“The Importance of Faith in Counseling” by Jay Adams. A Review
Jay Adams is known among many biblical counselors and classic Presbyterians as the father of neuthetic counseling. Some years back he pulled together several short essays on the value and significance of faith during the counseling process that became this short 73-page paperback: “The Importance of Faith in Counseling”. This little manual has recently been repackaged and republished by the Institute for Nouthetic Studies. The chapters are short, and easy to digest.
Adams whole premise is that the counseled need to be encouraged to grow in faith during counseling sessions. And the counselor also needs to develop stronger faith as well. But it’s not about faith-in-faith. Rather, Adams shows what real Christian faith is and how it focuses on and centers on who God is, what he has done, is doing, and will do for his people as declared in Sacred Scripture. In other words, you “will want to create a pervasive biblical atmosphere…it is God, not the counselor, with Whom the counselee primarily has to do… You want your counselee to depend upon God to enable him to bring about the changes He desires” (10).
The whole manual is peppered with valuable assessments about true faith. Adams even addresses fear, and makes some clear observations: “Fear in the place of faith is a protest (however silent it may be) against God’s providential working. It is an attack upon His judgment and goodness… Faith is a protest against temptation” (22). Further, the author rightly notes that true “biblical faith focuses upon the promise (of God), not upon the outcome” (45). I can’t begin to describe how many times I’ve made this same observation to people I was working with, especially with those trying to bargain with a spouse, or worse, bargain with God.
“The Importance of Faith in Counseling” lends itself to devotional reading as well. In fact, I included it with my morning Bible reading and prayer time, finishing it this morning. It’s a book for counselors and counselees. But it is also useful simply for any Christian during our long obedience in the same direction. I recommend the book.