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Is Christian Counseling Only For Christians?

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Counseling can help people suffering from a range of afflictions such as depression, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, anxiety, grief, marital issues, and even children issues. This clinical form of therapy aims at recovery and rooting out the problem. Traditional counseling is often seen as a more scientific form of counseling with certified psychologists. This is completely true in that psychology is a form of science. However, it doesn’t mean that non-traditional counseling does not have this scientific approach as well.

Christian counseling, is another form of counseling, with obvious roots in Christianity. While traditional psychological counseling and Christian counseling have their differences, they also share clinical aspects. Christian counselors often share the same psychological certifications as traditional counselors. They are no less professional and qualified to help than their secular counterparts.

What is Christian Counseling?

One of the most important things to do is to define Christian counseling and what it is. Defined, it is a pastoral counseling that draws upon Christianity and psychology.

Christian counseling, is a special form of counseling where practitioners approach psychology through the lens of Christianity. Christian counselors deal with the same array of issues that a normal counseling service would. The main difference is that faith and healing of the soul are main pillars of the recovery process. A patient with a Christian counseling service would not only be treated by professional therapists but they would also encounter a recovery program that aligns itself with Christianity.

Christian counseling began at the end of the 1960s. It stemmed from the Biblical Counseling Movement led by Jay E. Adams. His belief was that it was the responsibility of the church to heal morally corrupt people that society labeled as mentally ill. His approach to treatment was much different from the psychological and psychiatric treatments of that era. Prior to Adams’ influence, counseling was more secular and disassociated with religion.

David Powlison continued the Christian counseling movement in the 1980’s by publishing the journal, “Journal of Biblical Counseling”. This journal carried much influence and Christian counselors began improving upon their counseling techniques.

Is Christian Counseling For Everyone?

The short answer to is Christian counseling right for everyone is “no”. While the counseling and guidance can truly benefit anyone, those with firm religious beliefs may take offense or may not get the same effect from the Christian lessons given.

Even though the main focus is on counseling and recovery, it can be distracting for someone with distinctly different beliefs to be guiding you using their beliefs. For example, a recovering addict may be devout in the Jewish faith. In this particular case, it may be hard for the Jewish practitioner to be a patient of a Christian counselor, simply because the counselor would be using a different religious background to heal the patient.

Similarly, an atheist that is firm in their mindset also may find the Christian guidance to be distracting.

So is Christian Counseling only for Christians?

While this might seem contradictory to the above response, the answer again is “no”. Christian counseling is not only for Christians. The overall goal of Christian counseling is to provide professional counseling along with a deeper level of healing on a spiritual level.

Christian counselors generally will not turn away patients that seek their help. This is regardless of faith, belief in God, gender, or any other discriminating factor. While a Christian counseling option may be an easy choice for someone of the Christian faith, it also should not be immediately discounted by those who do not share Christian faith.

In fact, it should be one of the top considerations for anyone seeking counseling. There are many different types of counseling. The final choice needs to be made by the patient or the people taking care of the patient. The best counseling service to choose is the one that provides the patient with the best chance to recover. If it happens to be a Christian counseling service, then go with that option.

In the end, Christian counseling is not only for Christians but for those with an open mind and who want to recover from afflictions they have. Keeping an open mind will allow a patient to receive clinical therapy and healing of the soul through Christian counseling.

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Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

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Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

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