Counselors are some of the very few professionals that people are comfortable sharing intimate details about their lives with. As a counselor, you are going to be privy to information that your clients may be embarrassed or scared to tell anybody else, but ultimately, you’re going to help them get over the effect that it has had on their lives, help them develop better coping mechanisms, and get to the root of the issue so that you can help your client put together a plan to move on and achieve a happier, fulfilling life.
Counselors work with people from all walks of life. You might be open to helping anybody with any problem, or you might choose to specialize and focus your energy on people dealing with a certain problem, like grief or depression, or certain groups of people like couples or teenagers.
Faith-based counseling is another option that you might want to consider, since certain clients may feel more comfortable when interacting with a counselor who shares their faith. If you are a Christian and want to pursue a career in counseling, this might have already crossed your mind. So, what are the benefits of offering faith-based counseling?
What’s the Difference?
What’s the difference between offering faith-based counseling and regular counseling? Very little, actually, because you will still be following the main principles of counseling and providing your clients with help and support for whatever issue they have come to you with. However, where faith-based counseling differs is that the client and the counselor share similar religious beliefs, and these are incorporated into the treatment. You probably wouldn’t expect a counselor to pray with you or have a Bible to hand, but this is normal in a faith-based counseling session if the client wishes.
● The client’s faith is shared by the counselor and therefore is often a more central part of counseling sessions.
● Praying together or reading the Bible may be more comforting for some clients, and this can be incorporated into faith-based counseling.
● It allows the client to look at things from a faith-based perspective rather than a general perspective if this is helpful to them.
More Comfortable Clients
Often, people who are involved in a religion like Christianity tend to turn to other people within that community when they need help and support. You might turn to people from your church when you need help with something; it’s natural to rely on and surround yourself with people who have similar values and beliefs to yourself.
● You share their faith and therefore have a deeper understanding of how it impacts their life, compared to a client who is not a Christian.
● They may feel more comfortable talking to you in more depth about their faith.
● You can apply their faith to their treatment and incorporate it wherever it is helpful.
Provides a Niche
If you’re considering Christian psychology courses
and want to go on to offer faith-based counseling sessions to clients, you’re providing a niche in a similar way a couple’s counselor only works with couples, or a grief counselor only works with people who are experiencing bereavement of some kind. However, being a faith-based counselor can also be flexible, and you have the option of providing both faith and non-faith based counseling sessions to clients depending on whether or not they have requested it.
As mentioned, many clients feel more comfortable
with a counselor who shares and understands their faith and offering this as a service might be able to help you support more people who are in need of it. Clients who may not normally have sought out counseling if a faith-based option was not available will be able to get the help that they need to overcome issues and improve their lives based on what works for them.
While practicing as a faith-based counselor is a great choice for counselors who are Christians themselves and passionate about their beliefs, like all counseling, faith-based counseling has to be client-centric. How much or little of their faith you incorporate into their counseling sessions needs to be decided by the client. And it’s not the counselor’s place to tell a client whether they should or shouldn’t do something based on their shared faith, but rather use it as a tool to help clients work through their issues and find healthy coping mechanisms that work for them, such as:
● Reading uplifting passages from the Bible
● Seeking support from Christian friends
If you are a Christian and want to offer a counseling service to others who share your faith, Christian counseling can be ideal for both you and your clients.