fair”. These debilitating labels indicate a shift of blame or abandonment of responsibility, and reveal heart idols. Generalizations that embellish and distort the truth (i.e. “this always happens”, “He always…”, “It never works out”) could also hinder the counseling process. Ultimately the use of language will indicate the counselee’s heart, “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke ).