Have you ever had someone seek counsel from you? Do you struggle like I do with answering before asking?
Proverbs 18:13 reminds us, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”
While accusations harden the will, questions stir the conscience. Too often a counselor is foolishly counterproductive by refusing to invest the time and wisdom needed to gather data with spot-on questions. While we are not subscribing to the approach of psychology in which man can self-solve, we must ask questions that contrast the counselee’s answer with ultimately God’s answer.
The debate in both formal and informal counseling is what type of questions should we ask first. I would recommend the STOP sequence for your counseling questions.
STOP Assessment Questions
- Subjective Questions (Example: “How do you feel…”)
- Thinking Questions (Example: “What were you thinking when…”)
- Objective Questions (Example: “What are the facts regarding…”)
- Pre-Condition Questions (Example: “What led to…)
The biblical counselor does possess the answers for “all things that pertain unto life and godliness,” but those answers must be prefaced with well-placed questions. Often this ask and then answer is exemplified in the ministry of Jesus Christ, Paul, and others. The revealing answers of the counselee will enable the Holy Spirit to clarify GOD’S answers to you and through you.