Meet Prof Wentzel
During 1979, I was thrown in at the deep end when I was repeatedly confronted with complicated counselling cases. Initially, I referred them to other counsellors, but in the end I realized that I could not always send people away whom the Lord sent to me. This led me to embark on a journey to look for answers that I did not necessarily receive in my own theological education.
My Masters degree in Greek as well as my DTh in New Testament did not provide the answers that I was searching for at that stage. Afterwards I did a PhD in Practical Theology regarding the theme of the church’s role in guiding people after crisis experiences.
Here a door started to open for me, but it was only slightly open. After this I received an invitation to attend a six-month counselling course in the UK at a counselling centre specializing in ‘healing retreats’ – here the door opened a little bit further for me. At this stage, I was also about 20 years already in full-time ministry, and I was increasingly applying the counselling principles in my own ministry that I learned, with more and more positive results.
Then a next important event followed when a friend sponsored me to attend the International Conference in Nashville of the American Association of Christian Counsellors in 1999. This eventually became the first of eight visits (every second year) to Nashville and through this exposure the Lord opened the counselling door for me much wider. As part of this journey I became totally convinced that pure ‘talk therapy’ is not sufficient to deal with trauma that has been deeply ingrained and stuck and that prayer must be a critical part of the therapeutic process.
In course of time most of our counselling breakthroughs took place during prayer sessions. A further critical principle seemed to be the necessity of getting to the deeper root of a problem – by only focusing on the symptoms on the surface will not provide any long term and deep healing. The pieces that bring the puzzle together are usually buried somewhere in the story of the counselee’s past, sometimes as early as during the pre-birth stage. What also came to the fore is the importance of a multidisciplinary approach where the pastoral counsellor is part of a holistic and multidisciplinary team.
These are just a few important markers of my journey up till now and in the meantime the Holy Spirit is still busy putting more missing pieces of the big puzzle in place. Training and equipment have ultimately became my main focus and with that I am busy on a daily basis in order to eventually facilitate emotional healing for as many persons as possible.