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Images That Heal

In a conversation recently, Howard Clinebell, professor of psychology and pastoral counseling in California at the School of Theology at Claremont, told us that most people with religious backgrounds store away powerful images which can have a healing influence on a person's inner life.

Thus, in his counseling sessions Clinebell will sometimes ask, "Now, in your own words, why don't you tell me your favorite Bible story." This brings out of the person "living images" that obviously have some importance attached to them-otherwise they would have been forgotten.

If Clinebell hears the counselee reveal an image which might be therapeutic to whatever ailment he or she is experiencing, he may ask the person to meditate on that image, first in the counseling session and then later at home.

"If, for instance, I am counseling someone who feels bound emotionally or mentally, and that person vividly recalls the Old Testament story of the Jews' exodus from Egypt, I will suggest that ...

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