In thinking about how best to articulate a clear response to this commonly searched question I discovered this great explanation from Colorado Christian University:
“Nov 02, 2020
By Dr. Trent Langhofer
Life, at times, can be overwhelming. Often, during overwhelming seasons, individuals and families seek counseling. While counseling certainly offers the opportunity for healing, choosing a specific variety of counseling, or a specific type of counselor, can be a difficult task. In the following post, we want to answer the question: “What is Christian Counseling? From there, we can explore how it might be just the right fit for you.
What is Christian Counseling?
Christian Counseling has been called different things over the last few decades. To summarize, it will be helpful if we imagine a continuum. On one end of the continuum imagine the word “Christian.” On the other end of the continuum, imagine the word “Counseling.” Over the past few decades Christian counseling has been described as something that exists at some point on the continuum. Towards the Christian end of the continuum, counseling has been described as involving Christian rituals and traditions such as: prayer, scripture reading, and the like, in the counseling process. Towards the counseling end of the continuum, counseling involves little to no Christian rituals and traditions.
I would like to suggest that authentic Christian Counseling is perhaps something different from anything located on the continuum. Let me explain.
- It’s not the counselor that is essential. What is essential is who that counselor is connected to or who that counselor brings into the room with them. Christian counselors are connected with Jesus and bring the same spirit that resurrected Christ from the dead into the room with them. This is the first and most essential ingredient of Christian counseling.
- Christian Counseling should help heal the pain that stands between clients and Jesus. This may be the more counseling side of Christian counseling. This is also the component of Christian Counseling that would involve evidence based methods used by counselors to treat the emotional and relational pain that clients feel.
- Christian Counseling shouldn’t feel to the client like anything extraordinary or unique. While the psychoanalysts Wilhelm Wundt or Sigmund Freud are often called the fathers of modern psychology, I suggest that Jesus is actually modern counseling’s originator. Jesus listened to people, attended to their fears, offered individuals and families in distress counsel and comfort, and promoted the safety of children. This is what Christian Counselors are doing with clients today.
- Christian counseling demands that counselors direct clients away from certain unhealthy behavior. Conversely, Christian counselors should direct clients towards healthy behavior. This direction should happen after clients have been shown grace, mercy, and care. Direction should happen gently and when appropriate given the needs and goals of the client.”
Christian Counseling is essentially the merging of two worlds.
I am a follower of Jesus. I am also a licensed clinical psychotherapist.
I graduated from Colorado State University in 2007 with a Masters Degree in clinical Social Work. My education and clinical experience had a concentration on learning various modalities for understanding human pain, methods for guiding clients to better understanding of themselves and ultimately seeing a difference in everyday life.
My clinical training concentrated on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, essentially our beliefs fuel our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
As a follower of Jesus, my faith and experiences with Jesus have helped me to better understand human pain and ways it can be treated and healed. In a therapeutic setting I have a duty to separate my clinical approach and my faith unless otherwise specified by my clients.
Only when someone has indicated that they would like Christianity to be a part of their counseling do the two merge.
I don’t suggest it. I don’t impose it. I don’t mention it unless a client specifically requests it.
In my educational and practicum training for initial meetings one the very first questions we ask is if a person has a religious or faith background and if they would like it to be a part of their counseling. When a person does not want faith or religion as a part of their counseling I honor that and we utilize the more traditional clinical methods, which are very effective.
If you are interested in exploring counseling further, we would be happy to see you at Emery Counseling. We have a wide variety of therapists who can meet your needs.