5 Elements of Christian Counseling
Seeking Christian Counseling is a difficult decision to make. Sometimes it’s marked by a feeling of coming to the end of ourselves. We may feel like we’re all out of ideas. The dialogue in our head can sound like this… “I have tried everything! Nothing is working!’… We’ve all been there.
The decision to seek Christian counseling is hard enough, but where do you go from there?
Beginning therapy is vulnerable and intimate. Sharing fears, thoughts and frustrations takes a tremendous amount of courage and you want to make sure you’re seeing the right person. Life and relationships can be tough to navigate at times. Whether you’re seeking Christian counseling for personal growth or to work on a relationship, there are specific things to look for in your search for the right person.
I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that you are seeking Christian counseling because you want guidance and direction for your life and relationships that lineup with God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Peter 1:3). I’m also gonna assume you wanna learn how to apply biblical truth to your life and relationships (Romans 12:2). And finally, if you’re seeking Christian counseling then you probably want Christ at the center of this entire process (Proverbs 3:6, Colossians 1:17).
5 Elements of Christian Counseling
Christian Counseling Offers Hope in Christ
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” ~Hebrews 6:19a
When struggling through difficult seasons of personal growth or a challenging relationship, what we long for is hope. Solid Christian counseling offers the only hope that has lasting results by pointing to Jesus.
The moment we put hope in our self, our situations or the people in our lives we are standing on shaky ground. It’s during times of trial and tribulation that we are at our weakest. A Christian counselor will speak truth and life into our lives when we need it the most.
Christian Counseling Asks the Hard Questions
“The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” ~Proverbs 20:5
Christian counseling sessions focus on the tough stuff of our very heart. If you feel a little uncomfortable by tough questions you’re probably growing in grace. This is a good sign you’re being stretched. After all, if you’re seeking therapy, then you’re wanting something to change. Right? Expect to receive the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Christian Counseling Always Uses Scripture
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” ~Hebrews 4:12
In general, mankind has a rough idea what God wants. After all, we’re made in His image and His laws are written on our hearts whether we are Christians or not (Romans 2:14-15). While pointing to Scripture, Christian counseling sheds further light on God’s best for us and His purposes. Christian counseling uses Scripture to point to what the Christian life looks like.
But that’s not all…
Effective Christian counseling use Scripture to help with practical application. How do we forgive when we’ve been hurt? Is it possible to trust again when we’ve been betrayed? How do we trust God when life isn’t turning out the way we hoped? How do we love sincerely in challenging relationships? And the biggest question of all (I’m saving the best for last here), Christian Counseling will go deeper still by diving into why we live the Christian life. Encouragement and hope are offered in the ‘why.’
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” ~Romans 12:1
Christian counseling builds up and strengthens us to live our purpose as it reminds us of the deep love found at the cross. We are reminded of grace – its purpose and its power.
Scripture is absolute truth. Christian counseling relies on God’s Word to guide each life toward truth and not away from it. Christian counseling should never contradict the Word of God.
“All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” ~2nd Timothy 3:16-17
Prayer is Always A Part of Christian Counseling
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” ~Ephesians 6:18
Prayer is dependence on God. He’s in the heart changing business – not the Christian counselor. The counselor can present and teach the truth, but it’s the Holy Spirit that does the transforming work (Philippians 2:12-13).
Christian Counseling Uses Homework
OK, really any therapy should utilize homework. That’s my opinion and I’ll tell you why.
I’ve got 2 reasons… Ready?
First, if everyone in the session (you and the therapist) sees the one hour per week as the power hour, than change will be slow to come.
For example, imagine you want to get into health and fitness. Are you going to see any significant change going to the gym one hour a week? Of course not! It takes commitment to change to see the results you desire. And without any real progress being made, you are more likely to give up. Right?
“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” ~John 13:17
Secondly, without homework, dependence on the counselor is fostered. That is not the desired outcome. Practice outside of the session leads to depending on God and trusting His ways. The counselor is not always with you, but God is always with you.
All right, let’s review…
Seeking Christian counseling is a big step and you wanna be sure you are receiving effective counsel. There are 5 elements that are good indicators of solid Christian counseling.
- Christian counseling should offer hope in Christ.
- Christian counseling asks the hard questions.
- Scripture is utilized in Christian counseling.
- Prayer is a part of every session.
- Homework is assigned to practice applying biblical truth to life and relationships.
A Few Resources to find Christian Counselors Closer to Home
Focus on the Family – each person is a licensed therapist and have passed an application process assuring that their practice and counsel lines up with God’s Word.
Association of Certified Biblical Counselors – These counselors are not licensed therapists, but they are trained to apply biblical truth to our lives and relationships. These counselors tend to be primarily trained to serve in church counseling ministries.
American Association of Christian Counselors – this website provides a directory of licensed therapists who provide Christian counseling.
A little bit about me…
I’m a licensed therapist in the state of California and have received my certificate in Biblical counseling. I have the privilege of helping people apply biblical truth to their life and relationships. As we live our purpose, we experience a more fulfilling life and more meaningful relationships. If you would like to meet with me for a free 15 minute consultation sign up here or to learn more about scheduling a session with me click here.
If you have a great resource for Christian counseling, leave the information in the comments below.
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