Do you need help with emotions or relationships? Are you wondering if counseling fits with your Christian faith? You want someone who is an expert in psychology and mental health concerns. However, you also want to be sure your therapist values your faith. You’ve prayed hard for things to get better, but you’re still at a loss. You’ve thought about coming to counseling for a long time. Maybe you’ve already talked about this with a pastor or friend, but you’re finding you still need something else.
Christian counseling can be the best of both worlds. You have an objective person who is trained in clinical counseling, yet they understand that God is your ultimate guide and your faith being key to the process of healing.
What is Christian Counseling?
Christian counseling is the offering of therapy and counseling services by licensed professionals whose clinical work fits with the historic Christian message. In our view, this means at least three main things:
First, Christian counselors are fully competent as mental health counselors according to their state. Such counselors have not gone through “watered down” counseling programs. Rather, they have under-girded their clinical experience with biblical, theological, and spiritual knowledge of the Christian life. Christian counselors are passionate about studying counseling and psychology from an academic research perspective. Yet, they are committed to integrating all knowledge with God’s truth as found in Scripture. Ultimately, “all truth is God’s truth,” wherever it is found.
Second, Christian counselors are called to help individuals and families in their emotional life and closest relationships. They believe maturing in these life areas (the emotional and relational) are actually key to maturing in their faith (the spiritual). In our view, these aspects of life should work together. Dealing with emotions and relationships often drive Christian clients to speak about God, his plan, suffering, and the process of keeping faith. When desired by their clients, Christian counselors are equipped to include practices of Christian spirituality that support their emotional goals into the therapy process.
Third, Christian counselors are up-front about their own worldview, even while they never seek to impose their view on others. Here’s the reality though: every counselor has some view of the world. All of us see the world through a lens, including the deeper things of life that cannot be proven or scientifically measured. Wouldn’t you rather work with someone who is up-front about their own view? The difference with Christian counseling is not that we have a worldview, but that we acknowledge our own perspective. This also means we do not force own view upon our clients. In fact, our counselors enjoy working with clients of all backgrounds and faith-perspectives, as we seek to “do good to all people” (Galatians 6:10).
Common barriers to Christian Counseling
There are some common reasons a person may be hesitant about working with a Christian counselor. Let’s address a few of these.
- For some, working with a Christian therapist may appear to be no different than talking to one’s pastor or a close friend in the faith. Therefore, beginning counseling with a Christian clinician would likely never occur, since it might not seem necessary.
- For others though, there could be a fear that Christian counseling will focus too heavily on prescribing spiritual practices only, such as more Bible reading, more prayer time, more fasting, more ministry involvement, etc.
- Some people may view Christian counselors as illegitimate or less competent when compared to other clinical helpers. You might wonder about their training and experience.
- Some fear talking to a Christian counselor due to an assumption that the therapist will simply conclude that the client is not trusting God enough.
Rest assured, we strongly believe all the above-mentioned barriers are inaccurate or incomplete. As Christian counselors, we understand that your emotional, relational, and mental health may be both related to and distinct from your spiritual life. At the end of the day, we want you to feel and function more in step with the way God has designed you.
What you can expect from Christian Counseling
Expect that Christian counselors will use an approach that is grounded in good psychological research. The best ones have a long track record of improving emotional health and functioning. Your particular counseling plan will be determined based on your unique challenges and desired goals. Christian counselors use empirically-supported therapies not only because of the evidence behind them, but because they make sense in light of historic Christian belief and practice.
Clients can also expect that Christian counselors will keep spiritual life in balance. We ultimately remain committed to your overall well-being. We support our clients in developing their spiritual life, since this often positively impacts your emotions and relationships. Such practices that may bring positive results include praying mindfully, reading Scripture, meditation, engaging in honest relationships, and involvement with Christians missions and ministries. Yet, it is each client’s goals and desires that ultimately determine how much we explicitly discuss these matters in our counseling sessions.
Overall, Christian counselors see their work of therapy as complementary to (not a substitute for) other means of spiritual growth. We are not a replacement for the Church. Rather, we see ourselves as operating in support and partnership with it. We encourage our clients to be involved in local congregations, pastoral care and mentoring. Yet, as therapists, our unique role is to keep an expert focus on the psychological, emotional, and relational aspects of your world. In fact, we believe that valuing our spiritual life should make us truly value all aspects of our lives.
Christian Counseling can help
Christian counselors are committed to treatments that have been validated through clinical research, shown to be effective for improving emotional, mental and relational health. While each counselor has unique training and experience, they understand their particular work as “making sense” in light of the overall Christian message.
Examples may include a Christian counselor using Cognitive-Behavioral therapy (CBT) when seeking to deal with anxiety or depression. For those in need of couples & marriage counseling, Christian therapists may be guided by Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT). In addition to these, our team at Wellspring also offers Christian counseling services focused on helping parents and families, as well as children and teens.
Begin Christian Counseling in Greenville, South Carolina
If you need to grow and improve your emotional or relational life, and you believe that your spiritual life is key to the process, our skilled Christian therapists can help. Reach out today and begin Christian counseling at our Greenville, SC counseling clinic.
Other counseling services at Wellspring Counseling
Wellspring Counseling is a counseling clinic in Greenville, SC. We focus on helping children, teenagers and adults live their best lives by striving to be a source for emotional health and improved relationships. Therefore, we offer a wide range of mental health services including not only Christian counseling, but also anxiety treatment, depression treatment, online counseling, trauma therapy, marriage counseling, parent consulting, family counseling and counseling for teens & children.