Theology and Spirituality

Forum 1: Discussion Board Post Primer 


Topic: You are counseling a 38-year old Christian male who presented moderate symptoms of depression.  How might Crabb explain how this client's problems developed in the first place?  Your explanation will reveal your depth of understanding of Crabb's underlying counseling theory.

In order to make this question more meaningful and relevant to the process of Christian counseling, I will use the GDB to discuss a real-life clinical case that I encountered several years ago.  We will refer to client as Jim.

Jim, a 38-year-old Christian male, entered my office dressed in an expensive looking suit, silk tie, and fancy shoes.  He wore a Rolex watch.  His nails were manicured and his hair was professionally groomed.  When he sat down, I could see that he was obviously extremely upset.  In fact, he looked terrified. 

I leaned forward and asked Jim how I could help him and what was going on in his life.  Jim started weeping openly and told me he had just lost a contract in his business that was worth $400,000 a year.  I tried to show empathy and said, “Wow!  That’s certainly a lot of money.”  However, my empathy was short-lived.  As the conversation proceeded, Jim revealed that he was still earning over $500,000 a year!  Jim stated that he was a Christian man and that he was having a hard time understanding how God had allowed him to lose such a large amount of money. 

Based on the prompt, you are to focus on how this man’s problems may have developed in the first place.  There are many different ways that this question can be addressed.  Chapters 6 & 7 (pp. 111-134) focus on Crabb’s theory of how problems develop.  Draw upon these chapters to consider what factors may have contributed to Jim’s desire for money and the depression that resulted when he lost some of his vast fortune.




·         needs: physical (survival) and personal (significance and security) (p. 112)

·         difference between primary personal needs and acquired (culturally taught) needs  (p. 113)

·         needs vs. wants (p. 114)

·         motivation (the drive to meet needs) (p. 114)

·         direction of motivation—what person thinks will meet those needs (p. 115)

·         root problem (p. 116):  set of faulty assumptions (p. 122)

·         children reproduce parents’ efforts to find significance and security (p. 116)

·         false notions of significance and security parents pass on to children (p. 117)

·         the world, the flesh, the devil, teach false assumptions about how personal needs can be met (p. 118)

·         faulty assumptions drive motivation (p. 118)

·         What type of “faulty assumption(s)” (pp. 66; 122) might Jim have had that resulted in his depression?

·         What happens if goals are set based on unbiblical assumptions about how needs can be met (p. 122)

·         people are motivated to reach whatever goal they assume will meet their deepest personal needs (p. 124)

·         Goals can be blocked

·         “The key element behind most symptoms is an obstacle that interferes with reaching the individual’s chosen goal” (p. 125).

·         Three problem emotions behind most of our personal difficulties: guilt, resentment, anxiety (p. 125)

·         unreachable goals, can lead to “guilt” Depression?  (p. 125).  Was Jim’s goal unreachable?

·         external circumstances blocks path to goal, can result in resentment (p. 125)

·         fear of failure,” can result in anxiety (p. 125)

·         The three problem emotions result from “wrong assumptions” (p. 132)

·         Crabb argues that “Wrong patterns of living develop from wrong philosophies of living” (p. 71).  How might this quote be relevant to Jim’s depression?


In addition to exploring how Jim’s depression might have developed, consider how you, as a Christian counselor, might help correct Jim’s faulty assumptions and his depression.


·         count on the Lord for significance and security (p. 117)

·         According to Crabb (p. 71), how does one find true significance in life?

·         According to Crabb (p.144), what is “the central goal of biblical counseling?”

·         What is the only true way that basic needs can be met?  (p. 74)

·         What scriptures might you draw upon to help Jim with his depression?