Note: I provide a wide variety of services to a wide variety of clients. The extent to which faith or spirituality is integrated into your treatment is entirely up to you. I respect your background and your beliefs and will never impose my own onto you. I hold this ethical position strongly.
If your Christian faith is a central part of your life, there are many important reasons to seek out a therapist or counselor who can provide Christian-informed counseling or therapy. Here are just a few:
- Everyone struggles, having someone who honors your faith to help you get through your struggles is important. Christian professional counselors are trained in evidence-based therapeutic methods, as well as Christian theology and living. Studies have shown, the sooner you seek help, the faster the healing is.
- Counseling is a confidential place to confess to another Christian who will not judge, placate or encourage you to keep on living in sin. Whereas your friends may come off as judgmental, excuse your sin, or be more wrapped up in their own life, your Christian counselor can help you, with all the focus on you, speaking the truth in love, without worries about your issues being gossiped about in church.
- When you are struggling with something that you don’t feel comfortable talking to your pastor, church leaders, or Bible Study group, a Christian counselor is a great option!
- When a Christian is wounded by a church, church leader or Christian, healing those wounds outside of that context helps to ensure those wounds don’t interfere with the Christian’s faith and relationship with God. Unhealed wounds from other Christians are one of the most significant reasons a Christian leaves the faith.
- Anger with God can be safely processed, without judgment. Every emotion you could possibly express is possible because God created you to have emotions. Every emotion is also seen in scripture. With a Christian counselor you can process whatever comes up safely.
- Deep issues of shame can be identified and healed to help the Christian live in grace. Shame often has roots in our childhood and early adult experiences, as well as sometimes messages received in church settings. Through counseling, the shame messages can be explored, challenged, redirected and healed through the Holy Spirit working through the process.
- Patterns of sin that are hard to overcome can be worked through using both sound doctrine and evidence based therapy, helping the Christian find freedom. The struggle of doing what one doesn’t want to do (Romans 7) is a really challenging one, often stemming from deeper issues that can be addressed in counseling.
- Christian professional counselors can work with clients whether they are struggling with a temporary life issue, or a longer term clinical mental health diagnosis. Christians are not immune to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other diagnosis. Seeing a mental health professional is a sign of strength and should never be seen as a sign of weakness of faith, any more so than seeing a doctor for treatment of a physical health issue.
- While secular counselors have been known to pathologize fundamentals of Christian living like prayer, Church attendance, listening for God’s voice, waiting for direction from God, etc, Christian counselors will encourage you to utilize your faith practices as strengths and practical coping skills as you work through your issues or illnesses.
- Christian Counselors are firmly grounded in hope, faith, trust, solid theology and prayer. When you are struggling you may be wavering in those things, and that is ok. Your Christian Counselor can hold them firmly for you while you waver, question, struggle, and work through what you need to, without judgment or condemnation.
Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Christian Counselor:
What does Christian Counselor mean to you?
What specific education in Clinical Counseling have you had?
(Note: Depending on your state, some people can be called a counselor without any education or training in the field)
What formal Christian Education or classes on integrating spirituality and counseling have you had?
(Some people are labeled as Christian Counselors due to their own faith and being a counselor. That may be enough for you, but if you are desiring someone with specific training, this question would be important.)
Other questions you may want to ask might be around their own church attendance (especially if you might be uncomfortable with someone at your own church), their denomination, and whether they serve people of all faith backgrounds.