Choosing a Christian Counselor

 
counselor-lucy
Written by “Holly,”  “In my search for a counselor, I visited a secular psychologist, read books written by extremist biblical counselors, and had tearful talks with my own general practitioner. I wish I had known then what TYPES of Christian counselors were out there and how on earth I could find help I could trust and afford.”

Why Educate Yourself about Christian Counseling?

Perhaps you do not suffer from depression, have a great marriage, kids seem to be doing okay, everything is fine. Why should you look into various types of Christian counsel?

1) Think of a Christian counselor as an invaluable resource, much like the family lawyer, pediatrician, or accountant. When problems arise, wouldn’t it be nice to already have the information you need regarding local counseling services?

2) It’s always a good idea to have information at hand so that you can guide distraught friends and family members to a trusted counselor who can offer biblical guidance and support.

If you are a believing Christian, I MUST recommend seeking a Christian counselor.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”

Ephesians 2:19

There can be a problem with secular counsel.

Many secular counselors will take your faith into consideration when treating you. However, as citizens of heaven, seeking counsel from a non-Christian is much like seeking counsel from someone who doesn’t speak your language…and he or she does not speak yours. Progress and inroads could be made, but in the long run, little will be accomplished.

There’s seldom wisdom and truth apart from godly counsel:

“The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong.”

Psalm 37:30

Please try to find a Christian who is a professional counselor. There are a number of directories on the internet. Each individual counselor is different from the next, however, and you will need to interview any counselor before you decide to use his or her services.

If possible, find a specialist.

You may wish to choose a counselor who specializes in a specific area. There a number of issues for which people seek counsel, including:

  • Abuse
  • Addiction
  • Anger Management
  • Anxiety
  • Coping with Stress
  • Depression
  • Divorce
  • Eating disorders
  • Emotional trauma
  • Financial difficulties
  • Grief
  • Loss
  • Major life changes
  • Marital issues
  • Mental illness
  • Pain management
  • Parenting issues
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Pre-marital counseling
  • Relationship conflict
  • Religious doubt/ confusion
  • Sexual/ intimacy difficulties

The first thing to consider when choosing a Christian counselor is whether or not they are capable or qualified to handle the particular issue you seek counsel for. A marriage counselor may not be the best person to go to if your thirteen-year-old daughter is battling anorexia. This seems like a given; however, be sure your counselor has experience handling your specific issue.

Decide whether or not you would feel more comfortable seeing a man or a woman for your particular problem.

Seek a Licensed Professional

Also, if you seek counsel outside of your church, make sure your counselor is a licensed professional. I suggest finding a professional who holds a minimum of a master’s degree in their field of study, who have completed the required number of supervised hours, and who has passed your state’s examination to become a licensed counselor.

Remember that most counselors employed by churches are professional counselors, but some are not. A church counselor should be qualified through their educational experience, and have some sort of license or certification that enables them to counsel (generally they have a Christian counseling certification awarded from various Christian counseling training programs or colleges.)

Interview Your Prospective Counselor BEFORE Your First Session

Going into a counseling session before you know where your counselor is coming– I should never, ever exercise my personal freedom if that action infringes on the liberty of others. That can be dangerous, especially when you are in a vulnerable emotional position unable to clearly think or discern the counsel you receive.

Before your first session, make the counselor shares your faith and concerns about the issue at hand. If possible, bring a trusted companion along to get their opinion about the practice you are considering.

Some questions to ask your potential counselor are:

  • What is your Christian counseling approach?
  • Do they adhere strictly to biblical counseling or do they consider psychological approaches as well?
  • Will they work with your psychiatrist and or doctor?
  • What license or certification do you have? Is it from an accredited college? A Christian college? A training program?
  • Are you affiliated with any particular Christian counseling organization?
  • How do you integrate the Bible into your counseling sessions?
  • How do you incorporate prayer into your counseling practice?
  • Do you have experience counseling people with (insert the issue for which you seek counsel)?
  • What is your payment structure?
  • Will my insurance cover my sessions with you?
  • What is your view on psychoanalysis, medication treatments for psychological ailments, and other scientific approaches to mental illness?

If you have an opportunity to interview your potential counselor in his or her office, take a good look at the books on the bookshelves. The types of books displayed might give you an excellent indication of the types of counsel you will receive.

Before you make your final decision, pray on it, consult your Bible, and if possible, talk to your trusted general practitioner before seeking therapy.

Recap:

Educate yourself about the various types of Christian Counselors. When finding a Christian counselor, remember to find a licensed, experienced CHRISTIAN professional capable of addressing your specific issue. Interview your prospective counselor before attending your first session. Go prepared with a series of questions that will help you gain knowledge about the kind of counsel you will be receiving. Prayerfully consider whether or not you and the counselor are a good fit.

—————————————-

(Bryan— I unearthed this from somewhere. Thought it might help someone. I apologize for not being to attribute the article.)

 

A Hand of Kindness

His hand of kindness

I’ve no need to be reminded
Of all my failures and my sins
For I can write my own indictment
Of who I am and who I’ve been
I know that grace, by definition,
Is something I can never earn
But for all the things that I may have missed
There’s a lesson I believe that I have learned

There’s a hand of kindness
Holding me, holding me
There’s a hand of kindness
Holding me, holding onto me

–Bob Bennett, HAND OF KINDNESS
1996 Bright Avenue Songs (ASCAP)

It’s hard to forget the evil you’ve done–and forgiveness, well, dream on! I saw a video once of a parade of flagellants walking in unison, lashing themselves with whips, to somehow find peace, and some sort of atonement for their sins. I watched them, and suddenly the realization came–I was doing what they were doing, only not as public or visible.

Psychiatrists tell us that 90% of mental disorders are caused by guilt; I believe that they’re probably a little conservative. I’ve been in some sort of ministry for 40 years now–I’ve pretty much heard it all. I ask myself and wonder, who can help the stumbling, broken, and captive hearts of men?

We’ll do anything to escape the guilt of our sin.

I’ve seen therapists and psychiatrists–been confined to mental hospitals for endless weeks, put on meds, and survived suicide watches. I’ve cut my wrists and had my stomach pumped–twice I think. It’s very difficult to explain grace and forgiveness to someone who has laid in his own urine and feces for hours in a drunken stupor. I’m profoundly blessed that God has forgiven and forgotten, (Micah 7:19).

Sometimes an animal who’s been caught in a steel trap will actually chew their leg off to escape. Sometimes a man will destroy himself in order to find forgiveness. Now I admit that our guilt isn’t always front and center, and seldom is it obvious–we’ve suppressed it, medicated it, and ignored it for so long, that it’s hidden and secret–even to us.

But it’s still there.

If the cross of Jesus hasn’t been applied–it’s still there, hidden and dormant. You can’t continue to paint over it, expecting to cover it with enough layers of denial. The booze and the drugs, the money and the red Ferrari, the quest for some measure of success just won’t cut it. There a 1000 ways to bury it, but your past will cripple your present, and destroy your future.

You must find forgiveness for what you’ve done, or not done!

The cross and blood are not optional. Jesus’ death and resurrection isn’t just a historical event. It’s himself–God’s lamb, offered up to forgive your sin–and your greatest evil. Those dark sins that you’ve hidden, that’s been buried so deep that even you’ve forgotten, sometimes it bursts out like a spiritual volcano, the pressure sort of builds up and then erupts. Suddenly it’s all real again–and it’s so brutal.

There’s a hand of kindness that’s reaching out to you at these moments.

You need to turn and believe him. No matter who you are, or how twisted and black your sin you think your sin is–maybe you’ve broken every commandment–a hundred times. I tell you, your sin has already been forgiven, your dark guilt lifted off your back. He has forgiven you. You are completely free.

Jesus died for you.

This isn’t a silly cliche. It’s not just a cute saying. All your guilt has been removed. You must believe this, it’s not an option any longer. You must know that his bloody death (he’s your sacrificial lamb) has God’s approval and removes your awful sin. His hand reaches out to you. But you must believe this. We must renounce our sin, give it up, and walk away from it. We must receive God’s gift of salvation.

If you don’t do this, you’ll die in your sins, and no one wants to see that.

If you want to think about this further, I strongly suggest you consider this–“God’s Forgiveness.”





24/7 Hotlines

Our List of Hotlines and 1-800 Phone Numbers and Websites

This list comes from brokenbelievers.com and is often updated (we’re trying anyway.) We are not responsible for the validity of this info. These numbers, hotlines or texts may or may not work. We’re constantly adjusting/adding to this resource. As far as we know, this is U.S. only for phone numbers. Additionally many of these have regular office hours, and some are not staffed at night. Also use this resource with caution.

This list isn’t complete yet.  If you have a contact that isn’t here, please email me that information.  I’m Bryan Lowe at commentsbb@yahoo.com or brokenbelievers.com.

Mostly, these are organizations and ministries that are there when life gets challenging.  Use these phone numbers wisely, and I would encourage you to pray for those who are counseling you.  Also, I am not able to check each number.  These numbers are to be used with some precaution as a result. They may change without notice. This list was updated 3/18/21.

In general, these hotlines have three things in common:

1) they are available to call 24/7 in the USA
2) they are 100% confidential
3) they are free

Here’s a list of hotlines that may help you whatever situation you find yourself in.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, or are in danger, or are feeling suicidal, call 911 immediately.

Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433

Main Helpline- 1-888-NEEDHIM, or 1-800-394-4673

Crisis Text: 741-741

Chat 24/7 at http://www.thehopeline.com

General and Suicidal Numbers

  • 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or TTY 1-800-799-4TTY (4889)
  • Spanish, Red Nacional de Prevencion del Suicidio 1-888-628-9454
  • Veterans Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1
  • Suicide Hotline Listings by State http://www.suicidehotlines.com
  • Veterans Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255

More General Numbers

  • General needs 24/7: 1-888-NEEDHIM
  • NAMI Hotline, 1-800-950-6264
  • Suicide Hotline, 1-800-273-8255
  • DGCC Prayer Line, 708-512-7011, (can Skype also)
  • Prayer and General Counseling www.prayerandhope.org, 1-866-599-2264
  • New Life Clinics 1-800-NEW-LIFE
  • National Prayer Line 1-800-4-PRAYER
  • Bethany Lifeline Pregnancy Hotline 1-800-BETHANY
  • Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336
  • The 700 Club Hotline 1-800-759-0700
  • Want to know Jesus? 1-888-NEED-HIM
  • Biblical help for youth in crisis 1-800-HIT-HOME
  • Rapha National Network 1-800-383-HOPE
  • Emerge Ministries 330-867-5603
  • Meier Clinics 1-888-7-CLINIC or 1-888-725-4642
  • Pine Rest 1-800-678-5500
  • Timberline Knolls 1-877-257-9611

Abortion Help & Counseling

Abuse of Any Kind

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
  • Stop it Now! 1-888-PREVENT
  • United States Elder Abuse Hotline 1-866-363-4276
  • National Child Abuse Hotline 1-800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453)
  • Child Abuse Hotline / Dept of Social Services 1-800-342-3720
  • Child Abuse National Hotline 1-800-25ABUSE
  • Children in immediate danger 1-800-THE-LOST
  • Exploitation of Children 1-800-843-5678
  • Missing Children Help Center, Thursday’s Child, 1-800-USA-KIDS
  • http://www.ThursdaysChild.org

Helpline – Provides referrals to local facilities where adolescents and adults can seek help. Brief intervention only, 1-800-821-4357

Drug & Alcohol

  • Alcohol Treatment Referral Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-252-6465
  • Families Anonymous 1-800-736-9805
  • Cocaine Hotline (24 hours) 1-800-262-2463
  • Cocaine National Hotline 1-800-COCAINE
  • Drug Abuse National Helpline 1-800-662-4357
  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics 1-888-554-2627
  • Ecstasy Addiction 1-800-468-6933
  • Alcoholics for Christ 1-800-441-7877

Battered Women

  • Friends of Battered Women or Children, 1-800-603-HELP
  • Domestic Abuse, 1-800-799-7233

Bullying

Cancer

  • American Cancer Society 1-800-227-2345
  • National Cancer Institute 1-800-422-6237
  • Cancer Information Service: 800-422-6237
  • http://www.cancer.org

Caregivers

  • Elder Care Locator 1-800-677-1116
  • Well Spouse Foundation 1-800-838-0879

Child Abuse

  • Child Abuse National Hotline, call 1-800-252-2873, 1-800-25ABUSE
  • Child Abuse: To report call 1-800-4-A-CHILD
  • Children in immediate risk or danger 1-800-THE-LOST
  • CyberTipline for reporting the exploitation of children, 1-800-843-5678
  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline Call 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
  • National Safe Place  Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)
  • Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-422-4453
  • Center for Missing or Exploited Children, 1-800-843-5678

Crisis Numbers for Teens (Under 18)

  • Girls and Boys town 1-800-448-3000
  • Hearing Impaired 1-800-448-1833
  • Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663
  • Teen Hope Line 1-800-394-HOPE

Crisis Numbers for Help (Any age)

  • United Way Crisis Helpline 1-800-233-HELP
  • Covenant House Hotline: 800-999-9999
  • Christian Oriented Hotline 1-877-949-HELP
  • Social Security Administration 1-800-772-1213

Crisis Pregnancy Helpline

  • Crisis Pregnancy Hotline Number 1-800-67-BABY-6
  • Liberty Godparent Ministry 1-800-368-3336

Cult Information

Cutting

  • SAFE (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) 1-800-DONT-CUT, 1-800-366-8288

Depression 

  • National Suicide Prevention Helpline 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK)
  • National Hopeline Network 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE) http://www.hopeline.com/
  • The Trevor Project , 866-488-7386 (24/7) Live Chat  with the Trevor Project (Fridays 4pm- 5pm EST)

Domestic Violence

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline Spanish 1-800-942-6908
  • Battered Women and their Children 1-800=603-HELP
  • Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966
  • RAINN 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

Eating Disorders

  • Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention 1-800-931-2237
  • Eating Disorders Center 1-888-236-1188
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 1-847-831-3438
  • Remuda Ranch 1-800-445-1900
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Eating Disorders
    630-577-1330, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, Monday to Friday, http://www.anad.org

Elder Abuse

  • Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-252-8966

Family Violence

  • Family Violence Prevention Center 1-800-313-1310

Gambling

  • Compulsive Gambling Hotline 410-332-0402

General Issues and Problems

  • CBN, 700 Club,  Call our 700 Club Prayer Center, or http://www.CBN.com , 1-800-823-6053

Homeless/Shelters

  • Homeless 1-800-231-6946
  • American Family Housing 1-888-600-4357

Homosexual/Lesbian

  • Helpline: 1-800-398-GAYS
  • Gay and Lesbian National Hotline 1-888-843-4564
  • Trevor Hotline (Suicide) 1-866-4-U-TREVOR

Online Issues

Cyber Crime Response Agency has a 24 hour call center for reporting online crime and online predators. 1-888-798-2272.

Parents

  • Hotline for parents considering abducting their children 1-800-A-WAY-OUT
  • United States Missing Children Hotline 1-800-235-3535

Poison

  • Emergency: 911
  • Poison Control 1-800-942-5969
  • Poison Control: 1-800-222-1222

Porn Addiction

Pregnant & Scared?

Runaways

  • Boystown National Hotline 1-800-448-3000
  • Laurel House 1-714-832-0207
  • National Runaway Switchboard 1-800-621-4000
  • Teenline 1-888-747-TEEN
  • Youth Crisis Hotline 1-800-448-4663
  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
  • National Safe Place  Text SAFE and your current location to the number 69866 (24/7)
  • National Runaway Switchboard Call 1-800-786-2929, (24/7) Live Chat  with the Veterans Crisis Line (24/7)

Salvation

Self-Injury, “Cutting”

  • S.A.F.E. (Self Abuse Finally Ends) 1-800-DONT-CUT

Sexual Abuse

Sexual Addiction & Porn

  • Focus on the Family 1-800-A-FAMILY

Suicide, 9-1-1

  • Emergency, dial 9-1-1
  • Suicide Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • 1-800-723-TALK (8255)
  • Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-827-7571
  • Deaf Hotline 1-800-799-4TTY
  • NineLine 1-800-999-9999
  • Holy Spirit Teenline  1-800-722-5385
  • Crisis Intervention 1- 888- 596-4447
  • Crisis Intervention 1-800-673-2496
  • Suicide Prevention hotline 1-800-273-825
  • Feel like someone is thinking about suicide, 1-800-273-8255
  • Check out, Heartcrossers: http://www.heartcrossers.org

The American Counseling Association recommends:

“Five Ways to Help with Coping AFTER a Crisis Situation.”

  1. Recognize your own feelings about the situation and talk to others about your fears. Know that these feelings are a normal response to an abnormal situation.
  2. Be willing to listen to family and friends who have been affected and encourage them to seek counseling if necessary.
  3. Be patient with people; fuses are short when dealing with a crisis and others may be feeling as much stress as you.
  4. Recognize normal crises reactions, such as sleep disturbances and nightmares, withdrawal, reverting to childhood behaviors and trouble focusing on work or school.
  5. Take time with your children, spouse, life partner, friends and co-workers to do something you enjoy.

Your Brother in Jesus,

Bryan

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

(Philippians 1:6, NLT)

This resource is found at brokenbelievers.com and is subject to change at any given moment. You may email us at commentsbb@yahoo.com.

The Blessings of a Long Battle, part 2

brutal-boxing

 “Do not fear the conflict, and do not flee from it; where there is no struggle, there is no virtue.”   John of Kronstadt

Part 1 of this post highlighted how God can bring good out of a long struggle with a sin, weakness, and/or problem by helping the Christian make the transition from putting their faith in formulas (e.g., “Do these three things and your problem will go away”) to a restful trust in Christ. Again, no sane Christian advocates habitual sin but the benefits of a protracted battle are numerous:

(1)  After a long battle, in making the transition from formulas to faith in God, a new brokenness develops in the believer. They’ve come to the end of themselves, run out of “self–effort fuel”, and are beginning to learn what Christ meant when he said, “…apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

(2) During a long battle with sin or weakness, there is a pattern of falling down and getting up. Proverbs 24:16 says that a righteous man falls seven times but keeps rising again. In this process many Christians report that a new intimacy has emerged in their relationship to God. They’ve come to know the God of mercy and compassion as never before because they’ve been repeatedly forgiven after their many stumbles.

(3) “He who is forgiven much loves much.” Along with a new intimacy, a greater love for God can also develop, after a long battle, because we’ve been forgiven over and over.

(4) And since God has extended his tender mercies to us over and over, we then can extend his mercy and compassion to others who have a protracted struggle with some issue. If our heart is right, a long battle can inoculate us from self–righteousness and judgmentalism in relation to others who fall over and over. How can we not extend to them the same grace that God extended to us?

In extending this grace to others, we may become a wounded healer to them. The healing we received from Christ during our struggle is graciously passed on those often struggling with similar issues. Healing emerges from your wounds just as resurrection emerges from death.

(5) After a war, the soldier of Christ often emerges battle–tested and wise to the schemes of the enemy. If a person has been pulled down into the dust 27 different ways by the devil, then, if he or she is paying attention, they’ve learned 27 strategies the enemy of our soul uses to try to destroy us.

In Twelve Step programs, one often hears the acronym H.A.L.T. mentioned in discussing relapse back into addiction. These four letters stand for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired and emphasize how these conditions create fertile soil for relapse.

If you frame the issue a different way, these are four strategies the devil uses to bring us back into bondage. How was this acronym learned? By people relapsing over and over when these conditions were present. Recovering people became wise through their failures in their long battle with addiction.

*

Jonathan

posted from http://www.openheavensblog.com/

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