Counseling is a profession that provides assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties for both individuals and groups, especially by a professional. There are a multitude of theories and models of counseling that exist today. Each theorist has brought to the profession of counseling a belief system that addresses how they view human beings, how they view human problems, and how their model will approach the care and service to hurting individuals. So, what then is Christian counseling and why is it unique?
The Bible is the final standard of authority for the Christian counselor, not the philosophies or theories of man. The Bible teaches us that God is the Creator, and that He created human-kind, male and female. He made them, and stamped His own image on them.
The past is not denied, nor is it used as a reason to lay blame on others. Life experiences are reviewed in a safe atmosphere. Then, those experiences are dealt with in the context that both healing and forgiveness are available and are based in the gracious act of God through Christ Jesus. This can open the way to living a healthier present and a more hopeful future because of the redemption and reconciliation that is available to all.
The relationship of the Christian counselor to the counselee is based on agape love. Agape love is one of four biblical loves, including storge (affection), eros (lust or romantic), phileo (friendship) and agape (a selfless sacred love that desires the best for the other person). A Christian counselor seeks to establish a relationship with the counselee that is grace-based. Recognizing that God has created each person uniquely and with purpose, counselors can assist counselees in finding freedom in Christ and learning how to live abundantly while glorifying God. This agape relationship provides an atmosphere where both love and truth can be expressed in biblical balance.
Finally, the solutions to human problems are to be discovered through the indwelling power of God (the Holy Spirit) partnering with the responsible actions of the person. Therefore, Christian counseling is rooted in God’s wisdom, not man’s wisdom.
If you feel God is prompting you to seek personal counseling or to consider the counseling profession, please contact us. Life In Abundance offers a variety of counseling and coaching services as well as the LIA School of Counseling.
By Cynthia Van Wingerden, PhD