Counseling is a process that is focused on helping you find healing from different issues in life and find meaning and true happiness in life. There are different counseling techniques and approaches. This article reviews Christian counseling, particularly its difference from Biblical counseling and what you can expect as a Christian couple from this type of counseling.
What Should A Christian Expect In Marriage Counseling?
You are a couple who seeks marriage counseling and have come to a conclusion that you would like a Christian counselor because it is different for every couple and involves psychotherapy based on Christian beliefs and values and Bible scriptures and teachings. But, you do not know what to expect from their advice. Here are some realistic expectations from this type of counseling, and here is what to expect:
1. Expect to be challenged to be honest
Truth can be found in God, so every Christian counselor will put you on a test to see whether you are honest about your behavior, choices, motivations, and perceptions in your marriage, and this is the basis for change. God created the marriage, and he is the one that can comfort and heal human relationships.
According to many studies, having a healthy marriage is one of the most important factors for children’s emotional health.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” -John 8:32
2. Expect to learn more about your partner
Learning more about your partner results in a greater connection in marriage. Bible encourages people who are married to get to know each other and be interested in one another and focus on our values and strengths, not on our weaknesses.
“Judge not, or you too will be judged” -(Mathew 7:1)
3. Expect teachings drawn from the Bible
Christian counseling claims that Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, and it is rooted in the Bible because marriage is the first relationship between humans described in the Bible, and all apostles, along with Jesus, puts marriage and family in the first place.
“A healthy marriage blesses children” (Proverbs 17:6b).
Unconditional love for your child influences its health, happiness, and school success.
What Is The Difference Between Biblical Counseling And Christian Counseling?
Although Christian and Biblical counseling seem to be similar, and it can be rather confusing to know the difference between the two, they are different counseling approaches and there are areas in which they disagree.
What they have in common is that they are conservative, they are both brothers in sisters in Christ, and they agree on all important theological realities in Christianity. Both counseling approaches offer help for people who are in pain and need counseling and affirm the practice of psychology, which can be very helpful as well. But, they agree that modern psychiatry can get things wrong and are trying to place teaching of the Bible over psychology. Their main inspirations are the Scriptures and the Virgin birth of Christ. Both approaches confirm that all problems Christian couples can have are problems that need a different type of treatment, such as medical treatment to treat physical disorders and do not need counseling.
5 Areas Where Biblical And Christian Counselors Disagree
They differ in the emphasis on the authority of the Scriptures and their understanding of the Bible.
Bible counseling uses Bible as the only authoritative source to help people with their life’s problems, while Christian counselors use psychology and experience besides Bible to counsel people on their problems and find solutions.
They use different methods, and biblical counselors use the direct approach that confronts people with their sins, while Christian counselors use an indirect approach more often and try to understand the person’s story and build a relationship.
Another thing on which both approaches disagree is the faith in God, and the biblical counselor has God as a primary factor in the work he does, while the Christian counselor doesn’t rely only on God but also on the person who is willing to change.
Christian counselor believes that it comes from faith in God or a lifestyle change, while Biblical counselor believes that changes come from a change in lifestyle. (1)
Is Christian Counseling Effective?
According to one study conducted in the late 1990s, Christian counseling has shown to be effective and called on additional research and creating a journal as an outlet for scholarship and research in applied issues. (2)
But, a study from 2015 asked Christian couples to rate their expectations from 16 therapeutic interventions, 8 secular and 8 spiritual ones. The study revealed that Christian clients expected the counselors to be competent as secular counselors are using some secular interventions, although they prefer spiritual interventions.
Pastors devote themselves immensely to family counseling, but it might be better for the couples to consult a trained mental health practitioner in some situations, especially when there are some undiagnosed mental health concerns and harmful behavior, to make accurate diagnoses because they have adequate qualifications.
Some researchers suggested a combined therapy of clergy and marriage and family therapists because marriage therapists are not religiously trained. They need to collaborate more effectively and understand how religion is important in the lives of Christian couples. (3)
However, having a combined therapy, though, may sometimes have the opposite effect. You will receive different advice from different approaches to the same subject matter, which can cause confusion and increased frustration, and in such cases, it is better to remain consistent with just one approach.
Every couple is unique and needs different therapy, but in general, the best approach would be marriage counseling with the help of the clergy. (4)
How Much Does It Cost And How Can You Find A Cristian Marriage Counselor Near You?
The price of marriage counseling varies, but the average cost is around $100, but the rates can be as high as $250 and as low as $75. This depends on the length of the session, the qualifications the therapist has, the location, and the type of therapy (in-person or online therapy). To find the best online Christian counseling near you, you can research online and try to increase your psychological and spiritual wholeness. You can ask questions adequate for Christian marriage counseling about your life goals like growing your family, mutual expectations, your spiritual life, and resolving conflicts mutually.