Adam’s theory is that all behaviors and emotions are the result of beliefs. Of these, the most fundamental is the core belief. This core belief, often one that is spiritual, is the driving force behind every decision, every feeling, every behavior for every person. This fundamental assumption may need to be modified in order to affect a positive “trickle up” effect on the client’s life or particular symptoms.
Sometimes, usually due to time limits, the core belief may not be accessible. However, the general rule is: the deeper the belief, the more profound the impact. Want to change your marriage? What do you believe about marriage, about romance, about relationships, about people? Struggling with depression? What do you believe about your circumstances, yourself, your life? Profound change does not come from simply trying harder, from the outside in. No, lasting change begins on the inside and works its way out, beginning in the heart and flowing out through the hands. When our hearts begin to heal, our symptoms take care of themselves. When that happens, we find the freedom to discover our true identity, we gain the power to take hold of it, and we enjoy living out of a deep sense of who we really are!
Of particular focus in Adam’s approach are interpersonal boundaries.* These boundaries are always telling of an individual’s underlying belief system. Usually, boundary structure reveals to us that we are giving too much power to someone or something to determine our worth or value. This quickly becomes a deeply spiritual and personal issue (see further What is Christian Counseling?).
Check out Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend for a great discussion on boundaries, what they are, and how they impact our lives.
Medication and Biological Conditions
Sometimes our problems are partially, or even completely, biological in nature. Solutions such as diet and exercise or other lifestyle changes are important to consider as one evaluates where her or his difficulties might be coming from and how to address them.
Medication is another important consideration. Some people find medication very helpful for a period of time after which point they can taper off and eventually live without it. Others may be lifelong dependents on medication to maintain a certain quality of life. Still others may require no medication at all.
Different people have different views on the proper role of those medications intended to effect primarily mental change, such as antidepressants. Some may say that the mind is off limits for such invasive measures, while others may hardly give it a second thought. This is an important issue to consider, as medication may present as an option for addressing certain concerns.
There is still much that is empirically unknown about the inner workings of the brain, and even less so about the mind. There may be some biological agents at work in an individual’s difficulties that must be addressed if that person is to achieve his or her goals. Whether through diet and exercise, medication, or even more invasive medical approaches, responding to the physical components of our difficulties is a necessary step toward healing.