What is Christian Counseling?
Some people of the Christian faith often want to know that the person counseling them comes from a background with good understanding of biblical scriptures and principles. Certainly many people of any given faith may prefer to do therapy with a counselor who has a more intimate understanding of their beliefs and lifestyle. This sometimes allows this type of client and their counselor to go to deeper levels in their communication and formulate treatment plans that are more customized to contain elements of their faith.
It is most important to know that it should never be the purpose or procedure for a Christian counselor to indoctrinate nor judge the client. These counselors are also absolutely not a replacement for pastoral care. Christian counseling is just another element to help a client feel more comfortable in the therapeutic process.
Treatment Approach for Christian Counseling
Christian Counseling can be individual counseling or with couples. Christian counseling is a supplement to traditional counseling in that the therapist identifies what issues you are facing and what goals you have. These problems can be related to depression, anxiety, communication or other issues. They do not have to be a crisis of faith. The therapist then openly discusses biblical principals along with traditional therapies, such as creating strong coping skills. In the first session it is important to discuss with your counselor what goals you have and identify that you would like to involve biblical principals or are open to prayer.
Benefits of Christian Counseling
I. Involvement of Biblical Principals
II. Confidential avenue for discussion
III. Create positive behaviors
IV. Manage emotions
Here are some thoughts our counselors have on both individual and marriage Christian counseling.
Individual Christian Counseling
Written by Cynthia Ince,LPC
Individual Counseling from a Christian perspective will give the client the dignity, respect and unconditional acceptance they deserve. The confidence between a counselor and client are absolutely essential to healing. A strategic plan must be established to guide the client to true inner health. Key Biblical principles, when fully understood, bring transformation to people’s lives. Believing in the goodness of God’s heart will help people find hope to conquer depression and anxiety.
Written by Kathy Gissler, LPC
Everyone goes through struggles in life, even Christians. Some struggles are due to life circumstances that are out of our control, like death, illness, tragedy, or the actions of others. Some struggles are because of mistakes we have made, and some struggles are just part of living. John says, “I have told you these things that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome this world.” John 16:33. I love that He doesn’t leave us with the assurance of trouble, but gives us hope for the future. That’s what Christian counseling is about: looking honestly at our life, and the struggles we go through, and then working toward a better future with our faith intact and Christ at the center.
Sometimes, as believers, we can be afraid of counseling. We wonder if the therapist will say things, or ask us to do things that are not consistent with our faith. When we choose a Christian counselor, I think we get the best of both worlds. We get a certified, licensed counselor with the education to be able to counsel well, along with a solid Christian foundation. When I’m working with Christians, I will often use scripture during our sessions to support positive life change, and will gladly pray with my clients during our time together. If you think that Christian counseling may be for you, I encourage you to reach out and make an appointment.
“…to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6
Christian Marriage Counseling
Written by Kathy Gissler, LPC
To me, Christian marriage counseling supports believers by providing a safe place to talk about challenges that we all face in our marriages. It is founded on Biblical principles, and integrates Scripture into sound marriage counseling principles in the sessions. Sometimes, especially when sin enters into our marriage, we are ashamed to talk about it honestly to other people at church or in our Christian circle of friends. Seeing a Christian counselor provides privacy and safety to talk about these concerns and work through them in a healthy way, knowing that our foundation of faith in God will be supported, as well.
My belief is that when we help Christians to improve their marriages, we can positively impact families for years to come. Improving a marriage is like a ripple on a pond: it impacts the couple, their children, their extended families, their neighbors, and their church. Who knows how far the ripples extend? Christian Marriage Counseling can help good marriages get better, and can help those in crisis to navigate the path back to emotional and spiritual health.
One of my favorite stories is when a pastor’s wife came up to me at a fund-raiser to thank me for working with her daughter and son-in-law. (Of course, I couldn’t confirm or deny that I had seen them.) They had been at a crisis point in their marriage, fighting all the time, and considering divorce. Through a lot of hard work, they improved their communication on a lot of levels, and later went on to share their testimony with their church. Although I couldn’t tell this woman, several other couples from their church came in for counseling after they heard the testimony of what God had done in her daughter’s marriage. 🙂 That’s what I mean by the ripple effect!
Written by Cynthia Ince, LPC
It is important that Christian couples know how to nurture a healthy marriage. Every marriage faces challenges. A couple may be unable to resolve conflict in a healthy way due to an inability to compromise or a breakdown in communication. There may be control issues in the relationship so the needs of both partners are not being met. Infidelity and deceit may be a threat to the survival of the marriage. Some Christian couples may not be able to agree on how to parent their children. Sadly, pornography or other addictions may be eating away at the foundation of the marriage.
A healthy Christian marriage is one of the most valuable investments you will make in your future joy as well as the current and future emotional health of your children. The bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life”. Maintaining a healthy marriage through Christian marriage counseling is an important tool to guard the heart of each individual in the relationship. Using biblical principles gives your marriage the best chance for survival when faced with what seems to be unsolvable obstacles. A healthy marriage lived under God’s leadership has the potential to impact the family for generations to come.
“Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”