The workshop/experiential activities are designed to reinforce the intellectual understanding of this counseling model. A clarification is made between symptoms and the problem. It is necessary that the helper know, and be committed to, the process and goal of Exchanged Life Counseling and not deviate from it. Though each one will be led of the Lord to take an approach that is consistent with his personality and experience as he matures in ministry, each can use the materials presented in the conference and workshop, which are reinforced with the G. F. I. books and other media.
Begin with meeting the individual and discovering the presenting problem. Next, transition from this primary concern in the mind of the counselee to the broader scope of historical overview of the entire life. Discuss the taking of a life history and the use to be made of it as portrayed in Handbook to Happiness and You: A Spiritual Clinic, and Handbook for Christ-Centered Counseling.
Discuss the crucial importance of identity and how the history relates to the formation of the identity out of which the person is living. Point out the influence of rejection, failure, success, broken relationships, control, loss of loved ones, traumatic experiences, etc., in the formation of the identity. Help them to see that it is the total life that is the issue, not just the particular concern that drove them to seek help. Once this identity is identified and packaged, it is possible to move on to offer a new identity to contrast with it. The fleshly identity may be well adjusted or maladjusted, religious or sinful, strong or weak; but it is yet based on time/space relationships, which are always subject to change without notice. It may work well in time and be totally worthless in eternity.
Having verbally described the old identity, present the self-centered Wheel Diagram as a pictorial representation of “what is” and how the flesh or self-life is the key issue – an accurate representation of the fleshly or false identity. Guide the person’s understanding so that they agree that the self-life – not the presenting problem – is the culprit with which God has to deal. Thus, the flesh – the real problem – has been identified with the mental/emotional and behavioral difficulties accurately labeled as symptoms. The stage is now set to present the only complete answer from the Word of God, utilizing the Line Diagram as the teaching tool to make it understandable as the manner in which to appropriate the new identity in Christ. Underscore the truth that it is possible for the believer to have a new past! Exchanging the old identity for the new (and true) identity is the ultimate answer.
Identify the new identity by making abundantly clear what it means to be in Christ. Once this is thoroughly understood, contrast the old identity with the new one so that the differences stand out in bold relief. If a believer is to make the exchange, he must know both what he is letting go of and what he is moving toward in faith.
Describe and illustrate the appropriation by faith of the new identity and the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing the mind and transforming the life. Sources of resistance to such a step of faith must be taken into consideration: fear of losing control, practical matters in breaking with the old lifestyle, the role of damaged emotions, lies from Satan, fear of freedom, fear of being unable to do what God requires in the new life, etc. Choosing against one’s right to be autonomous is an act of faith as is choosing to walk in obedience to the revealed will of God. Everything in the natural life militates against it.
Conviction of the flesh and being at the end of one’s resources are the criteria without which there can be no transforming work of the Spirit in the life. Of course, God’s first choice in dealing with His children is that they learn from His Word under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Such instruction is much to be preferred rather than learning from the trials of life. Either can prove to a believer the futility of the flesh with the Biblical answer being the better of the two choices. No human being can bring about conviction of the flesh; various passages from the Word of God can give an accurate assessment of where the flesh is leading and can be used in convincing a person, but the Holy Spirit must bring the conviction.
Once the above has been accomplished, it is possible to “draw the net” and lead the person into a faith transaction, which will result in life transformation. There must be an explanation of the fact that emotions may not agree for some time and that the change wrought by the Holy Spirit may be sudden or gradual. The witness of the Spirit will be the common denominator for all who know His working. The person must know that this faith transaction is a new beginning – not the end of the process. Being filled with the Spirit is one thing; learning to walk in the Spirit is another matter. Instruction must be given about the daily nature of this walk, and provisions must be made for the ongoing discipleship where the presenting issues and others not yet uncovered must come under the influence of the Cross.
– From The Institute in Spirituotherapy.
Copyright, Charles R. Solomon