When a friend from church asked if I would help her with spiritual growth I said of course, then paused. “I’ve been to a couple of conferences on biblical counseling but I’m not sure how it works. Could I practice on you?” She said yes and we got started.
I didn’t know much about biblical counseling, but I had seen a case report form (found on this page) used by the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and decided to give it a try. Here are some things I discovered along the way.
Recording answers to the questions on this form
- Provided otherwise elusive answers. By recording changes a counselee made, what we talked about, unbiblical thoughts and patterns, and present circumstances, I was able to pray and think more intentionally about how to help biblically.
- Gave future direction. As I considered progress made and topics discussed, I was able to prayerfully consider future growth and direction for each counselee.
- Allowed me to see subtle patterns and habits I might have missed or left unaddressed.
- Provided a consistent, objective way to present information to a counselee’s pastor, small group leader and/or my direct supervisor as needed.
- Became a guide for each session, helping me lead with purpose and an end goal in mind.
The original form, helpful as it was, was tedious. I could only review one session at a time and struggled to create transitions and consistency. After praying and thinking, I put each question in one column of a spreadsheet and filled it in from top to bottom. When I needed a reminder or quick orientation, I could pull it up and scan a number of sessions at once. The spreadsheet format makes it possible to scroll through multiple entries of past teaching, homework assignments and changes (template HERE)
There is nothing magical about record keeping, but as people who reflect our Creator-God, we have the ability to communicate, plan, be intentional, and orderly. May He use us as instruments for His pleasure and glory as we minister to the lives of those He sends our way.
Written by Sydney Millage