Both secular and Christian counselors share the same desire – to help people overcome problems and to find healing, contentment, joy and meaning in their lives. The main distinction between Christian and secular counseling is that the Christian counselor measures him/herself against the standards of God and His Word, and should use the Bible as the main source of guiding the counselor to a life of wholeness.
While Christian counselors may use skills or tools from secular materials (may we add that there are many good tools out there), they recognize the Bible to be the final authority. The Bible has much to say regarding human nature, suffering, marriage, parenting, relationships, etc. 2 Peter:1-3 says this, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own goodness and glory.” For the Christian counselor and the one who seeks Christian counsel, Jesus Christ must be the foundation!
Generally speaking, a person who always or often feels sad or angry, doesn’t feel “themselves;” a person who abuses substances or food to cope; someone suffering from a great loss (a death of a loved one, divorce, illness, etc.) or a trauma such as abuse, can all be indicators that he/she could benefit from counseling.
Counseling may not be necessary, but could be very helpful in numerous settings. Only you can answer as to whether or not counseling is necessary for you. Talk to your pastor, spouse, or a trusted friend and ask them if they see anything in you (marriage, family, life circumstances, etc.) that may be helped by going for counseling. Should you make the decision to begin, expect hard work! This applies to all types of counseling: Abuse, Marriage, Family Issues, Grief, etc. The counselor is not there to “fix” you, but to walk alongside you and guide you as you journey toward healing.
Make no mistake, working through the trauma of and healing from childhood sexual abuse is not for the faint of heart. As one survivor put it, “If I never talk about the abuse, I will never heal from it. If I never heal from it, my anger will consume my life and I will lose everything that I love.” No one can force you to talk about your abuse, the choice is yours. But a life of isolation and pain may be too high a price to pay for keeping silent. Freedom and joy can be obtained! “Be strong and of good courage; do not fear or be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.
Trust is the beginning of a solid relationship. It may take time for you to trust your counselor and she/he must prove to be a trustworthy person. She/he is being privileged to hear the stories of lives that have been damaged and hold that honor in the highest regard. Our prayer is that God would continually help us to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Each session must be entrusted to the One who is ultimately the Counselor, asking Him to “grant me courage, grant me wisdom for the facing of this hour; that I may not fail them-nor Thee!” May this be the prayer of everyone who is called to this high calling, so that we might be trustworthy servants of the ones, and the One, we serve!