The research on the power of a community to touch its members for good or ill is being revealed increasingly each year. People's spiritual commitment is an important factor in mental, emotional and physical health. In fact, research on Professional counseling reinforces the notion that our community has great influence on our healing and growth. Bergin reviewed numerous studies to see what factors most influenced the client in reaching her goal in counseling. He discovered four major factors.
1. The techniques and guiding model of the therapist. This is what the helper says and thinks and is what most counselors study in grad school. It includes medicine, confrontation, advice, input, education, quoting scripture, etc. (15% of the total influence.)
2. The hope and expectation of the client that something good can happen from this relationship. The Seeker must believe that we can help him or her. They need to trust, respect and believe in us. (15% of the influence)
3. The caring interactions of Genuineness, Respect, Empathy and Warmth. Does the Seeker think we are caring, warm, understanding and respectful of him? (30%)
4. The client's context or motivational level and her peer relationships away from counseling and the therapist. The Seeker is with us maybe one of 168 hours so the peer pressure of the other 167 hours is critically important. The family, friends, church support, small group, workers, etc. Secondly, the level of motivation of the Seeker determines a great deal. This makes up about 40% of the total influence.
Several things become immediately apparent.
· First, the therapist's theory and interventions do not count for much in outcomes
· Second, the helper's relationship skills are twice as potent as our interventions.
· Third, the client controls the relationship and the healing/growth process.
· Fourth, peer support systems are important in bringing or impeding change. We need to understand that system and draw on it.
· Fifth, having good Personal Process skills is more important than knowledge of psychology or psychotherapy.
· Sixth anyone can learn the Personal Process skills.
· Seventh, we can teach Personal Process skills to a congregation and office staff to increase the functional level of peer support.
· Eighth, Peers are as effectively to most needy people as Professionals.
· Ninth, broken persons can live with interpersonal health and give life to others.
· Tenth, EQ is more important than IQ.
Summary: Group discipleship and counseling that draws in the support of the family and community are more effective and efficient than individual mentoring or coaching. If this is true for counselors who are supposed to be trained experts in motivation and change, how much more true is it for pastors and lay leaders? If you are at the place of doing something about impacting others, go to our bookstore and download a PDF of one of our books. Maybe Healing Souls Touching Hearts or How to be Me in My Family Tree.
Conclusion: Developing healthy congregations of prayer, support, love, understanding and truth is the most important thing we can do to positively change society.I further conclude that the best place to begin is marriage and family life.