Finding the right counselor goes beyond just having someone give you good advice. Friends offer advice to one another on a regular basis. We all find ourselves helping and supporting those we love through hard times. Biblical counseling takes authority of Scripture and helps individuals see how it works and is practical for their situation. Many Christians who are devoted to the Lord still feel stuck. They are doing everything that they know to do but they just cannot seem to move forward. There are steps to take that will break any unhealthy patterns. Therefore, if someone is feeling overwhelmed, sad, or fearful and is depending on alcohol, drugs, porn, or any other coping mechanism, it will not solve the problem. Christian counselors have a unique advantage of being able to approach issues holistically based on three dimensions – body, mind, and spirit. Perhaps some counseling approaches miss the spiritual dimension. A biblical understanding of how we are made, as physical, psychological, and spiritual beings, means all three dimensions play an important part in one’s health, peace, and happiness.
Understanding A Biblical View of People
At the heart of Embracing His Call, is a Biblical view of people. We see “every person is uniquely created in the image of God”, Genesis 1:27. We also understand that we live in a fallen world and that sin has entered humanity, as a result of trials, tribulations, and that sin affects everyone, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. Sin is real and it causes pain and dysfunction everywhere—in our minds, bodies, families, relationships, and environment. The Biblical worldview involves more than just patching together verses here and there but provides a broader and deeper understanding that is both spiritual and practical. It’s a worldview based on God’s unchanging Word, “He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore,” Hebrews 13:8. Since God is the creator of everything in heaven and on earth, He is the standard of truth. “Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6. It is not just treating the symptoms but getting to the root of how the enemy had the legal right to come to steal, kill and destroy. This underlying Biblical View is that Jesus came to destroy the works of the enemy so that all may lead a long, happy abundant life, John 10:10. This truth is the foundation that guides and shapes Christian counseling. The biblical narrative tells us who we are, why we’re here, how we exist in relationship to God, and how to understand and overcome the many hardships we experience in this life.
Building an Intentional, Caring Relationship
A Christian approach to counseling is primarily forming a safe, nonjudgmental environment for clients. Since we were created to live before and with God and each other, we engage in an intentional, trusting relationship that respects where individuals are spiritually and emotionally. Empathic listening is at the heart of facilitating a relationship. We hear our client’s heart with a personal kind of listening and desire to create a compassionate exchange. For example, a couple came in for marriage counseling. After a discussion, it was noted that previous counselor had given coping mechanisms and set marriage goals but had not met the spiritual differences. His spiritual checklist revealed he had been looking to other sources rather than God to meet a need. He had pursued occult games, New Age teaching and other false guidance. His spiritual foundation conflicted with his wife. Her foundation was built on the Word of God. After examining the foundation of both beliefs, they were able to come to a mutual spiritual agreement. Our desire is to help people overcome, recover, discern, forgive, and to walk in victory. Therefore, we use biblical tools so clients may take charge of their personal world and walk in freedom.
Discerning and Respecting the Whole Individual
We hold to an ethical standard; we are all creatively and wonderfully different and made in the image of God. As Christian counselors, we respect individual’s different belief systems; therefore, we listen to hear rather than to respond. It’s our job to encourage individuals to be a researcher of truth and to give direction and hope in their thinking and decision making. Our purpose is to address both the external behavior and the interior heart. For example, a female client sought help for overeating having unsuccessfully tried dozens of weight-loss diets over the years. This to be understood and dealt with by getting to the root of this behavior. If we dealt with simply suggesting behavioral change, dealing with her bad habits and boosting her self-esteem, we just put a band aid on the problem and have not identified the root. We take time to ask open ended questions. Through careful investigation and prayer, a deep issue surfaced, then we could deal with the deeply entrenched rejection and anger.
As Christian Counselors, we share three goals: To guide the counselee in identifying and stating the problem, to provide scriptural insight for dealing with the problem, to help the counselee find answers to challenges through the application of scriptural principles and to promote biblical change that will transform lives. We are so humbled that God would so graciously include us in His Kingdom purpose. Serving people through the teaching of His Word and renewing hope and purpose is truly our joy.