The main character in Soul Surfer movies is exposed to difficult time and suffering. Bethany Hamilton, who is the main character of the film is truly passionate about surfing, and she was convinced God created her for this. After being attacked by a 14-foot shark at the age of thirteen, her hand was floating and dangling over the water. Bethany was lucky because Alana’s father was around and took her to the hospital where she underwent surgery.
She could have died if it was not for the help provided by Alanas father. She suffered a lot, and at the time she was arriving in the hospital she had already lost 60 % of her blood. She underwent different surgeries made without infections. In the recovery process, Bethany was stressed, depressed and developed a negative attitude towards life (Ebert, 2011). What helped stay encouraged was the faith she had in God and the strong sense about water. Due to the shark attack and losing one arm, she never lost hope in competing as a soul surfer.
However, counseling sessions will help her adjust to living a normal life. The movie is composed of incidents of struggle experienced by Bethany Hamilton. In the movie, she showed determination and devoted herself to the Christian faith. Application of counselling approach can help in the recovery process. Weakness and strengths for chosen approach will be considered in order to make the process successful.
Bethany undergoes different struggles after the shark’s attack.
One of the struggles seen in the movie is the loss of an arm at age of thirteen. Her life changed because she was not able to do some of the same tasks on her own. The troubles persisted for a long time because even after recovery, she was not able to surf appropriately. Bethany also experienced physical, emotional and psychological challenges. For the purpose of rebuilding her life again, counseling is necessary. Counseling sessions will help Bethany to take life positively and recover without fear or trauma. Many people give up when faced by challenges and develop suicidal thoughts. Therapy will also be necessary because it will help her to recover so she can overcome any emotional or psychological complications.
She was faced by different obstacles which prevented her from carrying out some tasks on her own. Her parents had to intervene in order to assist her in doing some tasks, this caused her to feel even more frustrated. However, although her life had taken a different turn; Bethany was determined to overcome the challenge and pursue her dreams. Other obstacles she faced was not being able to put her bathing suit and getting dressed easily. Bethany found it difficult to carry in the groceries. It was also challenging to face that the life she used to have she was able to do things on her own. In order to survive, she had to learn how to do all those things without anybodys help. Bethany possessed brevity characteristics that helped her to overcome the shortcomings. After recovery, she demanded to go back to water in order to start practicing how to surf without one arm. At first, it was not easy, and she faced problems in balancing (Verdisco & High, 2013). Despite the challenge, she did not give up, but she picked from where she had left before the attack.
When an individual is physically challenged, he or she can develop a negative attitude towards life. Bethany was suffering emotionally because she was not sure that her friends would accept her again. Her devotion to church made her overcome emotional challenges and overlook the fact that she was to be stereotyped by some people. She developed faith and believed that one day she would overcome the challenges and live a normal life. She was prayerful and was not scared. She overlooked the tragedies she experienced in order to develop positive thinking about her life. Determination was one of the character trait possessed by Bethany, and she was able to achieve her dreams. At the end of the movie, she emerged to become a winner in the NSSA national championship competition. Her determination and ability to achieve the dreams amid struggles is a good lesson to people who are about to give up in life (Hamilton, 2011). People should be inspired by Bethany to take life in a positive dimension.
Effective Biblical Based Counseling Approach
Counselling can play a valuable role in helping people get through struggles in life. In the case of Bethany, she experienced a traumatizing incident; therefore, it is recommended for Bethany to undergo counselling to get her through the fact of now be able to function and cope with one arm. The counselling approach chosen to help Bethany is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This therapy will help in providing emotional support and help her to see the incident as a way to Glorify God in her ability to compete. God wants the glory in everything that we do, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1Corinthians 10:31). The Primary goal of CBT is change in manner in which Bethany process information (Boivin & Meier, 2011).
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help because it concentrates on the thinking of people instead of their actions; it is about altering the behavior by changing ones thoughts (Boivin & Meier, 2011). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy can be compared to Romans 12:2, because it speaks on renewing of the mind; do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (ESV). Generally, victims of attacks and accidents end up being traumatized; therefore, it is vital to carry out cognitive approach. It will help overcome the effects of the trauma. The cognitive therapy believes that thinking that is dysfunctional brings about irrational behaviors and emotions. For example, after the attack, Bethany was showing a positive attitude towards life but started having irrational thinking. The approach helps people to change their thinking in order to change their emotions and behaviors (Boivin & Meier, 2011). The approach will also be helpful in Bethany’s case because she was about to develop negative thinking when she was recovering from surgeries and the wounds (Verdisco & High, 2013). She was starting to think what if her father was not there at the scene; those thoughts was leading to irrational thinking. It is essential to use the approach to help her bring those thoughts back to the reality that she is alive due to Gods grace. Romans 3:22 says the righteous of God is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe (NKJV). CBT works well with biblical doctrine because it will enable Bethany to develop positive thinking by understanding that she was able to remain alive, while many people attacked by shark end up losing their lives (Conte, 2009). After going through the process of developing positive thinking, it will be easier for Bethany to recover and avoid other complication like depressions, stress and suicidal thoughts (Boivin & Meier, 2011). John 8:44 say, Satan is the source of all lies, if the mind is not grounded on truth, then the individual is vulnerable to his deceptions (Tarver, 2018). The great thing about Bethany is that although her faith was challenged, she did not stop believing in God. She was thankful to be alive. Since this approach concentrates on emotional and behavioral support, it will help her in having rational verses irrational thinking; she will also adopt positive behavior and practice things that can ensure her wellbeing (Boivin & Meier, 2011). Just as Gods word gives hope, CBT will give Bethany hope while she recovers and began to live a fulfilling life despite of any challenges she may face. 1 Peter 5:10 says, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (ASV).
Strengths and Caution Area of Approach
Through the use of the cognitive approach has several advantages, and benefits that will enable Bethany to recover quickly. CBT is closely related to biblical principles. The approach concentrates on dealing with thinking in order to change the behavior, just as the Bible deals with the mind. In the cognitive approach, the therapist applies different skills such as active listening and verbal listening (Verdisco & High, 2013). The use of those skills will enable the therapist to understand thinking and attitude possessed by Bethany. It is also a short-term therapy and cost effective, the sessions ranges from five to twenty that last between thirty to sixty minutes (Wells, 2013). The therapist will be concentrating on helping her to develop positive thinking and full potential (Conte, 2009).
Although this approach is great there is weakness that should be considered by the therapist. Understanding the roles to play in counselling sessions is a requirement in each approach, and Bethany should understand her roles. In case she does not understand her roles, it will be difficult to provide help because she will not be cooperative. Developing a bond between the therapist and the client is also an important factor in counselling. If the bond is not created, then the counseling sessions will not run smoothly. Furthermore, if there is consistent failure in maintaining focus on the problem it will make the entire counseling process useless (Wells, 2013). It is crucial for the therapist to understand the problem faced by Bethany in order to provide a solution (Boivin & Meier, 2011).
The movie, Soul Surfer is based on a real-life story of Bethany who was attacked by the shark. The move is full of struggles experienced by Bethany, but she manages to emerge successfully despite the challenges. Even for the youth, is shows that God has a purpose on everyones life regardless of age. God wants the Glory for everything we do, and for all the gifts and talents he has given us. For we are all tested, James 1:3-4 says that the testing of our faith develops perseverance, let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (NIV). In order to ensure a fulfilling life, counselling like cognitive therapy should be put into practice. It will help replace irrational or sinful thoughts the client may have with positive thinking. However, for the counselling strategies to work effectively, it is essential to consider both weakness and strength.
Boivin M. and Meier A. (2011). Counseling and Therapy techniques: Theory & Practice. Boston: SAGE.
Conte C. (2009). Advanced Techniques for Counseling and Psychotherapy. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Ebert R. (2011). Soul Surfer. Retrieved April 6, 2011, from
Hamilton B. (2011). Soul Surfer Devotion. California: Thomas Nelson.
Verdisco S. and High R. (2013). Bethany Hamilton talks Surf and Overcoming Obstacles. Retrieved June 2013, from
Wells, A. (2013). Cognitive Therapy of Anxiety Disorders: A Practice Manual and Conceptual