Counselor’s Tools: Using H.A.L.T. as a Guide

Identifying Key Risk Factors in Your Counselee’s Life:

I believe that part of Biblical Counseling should be the educating of your counselee so that they no longer need your constant “services”. In other words, equip your counselee to be able to make wise decisions in their time away from you. Give them the tools they need to fight successfully in their struggle.

The acronym “H.A.L.T.” is one of those easy to remember tools. By having your counselee understand what each letter stands for in this acronym, you can give him/her the tools to recognize times when they are most susceptible to temptation. This acronym is not original with me, nor original with the person I learned it from, so I cannot give proper credit for it’s origination. I am sure that whoever created it encourages it’s widespread use in Biblical Counseling.

Understanding HALT:

  • H is for Hungry or Hurting
    • Hungry – (Matthew 4:1-11) – Jesus Christ is our Example in recognizing that when the body is weakened through lack of food, or even proper food consumption, that the temptations become much more intense in the area of selfishness. This is why it is very important that you make sure that your counselee is eating properly and adequately. Hunger pangs can drive an individual to commit acts of extreme selfishness. Eating improperly can also affect the mind and the decision making process.
    • Hurting – Pain is an aggressive self-focused ingredient in many people’s lives. When your counselee is suffering from Chronic Pain, or even injury pain, there are a vast variety of selfish temptations that assault them. Many times the mind weakens with the physical state. The constant onslaught of pain wears a person down to the point of yielding to temptation. Make sure your counselee is getting proper and adequate medical treatment for the pain in their lives. Assist them in exploring new areas of treatment.
  • A is for Angry
    • Angry – When someone is angry their anger can easily cloud judgment and result in succumbing to temptation to lash out at others. Also, not dealing with anger properly results in relational damage and provides Satan a foothold in your counselee’s life. (Ephesians 4:26,27) By equipping your counselee to see the times when they are susceptible to anger, you give them the tools to remain Spirit-controlled and not Selfishly-controlled.
  • L is for Lazy or Lonely
    • Lazy – Laziness never yields righteousness. A quick search of Scripture will show your counselee that their laziness not only affects themselves adversely, but also affects their employer, family and friend’s lives. (Proverbs 10:26; 19:15) Help your counselee who is struggling with laziness to identify this trait in their life and then assist them in planned, practical production.
    • Lonely – Loneliness is a difficult, often unseen struggle that assaults our counselees. When a counselee focuses on their loneliness, it can often result in giving in to selfish choices and temptations. Increase the circle of care for this individual. Help them identify areas of investing in other people’s lives. Help them give of themselves and assist them in rejecting selfish impulses throughout the day.
  • T is for Tired
    • Tired – Lack of proper rest can reduce a counselee to a vulnerable state. Even if the lack of rest comes from legitimate means (work, illness, etc) it can often lead to your counselee yielding to temptations. Insomnia can lead to such things as pornography consumption, anger outbreaks, unwholesome speech, cutting corners in life and work, etc. Working closely with a physician in helping a counselee receive adequate rest might be necessary. There are homeopathic and medicinal methods of increasing the opportunity to receive adequate rest. These may need to be explored. Also, assist and equip your counselee in their time management, so that they are purposeful in their moment by moment living.

This acronym is not just for “the other person”. By using this acronym in your own life, you can identify areas where you are more susceptible to temptation and then you can guard against temptation by addressing, practically, each area of life.

What other methods or acronyms have you used in your personal life or in your counseling of others?


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