The Learn material in this module discussed guidelines for the use of prayer and Scripture in your counseling. However, the course materials also suggested some “cautions” or possible negative impacts when using these spiritual interventions. Read the following case and discuss the following questions. What guidelines from the lectures/McMinn apply to this case? What would you proactively do? What would you not do in using prayer and Scripture with Danielle? From the course materials, what are the most important points to keep in mind when counseling clients like this?
Danielle was the product of a highly chaotic home in which the mother was addicted to drugs and abused alcohol on a daily basis. The four children in the home were removed by Child Protective Services and placed in foster care; Danielle was five at the time of foster care placement. She never knew her father. The foster family was “religious” and took Danielle and her 5 foster-siblings to church each Sunday. At home, the foster father had little emotional interaction with the children—Danielle would later say that he was “in it just for the money.” The foster mother seemed overwhelmed with the responsibility of the children and would use excessive corporal punishment for slight infractions. During the beatings, the foster mother would recite verses such as Ephesians 6:1 and then would require the children to memorize passages that seemed to justify the harsh treatment. Danielle, now in middle school, was referred to the Christian social services agency where you are a therapist. She has exhibited both verbal and physical outbursts at school. You are eager to show Danielle that God loves her and can help her with her problems. For her part, Danielle seems pretty disinterested in “religion.”
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Finally, although this case refers to a “Christian” social services agency, also briefly review what you can and cannot do if this were a public services setting, with regard to expressing your beliefs and faith.