Do you struggle with finding spiritual direction? Are you wondering about your true path and calling? Do you wish for guidance from a therapist who will understand and respect that your main priority is building a relationship with God?
If so, you are definitely not alone in your struggle. More and more of my clients are looking for faith-based counseling that can heal the mind and the soul. They want the freedom not only to discuss the issues they are having but also openly discuss God, the Bible, and their belief in the power of prayer.
And I am not the only counselor who has noticed that people prefer to seek guidance from those who support, rather than challenge, their faith. In fact, according to a nationwide survey by the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), 83% of Americans believe their spiritual faith and religious beliefs are closely tied to their state of mental and emotional health. Three-quarters have stated it’s important for them to work with a therapist who integrates their values and beliefs into the counseling process. And more respondents said they would prefer to see a religious counselor (29%) than a psychiatrist (27%), psychologist (17%) or family doctor (13%).
Selecting the Right Faith-Based Counselor to Work With
Just as no two people are alike, no two faith-based counselors are alike either. They will differ on a few different things:
- How much religious training (if any) they have had
- How much religious content they incorporate into their practice
- The populations they serve
- Their clinical experience and training
Beyond this, some faith-based therapists aim to holistically integrate the mind, body and spirit for people of all faiths, while others focus solely on applying scripture to modern day problems instead of social sciences.
You will also find that some faith-based counselors will be licensed by the state, and some will not. The reason for this is a state license prohibits a therapist from imposing personal beliefs onto clients. But a Christian faith-based counselor is free to speak openly and candidly about his or her faith with the client. And, while state-licensed mental health professionals are well trained in emotional counseling, they aren’t necessarily trained to address spiritual concerns.
The decision to seek a faith based counselor is an important one and you need to decide what is the most important qualification you want your counselor to have. It’s a good idea to do some research and find local faith-based counselors in your area. Most counselors will offer a phone consultation to allow you to ask your questions. The most important thing is whether or not you feel comfortable talking with them.
If you or someone you love is interested in exploring faith-based treatment, please reach out. I am happy to discuss how I may be able to help. In my practice, all faiths are welcome.