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5 things to look for from your counselor

I got the following from Michael Hindes:   2 Questions As a pastor, I referred a number of people to christian counseling.  Yet I have criteria for counselors that also must be vetted. I ask: Is the counselor independent or under authority themselves (not just to the sta…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I got the following from Michael Hindes:
2 Questions
As a pastor, I referred a number of people to christian counseling.  Yet
I have criteria for counselors that also must be vetted. I
Is the counselor independent or under authority themselves (not just to the state licensing board)?
And, can the counselor walk people through deliverance?
The counselor contract
Before entering into counseling, the person being counseled should agree on at least these five things with a counselor:

1. The overall goal of counseling should be new levels of freedom, independence, and healthier coping mechanisms.


2.There needs to be an agreement on the expected outcome.

3.There needs to be a regular evaluation to check progress.

4. The progress needs to be measurable.

5. There needs to be a maximum number of appointments agreed upon at the outset (@ our church, pastoral counseling done by staff had max 3-5 visits and then referred out. We expected the counselor we referred to see the client no more than 8-10 times then an evaluation, then an additional 8-10 times if deemed necessary for a maximum total of 20 visits).  If the counselor can’t make progress, they need to refer up as well – not all counselors are equal.

Clients often become codependent upon the counselor, and vice-versa.

Patients need to be very cautious with antidepressants.
Having said all this, bear in mind the conclusion of research I read a while ago: a listening friend is just as effective, if not more, than a professional – “rejoice with those that rejoice, mourn with those that mourn” “comfort each other with the comfort you’ve received”.

Comments (6)

  • I am struggling with a few things from the blog….as someone working in the mental health field I know there are many non Christian counselors that are amazing at the work they do and might specialize in something that is just what a person needs. I also know as someone that went thru a situation in my life a couple of years ago that flipped my world upside down I went to a non Christian counselor for a few sessions…. I was then able to move on to a point where almost to the date a year later I was in a place where I was able to do thru some inner healing to heal thru deeps gashes in my heart and life. I don’t think there was anything wrong with me going to a non Christian counselor nor not going thru the inner healing and counseling at the same time. God timing was perfect and as a result I a different person then two years ago. Also about the meds….. not just children but anyone has a higher risk of self harm after a few weeks on an anti depression med b/c they feel better ….better enough to make a plan or to follow thru with a plan….that is only for a small window of time when they are just feeling better enough but not really at the peak of the benefit of the med. This is why most doctors require a 4-6 week follow up after going on an anti depression med and close monitoring my friends and family are needed and required. By all means I am not saying that we need to give everyone meds however for some people that choice is one of life or death or on a milder form a happier person long term or someone who is so depressed that they might do who knows what. About the role of a friend…yes an amazing resource and studies prove that about how someone heals and copes as a result of their natural supports however the natural supports along with the professional that knows how to deal with whatever the issue might be the perfect combo. Just a few thoughts 🙂

  • I appreciate your perspective that Christian Counseling is a valuable asset for people who need help negotiating the twists and turns, ups and downs of life, but I have to say, I am with Butch on this one…

    There were a couple of things that jumped out at me as I read that I found myself shaking my head in disagreement over. While I think to move on when progress has halted is legitimate, I think setting a prescribed number of visits isn’t always the solution. Life happens, and sometimes crisis intervene, derailing the original work of deep healing. I know this from personal experience. I have a trusted, valued and healthy relationship with my Christian Counselor who is in independent practice, a criteria I agree with; beholden to no higher person; just God. But I dare say we will still be working through some deep hurts beyond sixteen total visits.

    I also think there are times when meds are life giving and life saving. And while not minimizing the role of friends who can love, support and walk alongside through, they are not substitutes for professional help. I am thankful for my praying friends who contribute immensely to my healing and life journey, but I also credit the professional guidance I receive from my counselor. I have never been prescribed anti depressants for depression, I am on one as migraine prophylaxis, and appreciate the mood stabilizing affect it has especially through some very rocky times.

    Just my two cents 🙂

  • Let me back up and say (b/c I don’t think I was clear the first time) but I don’t have a problem with Christian counselors as a whole. I do very much have a problem with the ones (and sadly over the years I have heard these stories too much) that tell people that they are depressed or whatever b/c there must be a hidden sin in their life or b/c they were not good enough etc etc. That is just not true. About the meds ….. I think when looking at depression/anxiety etc we have to remember too that it is a chemical imbalance just like my diabetes is ….which I take a med for every day. Just a thought.

  • Life is complicated and more of us need it than realize it. The deeper I go into people’s lives, the more dysfunction I see.

  • I just came across this today and remembered my own experience
    with so called Christian counsellors, she asked all the wrong questions and I got the impression she wanted to make some effort and then write me off. Plus she kept cancelling appointments regularly. When I stopped seeing her for a while I decided I needed someone so reluctantly I went back and got the oh wow Jesus has done some work in you etc, rather than discern what other stuff needed to be delt with, and I did have alot of stongholds as a result of verbal abuse, by my own mother, and now I thank God she was a bad counsellor other wise I would not of known how powerful the holy spirit is in healing and restoring, and working in my life he is! How I became dependant solely on him for this!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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