Don’t ever participate in “Stop-It” therapy or pastoral counseling.
How will you know if you have a “Stop-It” therapist or counseling pastor? He or she will point out the error of your behavior and immediately tell you that you just have to stop it. Stop looking at pornography, stop feeling angry, stop feeling depressed, stop being anxious, stop being emotionally bonded to someone other than your spouse, stop it, stop it, stop it!
While I agree that those issues need to be addressed, the approach to getting the behavior to change is the difference. When a therapist/counseling pastor tells you to stop a certain behavior and you do, then the problem is solved, right? But what if you are living as a “dry drunk” from the pull of the temptation? By this I mean that an alcoholic can stop drinking but be white-knuckling it everyday. They never figure out the root of the addiction; they just stopped drinking excessively but are struggling. A stop-it therapist or counseling pastor will feel that a victory has been achieved if the ACTIONS change. However, what about the true condition of the heart? This is where some faith-based counseling falls short.
Stop-it counseling is much like gardening. Pulling off the top of the weed will make it look like the weed is gone – but the roots are still there. The weed will grow back given the right soil conditions. This is the same as sin. You can stop yourself from committing a certain sin but if you don’t spend adequate time understanding why the sin was appealing to begin with, the sin can often “grow” back.
Another symptom of a stop-it therapist/counseling pastor is that they will often encourage change within two or three sessions. This is usually not adequate time to get to the root of the issue and practice the new way of living without a particular sin. While I completely believe that the power of Holy Spirit can do amazing things quickly within someone’s heart, the path to healing and complete restoration is often a process that takes patience and time. You need a therapist/counseling pastor who has the patience and time to walk with you. If they cannot, do not feel bad if you need to find another person to partner with you for the journey.