9Marks | 04.16.2015
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In short, “the therapeutic” borrows a wonderful metaphor from medicine—“healing”—but reduces counseling problems to one aspect of a more complicated problem. Just as doctors aim to heal people, counselors speak of counseling in the same terms. But the problems which enter the counseling office are more complicated than that, involving not just the physical aspects of a person, but the mental, emotional, and spiritual. More importantly, the spiritual is always primary.
Church-based counseling places the counseling process into the context of leaders and people who are already responsible before God to watch over your soul. If you have a choice between (i) seeing someone who knows nothing about you and has no obligation to you outside of counseling or (ii) seeing someone who will give an account to God for how well he has watched over your soul (e.g. Heb. 13:17), who would you choose?
It’s more community-driven than individualistic. Most Christian counseling is purely individualistic. One counselor counsels one counselee. Most Christian counselors talk about relationships but remain wholly disconnected from the other person’s life apart from scheduled, one-on-one meetings in the counselor’s office. On the other hand, church-based counseling is a team effort (Prov. 11:14, 21:26).