Complicated People

On February 29, 2016, Posted by , In counseling philosophy, George's Blog, By , With No Comments

As inconvenient as the condition suggested by our title may be, it describes all of us.  Some attempt to “flatten” humanness by a mechanistic definition of man.  Headmaster Thomas Gradgrind in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times was not the first nor the last to do so: “Thomas Gradgrind, Sir.  A man of realities.  A man of facts and calculations.  A man who proceeds upon the principle that two and two are four, and nothing over.  Thomas Gradgrind, Sir–peremptorily Thomas–Thomas Gradgrind.  With a rule and a pair of scales, and the multiplication table always in his pocket, Sir, ready to weigh and measure any parcel of human nature, and tell you exactly what it comes to.  It is a mere question of figures, a case of simple arithmetic.”
Unfortunately, or rather perhaps fortunately, life and people are not so reducable.  Therefore counseling should involve more than an attempt to simply manage symptoms or solve immediate problems.  It should, in the face of struggles, attempt to lay out a way of growth.  This process necessarily touches on world view and accounts for values and virtues.
Whether they understand or acknowledge this, even mechanistic secular therapies deal in world view and virtues.  The question is to the nature of these.  Even well-meaning Christian therapists can employ mechanistic/technical approaches in place of a richer, more robust (but more complicated) Christian theory.
A thoughtfully Christian understanding of people and of life has enough depth to deal redemptively with all the realities we may face.  Don’t settle for anything less in counseling.

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