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A proposed curriculum for a certificate course in lay Christian counselling

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    • Publication Date:
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      The University of Johannesburg: UJContent
    • Abstract:
      M.A. (Psychology) ; Professional counsellors are overloaded with many cases and are in dire need of lay assistance. Specifically, pastors are overburdened with the number of counselees seeking their help, and they require lay members of the church to be equipped to counsel on a paraprofessional level. If executed effectively, this lay counselling will act as a filter by letting only those cases needing professional intervention to pass through to the pastor or mental health practitioner. The benefits to be obtained from the Biblical ministry of lay counselling are numerous, the most notable being that chances of burnout are lessened in professionals who now need only focus their attention and energies on. cases specifically requiring their expertise. However, as is the case with all ministries, there are potential dangers and pitfalls. These can be minimised by proper equipping. It is the knowledgeable, Spirit-filled and welltrained lay counsellor thatis at least risk. Acquiring the practical skills of effective counselling initially involves being formally taught and practising these within a learning environment. This dissertation proposes such a curriculum for the equipping of lay Christian counsellors on both the theoretical and practical levels. Though it is not the first of its kind in the United States, it does reflect a relatively new field in this country and much research must go into developing and modifying curricula for the South African context with its cultures and specific needs. This poses an exciting challenge to the pastors and mental health professionals of this country, who In addition to the actual clientele, will be the onesto benefit. In this dissertation, the domain of the research is introduced by discussions on Christian and lay Christian counselling. Definitions, general assumptions, Biblical basis and uniqueness are presented as well as why lay Christian counselling is a vital aspect of a caring church Some of the common goals that this field shares with secular counselling have been stated, as well as its unique goals. The selection of potential lay Christian counsellors has been discussed, offering some of the desirable therapeutic and ethical qualities of such counsellors.
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      University of Johannesburg
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