Before modern technology and medicine made death from sickness or severe physical injury more controlled, many people used to worry endlessly about death from physical harm. Today, a new sickness has spread. People are battling depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and other psychological diseases as I write this.
But how do we approach these people? How can we comfort or relate to them? How can we tell them that they matter and that they still can find hope, strength, and peace in God?
TPS’s Psychology and Counseling from a Biblical Perspective, founded three years ago by TPS and Dr. Jen Rathmell, offers a course to help the students become advice-givers and helpers to their peers.
Psychology and Counseling began because a need was seen for a class that was not as heavy on theory or college-level material yet still involved a people-helping profession. So Dr. Rathmell and TPS decided to start a class that would help Christian teens give advice and/or help others from a Biblical point of view.
The class heavily emphasizes discipleship and personal growth. It outlines what, out of the common themes, people go through and how students can help the suffering with Biblical truths. Psychology and Counseling teaches how to identify harmful behavioral patterns through the lens of the gospel as well as how to keep living the way the Bible commands. The class will leave students with thoughts on what it means to help people and how to get help for those who need more than a kind friend.
Psychology and Counseling uses the texts Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, 9 Things You Simply Must Do, When People are Big and God is Small, and How People Change. After discussing these texts, the class chooses what to base every fourth class on. In that way, Dr. Rathmell practices flexibility by giving the students the freedom to pursue the interests they have. In class, students will also give presentations on topics of their own choosing.
Along with the in-class presentations, discussions, and lectures, around two to three hours of homework are required each week.
Overall, the class’s fun and relaxed atmosphere allows a personal feel to it. For example, “if a student does a presentation on suicide one week, and lots of people talk and have questions or things to share, we can really get into a discussion filled with the hope of the Gospel and support each other.” The flexible atmosphere allows for “a lot of organic growth and fun” in the classroom. The students also happen to share a bit more personally.
Dr. Rathmell encourages the students to take this class, saying, “I think it will help people to decide if they are just a good listener or if they really have a passion for the counseling/psychology profession. And if they end up finding that they are more of a good listener, then they will be equipped on how to listen and help people with Biblical truths.”
All in all the classes not only help and show the students how to help others, but it also helps them “grow to love and care for each other.”
Photo credit: https://www.york.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/courses/bsc-psychology-education/