IRBC is thankful to be part of a tradition of counseling that emphasizes the centrality of Scripture. There are two major distinctions in our way of counseling that set us apart from the way that others within the broader field of biblical counseling do their work. One pertains to our philosophical model and the other to our methodological model.
While some within the broader field of biblical counseling bring various teachings about the sovereignty of God to bear in their counseling practice, we believe this doctrine is of paramount importance. It, therefore, serves as the first step of counseling in our model. This step is called: Provide Perspective. The sovereignty of God is rooted in His omniscience. God’s omniscience does not only have a bearing on the doctrines of election and reprobation in general, but upon everything that happens in the lives of all people at all times. God foreknows everything that occurs on earth, and is intimately concerned about how the unfolding of His providence will affect the lives of His precious children. This truth, when properly explained by Reformed biblical counselors, can bring great comfort and hope to those they are called to come alongside of and serve. How comforted a counselee can be when the Holy Spirit uses a Reformed biblical counselor to gently and lovingly convey that his/her situation is not out of control. That God, out His great love for him or her, has tailor made the trial for His glory and his/her good. Every detail of the trial is infallibly coming to pass, and not even a hair will fall from one of His children’s heads apart from His will. Unfortunately, there are a good number of biblical counselors who are vehemently opposed to the doctrines of grace, insisting that a person is in control of his/her eternal destiny. These unbalanced counselors are also opposed to acknowledging the fact that God’s foreknowledge extends to, not only the external things that occur in the lives of their counselees, but also to the very things their counselees say and do. They either knowingly or unknowingly deny the clear teachings of Scripture which tell us that God fully knows and holds the reigns of every human heart.
The primary distinctive in our philosophical model is an instrument we have begun and continue to develop called The 7 Dominant Domains of Origin for Human Problems.™ The seven domains represented in the instrument are divided into The Internal Dominant Domains™ (IDDs) and The External Dominant Domains™ (EDDs). The IDDs represent several of the prime capacities with which God has endowed man–capacities which need to be taken into consideration when counseling if one is to get a comprehensive picture of the problem. These prime capacities are expressed as distinct domains in IRBC’s model. They are the Spiritual, Mental, Emotional, Social, and Bodily Domains.
At times, the origin of problems with which people wrestle are directly related to sin, the misuse, or disordered functioning of one or more of the various capacities with which they have been endowed. At other times, they arise in numerous ways within the various environments in which they live and interact. The diagram to the left provides a thumbnail sketch of the seven domains we utilize in our counseling model.