I grew up believing that Christians should not have to go to counseling. Bible reading, prayer, and "walking with God", I was told, would solve all of my problems. I have heard some pastors say that everything relates to a spiritual condition.
When I have gone to talk to someone about problems in my life and have been told that it is simply a spiritual condition, not only was the root cause not dealt with, but I went away with a guilt complex, or started to wonder if my Christian beliefs were relevant. I was not helped by answers like, "Just trust God", or "God has a reason for this." It is true that in all situations we should trust God, and He HAS a reason behind it, but these answers should not be given as a substitute for not knowing how to deal with the circumstances because one is not trained to do so.
Some pastors are trained counselors. If so, fine. If not, the pastor can be a good listener, but there is no way he or she can be of help to you in all of the areas that enter into healing your hurts. I am not trying to be critical of pastors! I am simply saying they are pastors, not professional counselors.
How has Christian counseling helped me? One, it has helped me identify the causes of my hurts, Two, it has shown me how my childhood has influenced my adult life. Three, I have begun to see how problems have common elements. Four, many of my problems are behavior patterns that can be changed. Five, there has been discussion relating to how religious upbringing can cause problems later in life. Six, it has provided emotional support with comfort, but sometimes with the stark reality of what I need to change. Seven, it has helped me to recognize that there is a mind-body connection. These are all areas which may require counseling.
(This excerpt was taken from the author's book, GOD'S HEALING HOPE: BREAKING THE STRONGHOLDS OF WRONG THINKING, available on amazon.)
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