This means that Christians need the ability to recognize and guard against misconceptions that devalue the body. For biblical counselors, it’s even more important that you hold a biblical view of the body as you seek to help your embodied counselee. Consider the following examples:
In the case of a counselee who engages in self-harming behaviors, the counselor must be ready with Scripture to provide motivation for treating the body in God-honoring ways.
If the counselee exhibits physical manifestations of chronic stress, will the counselor recognize them as indicators of internal emotional, mental, and/or spiritual struggles?
If the counselee sees himself or his identity as separate from body, how can the counselor counter that mindset if he also holds a hierarchical view of soul over body?
When counseling someone with a porn addiction, a counselor must present a convincing case from Scripture that God cares about what we do with our bodies.
How will a counselee’s efforts to fight an eating disorder be sustained if the counselor fails to connect bodily care to glorifying God with the body?
When a counselee misunderstands the connection between a lack of spiritual disciplines and apathy towards physical disciplines, the counselor needs to give a biblical understanding of our psychosomatic connection as embodied beings to counter that misunderstanding.
Post-traumatic stress reveals the impact of trauma on mind and body. Counselors are wise to address issues of trauma with consideration for the counselee’s embodiment.
Biblical counselors will encounter many situations that necessitate a robust theology of the body, but gender dysphoria may be the most critical. If biblical counselors have a low view of the body, how can they treat their counselees who are anti-body? Even more, if counselors lack a biblical understanding of the body and struggle with a biblical response to transgenderism, how will they help those who detransition?
As biblical counselors, a theology of the body will enable you to give care from a biblical worldview that doesn’t demean or distort physical realities. This stance completely contradicts our culture, which is exactly what your counselee needs in such confusing, physical-reality-denying times. Your care will be strengthened by your understanding of both soul and body as critical aspects of your counselee’s personhood. You'll be equipped to help the whole person, and your counselees will understand the gospel's impact on God’s embodied image-bearers, full of dignity and purpose.
While soul care (or care of souls) can be a helpful descriptor for biblical counseling, it may communicate a value to the soul that is disconnected from the body. Embodied Care considers that God created his image-bearers with psychosomatic (mind and body) interaction. This connection enhances our experience as embodied beings meant to commune with their Creator in a created world. You can support your counselees with an awareness of their physical health while caring for their spiritual health. My resources provide the link between your counsel and your embodied counselees.
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