Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mentors, Coaches, Counselors and Disciple Makers

Authors Steve Griebling and Gary Sweeten

What is the difference among all these titles? According to the "Myth of the Expert" there is a lot of difference. However, according to research on influence and change over the past fifty years there is little difference.

On the side is a book Steve Griebling and I authored several years ago. I like most of the title but not all of it. I chose the title so I can't blame anyone else. I placed too much focus on that famous character in history Humpty Dumpty, who desperately and unsuccessfully needed healing.

The title works in some ways because Steve and I wanted Helpers, friends and therapists Peer and Professional that not even Humpty was hopeless. We also wanted to let compassionate, merciful people know that it is not necessary to be an expert to be helpful to people who need spiritual and emotional healing, growth and discovery.

The contents of our book focuses primarily on the relational aspects of facilitating positive changes. We do that because both Steve and I have been deeply involved as change agents. Both of us are Clinical Counselors with decades of experience as therapists in hospital and out patient settings. We worked with people with severed addictions, clinical depression, anxiety attacks, Bi-Polar issues as well as psychosis and other categories of diagnosis.

We both have also worked in church settings to recruit, train, organize and release Peer Helpers. These lay men and women served in diverse settings such as Pastoral Care, home visitations, support and recovery groups, Deacons and psycho-education prevention like premarital preparation. We also trained Bible teachers, evangelism visitors, managers, small group leaders and chaplains.

In all these settings we scoured research studies to see what was the most effective way to train Peers and Professionals to be the most effective Helpers. The answer is in our book. I will preview the answers in future posts.


Anonymous said...

What is the "Myth of the Expert"?

Gary Sweeten said...

The Hopper brothers wrote in the book "The Puritan's Gift" that the key to our economic, social and spiritual strength was the approach to work and relationships we got from the Puritans. The were all ready and willing to pitch in and get "their hands dirty". In Britain and Europe, managers did not ever do practical work so they did not have practical knowledge. Over the past few decades the USA has developed a "professional class of experts" that is out of touch with practical knowledge. This leads us to rack and ruin because the top bankers have never loaned anyone anything. They are theoretically trained in economics not banking so they ruined the financial industry.

The same is often true in counseling, religion and family life. Experts rely on fuzzy theories not practical life. For years such counselors recommended divorce to women who were frustrated with marriage. Then, the wrecks of millions of divorcees started showing up in their offices and those "experts"
started to change their minds.