Family CounselorsQUESTION: Why choose Christian family counselors?ANSWER:
Family counselors have had an impact on my family. Because of various illnesses in our family, I have had a chance to try both types of counseling - secular and religious. I suffer from a severe form of depression, traumatic stress syndrome, and abandonment issues. These problems made it necessary for me to get professional help in my early 20's.
Medication and counseling had me under control, but only for short periods of time. I was involved with our church, but had never heard of Christian counseling other then counseling with the pastor. I was hospitalized for postpartum depression after giving birth to our second child. I became involved with counseling afterwards but it was secular counseling.
As my son grew up, I discovered he also suffered from some sort of disorder. I spent years trying to get him help and finally doctors diagnosed him with depression and attention deficit disorder. That meant more counseling, but this time for the whole family. Regular secular counseling was suggested. Our son's condition would get better and then take a turn for the worse. He was hospitalized 3 times during his growing up years. As the years went by, our marriage started to fall apart. We were under a lot of stress, were battling with our family illnesses and my husband was gone a lot due to his job. He was enlisted in the US Army and that required a lot of time away from the family.
During one of his many absences, I decided I had had enough and filed for divorce. The children were teenagers, and new problems were surfacing. When my other child started having serious depression problems, my life fell apart. I got her into counseling, but it didn't seem to be helping. My husband knew our family was in turmoil and he was allowed to come home from Saudi Arabia. My husband had recently rededicated his life to Jesus and he suggested Christian counseling. He found a wonderful counselor and started visiting him. I did not join him at first. My daughter and I were still counseling with someone else.
I started to see dramatic changes in my husband. When he invited me to join him in a session, I went. I was totally unprepared for the differences. I noticed that my husband's focus was no longer on putting blame on anyone, it was on the Lord. He was taking responsibility for his own part in the problems and was willing to work on them. He was more relaxed; I could tell his faith gave him a contentment and sense of hope I had never seen in him before.
I wanted what he had. After just a few weeks, the stress in our lives seemed much more manageable. We were learning to turn things over to God and not try to take it all on by ourselves. The problems our children had were not terrifying us and we were able to think more clearly. Communication with our children improved and they started coming to counseling with us, willingly. Our marriage became strong and our lives manageable. Without this wonderful Christian counselor, we would have divorced, and our children would have suffered horribly. When I look back, I wish we had all tried Christian family counseling when we first started having problems, early in our marriage, and when our children were young. But at least we found Christian family counselors before things were beyond help.
Our marriage continues to be strong today. We have problems, but now we turn to Christian counseling if things get bad. Our children have grown up and are happy with children of their own. They have moved close to us and so I am a happy grandmother. My husband and I continue to be happily married for 33 years.
According to Dr. Rob Johnson, secular counseling focuses on the problem and the client. Christian counseling is grounded in the Bible. It helps a person embrace pain through his or her relationship with Jesus. The processes of counseling are the same but the motivation is different.1
The end goal of Christian counseling is a greater knowledge and engagement of God not based on circumstances. With Christian counseling, God remains the focus. One of the goals in this type of counseling is to help the person grow a rich and accurate view of God specific to the person's life. It helps the person embrace the pain of his experience through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I found all this to be true with my experience with Christian counseling. When we left the counselors office, we had something to take home with us. It was the love and protection that Jesus offers in our life.
When you leave secular counseling, you still have your problem and you are expected to be in control. I have found that control has to be turned over to God. All the years that I tried to control my life resulted in more hurt and frustration. Life is full of hurt; you have to learn to live with it. Sure there are some things you can do, but you have to learn when to help and when to step back and let God. Christian counseling gives you something special that endures forever and sustains you through those rocky moments in life. It gives you the ability to function with more courage and strength.