What Kind Of Counselors Are You?

Our Approach to Counseling:

We are pastoral counselors. We are biblical counselors. We are Christian counselors.  The following describes our approach to member care counseling:

The calling of pastoral counselors is to be distinctively Christian, to effectively represent Christ, and to conduct counseling on the highest level with our foundation as the truth of God’s Word. We view all the resources available to us as God-given, and we rely on the Word of God and the Spirit of God to produce genuine, lasting change in us and in our clients. Our desire and our challenge is to provide warmth, encouragement, and insights that help our clients to make their way toward God, finding him to be trustworthy, loving, kind, and able (paraphrased from Hawkins & Clinton, The New Christian Counselor, 2015).

With Masters of Arts degrees in Pastoral Counseling we are non-licensed, trained counselors who seek to come alongside our clients in applying the power and reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with empathy, discernment, and grace in order to usher in healing and empower people to walk in the fullness of Christ.

Why aren’t you licensed? There are two main reasons:

1) Pastoral Counseling is very relational by nature. “The pastoral counseling relationship is more profound than friendship, guidance, or discipleship and is offered with a heart calling from God – making it immediately more intimate” (Sosin & Sosin, 2011).  This paradigm is not consistent with the very appropriate constraints put on the more formal interactions between licensed therapists and their patients.

2) One focus of our ministry is Kingdom Workers who often work in other states or other countries. Licensure in the U.S. is done in a particular state and is not usually flexible in terms of allowing the licensed provider to practice outside the state of licensure.

What do you mean by “We view all the resources available to us as God-given”?

We affirm the position that there may be a need for medical intervention in some behavioral health issues. We know that there are medical reasons behind some behavioral health issues and, when these medical reasons exist, all of the good, sound biblical counseling in the world, by itself, won’t be enough to help someone get well. Having said that, we also affirm that all truth is God’s truth and that the most powerful force on earth is the power of the Gospel.

The truth of the Bible offers a better psychology than what any psychology apart from biblical truth can offer. Although the “true discovered truths” of psychology may greatly supplement our understanding of the human condition, they will never compare to the deeper biblical truth of the real meaning and purpose of our lives as people are truly understood in right relation to God.” Dr. Gary Barnes (source)

If our assessment indicates, we will ask our clients to get a checkup from their primary doctor. If the doctor indicates any possible medical causes, we will work closely with the client’s medical provider to assure that we’ve been thoughtful and thorough with regards to all possible causes. We affirm that appropriate medications are, at times, indicated in moderating biological patterns in the brain that are resulting in detrimental behavior and as a means of giving the client space to work on issues in such a way that real change is possible. In many cases, medicines are needed only in the short-term and we also understand that sometimes long-term medicines are necessary. As pastoral counselors we will seek to collaboratively work with our clients and their medical or clinical provider as we strive to apply the power of the Gospel to every area of their lives and pursue enduring change that honors God.

We do not believe that simple behavioral change is enough to truly achieve healing. Rather, we believe that we must change at a more spiritual level and that those changes will then drive changes in our behavior. As Christian counselors we may utilize traditional cognitive-behavioral interventions with an integration of Scripture and Christian perspectives (Sosin & Sosin, 2011). Our goal will be to “draw near to the throne of grace” (Heb 4:16) together with our clients while seeking to utilize the absolute best from secular methods, where they support and aid God’s work in your life for your betterment and His glory.

Accreditations and Affiliations:

  • American Association of Christian Counselors (http://aacc.net)
  • Christian Health Service Corps (https://www.healthservicecorps.org/)
  • SIPR: Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Recovery
  • SYMBIS (Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts) Assessment Facilitators
  • PREPARE/ENRICH Pre-Marital and Marital Assessment Tools Certified Facilitators
  • MTS – Mending the Soul Group Facilitator (Trauma Support Group)