What Is The Difference Between Christian and Secular Counselors?

Christian and Secular Counselor DifferencesPeople of faith considering counseling careers may ask the question, “What is the difference between Christian and secular counselors?” The answer depends upon what type of counseling you are considering. There are no state laws governing who may call himself a counselor. The career decision is whether to become a credentialed counselor with credibility in the professional arena.

What is Christian Counseling?

Christian counselors differ from regular counselors because they view life problems through a scriptural perspective. The Pastoral Counseling Center, states that many of these people are pastors who operate under the umbrella of a legally organized church. Some Christian ministers who counsel have limited educations and others may have a degree that has a counseling component, but it is not a major concentration. Still, there are excellent Christian counselors and Christian colleges and universities offer degrees in Christian counseling that stress psychology and knowledge of biology and human sciences. People who earn degrees from these institutions are eligible to sit for licensing examinations, providing they have attained the required degrees. Licensed psychologists usually hold doctorates, while licensed counselors may hold master’s degrees.

Why Do Degreed Professionals Choose to Become Christian Counselors?

State- licensed counselors must abide by secular standards that require them to abstain from promoting religion unless the subject is introduced by the client. Counselors licensed by the state must maintain political correctness. State regulations restrict the use of Biblical guidelines. State-licensed counselors may not pray for, or with, counselees unless the person requests it.

Are Christian Counselors Regulated?

Again, anyone may call himself a counselor. No state requires licensure to practice “advice-giving.” That being said, counselors who maintain professional standards seek licensure of some type for credibility. There is a licensing board for Christian counselors called the National Christian Counseling Association. This organization provides training opportunities, assesses proficiency and offers credentialing to approved counselors. It is also possible to hold credentials through the state and through a Christian board, if the counselor can balance his beliefs with state regulations. Most individuals who seek Christian counseling introduce the religious aspect and so free the counselor to use that perspective. Both Christian and secular licensing boards require that an applicant for licensure have an appropriate educational level. Many Christian schools now offer excellent graduate programs in professional Christian counseling. These degree paths are designed to allow graduates to sit for state licensing examinations, though these standards may vary from state to state.

Related Resource: Become a Social Worker

There are people with limited education and experience who call themselves counselors in both the secular arena and in Christian counseling. Individuals wanting to pursue careers as Christian counselors must decide if they want to become licensed professionals. The investment in time and in financial resources is significant, but so is the credibility that credentialing gives. Both Christian and secular professionals must meet certain requirements to become licensed. The belief that the Bible offers relevant solutions to life problems is the main thing that makes a Christian counselor different from a secular counselor.