Christian counseling is problem solving at its heart
In order for counseling to be effective, some sort of change for the better needs to occur. The change can take many forms. Here are a few you may recognize ...
· Better understanding from discovery
· Reconciliation from change of heart and mind
· Healthier decisions from understanding consequences
· Improved relationships from understanding another person’s perspective
· Healthier outlook from forgiveness or deliberate decision to create boundaries
Maintaining a positive outlook is not about the absence of problems, but rather learning to handle the difficult matters that life brings to us on a daily basis. Christian counseling does not address clinical issues but rather situational issues. We need to be able to effectively manage stress, grief and loss, our feelings and conflict. When life becomes so difficult that it is no longer possible to cope, it may be time for counseling.
The best types of counseling helps clients evaluate options and then decide on the best way to handle a situation. Although there may be many ways to help clients, helping them understand God’s perfect will and plan needs to take priority.
“What do you think?” asked a counseling client after her long explanation about a family issue. It’s easy to fall into the trap of offering your opinion but in the end, your opinion and my opinion really doesn’t matter. And this is as it should be.
A Christian counselor should not become a judge. Rather, we should point to inerrant word of God as our source of opinion.
So I told her, “It doesn’t matter what I think and what you think.” My client looked puzzled. I continued, “The only thing that really matters is what God thinks. Let’s look in His word to see what He says about it.”
Once the client knows what God thinks about a matter, they have a choice to make their decision in agreement with this. Knowing God’s viewpoint is foundational. Next, the client needs to make their own decision about what to do next.
Here is an 8-step procedure to help clients in their decision making process, developed by Corey, Corey and Callahan (2007):
1 – Identify the problem, including its ambiguity.
2 – Outline the various elements and potential issues of the problem.
3 – Review the relevant ethical codes that apply in the matter.
4 – Know the applicable laws and regulations affecting the issue.
5 – Consult with your client and with knowledgeable colleagues.
6 – Consider possible and probably courses of action.
7 – Define the consequences of various courses of action.
8 – Decide on the best course of action for you and your client.
Important keys are for the client to know their desired outcomes (goals), have tools and resources to solve their problems, be able to identify options, finally make a commitment to take actions needed to solve the problem and evaluate their progress and results, making course-corrections if needed.
The PCCCA Counselor training and certification course offers you the training you need to provide professional level counseling services as well as how to manage your counseling practice and more. We have the unique distinction of offering training with optional Board Commission or Ordination available to provide faith oversight for opening your practice and working for fee / remuneration. This is only available here at PCCCA. The course can be taken at your own pace or over 12 months if you wish.
Please post your thoughts, wins and challenges below. And feel free to respond any of the replies with your own thoughts on the topic.
© 2015 Leelo Bush PhD
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