Sometimes we need individual counseling which goes beyond what our support groups are designed to offer. The Association of Biblical Counselors suggests asking these questions when choosing a counselor:
- Is God’s Word the source of his or her counsel? Is the Bible seen as being one truth among many other truths, or is it the most reliable place for real help? Find a counselor who is convinced that real truth applied to real problems brings about real change. Lives are changed as the truth of God, as revealed in His Word, is applied to the toughest problems.
- Is the counselor biblically sound? Most counseling errors stem from the fact that the counselor has views of God, change, problems, etc., which are shaped more by culture and pop psychology than by God’s Word. Sound theology should shape the counselor’s psychology rather than the other way around.
- Is the counselor committed to growth and change, or is he or she more interested in endless discussions about the problem? Many counselors are good at “diagnosing” but don’t have answers for change. What results is “Diagnostic Damnation.” Seek out a counselor who is more concerned with God-honoring change than with labels.
- Will the counselor lead me to answers found in God’s Word, or tell me the answers are within me? Most of the 250 commonly used approaches to counseling assume “… the answers are found within.” Find a counselor who understands that the Bible teaches that we need outside counsel from God and His revealed truth. The counselor should point people to real answers, not more self-focus.
- Is the counselor well trained? Find a counseling center where the counselors are well trained in biblical counseling. The center should provide in-house training in addition to the degrees the counselors have already received. Please check out the ABC network to help locate a biblical counseling center in your area.
- Will the counselor honor my marriage? Much marriage counseling today is really divorce counseling. Counselors split couples up to work on “individual issues” with the end result being the couple growing further apart. Ask the counselor if he or she takes seriously the commandment to “not separate what God has joined together.” Couples should be counseled together and work toward real changes that will grow the worst marriages into marriages that sing.
- Will the counselor honor my authority as a parent? Some counselors meet alone with children, and do not include parents in the process. Find out if the counselor will counsel kids with their parent as well, because we believe it to be the best way to implement real change. Biblical counseling equips parents to lead their children.
Information from The Association of Biblical Counselors. More information can be found here.