Connecting: Healing Ourselves and our Relationships Essay
After reading “Connecting: Healing Ourselves and our Relationships” by Larry Crabb, I thought to myself how wonderful this would be for ministers, pastors, priests or any individuals of spiritual leadership. I felt the author wasn’t writing this book on a professional level rather a book for the average layperson to read. To me it was more of a motivational book rather than a professional textbook. When dealing with a client on a professional level of counseling spirituality does play an important component, if that client is a spiritual being. Introducing spirituality in counseling is something that has been given more attention recently and I do agree that one’s faith is very important to consider when counseling, but that it should be balanced. I enjoyed the book very much, but thought that the reader should be somewhat skeptical of what the author was saying. For example, the part where there was a couple where the wife had become upset with her husband because of her feeling that she was unappreciated. The wife was urged by Dr - Connecting: Healing Ourselves and our Relationships Essay introduction. Crabb to release the “good urges” (p.16-17). To me it was just a matter of the client seeing things in a different perspective and practicing this to achieve desired results.
The connecting that Dr. Crabb believes in is the connection between individuals and the “heart of Christ”. He does believe that there is a power within every Christian that is just waiting to be released and not by the standard therapeutic techniques. He believes that through this awakening that Christians can heal their souls by just allowing God’s grace to flow within them and that counselors need to let the client see a type of caring coming from the counselor making them connect. I do agree with this, to some degree. I think it very important that a connection between client and counselor is vital for counseling to be effective. This point hit center when Dr. Crabb was sharing the story of his son and problems he was having with his child. One day when he was again pointing out the mistakes and shortcomings of his son he realized exactly what he was doing and said, “How can I help?” (p.4). This simple phrase helped both to connect and gave the son a sense that his father really cared. “When we look for the bad, we must always be looking harder for the hidden good” (12) truly words to live by.
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Dr. Crabb believes that counselors and clients should “walk together as honest strugglers” (p.99). Not be just listeners but participants of the healing process. To me though I believe that a certain part of the counselor must remain objective and separate in order for the counselor not to be swept into the realm of the client, which in my studies of counseling have been very important and stressed heavily. I do believe that some sort of connection is important but a limit on how far that connection should be is more important. This was not discussed very much in the book and really thought it should have been. Seeing or believing the counselor is without problems and conflict in their lives is something the practitioner should not portray exclusively. The client is the main focus and some interjection is important, but too much information is not healthy for the client or the counselor’s relationship with the client. The author’s stance was that this would help the client if they knew the counselor was human and that they would not have feelings of helplessness and the author does contend that experiences the counselor and the client shares should not be shared on the same level.
The section on the questions, “think vision” (161) were very useful and very helpful. These questions help individuals to go deeper into their own thoughts of what problems they are facing. These questions are used for a self awareness that is a very useful technique when counseling. Most individuals can use these questions for reflection to gain an understanding of their selves. Dr. Crabb believes that clients need to use prayer and to concentrate on “who that person could become” (165). These questions seem to give the individual that kind of reflection. As with any self help book these types of questionnaires are the heart of the book. But the author believes that these questions could help the client to release the energy of Christ within that individual.
“Connecting: Healing ourselves and our Relationships” bases perspectives on biblical and spiritual understanding along with solutions. Instead of seeing the client as someone in a sterile sense, someone with psychological problems, counselors need to give them a sense of belonging. Religious counseling can do just that if the client has a strong religious background. Dr. Crabb believes that “the problem beneath out struggles is a disconnected soul…we must provide nourishment for the disconnected soul that only a community of connected people can offer” (p. xvi). For a spiritual individual this would be a very problematic condition and spiritual guidance would definitely benefit any client that was suffering from this feeling. Dr. Crabb says that people today are lonely and disconnected from meaningful relationships. This disconnection causes them to react in ways that are harmful to themselves and others. Connecting will help them to stop this destructive behavior. “For most ordinary Christians, the center of helping efforts is simple kindness, warm affirmation and words of encouragement…I suggest that the absolute center of all powerful attempts to impact people for good is connecting” (p. 43).
The book was very difficult at times to follow and I was very skeptical of some of what the author was saying, but do understand that connecting whether spiritually or not is very important to counselors. What degree of connecting is what matters most, the book would be a great tool for counselors to read to help in understanding the spiritual perspective when dealing with individuals whose faith is vital to their understanding of who they are. But tool is the key word it is something that should not be taken as written in stone. Larry Crabb is a Christian counselor and a very well known author who has written several best sellers in a time when it seems the world is searching for answers. In my opinion I believe that counselors should be competent on all levels of spiritual belief and not only in the Christian beliefs. And that if a client has serious religious conflict then perhaps their own pastor or minister would be more appropriate for that type of guidance along with the trained counselor. A counselor alone would not be helpful, but would be if the client had already a good sense of religious identity and this book would be helpful in that sense. This book would be good for any reader and should be understood as a basic self-help tool.
Crabb, L. (1997) Connecting: Healing Ourselves and our Relationships. Tennessee: W. Publishing Group.