Effective Counseling is Interactive

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

What do I look for in a biblical counselor? What should I expect during the first session?  What questions should I ask the counselor? Where do I go to find biblical counselors in my area?

The following post includes a few simple guidelines to briefly address the above questions and hopefully demystify the process of choosing a biblical counselor for your self or another adult.

Some Traits To Look For In A Biblical Counselor

According the Christian Counseling & Education Foundation (CCEF), a counselor should be someone who:

  • Loves people, perseveres through tough times, and is confident that Jesus works in his needy people
  • Believes that God’s Word is designed and provided by God to provide sufficient counsel for all of life’s issues (2 Pet. 1:2-4; Heb. 4:12; 2 Tim. 3:16-17)
  • Gives clear evidence of a vital personal relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Is your pastor (or trusted Christian friend) believes would provide wise, biblical, loving, and faithful counsel.

What To Anticipate During The First Session

Counseling is a two-way process. Open and honest communication between the counselor and the counselee is the imperative for building the trust that leads to desired change. Counselors are not mind readers; counselees must come prepared to talk about themselves and why they desire counseling.

Here are some of the things to help prepare you for the first session:

  • Anticipate paperwork. The Intake Form many counselors use is detailed. The Intake Form is meant to give the counselor a quick overview of your life story to help them prepare for your first session.  A counselor also discusses/explains policies to give you an idea about scheduling and canceling appointments, all this to help you know what to expect.
  • During the first session your counselor will ask you questions, and you are free and encouraged to ask the counselor questions too.
  • After a brief conversation about you, and after responding to your questions, the rest of the session is about your sharing why you describe your reasons for desiring counseling. This process may take more than one session. Your counselor will ask questions about some of the information you included on your Intake Form to try to get a clear picture of your life story.  This is a trust building time in the potential counseling relationship.
  • At the end of your session, your counselor will give you the opportunity to schedule another appointment.
  • Finally, to be listened too is the most important thing to expect during your first session. It is imperative for you to feel heard and understood in order to build the trust necessary for an effective counseling relationship.

What Questions To Ask

Decide to be an active participant in your own counseling. By all means ask questions. You may want to write down the counselor’s answers to discuss with your pastor, mentor, or a trusted Christian friend.

Ten Questions You May Want To Ask A Prospective Counselor, among others include:

  1. What is your approach to counseling?
  2. What process do you use to help people change and grow?
  3. What books or other resources do you recommend most often?
  4. What books have most influenced your counseling theory?
  5. Are you a Christian? How does your faith affect the way you practice counseling?
  6. How do you use Scripture?
  7. What is the role of prayer in your counseling approach?
  8. Where do you attend church?  How long have you been a member?  How do you serve?
  9. What is your educational and professional background? What role does it play?
  10. What is your marital status? Do you have children? How does your marital status affect the way you counsel?

How To Find A Biblical Counselor In Your Area

The first step is to pray for the God’s guidance and direction. Second, you may want to do some research to match the counselor’s focus area to your individual needs. Third, recommendations are an excellent starting place.

However, if you do not have a recommendation from your church or trusted friend, some online resources to locate counselors in your area include the American Association of Christian Counselors or Christian Counseling Resource Directory.