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The Value of Christian Counselling
Counselling can be a wonderful experience; finally unburdening yourself of things that have been troubling you for years. It can also be a painful, but necessary, medicine. It is often hard coming to terms with both our own weaknesses and problems, and also the pain that we really feel, and what has caused it. It is essential that you trust your counsellor, so make sure you are allowed at least one meeting with them before you decide to commit to a series of sessions. You need to feel that your counsellor is listening to you and understanding what you say.
If you are not a Christian, then you may feel more comfortable with a non-Christian counsellor. However, if you are in the midst of finding out more about God and being a Christian, and you are comfortable with Christian ideas in general, then you might find it really helpful and perhaps reassuring to be counselled by a Christian. You can always try this and see and be open and honest with your counsellor so that they know about any worries that you have.
Christian Counselling is essentially about having a formal setting to share your problems with someone who has been trained to be both sympathetic and analytic in their approach to dealing with personal problems. This approach is a Christian one, that is that Christian beliefs about human suffering and its causes - for example the role of sin in causing suffering, and the need for the presence of forgiveness in people in order for them to be spiritually (and also emotionally) free, is taken fully into account.
People who have been properly trained can be very good at spotting the underlying causes behind different problems, seeing things that we cannot - as we are embedded in the problem and so restricted in our view. You yourself will probably know if counselling would be beneficial for you. You can always try one or two meetings with a counsellor, and then decide if you need more. You may be depressed or you may be experiencing loneliness, and counselling could be beneficial. Combined with other methods, such as prayer for inner healing for example, Christian counselling can be very effective for bringing release from personal burdens.
The Cost Of Counselling
A few words about the cost element of counselling. I must admit that it often makes me feel slightly uncomfortable that you normally have to pay for counselling. I do realise that counsellors have to pay for their training and need a means to support themselves financially. However, it may be useful if I expand my point. The counsellor-counselee relationship is a type of friendship. In strict terms, this perhaps should not be the case, as the relationship is a professional one. In practice, however, some sort of emotional bond is often formed between the two parties. It can feel awkward having to make a financial sacrifice - being charged, in order to offload burdens to someone who is acting as if a long-standing friend. Such a sentiment of emotional confusion could potentially work to disrupt the counselling process.
What I am referring to with regard to cost is particularly the case, I feel, with Christian counselling. As we involve God centrally in the healing and restoration process, and He provides His love and help to us totally freely and without condition, paying a counsellor - who is acting as a facilitating third party to the process, can seem contradictory, and confuse us. However, we must accept that we live in a world of money, and that God can use money - and is in control of it. If we think like this, our confusion can be remedied. In short, it is obviously perfectly reasonable for counsellors to charge for their service (although within reason!), and a great amount of benefit can be gained from such trained professionals.
Non-professional Church-based counselling
If you cannot afford counselling, and you know someone - a friend or someone in your Church, who can counsel you on a non-professional basis, this could be a very good alternative to having to pay. Some people are very good listeners, and have good experience to draw on. However, it is so important that they really listen to you, and do not impose reflections of their past experiences upon your unique situation. Trust obviously needs to be present. Also, the gender of the counsellor and the counselee needs to be the same. The reason for this is to avoid any possible sexual attraction distracting or endangering the process. One exception to this rule might be if the counselee is facing the issue of homosexuality, and being counselled by a member of the same sex would tempt them. Less formal counselling, which is Church-based, can be particularly good because it may be a little easier or natural to involve prayer in the process, and also prayer for inner healing if this is appropriate.
Christian Counselling; God and theory without Conflict
As Christians, God is at the centre of our lives. Christian counselling takes this fact and brings analytic skills into a process that helps people understand the source of their problems. Ultimately, these problems will either be founded on people’s own sin, or founded on sin or misfortune that has happened to them. However, it is easy to oversimplify things; and so is highlighted a strength of counselling. Counselling at its best can recognise the different, and sometimes complex factors that go towards making a person how they are: their emotional, spiritual and mental states.
Christian Links and Contacts
www.aacc.net - American Association of Christian Counselors 17,000 mental health professional, lay counselors and religious leaders, seeking to honor Christ and encourage excellence in counseling worldwide.
www.christians-in-recovery.org/links/Links/Christian/Counselors_and_Supp ort - counselling links.
www.wholeperson-counseling.org - Whole Person Counseling, illustrated articles on depression, addictions, ADD, anxieties, personality disorders, moral failures, abuses, generational curses, spiritual bondages, social conflicts, emotional hurts, links.
CWR (Crusade for World Revival) - www.cwr.org.uk, information on courses and other resources.
Association of Christian Counsellors (UK) Head office: 29 Momus Boulevard, Coventry. CV2 5NA. Telephone:
0845 124 9569, Email: Office@acc-uk.org Web: www.acc-uk.org Will be able to put you in touch with a Christian Counsellor in your area.
Full and Part-time Counselling Courses (UK); (also straight theology) course details and contacts - www.londonbiblecollege.ac.uk.
Counselling Contacts (Not specifically Christian)
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