Becoming a Counselor

I imagine this devout Christian would be a fine counselor in a Church related or pastoral role but I honestly can’t see her being suited as a counselor for people who do not share her faith.

When I talk with Muslims I speak from a Muslim perspective. When I speak with Hindus I speak from their Hindu perspective. Same with Sikhs, Orthodox Jews, Reform Jews, etc. I think you have to work with people from where THEY are and WHO they are, not where YOU are and who YOU are.

Now, see, this is what is strange about the situation, and I say this as charitably as I possibly can, given the pervasiveness of this attitude. Being a Christian, as such, does not make one incapable of dealing with people of other religions or backgrounds! Sounds like a bold claim? I am uniquely qualified to make it. My dad and half of my family is Hindu, yet for some reason they are still proud of me, and they talk to me often. The simple fact of the matter is that whether I believe something about anthropology or not should not have anything to do with how I act towards other people on anything other than an advisory or grave matter, because people have to find their own way. And everything about the case indicates that her mention of Scripture was purely in an advisory capacity.

The simple fact of the matter is that if everyone always took the attitude that you seem to, Mr. Buell, and I say this with no disrespect personally, dialogue would not just be pointless but also impossible. I cannot speak to a Hindu as a Hindu, because I am not a Hindu; to speak from a Hindu perspective, however, is possible for an Evangelical or anyone who understands Hinduism. Yet you would say that because she is an Evangelical having conviction, it is impossible for her to do so.

Let us turn this around. Suppose I were a homosexual having conviction and you are not. Would you then be unable to deal with me? No, you would perhaps say, you can, because one can be straight and adopt a homosexual perspective…at which point the GLBT community would fling you from the bus at the first opportunity, but that’s another matter. More immediately, though, hermeneutics of suspicion aside, you are assigning a stereotypical prejudice to Evangelicals, proving that you might be harboring some difficulties in seeing things from THEIR perspective. Till you can, wouldn’t it be wise to abstain from judging individual Evangelicals?

It seems a silly thing to claim, in any case, that such a thing as an “individual Evangelical as such” exists simply on that level, because of the varieties in doctrine and attitude even among different sorts of Evangelicals! Given this difficulty, to say ANYTHING about Evangelicals having conviction on certain subjects in general is difficult; and yet you’re willing to profess judgement on this young lady. I have a problem with this.

@Tom: Counselors should be VERY good listeners and less outspoken. And when they do speak it is better if they speak as Carl Rogers spoke and mirror back to the client what the client is feeling (not tell the client what they SHOULD be or in what way they are in error.) Roman Catholic priests, nuns and laity in my experience are good at being patient and non-judgmental; good at not being IN-YOUR-FACE trying to shove something down your throat. Mother Teresa would help Sikhs on their death bed say their Sikh prayers. Becoming certified for a special vocation is a privilege not a right. Those who possess the skills become certified and those who are unskilled must be disqualified. Even Apostle Paul spoke of “gifts differing.” The Myers-Briggs exam combines the notion of “gifts differing” with Jung’s personality types and yields non-judgmental results.

Obviously Mother Teresa was a Christian (although many Protestant sects do NOT see Catholics as Christians) and yet she was able to minister to Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Jains etc. Now Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts and their likes are also classified as Christians by many but I do not see in those people the quality of long-suffering patience or tolerance necessary to help someone who does not share their personal convictions.

Quite frankly, Tom, all I know of you so far is your long paragraph above but I sense that you are short on patience and compassion; you are opinionated, judgmental, short-tempered and outspoken. Your knee-jerk reaction is to argue in defense of the student. A counselor is supposed to have the CLIENT’S best interests at heart and not their own best interests or career.

I would suggest that someone read Carl Rogers’s “On Becoming a Person” Sheldon Kopp’s “If You Meet the Buddha On the Road Kill Him” and David Viscott’s “The Making of a Psychiatrist” in order to get the feel for what a good counselor, therapist, social-worker should be.

Apostle Paul said “I will be all things to all people so that by any manner some may be helped” (paraphrasing.)


t the testimony of someone who actively seeks out GLBTQ people and attempts to make them straight, or someone who waits for the opportunity to shout people straight if it should fall into her lap. What I heard was the testimony of a young lady who in her *counseling classes* (not, in other words, with a client, but with those responsible for the mental health of human beings) contested the idea that homosexuality itself is a good thing as such. Now, if it were said that she were to claim something stronger than that, that might be an issue, but to contest the idea of homosexuality as part of a person’s well-being is not something which need involve mistreatment of a patient if in fact it can be shown that homosexuality is, in fact, a bad thing.

Moreover, in the actual treatment of a client, the end is not simply to make them feel better but to make them actually healthy, or they will simply feel worse again. It is my understanding that the young lady seeks to help people return to good mental health; and since many homosexuals DO claim that their homosexuality is a matter of self-determination (and I can put you in touch with a good friend of mine who is part of that community who will be happy to explain, in full detail, that this is the case in a good portion of the “LGBTIQQAAP community”) her understanding of homosexuality as precisely NOT a biologically determined situation is more in accord with their community than that of ASU’s Counseling program.

Now, you have already, I suppose, judged me to be an insensitive jerk, which is as much a statement about the sadness of Facebook status updates as anything else: you don’t know me and you are prejudging the inflection of my previous post, assuming that I am some sort of knee-jerk defender of bigotry. I am half-white, half-brown. Half of my family is Catholic and half is Hindu. A good portion of my friends are practically not religious at all, let alone Christian, and an entire half of my family is more or less entirely materialistic in their worldview. Suffice it to say that the only reason I am not becoming more annoyed with the presumptions you claim to have about me is that I understand how difficult it is to relate to another human over Facebook. But do me a favor and spare me the personal judgments so that I may more easily prevent making them about you, at least for the wrong reasons.

But I have this problem, this “judgement”, if you will, that while you are accusing me of being too quick to judge you yourself, based only on what the article says (I assume, unless you have some relevant information you aren’t telling us, in which case it’s still fair for me to say what I said because you should have said so at the outset) are judging this young lady to be unfit to counsel simply because she exercises simultaneously her right to freedom of religion and her right to free speech. Now, I don’t know about how you’d like to qualify this, but that excludes Mother Theresa from being a good counselor, since she often spoke out on religious issues; it also excludes Martin Luther King, William Wilberforce, and Abraham Lincoln. Or, to take it in another direction, it excludes Carl Jung, who once claimed that if God didn’t exist man would have to create Him (which is a statement about religion), a controversial statement protected by his free speech.

Intolerance cannot be justified simply by stating that it is part of your religion. As an extreme example, just because a person might say that he believes that Africans are sub-human and that conviction is part of his religion wouldn’t make it acceptable. Also when one might reject this intolerant belief it does not imply that one is prejudiced towards the religion in question.

I think that a person’s religious views have no more special protection than any other view or belief has. And anyone who disagrees with a particular piece of one’s religious belief is not necessarily doing so on the general principal of bashing religion. I don’t think we can assume that there is an anti-evangelical crusade taking place in this particular situation.

Now I disagree that one needs to speak from a homosexual perspective to speak to one who is homosexual. We all speak from our own perspective because that is who we are. However two persons speaking from different perspectives can respect and tolerate each-other, but it takes a tolerant attitude. I don’t think that a Christian should be disallowed from being a counselor, and neither do the professors:

“the alteration of beliefs that they were looking for is that Miss Keeton would no longer believe that her views should be shared by other people, and that she would come to believe that persons of homosexual orientation need not change and are fine just as they are”

It is not really the beliefs that are required to change it would seem, rather Jennifer is seen as trying to push her beliefs on others. As Jennifer herself states

“I think the Bible’s teaching is true for all people, and it shows the right way to live.”

That of course meaning her own interpretation of the Bible. It implies that one way of life is “the right way to live”, hence all others are wrong. If that’s not intolerant I don’t know what is.

There is a lot of back and forth in the complaint, but I think it all comes from this basic impasse:

The professors don’t want Jennifer to project her own belief system onto her clients, though she is of course allowed to believe what she wants for herself. Jennifer sees this as a demand for her to alter her own basic beliefs. To me this means that her own basic beliefs include pushing her beliefs on others.

When you include actions onto other people as part of your belief system I think you no longer get to say that your beliefs are being repressed.

I think that there is definitely a line being crossed here. A lot of people have a problem with this. Its the problem many have with the aggressive proselytizers common among the Mormons and Jehova’s Witnesses. It is not as prevalent to all religions, but it can be offensive and ugly in any religion or philosophy.

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