Christian Therapy. Does it Matter?
Mary knew she needed some counseling but had no idea on how to find a counselor that could help her. She wanted change and could not figure out how to make that change happen. She attended a healthy church and wanted more of Jesus in her life.
Victoria also thought about getting counseling. While she believed in God, she was raised in a cultish church that had warped views of who He is. She feared a Christian therapist would add more harm to her fragile soul.
Mary and Victoria both need a special approach to help them. They both need a person trained in understanding complex trauma as well as trained in healing methods to help them both get to places of freedom and peace.
So, who do they turn to?
Mary was at a place in life where she was searching for more of God and knew she wanted that in her counseling. Mary could work with a secular therapist who was trained in some healing methods and not be a Christian. She could get better working with someone like this. But she would not be growing in new ways with Jesus in her sessions.
She could also work with a therapist that was a Christian as well. This therapist would be trained in secular ways that could be helpful. This therapist would also understand about church and could even encourage her to pray and read her Bible as well as draw on some biblical knowledge that would apply to Mary's situation. This would be helpful to Mary, especially the biblical part since she loved reading her Bible.
Through a friend, Mary found a therapist what was a Christian therapist (not just a therapist who was a Christian). In her work, this particular therapist was able to provide healing that brought Mary to Jesus so Jesus could heal the trauma and renew her mind (called inner healing). This was an experience with Jesus so that when Mary read her Bible she was able to connect more deeply with Him. This is exactly what Mary was hoping for.
Mary was friends with Victoria and told her all about her healing encounters in therapy. Victoria was freaked out since she had a skewed view of Jesus as a punisher, not a loving big brother and King. Victoria was not at all ready for this kind of experience. She needed Jesus, she just did not feel Jesus was safe at this point.
Victoria would be better with a therapist that did not bring Jesus into sessions since the term “Christian” would have pushed her away, anyway. Victoria found a great therapist that was also a Christian and helped her heal with early trauma. They gently touched on church and support, but Victoria was not at all ready for that. She ended therapy when she met her goals and felt pretty good.
Over the next year Victoria noticed her friend Mary was different. She was freer, joyful, and calmer. She wanted more of what Mary had. She asked her about it, expecting to hear about the latest self-help book. Mary explained about the deep inner healing again and what it did for her.
At this point Victoria was ready to explore Christian therapy and inner healing.
Dear reader, you may be like Victoria or Mary. There are great options for therapy out there depending on what you need or want.
So does it matter if your therapist is a Christian? Does it matter if they focus on inner healing or other Christian spiritual practices?
It all depends on you.
What do you need?.
I personally have been to a few secular therapists over the year (who were helpful). I have been to a therapist that was a Christian (she was helpful), and I have been to a Christian therapist that did a little inner healing (that was also helpful especially since some spiritual warfare came up and I had no idea what it was, but she did and took care of it).
In my experiences, I benefited from each of them and their approaches. They were all great supports and wonderful safe listeners. One of my secular therapists taught me some tools that I still use today.
One of the therapists that was a Christian could identify with me and we had the same lingo, but she did not pray with me nor give me any tools that brought me closer to God. But she was a great listener and supporter.
But I did not get deep healing from any of them. None.
I only received healing when I had sessions with a few lay ministers that used inner healing. They were not counselors since they were not trained to listen to my burdens or guide me with reflection and processing. They were there to facilitate healing with Jesus.
This is why I do what I do.
I combine the best parts of psychotherapy with the healing of Jesus. I am a Christian therapist that understands that both counseling and healing are needed. But not everyone is ready for this approach.
There are a handful of ways to heal, but not all approaches work with everyone.
While I was state licensed I had to be under their umbrella, which meant I was not supposed to advertise faith based counseling nor do any spiritual work. By breaking up with the state and being under a Christian counseling license, I can now promote being a Christ follower and bring faith easily into our sessions.
Why is this important? For some people you desire to find the safety of Jesus, want prayer, and are looking direction on how to connect to God in deeper ways. For others, you get enough of that through church, Bible study, and community.
Examine where you are in this season. If the term “Christian” turns you off, then look for a counselor that does not promote it. If you feel far from God but want to be closer, then look for someone that will help you with that in your sessions. And if you are really ready for deep healing, find a therapist that bridges faith and inner healing with God calling the shots.
The best way to find a great therapist is word of mouth. Ask your church for referrals. Ask friends that you know have been in therapy. Check out these sites: www.christiancounselornearme.com, www.christiancounselordirectory.com, or www.therapyforchristians.com
Action steps: Pray with me. “Father, thank you for all the choices we have for help today. Thank you for the counselors and therapists called to support others. I am not sure what direction to go in, but you do since you know more my heart and what I need. I ask that you lead me to the person that can help me now. In Jesus' holy name, Amen.”
Bless you on your journey to freedom!