Christian Counseling Versus Secular Counseling
Christian Counseling Versus Secular Counseling
by Adrienne M.
There are many differences between Christian Counselors and Secular Counselors. However there are also a few similarities. All counselors have one thing in common, regardless of their religious beliefs and that is a strong desire to help people.
Both Christian and secular counselors might strive to help the individual overcome their problems, work through a crisis, deal with grief, attain mental/physical health, and become well-adjusted. Christian counselors however will also focus on helping the individual find meaning in their life, they will strive to increase the individuals joy by helping them form a stronger, closer relationship to God. Christian counselors know that the person cannot be fully healed unless they have a strong relationship with Christ.
Christian Counselors focus on the person as a whole, the acknowledgment that people are spiritual beings that sets Christian counselors apart from secular counselors.
Psychological constructs, theories and ideas and most often used by secular counselors to explain an individuals problem as well as the root of their being. Whereas Christian counselors first determine in what areas of the individuals life they are failing to walk with God. Only after understanding this will the Christian counselor integrate some secular counseling techniques in order to improve the individuals Christian walk.
Clients in Christian counseling will almost always encounter the same reasoning behind their problems, this reasoning states that: The individual is failing to comply with the life guidelines as laid out in the bible and/or they are not submitting to Gods will. Until they are able to fix those two things they will continue to struggle daily.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." This scripture provides a code of conduct for Christian counselors. Every aspect of their practice must line up with this scripture, otherwise they are working against God.
If you are a believer of the Bible, if you trust its word, regardless of rather you are catholic, Baptist, Pentecostal, or any other denomination or religion; a Christian counselor can work for you because they use the word as it is written, no exceptions.
The practices of secular counselors are always changing. As new research comes out and new studies are done they have to alter their practice. Their services are just that, practice, you are basically their guinea pig. There intentions are not malicious and certainly many people have found great success in secular counseling, it is important though that you remember there is no specific formula for your treatment it is all trial and error. In contrast, Christian counselors practice based on the bible, which has been around for thousands of years, and has remained, mostly unchanged (excepting the differences in translations).
A counselor who is licensed by the state is told by the state what morals they have and what moral values they are allowed to impose on their patient. Morals are important to most of us; even agnostic and atheist individuals have morals. According to the state a counselor has to report certain moral dilemmas such as murder, suicide, threats etc. Other moral issues such as abortion and divorce the counselor is not allowed to say anything one way or another. According to the state every choice that the individual makes is their own, there are no universal moral guidelines. The completely ignore the fact that immoral decisions lead to a hindered spiritual being.
Studies have shown that prayer works. So far no one scientist can explain why but people that pray are healthier, live longer, overcome more sickness, report being more satisfied with their lives and have fewer mental health issues. Prayers has been found to be so effective that it is often more effective then medicine, counseling/therapy combined. The state ignores the multitude of studies showing the importance of spirituality in counseling. This is because of separation of church and state. The state cannot endorse religious practices by counselors because counselors are licensed by the state and the state is responsible for their actions.
Finding a Christian counselor can be a little bit of a challenge. It is a challenge I highly recommend you take; rather you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one the difference that a Christian counselor can make as opposed to a secular one will last a lifetime.
About the Author:
Divine Intervention Christian Counseling provides free Christian counseling resources and forums. Their simple guide, 10 Steps to Finding a Christian Counselor is very useful. The site is run by Adrienne Mc Ginnis who has earned a B.A in Psychology and is working towards obtaining a license in marriage and family therapy.
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