am sooooo glad you posed these questions!You really challenged me to work hard this final week of our course!
have outlined the questions that you raised to the best of my ability in order
to clearly provide the answers that you seek.
I only be working with the Christian population?
I hold Christian-based counseling techniques separately when working with the
are some Christian-based techniques for example?
about Christian counseling’s efficacy?
are the boundaries / integrations in what is considered Christian
me begin with a good definition of Christian counseling.Gary Collins (1993), a pioneer Christian
counselor, defined Christian counseling as counseling that is provided by a
deeply committed, spirit-guided servant of Jesus Christ, who applies their
God-given abilities, skills, training, knowledge, and insights, to the task of
helping others move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence, mental
stability, and spiritual maturity.
practice would not be limited to the Christian population, but would be made
available to clients who would have a full awareness of my Christian
worldview.Just as I would be required
to make my credentials and areas of experience known to potential clients, I
would also make this information available.As a Christian, I know how limited the choices are in Southeast Texas
for good, sound Christian counselors who are grounded in the truth of
to Garzon, Clinton, and Hawkins (2011), Gallop polls consistently find that 90%
of U.S. citizens believe there is a God, 80% try to live according to their
faith, and about 85% self-identify as Christians. These percentages suggest
that the majority of clients coming to therapy will have some sort of spiritual
perspective.However, the statistics for
mental-health professionals are substantially different.Delaney, Miller, and Bosono (2007) found that
only 46% of clinical psychologists identified themselves as Christian, 38%
endorsed other religions, and 16% were agnostic, atheist, or had no religious
people are unaware that there are various types of Christian counselors. Some
are lay or peer counselors who mostly work in the church. Recovery counselors
work largely with addictions. Pastoral or biblical counselors also work largely
in the church. Fourque and Glachen (2000) found that 42% of people seek help
from clergy first for their emotional problems showing they have a desire for
their faith to be addressed when they are in need.
there are professional counselors and clinicians who are state-licensed
professionals across the disciplines of psychology, social work, mental-health
counseling, marriage and family therapy, psychiatry and nursing. I was sorry to
hear about the two incidents that you related, but I would question whether or
not the counselor was a licensed professional in these situations.It sounds like they failed to treat the whole
client and were focused mainly on the spiritual issue.
is my personal philosophy regarding the selection of a counselor.If I needed brain surgery, I would not see a
chiropractor.I could justify that my
D.O. or my dentist is a doctor, but he certainly isn’t qualified to meet my
need for brain surgery. If I am a Christian, and struggling with a spiritual
issue, I would look for a counselor who I can trust to help me find answers
that are based on the truth of God’s word.As a Christian, I believe that God’s word, the Bible is God’s standard
for living. As such, I can find principles in his word to live by and that help
me find solutions to life’s problems.
climate and setting for a Christian counselor should be the same as any other,
characterized by a sense of safety, unconditional positive regard, and respect
for the clients’ value system.The goal
of therapy would not be to impose my values on the client or to get them to
believe what I think is right, but to help them determine if they are living up
to their own values and whether those beliefs are leading to behaviors that
negatively affect their lives or relationships with others.
is an example: If a client presents with symptoms of depression, I am going to
use every tool available in my toolbox to offer help, including referring the client
for a medical check-up and possible medication. I’m going to use the
therapeutic techniques and skills that we are learning in our coursework, as
well as applying scriptural principles, and offering to pray with the client if
they are open to do so.
wide variety of spiritual interventions exist for Christian counselors to use
when appropriate. These could include prayer, devotional meditation, Bible
study, forgiveness therapy, therapist spiritual self-disclosure, confrontation
of sin, values exploration, church involvement, confession, spiritual resources
and media, pastoral consultation, and referrals. The American Association of
Christian Counselors offers resources for additional training which includes
areas such as biblical counseling, addiction and recovery, and stress and
as a hospital or doctor’s office collects information about a person’s ethnic,
cultural, and religious background, my intake interview forms would include
this type of information.If a hospital
knew that a patient was a Jehovah’s Witness, they would know that the person is
likely to refuse a blood transfusion for religious reasons. In the same way, if
a client in counseling indicated that he/she is an atheist, I would know that
it would likely be offensive to offer to pray for that client. This is
demonstrating cultural competence and respectf for my client.
Caring for People God’s Way, Clinton, Hart, and Ohlschlager, (2005) outlined
seven traits that anchor what is done in Christian counseling today. It is
scripturally anchored, meaning that we believe that the Scriptures are the food
and water of spiritual life. It is spiritual forming, meaning the Spirit of God
does the work through the counselor as the helper. It is short term (6 – 10
sessions), solution-focused, and strength-based. It allows clients to tell
their stories, because God reveals himself to us through our life story.
Finally, it is scientific, meaning that it is submitted to the rigors of
research and empirical evidence in the same way as any other counseling
theories or techniques.
in our coursework, we have been exposed to the important role that spirituality
plays in the recovery of clients. A meta-analysis was conducted by Worthington,
Hook, Davis, and McDaniel (2011) on religiously accommodated treatments. The
results showed that when counselors adapted religious treatments, their clients
had reduced psychological symptoms, and the effects are at least as strong as
with secular treatments. Religiously accommodated treatments produced more
positive spiritual changes and the most consistently effective psychotherapies
or couple treatments have been Christian-oriented cognitive and
cognitive-behavioral therapies (which are empirically supported treatments or
ESTs) and forgiveness therapies. Worthington’s REACH forgiveness model as well
as the Christian PREP approach have been proven to be efficacious and have also
been designated ESTs.
final comments would be to express my sincerest disappointment regarding your
own negative experiences with Christianity.You mentioned experiencing a lot of guilt and anxiety as a result of the
beliefs you were taught. If you were my client, I might explain to you that
God’s word says that there are two types of guilt, false guilt, and true guilt.True guilt brings about Godly sorrow and is
intended to lead to repentance or a turning from sin. False guilt condemns and
is shame-based. False guilt occurs when Satan continues to accuse a person of
something for which he / she has already obtained forgiveness.
separates us from God but Jesus came to pay the penalty for our sin so that we
could receive forgiveness and be brought back into a right relationship with
our creator God. When we truly accept His forgiveness we experience freedom to
enjoy the abundant life that God intended for us. Afterward, He continues to
work in our lives to grow and mature us and provide the help and direction we
need for life. That doesn’t mean that we won’t experience difficult
circumstances, because we live in a fallen world, but He provides the strength
we need, and brings helpers in our lives to help us overcome life’s hardships
(and trust me I have had my share). InnocentMy personal experience of faith doesn't cause me to feel anxious or
continually guilty. For me Faith stands for Forsaking All I Trust Him. It means
allowing God in the driver’s seat of my life, trusting Him to get me where he
wants me to go, and just enjoying the journey.
I don't know how it all will come together, but I know without a doubt God
placed this goal and dream on my heart, and I am just taking it one day at a
time and seeing what doors He opens for me.
T., Hart, A., & Ohlschlager,G. (2005) Caring for People God’s Way: Personal
and Emotional Issues, Addictions, Grief, and Trauma. Nashville, TN: Thomas
G.R. (1993). The Biblical Basis of Christian Counseling for People Helpers.
Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress.
H.D., Miller, W.R., & Bisono, A.M. (2007). Religiousity and spirituality
among psychologists: A survey of clinician members of the American
Psychological Association. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice,
P., & Glachen, M. (2000). The impact of Christian counseling on survivors
of sexual abuse. Counseling Psychology Quarterly,13, 201-220.
F., Clinton, T, & Hawkins, R. (2011) Spirituality in Counseling. In The
Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House.
E.L., Jr.,Hook, J.N., Davis, D.E.,
&McDaniel,M. (2011). Religion and
spirituality. Journal of Clinical Psychology: In Session, 67(4), 204-214.