The Crisis in Counseling

A crisis is an event or situation that threatens our psychological equilibrium. They are expected or unexpected, real or imagined, actual (as a loved one has died) or potential (as is appears that a loved one might die). Someone has noted that the Chinese word for crisis is made up of two characters: one means “danger” and the other “opportunity.”

  1. Danger: This is because it threatens to overwhelm the person. It involves the sudden shift of roles, or a significant loss. Due to the intensity of the situation, the customary methods of handling stress no longer work, which leads to frustration and bewilderment, anxiety, anger, discouragement, sorrow or guilt.
  2. Opportunity: Counseling offers a chance to grow, change and develop better ways of coping.

The Bible and Crises Types:

Much of the Bible is concerned with people in crises: Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, Moses, Samson, Saul, David, Elijah, Daniel and on and on. Several letters were written to help people going through crises. There can be identified three types of crises:

  1. Accidental or situational crises: Sudden threat or unexpected loss occurs (death, pregnancy, social disruptions like war or economic depression, loss of a house or savings, sudden loss of respect or status).
  2. Developmental crises: Occurs in the course of normal human development (start in a new school, going away to college, adjusting to marriage then parenthood, handling criticism, facing retirement, declining health).
  3. Existential crises: The are changes in self-perception, which can be denied temporarily but must eventually be faced realistically. They overlap the above but come when we are forced to face such disturbing truths:
    1. I’m a failure.
    2. I’m too old to reach my goals.
    3. I’ve been passed over for the promotion, again.
    4. Now I’m a widow, single again.
    5. My life has no purpose or meaning.
    6. My illness in incurable.
    7. My house and possession were destroyed in the fire.
    8. I’ve been rejected because of my skin color.

Think of Elijah’s great victory at Carmel and then his emotional state afterwards; Jonah and his thoughts; the calamities of Job.

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