The Iceberg Model

Below is something I use as my wife and I do Marriage Rebuilders for couples that are struggling.    This is commonly known as the iceberg model and was developed by one of the best Marriage and Family counselors — Virginia Satir.  Honestly, I believe this is a model that people people need to consider if they desire to add  depth to any relationship.

The iceberg is really an object where only 10% of an iceberg is what you can see.  The part of a relationship that you can see is what we call behaviors.  However, beneath behaviors are feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and desires.  Often we are so stuck trying to “fix” behaviors that we never seek to understand what is beneath the waterline.  We never really try to validate thoughts and feelings or understand  perceptions, desires, and or core beliefs (false or accurate) that a person might have.

The-Iceberg-Model  <— Click Here to See Iceberg Model

So ….I was reading an article about how Christians that label themselves as fundamentalist are 91% more likely to do porn.   The article comes from a very credible Christian source and if you ask me I will share the source.  I want people to think about what this means.  As you consider what the word fundamentalist might mean you would say that they are black and white in their faith.  Forbidden fruit is often alluring and powerful thing.   What this statistic means is the group most likely to not allow the kids to watch TV, have computer access, do home schooling, etc is also the group most likely to do porn. A group that is highly desirous of having their kids NOT engage in porn is actually one of the most likely to have their kids engage in porn!!!

But the black and white thinking is not exclusively a fundamentalist thing.  You may find higher concentrations of black and white thinking in fundamentalist churches… but in the Christian Church this seems to be more common than we think.  Well, I consider myself an evangelical Christian and after many years I think I know how this works even in non fundamatalist christian churches.  Let me attempt to explain myself.

As a  Christians we believe in Truth!  And often this truth is focused more on OTHERS  behaviors than OUR  own heart.   If we  are black and white in our faith then we are probably most concerned about behaviors and another persons moral performance.  In our discussions we never empathize with other peoples thoughts, feelings, and perceptions.  Listening is not our strong suit and if we do listen we listen with a subtle, overt  condemnation regarding someone elses behaviors.  We can not process other peoples feelings, thoughts, perceptions, desires without a subtle critical spirit.  In the model below can not really process much below the behavioral waterline.  Said in a different way,  we spend a lot of time fixing another persons behaviors but very little time listening and validating thoughts and feelings beneath the behavioral waterline.  We can not come along side others and process  anything gray in our black and white world… at least not in an emotionally good way.  I believe its possible that many Christians belong to a family system only focused on behaviors and when we do this our emotional and spiritual growth is hindered.

So what I am saying as an evangelical Christian that strives for honesty…  is that I know we (Christians) are a part of the problem ,,, but I also believe that a true representation of the Gospel and having a gospel centric Grace narrative is the solution. Feel free to agree or disagree!

The-Iceberg-Model  <— Click Here to See Iceberg Model

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