The following quote was taken from the first Chapter of the Counseling Theories Textbook we use at Criswell College:

“Counseling is indeed an ambiguous enterprise. It is done by persons who can’t agree on what to call themselves, what credentials are necessary to practice or even what the best way is to practice – whether to deal with feelings, thoughts, or behaviors; whether to be primarily supportive or confrontational; whether to focus on the past or the present. Further, the consumers of counseling services can’t exactly articulate what their concerns are, what counseling can and can’t do for them, or what they want when it’s over.” (Kottler & Brown, 1996.)

The ambiguity described above takes on a new twist when you try to define what is meant by “Christian Counseling.” So many people desire “Christian Counseling” but the task of coalescing thousands of individual perceptions on the subject is like trying to mix oil and water with a candy spoon.

Do Christian counselors pray with every client? Must they open the Bible and quote from it during every session? Should they be evangelistic, calvinistic, optimistic, pessimistic, directive, nondirective, listen to confession, share personal testimonies, be apart of the same denomination as their clients? What mix of faith, psychology, and biology should they espouse in their approach to counseling? What would your answers be?

If I were to even attempt to define Christian Counseling in one sentence it would go something like this:

“A professional interaction between two or more individuals by which a trained expert in human behavior espousing the core doctrines of the Christian faith attempts to guide a willing client/clients toward an accurate understanding of themselves in relation to God and others with the goal of strengthen all three relationships: relation to God, self and others.”

Questions: If you were looking for a Christian Counselor, what kinds of qualities would you seek out? How would you define Christian Counseling in a few sentences?

photo courtesy of www.nycounseling.org

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