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Faith and Counseling

I'd like to give a short introduction on what Christian counseling is--to me. I understand that 100 different therapists will do this 100 different ways. As you read this, keep in mind that many of my clients are not practicing Christians and feel no pressure to discuss faith with me. But for those who are interested, here's how I integrate faith with therapy.

As a way for you to feel understood. Many clients come from faith backgrounds, whether or not they currently adhere to them. It's part of the fabric of their upbringings, parental relationships, worldview, and morals. Faith principles might have been helpful or harmful, depending on how they were exercised, and often they are inextricably linked to the issues that clients want to discuss in session. It is difficult to feel truly understood if a person who was raised Christian is working with a therapist who was not.

As a way to treat you holistically--body, soul, and spirit. Christians believe that we are one being, not separatable into disparate parts. While we may focus more on one part more than another at times, I believe that your spiritual state is an essential part of your overall well-being. If you are in tip top shape physically and even mentally, but you feel out of sorts on a spiritual level, something will not sit right and I want to help you address that.

As a way to have congruence with your inner and outer worldview. Biblically, we are created beings made in the image of God. That has several implications into how we function and what will bring us true peace and satisfaction. (For example, we are made to be in relationship and not in isolation because God is a relational God. Therefore, moving toward healthy connection is usually preferred to going toward isolation.) Some forms of therapy will create a version of truth for each individual, but faith-based counseling rests on biblical principles of human worth and functioning.

That being said, what Christian counseling is not is just as important:

Christian counseling is not evangelism. I do not believe that therapy is the place for persuading clients to change their beliefs. It is not a place for one partner to bring the other partner to be converted or told they're wrong. Rather, it's a place to explore and examine the implications of your current beliefs and whether it's working the way you want.

Christian counseling is not pastoral or biblical counseling. For deeper spiritual questions, I will refer you back to your church or pastoral leadership. My position in your life is not to guide you spiritually to any certain conclusion, as there are many different expressions of Christianity and mine may be different to yours. My position is to walk alongside you as a fellow Christian and work with you with a shared understanding of Christian faith.

Christian counseling is not about guilt. As your therapist, I am not here to judge or condemn you. You may have experienced that in other contexts, and I am deeply sorry if that's been your experience. I am here to be curious and nonjudgmental, and I will take your lead into how comfortable you are discussing your faith in the context of your mental health. I'm committed to creating safety for you to explore issues of spirituality with me that is free of condemnation, wherever you stand.


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