What is Christian counseling? How do I choose the right therapist?
Christian counseling combines the knowledge and understanding of human behavior from reliable scientific research, and the wisdom and insight from the Christian Scriptures. A Christian counselor can help you navigate life’s struggles and challenges when you are having trouble coping on your own. Christian counseling is provided by therapists who are Christian, who affirm and embrace the divinity of Jesus, and the fulfillment of His mission to provide salvation to all who follow Him.
Therapists and clients work together. The right match is important. Much like seeking a traditional therapist a decision should be based on credentials and the abilities of the prospective counselor. Most therapists offer a free consultation over the phone. This will give you an opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for what they will be like in session. Choose a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and at ease. A good rapport and connection with your therapist are an indicator that you have found the right therapist for you.
Does going to counseling mean something is wrong with me?
Many of us come from families in which seeking help outside the home is discouraged. Perhaps one’s culture places a stigma on anyone seeking counseling. The implication is those who seek help from counselors are somehow defective. Receiving help from a counselor does not mean you are defective. It is a sign of health when people know when to reach out to others for help when needed.
If I pray and trust God, why won’t my problems go away?
It is truly wonderful when the crises of life resolve in ways which seem miraculous. We believe in the miraculous. Experience tells us the usual experience of life is one of growth by degrees. Some problems are solvable by prayer, other issues require both prayer and personal growth and progress. Christian counselors bring both prayer and the wisdom acquired from knowledge and experience to bear upon life’s issues. Miracles are blessings. Personal growth and progress are no less a blessing.
Why should I talk about my old hurts or past pain? It was hard enough when I went through it the first time.
Past hurts are usually a factor behind many of our present issues and relationship problems. The goal of Christian counseling is not to immerse ourselves in the past. Rather, we acknowledge the realities of our past, then resolve to modify our present so we can embrace our future with hope. In fact, making progress in the present, helps us leave the past behind and press forward to the promise of newness of life.
Is everything I disclose in counseling confidential?
Most everything discussed in counseling is confidential, however, there are a limited number of situations that therapists are legally required to report:
- Any form of child abuse or neglect.
- Any form of elder abuse or neglect.
- Any serious threat to cause physical harm someone else.
- Steps must be taken to prevent a client from committing suicide.
- If the U.S. Government suspects that a client is a terrorist and demands their clinical file, then the therapist must comply.
All other disclosures and clinical information are completely confidential. The client holds the privilege and must provide written permission for this information to be released by the therapist.
How will therapy help me?
There are numerous benefits available for those who choose to go to therapy. Therapist are able to provide emotional support, proven problem-solving techniques and enhanced coping strategies for several issues such as: addiction, ADHD, anxiety, anger management, behavioral issues, body image issues, child or adolescent issues, codependency, depression, divorce, domestic violence, family conflict, grief, life coaching, men’s issues, parenting, pornography, premarital counseling, relationship issues, self-esteem, spirituality, trauma and PTSD and women’s issues. The benefits you obtain from counseling will depend on how much you actively participate in the process and how much you take what you have learned and bring it into to your everyday life.
Why pay for therapy when I can get help on my own?
If your car breaks down do you fix it yourself or hire a professional? The challenges of life are often easier to face when you have someone with wisdom and experience to talk to. The Christian counselor comes alongside to help you in times of need. Effective Christian counseling combines proven psychological techniques, Biblical insights and compassion with God’s healing power applied to specific needs.
How long do I need to be in therapy?
Therapy is not meant to be a lifetime commitment. How long one stays in therapy depends on several factors: the type of problem or disorder, the characteristics of the problem and personal history, the goals that are desired to be achieved, what’s going on in the person’s life outside therapy and how fast the person is able to make progress.
If a person has a serious mental illness or other significant life changes, they may need ongoing psychotherapy. Regular therapy sessions can provide the support they need to maintain their everyday functioning.
Others continue therapy even after they solve the problems that brought them there initially. They stay in therapy as they are benefiting from experiencing new insights, improved well-being and better functioning in their life.
Will my medical insurance help cover the cost of counseling?
Yes, if you are seeing a licensed therapist, if:
- They are in the network of providers your plan allows you to see, or
- You can see someone out-of-network. Most insurance plans do not provide coverage if you are working with a pastoral counselor, intern or trainee.
If you have never been to counseling, the very thought of doing so may seem overwhelming. I provide clients with a confidential environment where they feel safe to speak and seek the help they need. Please contact me for more information. I look forward to speaking with you.