What Does a Christian Counselor Do?

Christian CounselingWhat a Christian counselor does depends on their specific religious organization and their branch of Christianity. However, all Christian counselors rely on religious principles and techniques to assist their clients with their personal problem. Below explains the details and duties of working as a Christian counselor.

What is Christian Counseling?

Christian counseling blends elements of psychology and Christian theology to offer clients Biblically based therapy. Christian counseling is based religious principles, but integrates concepts from psychotherapy, therapeutic counseling and other academic fields.

What are the Basic Principles of Christian Counseling?

There are shared basic principles of Christian counseling. For example, the foundation of Christian counseling is the Bible. Many Christian counselors also use the writings of the early church fathers and contemporary Christian counseling experts. Christian counselors believe that God has the ability to heal and change through the power of love and the Holy Spirit. The ultimate goal of Christian counselors is to help their clients reestablish and reaffirm their relationship with God, themselves and their social circle. In fact, these are the Three Dimensions of Healing. Christian counselors strive to help the client overcome spiritual, mental, social and behavioral problems within the framework of these three dimensions. As part of this, Christian counselors use the principles of redemption, forgiveness and transformation.

How is Christian Counseling Similar to Mainstream Counseling?

Most Christian counselors believe in the BEST principle, which stands for Biblically-based, Empirically-Supported Treatments. As a result, what a Christian counselor does is based on Cognitive-Behavior Therapy (CBT) as their theoretical basis. CBT is one of the most popular and effective forms of psychotherapy. The goal of CBT is to help the client solve their problems through changing negative or destructive thought patterns. As a result, the client will be better able to control and manage their behaviors. CBT has strong scientific roots and is based on solid empirical research. CBT uses goals, assignments and measurements to help their clients. Similarly, Christian CBT also focuses on isolating and replacing negative thought patterns with scriptural based truths. However, Christian CBT goes a step beyond just changing the mind and focuses on changing the heart and soul of the client through spiritual transformation.

How is Christian Counseling Different from Mainstream Counseling?

Psychotherapy and mainstream counseling is based on scientific principles and empirical research. Mental health problems are addressed based on the unique perspective of the psychology branch. For example, the psychoanalytic approach focuses on the subconscious. The behavioral psychology approaches understands human behavior as mere conditioned reactions to the environment and external stimuli. Overall, psychotherapeutic counselors will use peer reviewed and industry approved guidelines and methodologies.

How are Christian Counselors Certified?

Christian counselors are either certified through their church or the State. Christian counselors who have religious certification must adhere to the rules and regulations of their accrediting religious body. State certified counselors must follow the local state’s education, examination and licensure requirements. The American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) is the leading certification organization for Christian counselors. There are other certifying bodies, such as the American Association of Christian Therapists (AACT), National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) and International Christian Counselors Alliance (ICCA). Psychotherapy counselors generally have a Master’s degree, 3,000 years of experience and certification through the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

Related Resource: Developmental Psychologist

To recap, Christian counselors help their clients deal with problems through religious principles and modern counseling techniques. While what a Christian counselor does depends on their specific job and religious organization, all Christian counselors take a caring, holistic approach to helping others.