January 17, 2022
Was I forced into biblical counseling as a minor?
Was I forced to stay in biblical counseling as a minor?
Were opinions about the Bible and religion forced upon me in my youth?
Thankfully the answer is no. I was a minor who was counseled by a certified biblical counselor, but I was also a minor that chose to walk away from being a counselee without any resistance from my counselor.
My name is Ravin Bright and I was counseled as a minor in a religious setting. The following is a snapshot of my experience as a minor and the continued effects of my counseling experience. I hope that my account and experiences help persuade you that counseling or what has now been labeled as conversion therapy did not negatively effect me nor was I forced to particapte in a couseling experience. Even as a minor, it was of my own free will.
Almost six or seven years ago now, I was experiencing significant turmoil in my life due to broken and damaging relationships. Around this time a lady in my church, who is a certified biblical counselor, offered to begin meeting with me in order to help me work through some of my experiences and counsel me on action steps for my own life. When this idea was suggested to me, I willingly accepted the offer as I was ready for a listening ear and felt at the end of my rope. I was a sixteen year old girl, who had absolutely no idea how to face my own emotions and appropriately respond to other actions and reactions.
Towards the beginning of our weekly meetings my counselor patiently listened and took notes on my experiences, struggles, and heartaches in order to accurately evaluate the situation, so that she could give advice unerring to my scenario. As our relationship as a counselor and counselee continued, we moved into a stage in our weekly meetings where it was time for me to address my issues and begin to move forward rather than remaining bitter and miserable.
One of my favorite quotes is by Lao Tzu, “Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” This quote became a self-fulfilled prophecy through my counseling experience. I began to think I was not the problem and my counselor, myself, and God could not help me or my situation. Over time this attitude of resistance was manifested to my counselor, and she was shrewd enough to realize that if I was not willing to listen to advice, religious or non-religious, then counseling was useless.
Even after realizing my general unwillingness to confront my problems, my counselor gave me many chances to either choose a different path or decide to end our counseling sessions. I will always remember the day I showed up for counseling, and my counselor informed me that she did not see a point in us continuing our sessions if I did not want to be counseled. At the time, I remember feeling bittersweet regarding the conclusion of our sessions. I was ecstatic that I no longer had to deal with my issues, but I also felt remorse that I was not willing to be helped. Stereotypical to my character, I pushed away my feelings of remorse and traipsed forward belligerent in my own self-fulfilled prophecy that I could not and would not change.
Fast forward now to my twenties. I willingly went back to the same counselor and was again counseled by her. Not only did she accept me with open arms but again poured into my life; however, I always had the option of walking away anytime I chose. There are a lot of perspectives to my story, and a lot of narratives that could be concluded, however; now at the age of twenty-two and after many years of reflection, here is what I have concluded, and what I would like you to hear.
Counseling, therapy, mentorship, conversion therapy—however you would like to define my experience and those like me—did not confine me or force an opinion upon me. I had an open door. Yes, my experience did shape my life, but it was by my own free will. I am passionate about preserving youth liberties, religious freedom, and parents rights because of the experience I walked away with.
I was treated with kindness and care. My counselor fought for my restoration while equally giving me a choice. Therefore, I am troubled because the West Lafayette City Council members believe they are fighting for restoration by stripping away the elements of choice and free will. The unfortunate truth is, if I had been deprived of the opportunity to be a counselee, I might still have been trapped in bitterness, self-destruction, and constantly blaming others for my problems.
Although this is my story there are many who have and continue to benefit from non-licensed faith-based counseling in West Lafayette. It would be a shame to strip that opportunity from the youth in West Lafayette and the Greater Lafayette community.
Lafayette Resident & Counselee of non-licensed faith-based counseling as minor and adult.