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Beautiful

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ABSTRACT
My name is Kelechi Ogechi Ibekwe, and I am a Master’s degree candidate with Liberty University Theological Seminary in the Theological Studies disciple. This is in preparation towards equipping me for the end time commission by our Lord and Master Jesus Christ as He commanded in Mark 16:15 “Go ye into the world and preach the gospel”. I believe our number one aim of learning and preparing in His kingdom is to make more disciples to Him, even while encouraging one another in counseling.
My steadfast goal in life is to know the Lord more, walk with Him, and then see Him face to face when He comes. For me, everything in life is a phase that someday will pass, but our desire in this life is to serve the Lord in all we do.
Also in line with that, I am learning to encourage others with the utilization of the Solution Based Pastoral Counseling (SBBPC). With the inclusion of the Hawkins’ Pastoral Assessment Model, and defined teachings from Benner’s (2003) Strategic Pastoral Counseling & Kollar’s (2011) Solution – Focused Pastoral Counseling, it has been simply explained on the best approach to achieve this aim.
This project emphasizes on an example linked with the SBBPC method with the general concentration being Brody, from Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness (Harrison 2007). It all comes down to the way that Brody’s emotions are not put into consideration, especially by his father. Steps are gradually taken here on how to improve Brody’s state of mind with the aid of good Christian counseling.

THE PASTORAL COUNSELING SCENARIO
PART 1: THE COUNSELING SETTING
RATIONALE
As far back as the twentieth century, the study of psychology has gradually moved from its view that things of the spiritual have little or no place in the area of counseling (Anderson, Zuehlke, and ZuehIke 2000, 15). This has led to further exploration and research in the Christ- centered therapy and biblical counseling. Furthermore, counseling actually took the form of a long- term endeavor in that primarily focused on exploring and identifying the causes behind certain behaviors or symptoms, while focusing on the problem itself rather than a solution (Benner 2003, 42; Kollar 2011, 14-15, 37-41). For Solution – Based Brief Pastoral Counseling (SBBPC), it notices the past for all that it is involved with, and then moves on to focus on the present and the development of solution based on what is obtainable at the moment, and a hopeful future using a theory based upon positive psychology with a concise look at the moment. This approach, particularly the short-term nature inherent to the process often met with skepticism from the practicing professionals who views it as too “superficial” or “inferior to long-term counseling”. However, short-term counseling has actually seen to be equally effective compare to the Long-term counseling (Benner 2003, 42).
In Christian counseling, the SBBPC process is not only seen as effective, but also a very realistic and mandatory, sometimes overwhelming and quite demanding on Pastor’s due to their limited time range. The reasons for these are the proven effectiveness of short-term counseling models and the often-severe time management that minster’s demands. This model also permits Pastors to focus these short-term sessions on developing positive solutions without the painstaking education in theories. In line with this, it is important that each pastoral counselor remain mindful of their own limitations in helping counselees, and be well equipped in providing adequate referrals in those instances that require additional care (Benner 2003, 98 -101; Kollar 2011, 268 – 269, 272). It is very important to know that in addition to being into “Explicitly Christian Counseling”, the uttermost reason for pastoral Christian counseling is to facilitate spiritual growth, & help people understand their problems, and their lives in the light of their relationship with God (Benner 35-36).
The SBBPC process is structured in a good systematic framework that is tight enough to meet the five-session goal while remaining flexible enough to account for individual counseling styles. The condensed counseling phases ensure one hits all the wickets necessary for a focused counseling session while allowing the manipulability for dealing with human emotions that makes it impossible to work from a checklist or a script. Rather “the pastoral counselor must be flexible and develop a sensitivity to the third ear – listening to the Holy Spirit in order to tailor counseling to each personal individual” (Hawkin 2007d, 9). PROCESS OVERVIEW
While there may be some exceptions, before commencing counseling, it is vital to establish preliminary boundaries and expectation through a contract or other written agreement. One method of establishing such a covenant is by providing each prospective counselee with a pre-session package, which can also serve as a good introduction to the SBBPC process. The pre-session package can, but is not required to contain some of the following information: * General information about the counseling process * Referral process and information * Intake forms requesting information relevant to the counselor and counseling session (s) * Ethical standards of the counselor as well as the counselee’s rights * Christian nature of the counseling, even the counselor’s religious faith and beliefs
With this pre-session package provided, it ensures that an understanding between the counselor and counselee is reached. This extends to the agreed boundaries and expectations, which of course is considered in order to provide proper understandable counseling. Additionally, this information will serve as a guideline and assist in answering any questions the counselee may have, and also provides a foundation on which to build additional trust and partnership in the counseling process. Included in this project are annotated bibliographies for the topics of anger, death, forgiveness, grief, and rejection. Part of completing this journey was to annotate my weekly thoughts and reflection as I worked through this process. By capturing these thoughts in a weekly journal, I have been able to assess my strengths and weaknesses in honest, even as I move on this counseling journey.

GUIDING ASSUMPTIONS
In order to assist in establishing basic biblically based assumptions prior to entering any pastoral counseling environment, there are nine basic assumptions drawn from Kollar (2011, chapter 7) that should be used as a guide towards the SBBPC process. These guides include; 1. God is already active in the counselee 2. Finding exceptions help create solutions 3. Complex problems do not demand complex solutions 4. The counselee is always changing 5. The counselee is the expert and defines goals 6. The counselee is not the problem; the problem IS 7. Solutions are co created 8. The counseling relationship is positional 9. If it is not broken, do not fix it

PART 2: THE COUNSELOR’S STYLE
For a good counseling to occur, counseling should first understand his or her personal traits. Understanding how these traits influence how they work with those around them is vital in developing the counselor’s style as well as preparing a plan in giving the best one could while working with different personalities. Part of this understanding took place through the questionnaire filled by people we know during our study in PACO 500, where we were required to give out personality profile forms and the spiritual gifts analysis which is geared towards assisting us in having a better idea of our unique personality types and spiritual gifts. These also served to in assisting us to understand how these traits might affect our interaction with a counselee, as well as providing insight into different personality types for use in working through their issues as well. Another aspect of this course was a conduct 360-degree interviews with people who are quite familiar with me. My interview resulted in good feedback overall with each of the respective individuals assessing my personality differently:
LION (Choleric/Dominance)
Strengths: Visionary, practical, productive, strong- willed, leader, decisive, independent
Weaknesses: unemotional self –sufficient, unforgiving, domineering, sarcastic, cold, cruel
OTTER
Strengths: outgoing, responsive, warm, friendly, talkative, enthusiasm, compassionate
Weaknesses: undisciplined, unproductive, exaggerates, egocentric, unstable
From my personal view, I want to agree to the deductions made by these respective individuals on their observations concerning my personal traits. Although sometimes it is hard to agree to their conclusion, but these assessments tells a perfect story of my personal traits. Some I can comfortably accept to be true, while others I have been seeking the face of God towards their change for better. The conclusion I can come up with is that I need to be careful to set realistic and attainable goals throughout my counseling session.
For the final project, I want to address Brody Murakami, whom I could see to be an “S” according to the case study based on the movie Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness (Harrison 2007). From this, it signifies that Brody is very shy and stable, does not like changes and a need for secure, non- threatening environments. “S” types need to be strong-willed, and learn how to stand their grounds when necessary. They find it difficult to be bold before crowds, and they are motivated by “sweet and sincere” opportunities to help others. As I get ready to counsel Brody, it is my responsibility to try as much as possible to gain his trust, while working my way in relating him the best way possible. I also need to understand the strengths and weaknesses he brings to bear on the situation and seek to “join” (Benner 2003, 7677) or demonstrating fit (Kollar 2011, 95-96) in order to build good rapport and trust.
It is necessary that I make sure that the counseling setting is conducive and friendly, while being friendly and supportive with my words and actions as well giving him room to blend to all the changes. I must ensure that I engage “real listening” as described by Petersen (2007, 7) and express love fondly to Brody through that (Wheeler 2010b). One of my main attributes towards this exercise is to stay focused on listening rather than thinking ahead to solutions and engaging in pretense (Earley and Wheeler 2010, 230). A “D” relational style would require me to provide clear defined goals and directions in tasks and expectations, and ensuring that they know they are ultimately in control of what direction counseling takes by giving them options and choices. For an “I” relational style would I would need to show them I am a devoted listener by allowing them to talk until they feel they are through or have adequately expressed themselves. I would also appreciate them for any progress they have made without pressing too hard on the details. For those with a “C” relational style, I will definitely be guided not to give too much pressure concerning goals, and make sure everything is spelled out ahead of time. It is not necessary for me to create surprises or make spontaneous remarks or evaluations, but must always give assurance over progress attained while providing a secure environment where one has time to evaluate and make decisions at their own pace.

PHASE 1 – THE PRESENTING PROBLEM
The Murakami family is going through a terrible loss and all that followed this tragedy had caused the family strain in their personal relationship with one another, even to some drastic state. This information has been passed from a telephone call from Bruce Murakami who had just brought his youngest son Brody back from where he is visiting Bruce’s eldest son. Bruce was concerned with his son’s state of mind and asked if I would be willing to meet with Brody and I agreed to meet with them at 11:00 the next day. Both of them came approximately by 10:50, Bruce looking worried, almost angry, countenance and Brody shuffling right behind him. Brody has this sad expression, and it is very easy to notice that somehow he is not in the right state of mood; with his arms all stiffly stuffed into his baggy pants indicating that Brody was in an “attending position”, and a great deal of this initial session would be focused on transitioning him from an “attending position” to one of a “willing participant” (Kollar 2011, 80-81). My goal and determination in this phase of the SBBPC will be to establish a friendly conversation with Brody while attempting to determine what the main issue is.
I collected the form from his father Bruce which he downloaded and filled out from the internet the night before, and I cordially invited them into my study while encouraging them to please feel at home. I noticed Brody dropping into one of the chair very far from me. There he sat, slouched as low as he could in the chair with arms crossed and head turned away from my direction. Bruce on his own sat stiffly on the edge of the chair closest to the desk, leaning forward in a worried and aggravated manner. After we opened the discussion with a brief prayer and followed greetings, I humbly asked Brody how I could be of service to him. His response was more of an angry glance to his father, followed by an even aggressive crossing of his arms and a stiff shift in his chair, practically turning his back on Bruce. Bruce, seeing these actions began to explain how his relationship with Brody has never been the greatest and how Brody’s attitude towards him has gone bad since the tragedy of losing his wife and daughter. Things had really gotten to a point that he cannot handle Brody anymore and he is worried about his state of mind. I took a minute to look through the intake forms submitted and was delighted that Bruce signed them, which permits me the permission to meet with Brody alone. I asked if he could excuse us while to talk with Brody alone, he agreed.
After Bruce left the room, I drew my chair closer to Brody, just to stay in a friendly position and discourage all intimidations. I sat very close to him, ensuring that I did not block him into the corner or cause further anxiety or undue intimidation. Despite his outward show of indifference and resentment, Brody has been steadily inspecting his environment and I could not help but notice how his gaze has frequently been on the grand piano at the end of my study.
As I settled in my chair, I asked Brody if it was okay with him if I took occasional notes on things that I might want to follow up on since I did not want to interrupt him as he was speaking, he nodded a reluctant “yes”. Then we began, “so, do you know what your father wanted us to talk about?” I asked. He glanced at me and shrugged his shoulders. I waited a few moments to allow him to add to his response, but did not want to wait too long so as to cause uncomfortable silence. When no additional response seemed to be forthcoming, I asked, “How are you and your father helping each other through this difficult time?” his head shot up, his face filled with a mixture of anger and despair, and he opened his mouth for the first time in this session, “we’re not!” While this was not exactly a positive response, it was a good development nonetheless. I quietly prayed that this would be the beginning of our communication process. I then asked what he meant by “we’re not?” Brody slowly looked back at me and after a brief hesitation, he said “he doesn’t understand me and doesn’t even care I exist. He doesn’t even need me now that he’s off crusading around the city”. I wrote down the word “crusade” and waited for Brody to continue. Brody only settled back into his chair as if he had nothing else to add, but I noticed he could not keep his eyes from straying from my grand piano. Having the notion that he could play music, I said “I believe you like music.” He looked back at me, this time there was a glimmer of light in his eyes as he said he enjoyed playing the keyboard. His eyes again resting on my musical instrument at the corner. “I really love the peace I get when I play or listen to music, personally I play the violin.” There was a look of interest in Brody’s face. “In fact, I keep my violin right here in my study closet so that my family can have a regular time of worship with me.” I then quickly leaned forward and said, “Say! You think you could play some notes on the keyboard?” Brody sat up at this, seemingly intrigued at the thought, but said, “I’m sure you would like to hear me play.” I walked over, uncovered the piano and leaned again the chair he was sitting in before encouraging him to go ahead and play what he was feeling; to let the keyboard speak out the emotions that were locked inside of him. Brody slowly sat closer to the grand piano, and it was visibly apparent that he was working hard not to pound out his frustrations on the keys. I leaned back in my chair, relaxed, and assumed a posture of appreciative listening; head back, eyes partially closed, and a slight smile on my face. As he continued to play, I noticed a sort of transformation took place as he took on a slightly more peaceful aura, and the music he played belied the outward expression of relative peace. While beautifully executed, the music was both doleful and frenetic as he transitioned from what could only be classified as a dirge into something seemingly right out of the Operas. After playing for few more minutes, Brody stopped, and through my half closed eyes I saw him sheepishly glanced in my direction. “That was wonderful Brody!” I said as I leaned back towards him, “You certainly have a gift in music!” this seem to have brought him back to life as Brody remained in his chair with a slight smile of gratitude. “I always feel better when I am playing,” he replied, “but my dad just doesn’t appreciate music, much less anything I try to play for him even when he is around, which of course is not often.” “Is this because of the ‘crusade’ you mentioned earlier?” I asked. Brody looked surprised that I had actually been paying attention to him earlier and remembered what he said, but he only replied, “I’m not really sure I want to talk about that right now.” Sensing this was an important key to Brody’s situation, I wanted to look me into that area, although I needed to remain cognizant of the time, which was quickly running out, and the fact that Brody was the ‘expert’ on setting his own goals (Kollar 2011, 72-75). I explained to Brody that I felt we had made some reasonable progress today and that I appreciated how he was open to me, he was delighted. With this observation, I feel he is moving from an “attending position” to a more willing position in the counseling setting. I remained Brody that our time together was very enlightening and I look forward to our next meeting. I explained the possibility of ‘homework’ in future sessions but not for this one since we were just meeting to know each other. However, I did asked for a favor form him before our next visit – if he would be willing to come play for me two pieces of music, one representing where he was currently, emotionally and relationally, and the other representing where he wish to be in the future. He readily agreed. At this moment, I then asked Bruce back into the room, after appreciating him for his patience outside, I equally explained the progress Brody and I had made so far and all it entails. We set the next appointment for 3:30 in the afternoon the following Thursday. Before I closed out the session, we all prayed together for God to take perfect control and heal the Murakami family.

PHASE 2 - DETERMINING A PREFERRED SOLUTION/FUTURE
When Bruce and Brody returned the next Thursday, it was obvious that much has not changed between them; there and then I knew I had to fully identify the issues Brody was dealing with regarding his father. Bruce entered first, intense and purposeful, then comes in Brody, looking weary as the first time. Only that this time his arms were not stiffly jammed into his pockets and a light smile crossed his face when I exchanged greetings with them both. Bruce on his part went and sat in the waiting room, pulled some paperwork from his briefcase, signifying his intentions not to interfere with my session with Brody. As Brody and I went into my study, he immediately went for the same chair he sat on the first session. After the opening prayers, I asked Brody how he was doing and how things are getting along between him and his father. He shrugged and replied “I guess they are pretty much the same. I actually talked to ‘Aunt Melissa’ but she doesn’t seem to be close to me as she was before.” I equally wrote down “Melissa” as a potential resource and asked if there was anyone else whom he felt close enough to talk these issues over. Brody said that the only other person he had left would be his brother Josh, but unfortunately he was away in college. When I asked him if he had talked to his brother lately, he responded that he had not since his father picked him up from the college campus.
I then asked Brody if he had put any thoughts into the songs I wish that he wrote, his answer was positive then I requested to hear them. I assured him that I was looking forward to what he had put together. I settled back in my seat to show in intent of listening to his masterpiece. This time there was no hesitation as Brody went over to the piano and began to play. Unlike the previous session, there was no gloom or sadness in the music. All the same, Brody started out with a moving yet stiltedly melancholy piece that brought to mind complete depression. The second piece however was more bright, lively and positive. When he finished playing, I graciously applauded his effort and told him how grateful I was that he had taken the time to prepare the two songs. Then I asked him to explain what feelings he actually expressed in those songs. Brody replied that the first song represented his loneliness, invisibility and loss of identity. The second song on the other hand represented the feelings he had experienced prior to the accident, feeling of normalcy, life and hope. I responded, “I think you have made considerable progress since we met. Just listening to the first piece defined that your thought processes have become a bit more positive and connected”, he responded “I guess so, but I actually feel so positive and abandoned.” When I asked him to explain more, Brody replied, “Ever since dad has been going around giving speeches with the guy who killed my mum and sister, he has even less time for me than he ever had initially.”
“So, this is the ‘crusade’ you mentioned during our last session?” I asked. “Yes,” was the reply. Then I asked if there was any positive aspect to his father’s ‘crusade’. He replied, “It’s great, I guess, that he has been able to forgive the guy, but it still won’t bring my mother and sister back.” I agreed with him that his father’s outreach would not bring those lost back, but actually it could help prevent similar incident from occurring in some other person’s life and family. Brody agreed with me, only that he felt like he was completely losing his father as a result. “Have you discussed this with your dad?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “I rarely see him and whenever I do, he is always so preoccupied that I do not wish to disturb him, he just wouldn’t understand anyway”. Then I told him “you know you may not even know how he would reach till you try. Just like you, he is also going through the pain of this loss and doing so has consumed him so much that he might not realize the hurt he is causing you. He loves you so much, and I guess he is only trying to do what is best for his family… including you.” Brody replied that he hasn’t really thought about it from that perspective. By my showing him empathy, genuineness and warmth, Brody is free to talk and show that I am there to listen without judging (Petersen 2007, 209-212)
I enquired if there has been any recent instance that occurred where he and Bruce his father had agreed or connected, he replied about a time he overheard his father praying that God should heal Josh and him, and that made him a little less bitter about his dad. In a move to build up this exception (Kollar, 69-70, 201), I asked Brody if he had ever thought if it would be helpful to make prayers with and for his dad, then he said he feels that would not be a bad idea.

As we draw to the ending section of our session, I humbly asked Brody what his life would look like if a miracle simple happens while he slept and his issues with his father no longer existed, with the caveat that this miracle could, in no way, involved the accident taking place. His response was that he and his dad would spend more time together and that his dad would be there to listen to him, interact with him, they play together, be friends. I then encouraged Brody to I’m, “play the movie" of his miracle through to its conclusion (Cloud 2004, chapter 5) and assigned him the tasks of intentionally seeking out opportunities to sit down with his father and share concerns, hurts with him, and try to spend more time in prayer for and with his father. I equally encouraged him to spend more time with Josh, and attempt to reconnect with Aunt Melissa.
Afterwards I asked him, "on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 represents where you want things to be and 1 representing the worst things have been, where would you say you are right now?" When he responded that he felt he was at a "4", I congratulated him on the progress and encouraged him to keep this scale in mind as he sought to accomplish this 'homework'.

Once again, I asked Bruce to come in for an end-of-session recap. I encouraged Bruce to make time for Brody at all cost. After the talk, we set the next meeting for two weeks from today, same time again. The meeting was ending with a prayer which was centered on restoration for the family and healing of the mind and soul.

PHASE 3 - PARTNERING TOWARDS A SOLUTION
Two weeks approximately when the next appointment was fixed, Bruce and Brody were again in my office. As usual, Bruce had to wait in the waiting room, while Brody had to stay with me. I noticed he took a chair closer to my table this time. This even encouraged me to step out from behind the table to draw a chair right close to his, just to make sure nothing is between us now. After the opening prayer, I enquired from Brody how he had faired on accomplishing his 'homework', and he gave me positive answers. Brody told me of how he called Josh and this happened twice in each week since after we met. At the moment, they are in constant contact with each other. For Aunt Melissa; I saw the excitement in him when he began the story of how he re-established contact with her once again. When I asked how his father is treating him, there I saw his excitement fade. He began to relate how he tried to approach his father in order to spend more time with him. He did not feel that Bruce was actually giving him an ear or even understood what he was trying to communicate. For praying together, Brody confirmed that he had not been able to bring himself to pray with his father, although I admitted praying for him. On a scale of 1 to 10, Brody felt that he was approaching a "6" to the additional support he was receiving from his brother and 'aunt', but he admits he still has some steps to take if he were to realize his miracle. I personally commended him for his hard work and commitment in working through this situation. We spoke some more on how he could use his music as an outlet to express his emotions, and how he was beginning to feel less and less invincible (except for/to his father of course) and how to re-establish his own sense of worth. This will allow him to think, "I am doing something after all" (Kollar 2011, 139). Before closing this session, I encouraged Brody to do all in his power to get his father's attention and speak to him from his heart. Brody was also encouraged to maintain the communication with Josh and Aunt Melissa, while also praying for his father. Following a quick session summary with Bruce and a time of prayer, the session was rescheduled the next session for two weeks later.

PHASE 4 - IDENTIFYING PARTNERS AND RESOURCES TO SUPPORT CHANGE
The next session was more of a breakthrough-come- true, Bruce and Brody walked in talking together. After the opening prayer, I asked Brody how things had gone over the past two weeks, and he said they had gone well enough that he felt he was not at a "7" on the scale. I asked what has affected the increase, and he replied that he had finally been able to talk with his dad about his feelings, and they had actually prayed together one evening. I enquired to know how the conversation with his father had went, well he said he was not sure if his father quite understood him but lately they have started spending little time together. When I asked if he had been working on his music; that was when Brody asked if I wanted to hear his newest song. Then he played a very sweet melody that is most calm and lovely. I completely gave him his compliments. After discussing more details about his calls to josh and aunt Melissa, I told Brody that I feel I have provided all the assistance that I could, and asked his father to join the session, that he agreed to. After Bruce entered and took a seat, I explained to him what Brody and I had discussed and that I felt he and Brody would be better checking to see a professional counselor that specializes in family related matter/counseling. He agreed to do so, and I told him I would recommend someone I know for him, which he agreed to.

PART 4: THE COUNSELING SUMMATION
As I worked through this SBBPC process, I utilized the supportive techniques severally by encouraging Brody with supportive feedback through all four phases of this scenario. In phase 4, supportive feedback reinforced what was working as well as serving to facilitate a necessary referral. Supportive feedback is indeed the main tool in keeping Brody progression towards achieving his goal without moving off the focus. In reflecting on the acronym G. R. A. C. E., I feel I was on the mark with my "Goal Formulation and Vision Clarification" as it pertained to a person with an "S" relational style who presented in an "Attending Position" as I made conscious choices not to be demanding. My use of "Resource and needs Assessment" was possibly a bit weak as I do not assign specific scripture studies/reading, but I did emphasize the need for, and power of prayer. In regards to "cultivating commitment to action" and "Experience of Demonstrating fit, Multi-tasking, Mapping, and maintaining ministerial integrity", I believe I met these parameters well.

I think the SBBPC is an excellent model to follow, but I must always ensure I make a conscious effort in listening well and helping the counseled find the answers to the things they need. Here I represent the Spiritual director, the caregiver, not the expert, and there is need to keep my perfectionist in check at all times.…...

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