Spiritual Warfare in Counseling?
About eleven years ago, I was in session doing some prayer work with a client. All of a sudden she anxiously told me that it felt like there was something crawling all over her.
This client was a teen who was struggling with some relationship issues. She did not know about warfare and clearly did not know what was happening.
Either did I...At first.
In this post, you will learn more about spiritual warfare. What it looks like and the kinds of things a counselor does to get rid of it.
In my training, I had read that warfare could come up. I assumed this was rare, so I did not do a lot of training on this issue. Christian can't be possessed, right? Right.
But Christians can be oppressed.
It just so happened that I had met a church pastor (this was what I call a "God wink"--when God hooks you up when you most need it) who was well trained with years of practice in spiritual warfare. Guess who was my go-to person to help me learn this stuff? Praise God I had some help!
Back to my client. I knew if I had told her it was a demon crawling on her, she would have run out and I would never have seen her again (wouldn't you if this was new territory?). So I prayed silently for it to stop. After our session, I continued to pray for her.
Since then I have dealt with thousands of client hours many of which have had some element of warfare to them.
This warfare doesn't always look the same. Sometimes it's sudden pain, dizziness, rain of anxiety, sudden dark thoughts, or feeling it crawl or pressure on a person's body, etc. When it pops up all of sudden, that is my cue to command it to stop. BUT I always ask God what to do first
NOTE: I never scream or raise my voice when I command a demon to leave. I know I have the authority and will say my words with confidence. There is no reason your counselor should be yelling and screaming at a demon.
Sometimes the warfare hits ME hard, not the client. When this happens I know I am dealing with a spiritual issue. This type of warfare feels like something is stirring my brain. The best way to explain it is that I can't think straight and my mind (not sight) is blurry. I cast it out...out loud (I inform my client what is happening) if I have a client I can do that in front of. If not, I do it silently.
When there are deep-seated issues, that sometimes is a "foothold" to allow a demon to live there. NOT to possess you, but to oppress you. See Ephesians 4:26-27.
When you are oppressed, that is when you are stuck. No matter what you do, you can't move forward in that area of life. Because this is a spiritual issue, it needs to be dealt with differently than traditional counseling models. See 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4.
Being spiritually stuck is also warfare. It just takes a bit longer to get rid of it. Having a "foothold" is another term for being stuck. Your counselor, through prayer and guidance of God, will help you dismantle the foothold/stronghold (this can include forgiveness, breaking soul ties, breaking curses, etc.) See John 8:31-36
Once dismantled, then it can be commanded to leave. Since there is no "foothold" the demon has to leave.
What if it won't go?
That just means there is more work to be done. Another reason it is very helpful to have a seasoned trained counselor walk you through the process.
If you are stuck in life, pray about finding a spirit-led counselor to assist you to get unstuck.
If you are not ready yet, do some research to learn more about spiritual warfare (look at my resource page, too!) But please only look at reputable information as you do your research.
P.s. One of my favorite books on Spiritual warfare is called Spirit Wars. Note, there is a workbook that goes with this. I have not used the workbook, but bet it is VERY helpful.
Cheering you on!