I have found that Christian Counseling may sometimes be entirely different than Biblical Counseling.
There are those who profess to be Christian, practice strict psychology, and do not regard the Bible as part of their counseling practice.
There are those who profess to be Christian, do not practice strict psychology, and do regard the Bible as part or all of their counseling work.
There are also those who profess to be Christian and insist on being called Biblical Counselors and not Christian counselors.
To be clear, my understanding is that Biblical Counselors rely upon the Bible as its final authority in regard to the conditions of mankind.
Different Forms of “Christian” Counseling
There are psychologists and mental health workers who are Christians, however, the “tools of the trade” they use are pure psychology and not biblical in nature.
There are Integrationists. These are Christian counselors who mingle the Bible with psychology. It is impossible to accurately describe to what degree these counselors mix and adapt their philosophies.
I don’t intend a thorough description of the various forms of counseling. My intention is to state where I fall within the differing views of Christian & Biblical Counseling.
What Biblical Counseling Means to Me
Biblical counseling does not mean I simply open and close a counseling session with a brief prayer while delivering pure psychological practice between.
I will work with a person from the perspective of Scripture. Ultimately, regardless of what is said and observed in a counseling session, I will “filter” all of it through what the Bible says. When we arrive at a “remedy” to a person’s issue(s), that remedy will be in accordance with Scripture.
Biblical counseling also means I may observe in a person their:
- Sleep Patterns
- Eating Habits
- Physical Health
- Thought Life
- Body Language
- Worldview & Beliefs
- Childhood Experiences
- Adult Experiences
- Church Experience
- Christian Experience
- Biblical Knowledge
- Biblical Beliefs
- Personality Type
- Family History
- General History
If I think it is applicable, I may also suggest the person consult their health provider regarding nutrition, sleep, exercise, etc.
That said, I will most definitely demonstrate from Scripture what I believe to be of spiritual need within that person.
I will attempt to show: what we believe determines how we think, act & speak—and our beliefs can ultimately affect every area of our life.
Thus, I try to show in the most simple terms, if this—then that.
Finally, if needed, I will make suggestions or a “prescription” to remedy a faulty or immature faith. Alas, Biblical counsel.
Because someone is titled a Christian Counselor, that does not necessarily mean what they practice is Biblical Counseling.
- There are Christians who are counselors and what they perform in their counseling practice is psychology, psychotherapy or any other form of mental health care. They do not use the Bible as their primary “tool” or reference work.
- There are Christians who are counselors and what they perform in their counseling practice is Bible-based care. They use the Bible as their primary “tool” and reference work. The Bible is considered the final authority on the condition of man and Biblical counselors will use it for their “analysis,” “diagnosis” and “prescriptions.” Also, a Biblical counselor’s mix of spiritual gifts often makes them uniquely suited for counseling. Spiritual gifts that are particularly beneficial for Biblical counselors can be wisdom, discernment, exhortation, knowledge & teaching.
- Finally, there are Christian counselors who are called: Integrationists. They employ a mixture of psychology along with their use of the Bible. It is impossible to determine all the variations of psychological & Biblical combinations an Integrationist may perform.
I am a Christian who practices Biblical counseling and Healing Prayer. I also believe that God created man as body, soul & mind. Thus, it is important to consider the entire person. What we eat, our sleep habits, whether or not we exercise, our thought life, our home, work & environment are just some of the variables that can affect a person. I believe a wise Biblical counselor will consider all those factors, and especially have a strong knowledge of Scripture & appropriate spiritual gifts.