Not every client is interested in Christian counseling. Some clients don’t have strong spiritual beliefs. And, not all those who do are interested in incorporating those beliefs into their counseling experience.
But, for clients with strong spiritual beliefs who want those beliefs to be incorporated into their counseling experience, a counselor who shares the client’s same worldview may be very important.
This is important because spiritual beliefs often address some of the same issues that therapists address during counseling, such as emotions and patterns of thinking, behaving, and relating to one another. Clients with strong spiritual beliefs are often most comfortable with a therapist who not only respects and is able to intellectually understand their beliefs but who also embraces them and understands them experientially.
The process of therapy is essentially the same in Christian counseling as in other counseling but the tools used in the process may be different.
How exactly the incorporation of spiritual beliefs into the counseling experience will function may vary from client to client and from therapist to therapist. Some clients really want little more than to know their therapist shares their same belief system. Others have specific spiritual issues related to their emotional symptoms and want to be able to process those in session with another person of the same faith system. At times clients may want to discuss Scripture or prayer. The client is the best person to determine how much and in what way spiritual beliefs are incorporated into his or her therapy.
Christian counselors operate from the premise that all people are made in the image of God. Because of this, they are unique in their:
1) Ability to manage themselves and their environment
2) Capacity to think rationally and morally
3) Desire to relate to one another and to God
Christian therapists’ goals are often centered around these beliefs. They hope to help clients manage their behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Through the gentle sharing of spiritual Truth, Christian counselors hope to help clients discover and correct flaws in their thinking. They listen with compassion and understanding as clients process spiritual longings, unresolved conflicts, relational wounds, and character issues and work toward creating and maintaining healthy relationships with God and each other.