Philosphy and Basic Assumptions
Peniel holds to the belief that it is necessary to teach and reinforce good behavior from birth. For example, children automatically display negative behavior such as selfishness. Operating from the premise that we cannot change other people, we must consequently work toward changing ourselves.
Therefore, when problems become evident in our lives, we must accept responsibility for ourselves and be willing to exert the energy required to create a positive change in our present situation.
Additionally, Peniel’s philosophy is based on the belief that as a man grows, he gains information and experiences, which often reinforce negative seeds. However, man can, through spiritual rebirth and teaching of skills, adequately process information coming into his life and learn how to respond in a positive manner and in harmony with his environment.
Therapeutic Goals and Techniques
The major goal of Peniel’s "Bible Therapy" approach is to enable the client to develop an awareness of who he is through an understanding of who God is. Through Biblical concepts, an individual can understand his purpose for living.
Another major goal is to motivate the client to review his past in order to identify his mistakes and see himself from an objective point of view. Learning from the retrospective view is encouraged rather than dwelling on past failure. The person’s "here and now" is important. The client is encouraged to accept responsibility for his present situation; getting a proper perspective on both the past and present helps to set more appropriate and realistic goals for the future.
The role of the counselor is to act as the facilitator. During the treatment phase, the counselor works with the client, sometimes as a passive listener and sometimes as an active participant. However, the relationship is always moving towards motivating the client to think for himself utilizing Biblical principles.
The aim is that upon completion of the program, the client will have gained confidence in his decision-making abilities. Thus the client will have been taught how to go out and develop resources for himself.
Once a client enters treatment, his goals become a primary concern. Through the use of psychosocial and verbal input, the client learns to express what he would like to accomplish during the treatment process. Client input is very important in goal setting. The establishment and prioritizing of goals is a joint effort between the counselor and the counselee. The counselor’s primary responsibility is to teach (through instruction and modeling) the client how to successfully integrate Biblical principles into his lifestyle. These principles will help him to be an effective, productive and contributing member of society.
This approach, implemented in individual and group counseling, has been used effectively in this program. It teaches men and women how to live at peace with themselves and others in every facet of society.