How Is Christian Counselling Different To General Counselling?

Counselling in general, has the aim of facilitating change and healing in a person’s inner life and relational spaces.  Generally the focus in counselling includes facilitating problem solving, life adjustments, skills acquisition and problem solving for clients. Counselling is a discipline that seeks to foster a sense of emotional wholeness and empowerment in clients and will often involve the deeper and more intense work of restructuring of the personality, inner healing and promote relational healing and reconciliation where possible.

Just how this counselling process is facilitated by the professional will rely heavily on that professional’s worldview. Although all professional counsellors are bound by a code of ethics that includes total respect for the client’s worldview, one cannot deny that each professional is a person first and will usually have their worldview guiding their deeper principles and values in their work and sometimes even giving them a bias as they work. It is the therapist’s responsibility to monitor these biases to ensure that they do not intrude harmfully or disrespectfully into the therapeutic relationship.

General counselling most often springboards from a secular humanistic worldview, which in short is a philosophy of life that views man as the ultimate source of truth and the supreme being of the universe. It is a religion that exalts moral values as relative, changing and dependent on what feels right for the individual. (if it feels good then it is good)

Christian counselling however, places God and His Word as the supreme power of the universe and the ultimate source of all truth. As a Christian counsellor, I am committed to allowing my professional work as a counsellor and family therapist to be informed and guided by my personal faith in Christ Jesus. Christ guides all of my interactions and choice of interventions with clients; whether they have a Christian faith or not. My aim is to honour Christ in all that I do.

Regardless of my clients’ worldview, I am able to work respectfully with each client while still honouring God as He is a God who freely gifted and honours His gift of free will to His creation. A Christian counsellor is able to work with clients of varied worldviews, but a secular counsellor is not able to work deeply with a client of Christian faith. They most certainly can facilitate a client respectfully in achieving their goals, but they do not know the living Word of Christ, God’s principles and laws, His character or His beloved Holy Spirit.

Christian counselling services acknowledge all these levels of Christ’s being to bring deep change and growth in clients who have a Christian faith. This change is at a soul (mind, will and emotions)  level and is predominately Spirit-led and Spirit empowered.

Christian marriage counselling is also significantly different to secular marriage counselling. Again, a Christian marriage counsellor  is able to work with clients of varied worldviews, but a secular marriage counsellor is not able to work deeply with clients of Christian faith.  I have had numerous individuals and/or couples seek my Christian counselling services in Perth after they have been to a secular counsellor and been advised to separate.

As a  Christian marriage counsellor in Perth, I uphold the Christian view of marriage as a divine institution that God created for the specific purposes of companionship, completeness, a new permanent relationship, intimacy, having children, ministry and to be a model of Christ and the Church to the world. God planned marriage to be a life-long commitment between a man and a woman.

When two Christian people are struggling in their marriage, I take a Christ centred and hope focused approach to their relationship and invite them to explore their priorities, their selves and their relationship with their spouse and with God through a biblical lens. The power of the Holy Spirit and Jesus, the Wonderful Counsellor, are invited into the process. Biblically guided strategies are offered for building love, trust, respect and intimacy into their relationship. If there has been betrayal, violence or abuse in the relationship, God’s principles and laws for safety and protection are examined in the light of potential for reconciliation and what that might look like.

Christ centered counselling can help to bring healing and create positive and pleasing interactions so that ultimately a couple can experience greater intimacy, good communication, good sex, successful conflict resolution and a happy family life – all the things that God desires for them and that bring honour to God in a broken world.

A cord of three strands is not easily broken; and when Christ is given His rightful place at the centre of a person’s life and marriage, miracles can happen.

Narelle Williams is Bethesda’s registered Christian counsellor in Perth and can be contacted on 0429 000 830 for further information.