At Compass Rose Academy, we are known for our work using The Growth Model. While this is a research supported and neuroscience proven approach, we also find that this path to healing and growth is consistent with what we find in Scripture. There are a few fundamental ingredients to growth that are woven throughout biblical themes and the life of Jesus. Those three key ingredients are grace, truth and time, and all exist within the context of relationship.
Much of the literature in the field of mental health and counseling, regardless of theoretical orientation, point to the importance of being “client centered” and maintaining “unconditional positive regard.” This all has to do with having a stance that is for the client. Taking this “for you” stance provides the fundamental and necessary ingredient of grace which is required to grow. In this way, science supports what we know inherently as well as from Scripture: to heal and grow, people need grace. One of my favorite quotes from author Bob Goff states, “People grow where they are loved.” We see this time and time again in stories from Scripture, such as the story of the woman at the well, the adulterous woman who faced stoning, and many more. The ultimate example was shown when, “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Grace had to come first. With our clients and in our relationships, grace has to come first.
Once grace has been administered, truth is necessary. Often as Western Christians, we tend to hear truth with a harsh, even judgmental tone, which is far from what we actually see in Scripture. Since “there is now no condemnation for those in Christ,” we have to shift our understanding of truth away from the legalistic and punitive tones and toward its rightful place in the realm of reality and boundaries. Truth provides reality. With all grace and no truth, we’re left without any push toward growth, and grace without truth is permissive enabling. However, truth without grace is harsh and punitive. Both must be present, and grace must come first. In the context of love and acceptance administered through a safe relationship, we’re able to then hear and grow from boundaries and truth. This is what Scripture is referring to when it talks about speaking the truth in love. Without love and grace, not only can the truth be punitive, but it also won’t actually get in.
The last of the ingredients is time. We have formed our unhealthy coping patterns and defenses over time, and it takes time to heal. Furthermore, those unhealthy or no longer helpful responses that are now causing us pain were developed in relationships over time. Just as relational experiences void of grace and truth over time caused us to learn that the world isn’t safe, we aren’t enough, etc, only relational experiences full of grace and truth over time can heal these wounds. We are relational beings, created for connection and belonging. Many negative relational experiences cause pain and regression, and it takes many healing relational experiences to heal and grow.
Just as is evidenced throughout the Bible, with both grace and (then) truth, over time, we are able to experience healing and growth.
-By Madeline Spring, Director of Admissions, MA, LMHC