A Christian counselor is a licensed individual who helps church members and their non-religious family and friends. Almost all states require that Christian counselors have similar credentials to licensed therapists. This is usually a master’s degree in psychology, counseling or therapy. However, some churches may employ unlicensed individuals without degrees who are just loving and wise ministry staff who excel at helping others. Anyone who wants to read more should visit the websites of the National Christian Counselors Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Christian counselors should love the people they serve and help them persevere through challenging times. Their positive outlook, counseling accomplishments and confidence in God should empower them to help people through struggles and suffering. Christian counselors should believe that the word of God is sufficient to help people with most issues. However, they should be very adamant about obeying the law, promoting safety and seeking professional help when necessary. For example, they should not push victims of domestic violence to stay in abusive relationships because of the sanctity of marriage. They should also affirm that they are mandatory reporters of abuse or neglect to children, the elderly and the disabled. Most Christian counselors should exemplify how to establish and maintain a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
What Do They Recommend?
Christian counselors do not simply quote the Bible and impose their theological interpretation onto their clients. Instead, they always encourage people to pray and ask God for wisdom. When they do this, they aren’t ignoring or outsourcing problems. Instead, they are helping people discover a personal relationship with God while taking proactive responsibility for their actions. Christian counselors may ask that their clients seek help from the church. This could be through meeting with the pastor, joining a weekly support group or simply participating in religious events. Those who do not belong to the church will naturally be encouraged to visit or join the congregation, but they will also be advised to seek the counsel of any mature, Bible-believing Christian. In some cases, the best counsel may be found through the help of a licensed therapist, social worker or community leader.
Good Questions to Ask a Prospective Counselor
There are specific questions that you can ask a counselor to gain a clearer picture of what they believe, how they conduct the counseling sessions and if they are an appropriate fit. These questions can be asked during the initial phone consultation before the first appointment. If you are undecided, write down their answers and commit to following up with them later if you will seek their help. You can then seek the help of a church pastor, elder or experience Christian friend who can provide direction. Always ask counselors how they try to approach and understand people’s problems. Ask them for examples of how they helped past clients personally grow and change through counseling. Ask them about which books, training and other resources they usually recommend. Don’t be afraid to ask them about how their educational and professional background qualifies them to counsel others.
A Christian counselor will have a firm faith in God and a working knowledge of the scriptures. Christian counselors are committed to empowering people with the spiritual tools needed to solve problems, mend relationships and be successful in life.
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