Catholic Medical Quarterly

The Journal of the Catholic Medical Association (UK)

Building knowledge. Building faith. Protecting the vulnerable.

Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 64(1) February 2014


Should we be concerned with
non-directive counselling?

Dr Michael Jarmulowicz

photo of authorSir,

I found the article by Andrew Plasom Scott (Nov 2013) enlightening and interesting, but I am not sure I agree with his concerns about the LIFE position.  I speak as a complete non-professional as regards counselling and base these comments both on Andrew’s explanation and my little knowledge of the topic.

Non-directive counselling is explained as the use of ‘skilled questions and listening, to help the client explore difficult issues’.  Presumably if the client is ignorant about an area that the skilled questioning leads into, surely it is not being directive to offer the information needed to make a valid judgement (eg the true size / stage of development of the embryo or fetus).  Surely the text of the blog quoted is a parody of what a true non-directive counselling encounter might look like?

But there is another question to consider in pro-life work.  What is the fundamental and ultimate aim of an interaction with a pregnant woman seeking an abortion?  Is it just to get her to keep the baby, or are we hoping for something deeper?  I hope the latter; a true conversion of the heart.  And from my limited understanding of non-directive counselling I instinctively feel that it is the more likely method to achieve such a conclusion because the person would have come to that realisation themselves.

It is the same with evangelisation.  We can plant seeds, but true conversion only occurs when the person recognises the truth of what is proposed.

Dr Michael Jarmulowicz