How is Christian counseling different than secular counseling?

Christian counselors are ambassadors of God’s wisdom. The difference between Christian counseling and secular counseling is that Christian counseling is aligned and consistent with scriptures. Secular counseling, on the other hand, applies the discipline of psychology void of theology; and God’s existence.

What is the nature of counseling? At the root, it’s a two-sided conversation between two parties, one seeking help, and the other party has the answers, solutions, and overall support. Counseling requires a worldview, and when that worldview is grounded in the Christian faith, then the solutions provided will contain spiritual guidance.

Christian therapists seek to help people through the authority of Jesus Christ. The question then becomes, is psychology or other forms of therapy disciplines applied to Christian counseling methods? The answer to that is yes. As Christians, we understand that not every mental health issue is not, in fact, spiritually related. Christians do not discount that there are truths about clinical conditions that need specific attention and resources because life problems include the physical realm as well.

It’s important to understand that counseling is theological because worldviews always have a theological undertone, whether you believe in God or not. Christian advice is contingent upon establishing a relationship with God and remaining anchored through our struggles to He, who holds the ultimate solutions. 1 Timothy 1:8-11 Apostle Paul is speaking about sound doctrine; he talks about practical realities. Functional areas of life that are anchored in the word of God.

The bible provides us with tools for our living toolkit. And the purpose of Christian counseling is to have someone help you use those tools according to your circumstances, mental and emotional needs. Biblical counselors honor different aspects of the practice of medicine but also seeks to honor Jesus with the counsel that’s provided to others.

Does God reveal himself to secular people to help them with their psychological struggles? The answer is no because secular counseling does not seek to be aligned with theology.

A great example of this the following:

Let’s say that a woman named Jessica is a patient to a secular counselor, who is seeking for help on depression and self-defeating thoughts. Let’s say that the secular counselor asks questions to get more information on the emotional symptoms that Jessica is experiencing. She then offers a practical emotions management tool. A tool such as journaling which will then help monitor thoughts that may provide insight on patterns to identify if there are triggers to the negative thoughts and depression.

A Christian counselor may suggest this exercise, but it differs in that they will suggest prayer and or any other theological related disciplines. Why? Because of what the bible advises about negative thoughts.

Take all thoughts captive to God. 2 Corinthians 10:5, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

Upon the manifestation of harmful thoughts or thoughts that are against who God is, it’s essential to be aware of your thought process. You must express all negative feelings onto God in prayer so that they are demolished (spiritually) and then transformed to positive.

By taking your thoughts captive to Jesus Christ, those thoughts are expected to submit under the authority of Jesus. Once they’re under submission to the Lord, your thoughts begin to shift and become aligned to God’s will. When we think about Theology we think about scripture in its entirety.

Transform your thoughts. Romans 12:2 (NIV), “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will in—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

When theology and counseling unite, it’s a powerhouse toward your mental health. We must understand the impact of the word of God and its relevance to our current culture. Culture continues to evolve, and as it grows, we need to be able to teach basic Christian principles in practical ways. Christian counseling not only seeks to help solve current issues but also acts as a bridge connecting us all to the truth of Jesus. Jesus is the healer of our mind, body, soul and spirit; healing that is complete and whole.

At the core of Christian counseling it sands to help us work on your struggles while remaining co-dependent in God. All the while secular counseling encourages you to believe that you are self-sufficient, a view that works against biblical scriptures.

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Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated.  Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers as well as certified and licensed Christian counselors.  We are able to help you experience freedom from shame, anxiety, depression, or marriage / relationship conflict with methods that are purely Christ-centered.  Please click on this link to learn much more about how our CHRISTIAN COUNSELING an help you become a more authentic follower of Christ, and help you find freedom from identity dependence.

Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime.  Our non-profit counseling practice has an outstanding track record for over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxiety, depression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives.  Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at drdave@lifetrainingcounseling.org