Next week, on Wednesday, I plan to finish Phase 3 training requirements and will also look at the training centers. On Friday, we plan to present a well documented #metoo story that is sure to raise some eyebrows because it involves a well known pastor.
This post undated on 12/30/17 to reflect the observation of astute reader, Jerome, that only men can be ACBC Fellows!
Assuming the students have passed their ACBC Phase 2 exams, they are then invited to begin Phase 3 which is titled *Supervision.* The student has one year to complete this phase after being assigned an ACBC Fellow to oversee their Phase 3 counseling endeavors.
- Choose a Fellow from a list of available Fellows sent to you after you pass your exams
- Notify the ACBC office once the Fellow has agreed to be your supervisor. (No hours may be counted before you have received approval to begin Phase Three from the ACBC office.)
- Complete 50 sessions (of at least one hour length) of supervised counseling.
- Counseling supervision is often completed remotely via email and telephone.
- You will need to complete and send your supervisor a Case Report for each counseling session.
- At least 10 sessions must be with the same counselee.
- Audio record a minimum of 5 sessions to review and discuss with your supervising Fellow.
- You must finish the 50 sessions within one year.
- Meet with and review each case report with your supervisor.
Update 12/30/17 thanks to Jerome: Only men can be ACBC Fellows
This is deeply disturbing. I would loooooove to see the Scriptural justification for this one!!!
Who are the ACBC Fellows? Let’s look at *Dr* Paul Tautges.
I was unable to find a list of names of these Fellows. The list is available to those who have passed the exams in Phase 2 so that they can procure a supervisor for Phase 3,
I did a search of ACBC Fellows and found some posts written by those who claim they are Fellows. On a website called Counseling One Another I found a post written by Paul Tautges who claims to be a Fellow. In 2015, he wrote 5 Reasons I Love Being an ACBC Fellow.
I found some of his reasoning debatable.
- He claims the training program is excellent and rigorous which I think some might contest.
“ACBC is committed to the ongoing pursuit of excellence in biblical counselor training and certification.Excellence, not mediocrity, is the pursuit of the leaders and members of ACBC. Yes, the training is rigorous at every level, but it is well worth it.”
- He believes it is all about theology which is exactly what causes me great concern.
“ACBC is committed to theological clarity and precision, which grows out of a commitment to the sufficiency of the Scriptures for life and godliness.”
- He believes that ACBC is committed to grow in understanding of human behavior which is ludicrous since the organization, as I have previously written, does not believe in peer reviewed, scientifically oriented studies.
“ACBC does not believe it has arrived, but is committed to continual growth in our understanding of human behavior, the body/soul connection, and the heart issues that drive us.”
- Strangely, he claims that ACBC is basically a discipling course to build up local churches, whatever that means.
“ACBC is committed to building up local churches through training all those who desire to become willing servants of God in the process of making disciples of Jesus Christ.”
- He claims that biblical counseling is a ministry of love which seeks spiritual good in others. How does he define this? Get ready-whenever you see speak the truth in love you can be darn sure that sin confrontation is on the table.
“it is a biblical responsibility to speak the truth in love to one another”
Dr. Paul Tautges utilizes the term *Doctor* in front of his name. I was able to find his educational background on Linkedin.
Calvary Bible College and Seminary, now known as Calvary University, is a newly accredited college (2003) but was not accredited when Tautges graduated in 1990. Northland International University ceased to exist in 2015 and was not accredited during its short time in existence (1976-2015.) Students could not get state financial aid due to its lack of credentials. All of its assets were then turned over the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
All of this to say that Tautges is stretching it to use the *Doctor* in front of his name. His Masters and Doctorate were received from a troubled, unaccredited and now defunct institution. However, in spite of this, he is an adjunct professor at Masters Seminary.
Note how he lists himself at the top of LinkedIn…
How does one become an ACBC Fellow?
Here are the listed requirements at ACBC.
Did Paul Tautges get a counseling degree? He listed an MA in pastoral counseling from the unaccredited, defunct Northland University. ACBC does not have any problem accepting non accredited degrees and allowing people from non accredited schools to use the title of *Doctor.*
This piece of advice is important. Always ask about a counselor’s educational background and training and check it out. Do not accept a doctorate at face value either.
The Fellows Theology Exam
Please read this carefully. It is evident that one must believe in strict gender roles to be a certified Fellow with ACBC. Also, students should consider if these questions actually indicate a penchant for counseling people who are struggling.
The Fellows Counseling Exam
Read this carefully. What is the difference between the authors and counselors in List 1 and List 2? (Hint) Is one good and one bad? I’ll look forward to your answers.
After reviewing these exams, as well as the educational background of one ACBC Fellow (always capitalized!), it is my opinion that Phase 3 students who contact one of these Fellows may not get anyone with a rigorous educational background, no matter what they claim.
Last week’s exam question
An assignment for TWW readers: How would you answer this question on the ACBC exam?
I have some ideas but I decided to keep my lips zipped. I will weigh in the next couple of days. Please pay particular attention to the questions asked at the end. I have noticed something in many of the ACBC questions. They give you the answer they expect in how they ask the question.
Tim and Emily
Tim and Emily come from a church across town, and have asked to meet you because of some help that you offered their friends several months ago. They are coming because of a persistent problem they have had in their marriage. They explain that in their six years of marriage Tim has always had a “short fuse.” He regularly “loses it” when he comes home from work which fills the evenings with tense communication. Their weeks are filled with arguments about everything from dinner being ready on time, to whether they should have kids. Tim thinks Emily is a good wife, admits the problems are his fault, but says he just doesn’t know how to “maintain control.” About a year ago Tim went berserk screaming at Emily, kicking the kitchen table and throwing plates on the floor in response to Emily’s complaint that he came home late without calling. Emily was always uncomfortable with Tim’s previous pattern of outbursts, but this was different. She was truly scared. Tim was too. In tears she told Tim that something had to change.
Tim talked to his pastor who told him that he needed to see a professional therapist. Tim followed the advice and made an appointment with the Christian counselor whom his pastor recommended. Tim met with the therapist for a few sessions, who ultimately recommended he see a psychiatrist for medical care. When Tim met with the psychiatrist he was told that he had bi-polar disorder and began to take the medications prescribed by the physician.
Tim was initially discouraged to learn that he had a disease that would likely last his entire life, but he was thankful to have a plan to deal with problem. Emily was also encouraged that there was now at least something they could do.
Their encouragement quickly gave way, however, when after several months on the medication Tim had still not really changed. While his temperament seemed milder in general the loss of control, and screaming were still present. It was at this point that Emily began to regret ever marrying Tim. All the arguments together with the couple’s lack of children were taking their toll. She realized she was in a marriage that she did not want to be in, but didn’t think she had any options.
Then last week Tim “went completely crazy.” Emily suggested on a Saturday morning that Tim should cut the grass because he had not done it the week before. Tim did more than scream and throw things this time. As he yelled and became more “worked up” he threw the phone at Emily. He missed her, knocking a hole in the wall, but they both knew he had crossed a line.
Emily said she couldn’t take it anymore and wanted out of the marriage. She told him that if something didn’t change very quickly she was going to leave. That is when he reached out to his friend who recommended you.
Tim and Emily both profess faith in Christ, and relate their testimonies of conversion in their teen years. Both are also terribly discouraged. Tim doesn’t know how to treat Emily better since he is “plagued” by this disease. Emily loves Tim and would like their marriage to work, but she is worn out with the lack of change. She feels badly about wanting to leave because she knows he has an illness, but she is increasingly convinced that God is telling her to divorce Tim.
1. How will you decide whether to pursue Tim and Emily as believers or unbelievers? What difference will their status as Christians make in your counseling?
2. Describe, as fully as you are able, your strategy to help Tim and Emily think biblically about his diagnosis and their use of bi-polar and illness language.
3. Emily is “Convinced that God is telling her to divorce Tim.” Write out your word-for-word response to Emily on this matter. In your response, be sure to address the themes of biblical decision-making and permission for divorce and remarriage.
4. What strategy would you employ to see repentance, reconciliation, and restoration happen between Tim and Emily?
5. Describe a detailed plan of restoring marital communication that you would pursue with Tim and Emily.
Here are some comments presented by our thoughtful readers.
The Tim & Emily scenario is a typical domestic abuse story, even down to the abusive husband being diagnosed with a mental health condition and the treatment of the condition having very little to no effect on his abusiveness.
The questions ACBC ask re the Tim & Emily story are typical of the woman-oppressing line that biblical counselors take on domestic abuse.
I’d like to ask them what the justification is for putting “spiritual” in front of “leadership” for men and “servant” in front of “leadership” for women (I was under the impression that all Christian leaders, male or female, are supposed to be servant leaders
Muslin aka Dee Holmes:
my thought was that if Tim is not getting any real relief on his medication, he needs to see his psychiatrist immediately to have a medication adjustment, a change of medication, or *gasp* even bringing in a secular counselor to work with Tim on his responses to situations.
It sounds like a counselor is supposed to talk them out of his medical diagnosis and tell them to use biblical language to describe his bipolar disorder. I can’t stop shaking my head on this. They’d never tell a plumber to describe plumbing in biblical terms, but they think they can describe mental illness in biblical terms? Is the next step going to be to tell Tim he shouldn’t be taking his medications?
1. How will you decide whether to pursue Tim and Emily as believers or unbelievers? What difference does their status as Christians make in your counseling?
:: Has anyone ever seen a counselor “pursue” someone who needed their help? “Pursue” makes Tim and Emily sound like prey, not people. :
I have a friend who is currently seeing a nouthetic counselor. Rather than directly addressing my friend’s specific problem, the counselor has given my friend hours of bible study homework and verses to memorize. Whenever my friend tries to discuss the issue she went to the counselor about, the counselor tells her she’s not thinking biblically, she is indulging in the sin of impatience and bitterness,
This “test” is nothing to do with a person’s qualification to bind up the brokenhearted, and everything to do with a test of how conformed they are mentally to a chosen doctrinal stance.
Next thing they want to hear is that Emily would be wrong for wanting a divorce.
Through a glass darkly
“All the arguments together with the couple’s lack of children were taking their toll.”
I’d advise E to get on birth control RIGHT NOW! And if she decides against all wisdom to stay with him, she should consider a tubal ligation.
Well, my first observation is that Tim and Emily should ONLY be counseled separately. Counseling them together is worse than useless… it will actually make things worse… it gives Tim the opportunity to blame shift on to Emily, and then Emily will accept the blame because that’s what Christian victims of abuse are programmed to do. Emily desperately needs the opportunity to safely unburden her heart to someone who will listen without any judgment or condemnation. Yes, Emily is also a sinner, but what is happening here has NOTHING to do with her sin. Tim had this “anger” problem long before he met Emily and he’ll have it long after she is gone. It has nothing to do with her except that she happens to live under the same roof and experience the fall-out.
Well clearly their lack of children means that Emily is not fulfilling her God given role & it is the frustration of having such an ungodly home life that is fuelling Tim’s anger. If she repents of this & asks Tim to forgive her, & sets her mind to respecting him by constant submission & bearing many children, then he will be enabled to be less angry & to come off the medication as his bi-polar is not a medical condition, it is the results of his wife’s disobedience.
Their communication will be repaired if she listens & obeys to his husbandly commands.
1. This is a stupid question. They claimed to be believers and that is what it is.
1. I won’t “pursue them.” If they tell me they are Christians, I will respect their beliefs. If they tell me they aren’t Christians, I will respect their beliefs.
2. The word “bi-polar” isn’t in the bible. Psychologists, who were given their dreams and talents by God, have studied the human brain and personalities to be better able to help people. Tim should listen to his doctors and seek their help. He should understand that God still loves him and wants him to learn how to deal with his illness so he can live a full life and love the people he is in relationship with.
3. I would ask Emily why she believes God is telling her to divorce Tim and LISTEN to her. I would advise her to listen to what the police say if they have been involved. If I was her friend, I would definitely recommend her to move out for her own safety. She could visit Tim, but always with someone else present until he is safe to be around.
4. Tim would need to get his meds figured out and be able to control his anger. If he was safe to be around, I would encourage Emily to pursue reconciliation if she wanted to AND if I thought he was safe for her. Without either of those two factors in place, I would not encourage reconciliation.
5. IF they chose to reconcile, and IF I thought they could safely do this, then communication strategies would be helpful. Without those two factors present, this discussion would be pointless.
If Tim has anger management problems now, with violent outbursts, how is he going to behave with a sick or teething baby crying most of the night???
I am also noting in the Tim and Emily narrative a dig at the “professional therapist”. Number one is they have Tim’s treatment as entirely ineffective and there is no follow-up to understand why. Number two I would question the bipolar diagnosis as there is only a description of bullying and not of mood swings or depression. Who ever wrote this implausible “story” did not put together one that makes sense.
There is questioning of a diagnoses given by a psychiatrist, casting asperation on whether there is such a thing as “bipolar” and whether medication is good or not. Plumber trying to do heart surgery much?
Tim’s issue is not only bipolar – he is a classic power/control abuser that is escalating. He is already using physical abuse (the throwing things, using physical presence to get his own way, etc) – this is a VERY dangerous situation, the marital equivalent of cancer, not the lifestyle counselling “common cold” equivalent.
Tim has already committed a crime – domestic violence, numerous instances.
How do you deal with this? Get the safety aspect dealt with first, do domestic violence risk assessments, go over the Duluth Models for abusive and non-abusive relationships and DO NOT COUNSEL TOGETHER. Be someone completely trained in domestic violence intervention or get someone like that on board.
Divorce or not is a discussion for later – you need someone for Tim, trained in abuser intervention. You need someone for Nikki, trained in victim dynamics and how to keep an abused wife safe. IMO, if someone hubristically thinks that they can “fix” a DV situation like this and the victim is injured or killed, there should be liability for practicing outside of their capability assessed to the counsellor, just like we would with first aid attendants, doctors, or other medical providers.
His behavior as described doesn’t line up with bipolar disorder. He sounds generally abusive, but he may and/or be NPD. Maybe he’s anti-social. Maybe there’s also something off in his brain where he struggles with impulse control. Maybe a combination of various things, clustering together, on top of him being an abusive person. A ton of possibilities that more accurately line up with how they describe him.
Tim needs to see his dr. Often it takes several tries to get bipolar under control. If his meds are ineffective he needs different meds. He also needs secular counselling to help him learn to cope without the anger issues. Bipolars CAN have anger and impulse control issues, especially if manic or worse yet, in a mixed state. If he is on anti depressant without mood stabilizer his anger outbursts can indeed be made worse on meds.
She needs a domestic violence counsellor to help her come up with a safe exit strategy. Personally, I would have no problem with her divorcing him for safety. If she has strong scruples re divorce she can legally separate or divorce and not remarry. She should talk to a good geneticist before having kids with him since bipolar can run in families.
They don’t need this “Biblical counselling” although each of them, separately, probably needs a good mature Christian mentor or two to walk with them through this and call them to accountability.
She has to learn his diagnosis may be the reason for his actions but yet is not an excuse for them. He has to learn that also. It may be he has to be his own best advocate to get on an effective medication regimen, or seek inpatient treatment, or find his own best team to hold him accountable to avoid situations that trigger him, even if that means choosing a life of singlehood.
And both need support groups: her for families of the mentally ill and he for his illness.
I’m not seeing major spiritual problems nor bad people. I am seeing mental illness wreaking its usual havoc on the family. It calls for effective treatment or avoidance. (By her, of him.)
Emily needs to realize that her husband cannot be trusted and leave. Or kick him out. After getting a safety plan.
I would not want to judge someone’s salvation, especially if mental illness might be involved. And we disagree about this issue needing to be resolved before further counseling.
These answers are not about “Tim”, or “Emily”, or any other characters in this invented scenario. This is about you, the ACBC, and your claim to be able to accredit “counsellors”. Why do you need to invent stories, and make up evidence discrediting other believers with whose doctrine you disagree? Why do you need to discredit them at all? You must be aware of those who have been greatly helped, both by what you might term “secular” counselling. You must also be aware of those who have been powerfully impacted by manifestations of the Holy Spirit just like those that are promised in scripture. Which raises another important question: why, in the scenario you have invented, do you feel the need to plant evidence discrediting them?
One thing that might be helpful in the counseling process would be to assist Emily to establish boundaries which she can enforce (regardless of the path forward). These can be along the “if then else” line of thought.
For instance, “If Tim throws an item at me I will notify the police and leave the premises until safety can be contracted.” Just what “leave the premises” means is something she needs to work out. Perhaps she stays at her parents. Perhaps she checks into a hotel or stays with a friend…for an undetermined amount of time. Maybe this move is what Tim needs to get it into his skull that throwing items at his wife is not acceptable behavior and will not be tolerated. And…that she will not be back home until such activity ceases.
Similar boundaries can be erected around other unacceptable behaviors. “If Tim yells and overturns furniture out of anger – for any reason, provoked or otherwise – I will notify the police and leave the premises.” And further, “I will not tolerate these incidents, meaning, if even one such incident happens, I will move out.”
So, as counselor – the establishing of boundaries paints the way toward Emily’s stated pathway of divorce…or considered reconciliation. If toward reconciliation, these same boundaries guide the way. “Tim must be properly managed and compliant on medications with improved behavioral outcomes – particularly, no outward exhibited risk or escalation of physical violence – else I will not consider moving back into the same residence. And this must be sustained over a year to show proof of management and recovery.”
So here’s Tim. Violent outbursts, throwing things, demonstrating himself being a danger to others. Going back to the worldview as it were of this counseling collective, “Because the central elements of counseling include God, the nature of the human problem, and God’s solution in Christ, the counseling methods of secular people are ultimately at odds with a uniquely biblical approach to counseling.”
Said methods of “secular people” include involving physical and physiological factors in diagnoses designed to complete the counseling picture. And as many people have pointed out in this series, not just “secular people” but Christian psychologists, psychiatrists, and other health professionals do this as well, notwithstanding the apparent strawman created which offers only an either/or perspective, one having to necessarily be at odds with the other.
Once again, we see an emergence of an authority priority, one that puts that authority in the hands of a few, and excising what is known and observable to the opinions of those ceding to themselves spiritual authority.
For Q3: I would explain to Emily that abandonment is acceptable grounds for divorce and that abuse would certainly fit within that realm. I would be honest that others would disagree in the letter of the law but that it would be very inconsistent with the whole of God’s message for Him to expect her to remain a captive in an abusive situation. (This is consistent with what we taught our daughter in her teenage years before she met and married a wonderful husband where we would never expect such a conversation to need to occur.)
Considering Tim’s escalating tendencies (most people at least mature some over 6 years), I would strongly suggest to Emily that she take every conceivable precaution against getting pregnant with the current state of their marriage [snark alert: the wording was intentional].
The first thing that jumped out at me is that the abuse on the part of Tim is escalating. is this due to his current diagnosis or does his diagnosis need expanding? In either case, he needs to revisit the psychiatrist who is prescribing his medications and have a thorough review of his symptoms.
He then needs to be put into both group and one on one counseling to see if he can learn to control his anger. Sadly, I would say that his situation looks bleak if he truly has a combination of bipolar disease and serious anger problems. He is now, officially, an abuser.
His anger problem has persisted in all 6 years of their marriage which makes me believe that it was present before the marriage. In fact, I would ask Emily if she had any warning signs prior to their marriage. My guess is that she will say *yes* and that she thought it was just stress due to his job, etc. and that she could help him.
In the meantime, Emily needs to leave the premises and go to a place of safety. During this time she will have the peace and quiet to review what has happened in their marriage and in their lives. I had great empathy for Emily who was saying that she believed that God wanted her to divorce Tim. She is using the lingo she has learned in the church in order to conceal what she really means which is ‘I want to divorce Tim and I think it is the right thing to do.”
She knows, however, that biblical counselors and pastors at her church will faint dead away if she says what she really means. In fact they may try to convince her to stay in an abusive situation so she is appealing to a higher authority than her certified ACBC counselor. As things stand at the moment, I believe that she has sufficient grounds for divorce due to the abuse she has already endured. If she wants to stay in the marriage after time apart, her counselor needs to warn her that the abuse may continue to escalate.
However, should she decide to return, repentance needs to come from one side-Tim. Tim is the one who is throwing things and he is the one who must realize his issues and control himself, if he can.
Tim and Emily state that they are Christians and can recount their conversion experiences so that sort of judgment needs to be left alone! I wonder who is implying that a couple having trouble might not be Christians? Is this some sort of ACBC thing?
I believe the lack of children is just a red herring in this whole scenario. There should not be any children being brought into this situation as it stands. In fact, it will probably escalate the abuse.
Bipolar disease is a disease and it should be stated in clear terms. What in the world is wrong with using the bipolar diagnosis when it is true unless it is being suggested that the psychiatrist is wrong because the *certified* counselor knows more than she does.
This is a confusing exam because it shows Emily saying two different things:
- Emily loves Tim and would like their marriage to work
- She is convinced that God is telling her to divorce Tim.
Again, Tim’s abuse of Emily is the primary issue and must be dealt with quickly before he decides to cause some real harm. If this story is at all true, that day is coming very soon.
I bet this answer means that Dee has no hope of ever being a ACBC counselor.