|Does Christian Counseling really offer something different? Yes, and the difference is significant.
Talk reveals a person's philosophy of the world; how things work, right and wrong, what is valuable, etc. This is especially so when difficulties arise. The way a person talks about a problem will reveal something about their philosophy of life, or their worldview. This is just as true in casual conversation as it is in professional “talk therapy.” As a counselor talks with the client about presenting problems his/her own philosophical perspective is revealed. As a matter of fact, the field of counseling has its roots in philosophy. The thinking behind the talking of a counselor is always based on the counselor’s “worldview.” This is why it is so necessary to seek a “like-minded” counselor.
Christian Counseling combines modern methods of counseling with Scriptural principles, using Biblical Truths as the reference point for integration. In this model of therapy neither the Scriptures, nor modern counseling technique is ignored, instead, the counselor seeks the best possible means to address the issues with which clients struggle, and since God has invited his people to ask for wisdom, the counselor maintains a prayerful attitude, seeking God's guidance as the counseling moves forward.
Let’s compare this perspective on counseling with the "medical model." Pharmacology, for example, most likely does not change when medicine is prescribed by Christian doctor. Or a broken bone does not set differently if you do not share your doctors’ world view. Similarly, state of the art cancer treatments do not change because of the doctor’s religious perspective. There are always ethical issues in medical treatment, and considerations as to type of treatment could vary depending on worldview, some examples would be invitro fertilization, or end of life issues. So ethics do make a difference in medicine, but in counseling worldview always makes a difference. This is because the goal of the “talk therapy” is to change the way you think, act, interact, and even change what you believe.
So if you’re physically sick, go to a good doctor. If physical illness, disesae, or injury is the problem then the competence of the physician rather than world view may be a more important factor in choosing who to see. On the other hand, if the issue is a matter of counseling (talk therapy), then competence and worldview are equally important in choosing who to see.
For a Christian seeking a therapist there is a very important consideration. In the Scriptures it is clear that God is very concerned about "thinking," and refers to the importance of “renewing the mind." (Rom 12:2) Likewise, a counselor often attempts to “renew the mind” in therapy through the appropriate use of techniques and interventions. So, again, it is critical that when one submits to counseling it is with a counselor who is a “like-minded.” Remember that your mind is very often the subject of the change process in counseling. As the Scriptures say, “. . . for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)
This is not to say that only Christians should see a Christian Counselor should see only Christians. It is all about making an "informed choice." Much has been said in the counseling field about respecting differences in terms such as being Culturally sensitive, or even Culturally competent. For further discussion on these topics see my articles on "Christians Only," or the topic Culturally Competent counseling (to be posted soon).
Renew The Mind
Come into the Light