A Christian Poem
Personal Qualities Of The Christian Counselor
Personal Qualities Of The Christian Counselor
It seems reasonable that the effective Christian Counselor would be a morally good and mature Christian, grounded in God’s Word and regular church attendance. They perceive themselves as called to Christian service and accepted this work as a vocation and a sacred trust. They would trust in Jesus and know that their effectiveness rests on Him through their prayer and fasting, scripture, referral to clergy, as well as on faith, hope and love. The Christian Counselor continues the healing ministry of Jesus.
Professional Christian Counseling is a wonderful specialization in which the psychologically trained licensed mental health professional integrates their knowledge, skills and abilities with their Christian faith, values and beliefs. It's a match made in heaven, giving you the best of both. It’s the Professional Christian Counselors sensitivity to perceive their client’s problems as including a blend of psychological, emotional, moral, and spiritual concerns, combined with their ability to expertly deal with the religious domain which sets them apart and makes them very helpful. To address emotional and behavioral problems which have a spiritual connection, for example, when psychological problems represent the fruits of sin, clients will benefit by receiving help for their whole person - emotional, psychological and spiritual. People who go to the Professional Christian Counselor have a set of expectations which are different from those who seek a secular scientific therapist. Clients can have the assurance that their fundamental Christian beliefs will be valued.
Hopefully, Professional Christian Counselors, have the good qualities of both the secular scientific counselor and the pastoral counselor. They, like the pastoral counselor, practice their spiritual gifts of discernment and healing, and invite the Holy Spirit’s guidance into their counseling process. Professional Christian Counselors embrace this mystery of divine grace and human effort working together. They understand that it is the synergy of God’s healing kindness, the counselor’s gifts and talents, and the clients hard work, which brings God’s healing presence into the lives of their clients. Effective Professional Christian Counseling rests on prayer and fasting, scripture, referral to clergy and the sacraments, as well as on faith, hope and love.
Professional Christian Counselors can help clients increase their capacity to hear the voice of Jesus and the witness of the Holy Spirit. They can help clients become more aware of what God is saying to them in a particular circumstance at a particular time. More than giving them a fish (helping clients to discern in a specific instance) they can teach them how to fish (forming clients into discerning persons). Through this, clients can achieve cognitive clarity and emotional maturity. They can also help clients make sense out of their spiritual experiences like locutions and the struggles of Christian development. They can help clients cooperate with grace and remove any barriers to grace. They can help clients develop the virtues necessary to be a good spouse and reduce the vices that increase the temptation to do drugs, alcohol, and pornography. They can help empower clients to have victory, be delivered, and experience healing.
Professional Christian Counselors, like the pastoral counselor, invite the Holy Spirit’s guidance into their counseling process. They embrace the mystery of divine grace and human effort working together and they understand that it's the synergy of God’s healing kindness, the counselor’s gifts and talents, and the client's hard work which brings God’s healing presence into the lives of their clients. They are uniquely gifted to help clients in the spiritual and religious domains. They can help increase their clients' awareness to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and can also help clients better understand what God is saying to them in a particular circumstance at a particular time. More than giving them a fish (helping clients to discern in a specific instance) they can teach them how to fish (forming clients into discerning persons). They can also help clients make sense out of their moral struggles. They can help clients cooperate with grace and work toward removing any barriers to grace. They can help clients develop the virtues necessary to be a good spouse and reduce the temptation to do drugs, alcohol, and pornography. It’s the Christian Counselor's ability to work with their client’s blend of psychological, emotional, moral, and spiritual concerns, combined with their ability to expertly deal with the religious domain which sets them apart and makes them very helpful. They can help clients be delivered and set free from demonic strongholds.
Professional Christian Counselors don’t coerce non Christian clients, apply undue pressure, or proselytize. They respect people of all faiths as well as those with no religious or spiritual beliefs. They honor client choice and receptivity to any counseling practices, Christian or secular. Professional Christian Counselors don’t even presume that all Christian clients want or need spiritual interventions prescribed to them. Client’s who prefer not to venture into their spiritual selves can still benefit from the Professional Christian Counselor’s licensure, expertise and training because there is much healing power in secular scientific psychotherapy. God has gifted the world with the advances in scientific psychotherapy and He wants us to receive these gifts and to utilize them for our health.
God’s Healing Kindness and Grace. It seems that God gives more healing grace to some patients than to others. Maybe he gives more the Catholics than to atheists, or more to practicing Catholics than to nominal Catholics. Maybe he gives more grace to those who seek, knock and beg for his healing grace than to the spiritually negligent or slothful. Maybe he gives more to those who thank Him for whatever grace they do get. It seems that some patients get 100 units of healing grace while others get just two. It appears that some patients either have more barriers, obstacles and hindrances, or they simply are unable to push through them, while others can.
The second part to the synergistic healing equation is the counselor with their unique blend of gifts and talents, knowledge, skills and abilities, and hopefully, the charism. When you bring your car to the mechanic you would hope they don’t look in the trunk for the motor. As far as the knowledge of counseling all counselors legally able to provide counseling and receive third party payments hold a Masters degree, did a supervised internship and passed a state licensing exam in order to practice. But what does it profit a therapist to get a Masters degree, complete an internship and pass a test, if they are severely disordered spiritually, or heretics, or counsel against the teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. To their patients, they are actually sheep in wolves’ clothing, and the blind leading the blind. There are also other and possibly less dangerous types of therapists. There are the counselors who practice strict secular psychotherapy. I believe secular therapy is a gift from God to heal hurting souls, and if the therapist is a Christian who gets inspired by the Holy Spirit – all is good to a point. I think healing the infrastructure of the soul is beyond the secular therapist’s scope of work since, to implement the deeper healing, the discernment of spirits as taught by St. Ignatius is necessary.
The Patient’s Hard Work The third part is the patient’s hard work. Some patients have a history of meeting with several counselors over a few years for 5-7 sessions. When asked did it help, they say not so much. If you go to the physician for an infection on your arm, he will prescribe some antibiotics and say to come back next week. When the patient comes back and the infection is worse, the physician asks whether the patient took the prescription as prescribed and the patient responds, “No, I didn’t take the antibiotics.” No wonder the patient didn’t improve, they didn’t follow the doctor’s orders. The parallel in counseling is that the patient doesn’t follow the counselor’s recommendations, doesn’t improve, and projects their lack of success onto the counselor or counseling process, instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of effort. It’s best practice to explain the “hard work” principle to the patient in great detail at least 5-10 times during the first few sessions, so that they understand that even if God were showering down 100 units of healing grace and they only used two, that they would only reap the benefits of two. We reap what we sow. The more of the 100 units of grace the patient cooperates with, the more healing they experience. These three parts of counseling God’s healing kindness, the counselor’s part, and the patient’s hard work will be fully discussed through this work.
A Christian Poem
Who Put Out the Light?
While the church blossoms as the tree of life
Among the brethren there is much strife
A branch of the church is out on a limb
There is no room for him
Declared the deacon on a whim
Although the branch bears holy fruit
The pastor says it's dead at the root
They look at him with a pruner's guise
They don’t realize it is God they despise?