Christian counseling places spirituality, the power of God, and biblical learning at the center of the healing process, through the work of faith.
What Is Christian Counseling?
Christian counseling acknowledges that a person can only be put on a path of recovery and healing through faith in the power of Jesus Christ, and through guidance from biblical terms. While Christian counseling places faith at the center of the recovery process, it also fully employs all psychological tools used in traditional and secular therapy.
In Christian counseling, there’s no quick fix for any illness or condition. This faith-based approach believes and fully employs scripture to situations that affect the normal human psyche. Another important facet of Christian counseling is the belief that the family unit is the masterpiece of God’s creation. Therefore, Christian family counseling derives directly from Biblical teachings to help individuals deal with their mental health challenges.
Among the first key principles that you will be asked to learn in your first session are the following:
- The truth that there is a greater power than our own will, which should drive the healing, recovery, or reconciliation processes;
- Accept that there is great power and truth in forgiveness just as Christ forgives all;
- The belief that God can change even the direst situations and resurrect even relationships that appear dead or dying.
Counseling further seeks to bring out the benefit of the word through practicing to deal with our problems from biblical terms and through experience. For example, in cases where couples are seeking a divorce, which is heavily discouraged in the Bible, an alternative for reconciliation is always sought.
What Are The Benefits Of Christian Counseling And Support To Individuals?
Even without being religious or radically spiritual, the Bible is a great resource to derive your principles as a person and to teach your loved ones as well. Christian counselors, on the other hand, are quite aware of the challenges that modern families face, and that the human experience is getting harder.
With increasing problems such as these, the strain on the family unit is increasing every single day. Anchored on biblical truth, Christian counseling is a belief that God has provided us with the tools to help us overcome life’s challenges according to His strength. For deeper issues of mental health, this approach to counseling employs tools such as CBT and ACT to accurately diagnose, assess, and treat any illness. The goal is to do this within a Christian context.
Patients battling depression, mental anxiety, stress, addictions, ADHD, divorce, loss of a loved one, and other psychological conditions or stressors that cause these to arise can find help in Christian counseling.
When Did The Concept Of Christian Counseling Start?
Christian counseling doesn’t negate the use of tools in psychology. However, the difference in the principles of secular and faith-based counseling quickly became apparent as Christian counselors started to increase and set themselves apart.
In fact, the Bible as a spiritual foundation and support of human values has been used as a guiding principle for people for thousands of years. Christian counselors started to emerge as professionals who understood that there was another important component at large in human mental functioning.
The CCEF (Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation), formed in 1968, is a leading organization that regulates counselors who ascribe to a faith-based approach for their methods. During the 1970s, there was a rise in counselors who ascribed themselves to the Christian faith and promoted their methods according to this.
Authors such as Lawrence Crabb, Jay E. Adams, James Dobson, and Gary Collins have all provided wide commentary on what counseling according to the Christian faith, is like. The ultimate result is an increase in counselors who identify their methods as scripture-based.
Which Professionals Are Found In Christian Counseling?
Anyone with a background in social work, psychology, theology, psychiatry, or any other human science can qualify to become a counselor, provided they have a master’s degree in mental health counseling. They also have to ascribe to the code of ethics and practices of Christian counseling.
There are several Christian-based master’s degrees on Christian mental health counseling, and there are also certificate programs that allow one to learn with just a bachelor’s degree.
What Can You Expect From Such Counseling?
If you are seeking a Christian counselor, chances are you are spiritual or ascribe to the faith yourself. Depending on the level and intensity of the psychological or emotional problem, a Christian counselor may employ mental health tools such as CBT, or they may simply guide through scriptures.
It is important during the first meeting with the counselor to ask them how their faith impacts their practice, and what the ultimate goal of the therapy is. Mental health professionals who are Christian counselors will use a variety of assessment tools to assess and diagnose patients with mental illnesses and other disorders before they can proceed to therapy and counseling.
What Are The Goals Of Christian Counseling?
Individuals who seek out the services of Christian counselors suffer from many of the same mental health issues that regular folks who visit secular counselors suffer from.
Let’s learn some of the most common issues below.
Marital Support and Overcoming Distress from Spouses
Marriage is the basic foundation of the Christian faith, as the Bible describes God, making man and woman, and both for each other. Christians believe that marriage is an institution ordained by God, and thus it should be broken by no man, not even the two parties themselves.
Marriages are rocked by different issues such as infidelity, financial distress, gambling, addictions, rowdy behavior, a breakdown of trust and intimacy, lack of communication, etc. A Christian marriage counselor will be working on getting both parties to the table during these trying times, teaching them how to see eye to eye in love.
Going Past Parenting Problems
A professional counselor will help a family cope with different things that can affect a child, for example, disease, bullying, eating disorders, developmental challenges, bipolar disorder, severe depression, performance distress, etc.
With the right therapist, such as a psychiatrist and with love from the family, the child can be right-tracked to a normal state of biblical truth.
Mental Health Conditions Treatment
Certified Christian counselors are also trained psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health counselors, and social workers, and they support efforts in this area too.
While the use of such tools undergirds the treatment of mental health problems, Christian counseling places faith in God and His healing power as the resolution of all other problems. Building a relationship with God but still employing psychological tools to diagnose and treat illnesses is the hallmark of this approach.
Counseling for Loss
For some people, dealing with the distress of a lost loved one such as a family member, a friend, or a pet can be an insurmountable assignment. Yet, with help from a counselor with experience in treating patients in this area, one can overcome their grief and accept what the future holds. A grief counselor works to support the client to accept and make peace with the loss.
Substance Abuse and Addictions
In many cases, addictions are usually a symptom of some deeper psychological or mental issue. This could be unhealed trauma, depression, low self-esteem, or emotional abuse. A qualified Christian counselor will be able to guide the person back to the right path, which acknowledges that human lives are to be guided by the word of God.
Improving One’s Faith and Building A Godly Foundation
Due to life’s constant pressures, some Christians can let the parenting of their faith fall to the wayside. A Christian therapist can help you reconnect with God when the situational stressors and pressures of life grow too much.
An experienced Christian counselor will not only help you see the grander scheme of things, but they will also guide you to scriptures that increase your faith you and speak to your situation and experience. But the individual should show commitment to a therapy plan according to the agreed word.
Who Needs Christian Counseling?
Christian counseling has a goal to provide a holistic anchor to any situation that life throws at a person. This faith-based approach relies on the afflicted person seeing themselves through the lens of the Creator. That means that the counselor isn’t glorified as “perfect” or having all the answers. Rather, the patient has a divine connection that sets them on the straight path.
A frequent range of issues why many people visit Christian counselors includes:
- Marital problems such as infidelity and divorce;
- Substance use disorders and addictions;
- Eating disorders, especially in teens;
- When you lose connection from faith and God;
- Feeling empty and no sense of worth or purpose;
- Mental health issues;
- Parenting issues.
Christian counseling goes deeper because it aims at restoring the individual’s relationship with God, rather than just seeking a temporary solution to problems.
How Will I Benefit From Christian Counseling?
Anybody can benefit from the services of a Christian counselor, even if that person doesn’t necessarily identify as Christian or spiritual. These counselors and therapists are usually licensed and board-accredited anyway; therefore, the combination of tools that they use is common and best practice. However, the additional element of being a human in the care of a loving Creator helps people see their issues from a different perspective.
Instead of an individual having to carry the weight of their burden alone or with the help of a therapist with their problems, they can recognize that there is a higher power at play. That allows them to refocus and become new creatures by the refreshing and renewing of their minds.
If you have been asking yourself any of the questions below, you may want to seek therapy from Christian counselors.
- Are you feeling like you are going off the deep end and don’t have any road to recovery lately?
- Have you lost a loved recently and are finding yourself unable to cope with unemployment, an illness, etc.?
- Have you failed at a recent exam or are experiencing strong feelings of failure?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed by your commitments or are feeling like there isn’t an end to your problems?
- Do you feel a kindled rage or are experiencing episodes of irrational anger?
- Are you unable to forgive someone or are unable to move on from a tragedy?
- Are you experiencing symptoms of depression that have persisted or needs medication? Other mental health conditions to consider include anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and anything that seems abnormal.
- Do you desire a deeper relationship with God but are caught up in a pit?
These are just a range of complex issues that Christian mental health professionals deal with on a regular basis. If the condition is too severe, a licensed professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist may do a thorough examination of the person to unearth other symptoms.
What Is To Be Expected From Such Counseling?
Christian counseling helps individuals discover new spiritual or religious dimensions of themselves that they might not have thought possible. These scriptures undergird the other resources and tools that traditional counseling uses, such as the CBT and ACT. The scriptural dimension of the counseling may include Bible affirmation verses, Bible study, prayer, pastoral counseling, and self-evaluation techniques.
A Christian counselor will help you open up yourself to the spiritual dimension of things, which is the will of God upon your life. Christian counseling will cover all mental-emotional-health related issues as pertains to one’s daily life. These areas cover the following range:
- Coping with death, grief, or an untimely illness;
- Going into a new dimension of spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being;
- Getting ready for situations such as interviews with potential employers or new schools;
- Learning social skills helpful for overcoming socially-awkward situations and building your relationship with family and loved ones;
- Prayer, scriptures, biblical learning tools, and other resources to help you in your Christian walk and building your relationship with God;
- Services for weddings, funerals, graduations, and other ceremonies.
A Christian therapist is a great way to get back to foundational skills of the Bible, especially if you have been feeling detached from religion or faith recently.
What Will The First Meeting With Your Christian Health Counselor Be Like?
During the initial session of talking to your Christian health counselor, the first intake of your data will be done in which details such as your sex, age, marital status, blood type, and other bio-data will be taken. You will then proceed to the actual meeting with the counselor in which more details will be taken, mostly about your condition.
When going to such sessions, one must become open, although it will take time. A Christian counselor will, at that juncture, help you get comfortable with yourself and the problem. This first session usually takes an average of about an hour, although it can be longer. You may also ask the counselor about their take on the profession and what their beliefs and practices are based on.
The counselor won’t know you in a day, so expect to do this in a couple of sessions. It may take a few weeks to a few months for a full diagnosis to be given. In the case of more severe conditions, such as schizophrenia, brain scans, and shockwave, tests might be needed to provide a better understanding of the problem.
In addition to treating any conditions, such as depression and anxiety, the ultimate goal of the therapy is to bring the individual back to the will of God in their life. That is why information on Christian counseling, such as what you find in online directories, is important. In addition to healing or treating emotional and psychological problems, the client is given a new lease on life through a renewed spiritual connection.
Understanding Spiritual Health
People often speak of finding a new lease on life once they visit a Christian mental health counselor. Yet, it isn’t the counselor to be glorified, but a higher being at play, guiding us through His will. Being spiritual doesn’t even mean to be religious, yet you can still benefit from a Christian health counselor. Many people are suffering from mental, physical, and emotional abuse, and they seek out the services of regular therapists.
Yet, a Christian counselor goes further and incorporates a spiritual perspective to their practice. They go back to a fundamental law of the world that has been forgotten by the secular world, and that is that a higher power orders the steps of the universe. That every living thing is a part of God’s grander scheme of things, and that we all fit perfectly into that scheme if we obey His will.
A Christian family counselor will help you understand how the lack of that spiritual connection affects your waking life. They will teach you that some of the problems we face cannot be cured by any other means other than seeking out that higher power.
In finding improved spiritual health, we will find ourselves experiencing a renewal in the following areas:
- Forgiveness and letting go of old things;
- Improving our service to the community;
- A sense of purpose and belonging to the community;
- Ability to care for ourselves and care for others;
- Ability to walk according to God’s will instead of our own;
- The ability to recognize the role of our own mistakes in the problems that we face, even if some of them were committed ignorantly or unknowingly;
- The ability to love and be loved;
- The ability to spread happiness and joy and to be of service to others.
Improved spiritual health usually comes with mental, emotional, and physical benefits as well. The aims of the therapy should be well-defined in the session.
How Can I Find A Good Licensed Christian Counselor?
In finding any counselor in your area, you should rely on referrals and sources that have worked with the person before. It is important to ask around in your church, talk with your family and friends, co-workers, or even your company HR. Online therapy sites are also coming into fashion these days, so expect more mental health platforms to come up.
The best therapist is the person whom you will make a connection with, in other words, someone who is very good at their job.
What Are The Qualities Of A Good Christian Counselor?
Spiritual anchorage on the word of Christ is the most important quality of a good Christian mental health counselor. However, the individual should be properly licensed/accredited, and they should be able to display a good record of clients and a value for service.
In addition to imparting spiritual knowledge and wisdom, Christian counselors can successfully deal with the most prevalent issues in family settings. These include divorce, parental problems, infidelity, trust, grief and loss, loss of employment or income, and drifting from faith.
Licensed Christian psychiatrists and psychologists should be able to properly diagnose conditions such as depression, OCD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues. The psychiatrist should demonstrate from the onset empathy, love, and a strong educational and spiritual foundation to deal with issues.