Why Christian Counseling?

The best way I can think of to explain why I chose Christian counseling is to use an analogy even though analogies are never perfect. When someone has an infection and that infection causes pain, pain medication is extremely helpful to relax the body so the antibiotic can more effectively heal the infection. However, pain medication will never heal the wound.

It has been my experience that Jesus is more like the “antibiotic” and psychiatric counseling with all the wonderful therapies and prescriptions works more like “pain medication.” It is extremely helpful and not to be dismissed but it doesn’t have the power to heal our wounds. That is not to say that we shouldn’t take advantage of ALL the help God gives us. I believe in gratefully accepting all the aids that are available to us to relieve our pain and help us deal with our dysfunction. And yet, wouldn’t it be better to get rid of the infection that is causing that pain and dysfunction?  I believe Jesus is the One who can do that.

When I was attending Ashland Theological Seminary several professors encouraged us to specialize in a specific area since counseling is such a broad field.  I have found that my specialty is helping people understand the healing power of Jesus Christ.  We were created to love and be loved.  Love makes us whole. Fear and shame along with our brokenness both physically and emotionally interferes with our ability to receive and return that love.  Jesus frees us from our fear and heals our brokenness. Jesus puts us right with God and that healed relationship makes us whole.

The Effect of Negative Messages on our Mental State

Everywhere we go we are reminded that things are not as they should be.  Violence, overdose, prejudice, debt, so many things are wrong with the world – it can be overwhelming – it can suck all the joy right out of life.  The question that used to plague me – How can I stay abreast of what is going on in the world without getting depressed?  I didn’t want to be an ostrich with her head in the sand oblivious to what was happening around me.  And yet, I also didn’t want to be burdened by all the negativity.  What I discovered was the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  I find that with practice I am getting better and better at identifying what to lift up to God and what I can do something about.  Now when I hear terrible news and there is nothing I can do, I simply pray “Come, Holy Spirit, come” and “Thank you Jesus for redeeming this world so that I can put this concern in Your hands and continue my day in peace.”