Counselling Matters

Counselling Matters

Welcome to the Theology and Counselling blog at London School of Theology. Here you’ll find contributions from members of the counselling training team, little bios of each of us, and a little introduction to the REMA counselling model at the heart of our course.

For a very little introduction, read below. For a slightly fuller introduction, see the separate page on it! – and as time goes on, we plan to add even fuller reflections on the model and its place in our training.

London School of Theology is a great place to live, work and study: and one of the highlights is that it has given birth to this Christian counselling training which takes the theological roots of counselling very seriously. Counselling is an ideology-rich activity: it works – it has to – from fundamental notions of what human life is all about, how it goes wrong, and how it can be made better.

As Christians we have clear views about those things, too: but are Christian views going to be in fundamental tension with secular theories? Very possibly, they will. But God is so wonderful: when people dig for the truth with honesty and openness, they often find it. So we have found that secular counselling theories often hold a lot of Gospel truth in a different form – very interestingly. So the REMA model at the heart of our programme is seeking to draw this out.

What is the model, in a nutshell? Any counselling model is an over-arching theory including ideas:

1. about the world and its nature
3. about human beings – both about how they ‘tick’ and about how things can go wrong – and
3. about how counselling can work as part of the process of recovery.

All these ideas need to fit with each other coherently in order to form a ‘model’. Obviously, for us at London School of Theology, ideas about God, sin, creation, redemption, the Holy Spirit and eschatology are vital as part of our model!

The REMA model was developed by the counselling team at LST, and is at the heart of the revised London School of Theology Counselling programme which was approved by Middlesex University in 2014, and which will run for the first time in the 2014-15 academic year. It is therefore the unique ‘intellectual property’ of the T&C programme at London School of Theology.

We believe that human beings are created in the image of God, and that our experience of God and of our own humanness has been deeply disrupted by sin, so that we are all in need of ‘repair’. The letters of REMA are an acronym describing the four fundamental needs of human beings as we live together in God’s world and undergo this repair.

We need:

1. Relationship. We are deeply relational beings! ‘Sin’ is about relational disruption, and redemption is about being brought back into positive, trusting, open relational connection with God and with each other. For counselling clients, the counselling relationship itself can be a vital part of this process.

2. Embodied Spirituality. Our ‘embodiment’ as God’s creation is the most fundamental fact about us, and it is as bodies that we become temples of the Holy Spirit in Christ. Our model takes this very seriously, and explores the deep connections between embodiment and spirituality – a connection often neglected by Christians in the past.

3. Meaning. The drive to find meaning for our lives is very powerful for us human beings. We see this written all over Scripture in different ways. The ‘meaning’ we seek is not just a coherent understanding of our lives that ‘makes sense’, but also a meaningful place to live – a calling that fulfils us, a purpose that gives us a reason to live, a way to cope with pain, a story to inhabit (all of which has Jesus at its heart for us).

4. Agency. As human beings we need to know that we matter, that we can have impact on our environment – that we are noticed. So to be noticed, and held accountable, by God, is the ultimate affirmation of our Agency. It matters, what you do, and how you live! Scary, but very true. In different ways people can be robbed of their agency by others – or shy away from it – and God calls us to rediscover our agency in Christ.

These four points are simply made in a summary like this, but you will discover how profoundly they go to the heart of human experience. It so happens that ‘rema’ is also the Greek for ‘word’, used in Ephesians 6:17 (“the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God”) or in Romans 10:8 (“the word of faith which we preach”), and this points symbolically to the way in which our London School of Theology counselling model is rooted in the word of God and in the faith of the Gospel.

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