Life can be difficult. Jobs are lost, relationships are strained, loved ones pass away. Things just don’t go as they should. When times get tough, lots of people reach out to a counselor, in addition to family and friends, to get some much-needed support.
But not all counselors of the same. All Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) go through rigorous training and a state-licensure process, but each will employ different strategies and each will hold their own unique worldview.
As a Christian, does your counselor’s worldview matter to you? If you’re already a Christian counselor, how does your worldview impact your interaction with clients?
While non-Christian counselors can be the support and help needed by people in the midst of struggle, Christian counselors offer a unique, essential grounding in love and truth. Whether you’re a Christian seeking counseling or a Christian who’s a counselor yourself, here are the characteristics of what makes a good Christian counselor. They might sound familiar.
Professional Christian counselors seek to model the spirit and character of Jesus Christ in what they say and do as they counsel. Following the example of Christ, they embody:
- Love: Christians carry the burdens of others. In times of suffering, it becomes especially important to care for, invest in, and carry these burdens alongside others, and this clearly carries over to the counseling setting.
- Honor: As they walk with hurting people, Christians do so with honor and integrity. Christian counselors uphold a proper therapeutic alliance and counselor code of ethics. Ultimately, counselors should treat their clients with the respect they deserve, treating them as Christ would treat them.
- Faith: Effective Christian counseling requires the spiritual resources of faith, prayer, and worship. Christian counselors draw close to God in order to remain attuned to his direction in the therapeutic relationship. Faith also provides the counselor with a deeply-rooted hope that God can work in sinful, troubled people.
- Compassion: Counselors must have compassion as they encounter the “true selves” of their clients–the good and the bad. When seeing the worst elements of a person, or uncovering their deeply held shame, counselors must exhibit overwhelming compassion for broken people made in God’s image.
- Humility: A humble heart is at the core of an effective counselor. In order to effectively care for people who come to them from places of vulnerability in the midst of struggle, a posture of humility becomes of utmost importance.
These elements of a Christian counselor are, of course, core biblical principles for the heart of any follower of Christ. That said, it is important that a Christian counselor embodies these well. As they engage people in their suffering and vulnerability, effective counselors can act as a catalyst for God’s heart transformation.