There are truisms that we adhere to our ministry: you cannot counsel demons out of people and there are not demons behind every problem! Many people spend years in counseling with minimal lasting growth because they need deliverance. Others see deliverance as a “quick fix” and refuse to walk it out afterwards.
They have little growth and maturity in the Lord and get stay stuck in their circumstances and do not gain sustaining victory. For those people, and many others, solid biblical counseling and discipleship is what serves them best!
As NCCA-Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselors, we are actively involved in trying to help people grow and mature in their walk with the Lord through biblical counsel. Because we are also trained in deliverance ministry, we have this option available also.
With each new client, as part of the intake process/initial counseling session, we try to assess many factors so as to best determine the optimal treatment and ministry plan for that person.
Hopefully it is clearly understood that the question of deliverance or counseling is not usually an “either/or” proposition. Typically, both can be beneficial to a client and can happen concurrently in a measure but we recognize that several parameters help us assess which is best to pursue initially. As the following questions are answered, clarity emerges:
- What are the issues that bring the person in for help?
- What is their level of spiritual maturity?
- What is their denominational background?
- What is their familiarity with spiritual warfare and the demonic realm?
- What is their mental and emotional state?
- Are they in the middle of an emotional crisis now or are they through it? (People in the middle of great trauma (divorce proceedings, a loved one dying, job loss pending etc.) do not typically get the maximum benefit from deliverance ministry until their emotions have stabilized: counseling is most helpful)
- What is the desperation level of the client? Are they in for help on their own volition or is someone else (a spouse or mother typically) really forcing their hand?
In general, the ideal candidate for going through deliverance ministry with us fits this profile: they are mature, have “Spirit-filled” church background, have at least a basic belief in spiritual warfare and it’s reality, are not heavily medicated or traumatized, not in the middle of an emotional crisis and, probably most importantly, desperate for help!
What typically increases a person’s desperation is a “been there, done that” view of counseling because they have tried it and, for whatever reason, it has not been successful. This is not necessarily a reflection on the counselor or the approach rather if the problem is a demonic stronghold then deliverance ministry is the best option!
As one might expect, few match the profile perfectly (we wish!); each involves a case by case assessment. We have seen many who we believe would truly benefit from deliverance ministry but they are not prepared to engage with the teaching or the process. In those cases, we are able to help them through other more tradition counseling means, including temperament analysis, setting boundaries, marriage counseling and so on. Apart from even counseling and deliverance, people need emotional healing as well and this is another area of ministry.
What has been your experience with counseling and deliverance? Have you had counseling that did not get to the root of the problem? Have you been through deliverance but not been able to see sustained and lasting fruit and have had to go through the process again?