What is Prayer Therapy / prayer counselling?
© G. Hartwell, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada www.HealMyLife.com
George Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a
masters degree from the University of Calgary, 40 years experience
and who integrates prayer therapy into his professional
George Hartwell M.Sc -
My definition of prayer therapy.
Prayer therapy is professional quality therapy where a Christian counselor uses prayer intervention to bring healing to people's lives and core beliefs so that one can live out of a healthier identity and self-concept.
The client in prayer therapy engages a skilled Christian professional who can facilitate God's healing intervention in their life. It is for the person who wants God to heal their life and wants a a trained objective Christian professional to guide them into their journey to inner healing and their new identity in Christ. The professional using prayer therapy will use professional interview skills, experience with people's life patterns and other forms of effective therapy as appropriate to bring about the client's goals.
What prayer therapy is not:
Prayer therapy is not just is prayer. It is prayer used by a trained and skilled professional who adds prayer therapy when it is the most effective way to achieve the client's goals. Prayer therapy interventions are one part of the therapeutic mix.
Prayer therapy is not a time for obvious spiritual gifts (prayer languages, prophecy, word of wisdom) to be imposed on the client - therapist relationship. The Holy Spirit is welcome to enhance the regular counseling session in which conversation, establishing client goals, history of the issues is discussed. Of course, with the Holy Spirit present, problems are tackled with increased discernment and faith, but this does not have to be obvious to an observer.
Prayer therapy does not allow therapeutic goals to be superceded and side-tracked by moral and ethical questions. Moral and ethical questions are best referred to a minister of the gospel.
Prayer therapy is not the impostion of 'solutions and answers from the Bible' on client issues. Biblical issues can be tackled if these are of concern to the client. But prayer therapy is not a time to 'give the Biblical answer.'
In prayer therapy the therapist must focus on the root issues and bring these to God in prayer for guidance, healing truth, and Holy Spirit comfort. A skilled prayer therapist brings training, experience, gifts of the Spirit and God's guidance to understanding problems - the root cause and the answer.
Prayer therapy is not a time for a professional to impose his goals on the client or impose his gifts on the client. The client sets the goals. The client has the right to indicate if a therapeutic suggestion or method is not comfortable for him or her.
Prayer therapy is not usually effective on our own.. One does not do Prayer Therapy on their own. Trying to pray about emotional problems on your own - without professional imput - is almost always ineffective.
If you do go to a professional for counseling and they do not do prayer, then combine the professional sessions with prayer on your own, or with a prayer partner. You must write down key insights from the session as they are revealed by the counselor. Take these to prayer. That is effective.
The first reason that prayer therapy on your own is not effective is that you do not know what to pray for. A professional often can be used by God to hit the right target on the head. They provide the needed outside viewpoint that we usually lack.
No. The effectiveness of Prayer Therapy does not depend on your faith. If you are with a Christian counselor who uses Prayer Therapy you can rest assured that they will have faith.
Faith and effectiveness is enhanced by:
Talking to a professional person of faith brings hope to your situation.
Getting the issues out in the open adds to faith and effectiveness.
The counselor will help sort out the issues, validate the truth and get to the root issues.
Your guilt and self doubt should get resolved as you talk to the counselor.
Two praying together enhances the results.
A skilled prayer therapist not only helps focus on root issues and brings faith to bear on the problem but will have effective methods to use to deal with these issues.
For an outline of the steps on a prayer therapy session see: 7 components of Heal My Life Prayer Therapy. These steps are as follows:
clarification in prayer counselling.
"Only you (God) can heal my life," says the song that was the inspiration for the URL www.HealMyLife.com - the store for most of my earlies articles on Listening Prayer Therapy. Some of the topics: listening prayer therapy, Listen to God - a safe way of doing Christian inner healing using Listening Prayer Therapy,
Do you want to explore specific prayers for prayer therapy? Do your own investigation of these prayer therapy formats developed by George Hartwell M.Sc.:
1 Put it on the Altar - a prayer of letting go
2 Grief and Comfort - prayer therapy in grief and loss
3 Releasing Anger - creative viualization of releasing anger
4 Letter to God - a way to practice listening to God
5 Burden Exchange - letting go of an old identity
6 Projecting the Healing Forward in Life
7 Cleanse the Temple - letting go of idols (including People Pleasing)
8 Peace with Heaven - opening up communication with God
9 Healing of Trauma
10 Listening Prayer for Dreams
11 The Children's Garden
12 Listening Prayer Journal
13 Christian desensitization of fear
For testimonies from Scotland see: testimonies
of Listening Prayer Therapy.
For testimonies of marriage and individual therapy using listening prayer therapy.
For testimonies of professionals who have observed listening prayer therapy.