Christian Counseling vs. Secular Counseling

Nov 01, 2010

How psychology and Christianity come together to provide biblical counseling.

Christian counseling vs. secular counseling. What are the differences and similarities? As a general rule, both Christian counseling and secular counseling share the same desire to help people overcome their problems, find meaning and joy in life, and become healthy and well-adjusted individuals, both mentally and emotionally. Most counselors have graduate degrees and have spent years learning their craft. The word "counseling" can have multiple meanings, including offering advice and encouragement, sharing wisdom and skills, setting goals, resolving conflict, etc. Counselors often probe the past (whether the problem happened a week ago or during childhood) in an attempt to repair the present. Sometimes they explore possible affects of physical and chemical imbalances that can cause physiological problems. A major part of counseling is resolving and restoring conflicts between people.

Christian counseling is distinct from secular counseling in that it specifically incorporates the spiritual dimension, Biblical truths, and a seeking of God’s will in an individual’s life. Christian counselors understand that the Bible has a lot of practical wisdom about human nature, marriage and family, human suffering, and so much more. By using biblical concepts in counseling, they can sometimes provide specific direction and accountability. Psalm 119:24 says, "Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors."

The masters in counseling program at CCU believes that both secular and Christian counseling are valuable. We hold the philosophy that it is not our job to tell students what kind of counselor to be, but to help them develop a unique counselor identity that integrates their gifts, talents, spiritual calling, and personal style. The spiritual formation and integration imbedded in the courses as well as the CACREP requirements for counselor development make this program a truly transformative and growth producing experience. We pray for God to carefully direct the experiences of each student in our program, and to form our students into the persons He has destined them to be.

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