Questions To Ask: Finding Christian Counseling
Most people know marriage is hard, even if they have never been married before. They hear the gloomy statistics, 40-50 percent of marriages end in divorce. In a Christian marriage, however, the mindset is particularly firm: divorce is not an option. But that doesn't mean there will be any less bumps along the way.
Seeking counseling when problems arise is the prudent thing to do. But just because someone hangs up a shingle and calls themselves a counselor, it doesn't mean they are necessarily right for you. Here are two areas to consider when choosing a prospective Christian therapist.
Ask each counselor you are considering what their specific experience is in working with couples in crisis. Be honest with the issues, whether it is communication, child-rearing, addictions, or infidelity, and ask how they would guide in that situation. You want a counselor who is familiar with the difficulties specific to your problem.
Just because a therapist says they are a Christian, it doesn't mean they are. When a couple goes to marriage counseling, they are largely relying on the subjective opinion and advice of a relative stranger. Don't be afraid to interview the candidates about their beliefs. Here are some questions to ask:
- What church do you attend? Not all Christian denominations view things equally. While you don't necessarily have to have a counselor that attends the same denomination, you definitely don't want to see someone who might have a drastically different perspective.
- Do you attend church regularly? What activities within the church do you participate? The answers to these questions may not even be super important to you, but you want to see a willingness to be transparent and open.
- Do you have a statement of faith? This will allow you to know for sure what the marriage counselor really believes.
- Do you use scripture and prayer as part of the counseling process? Part of living as a Christian is applying scripture to the various areas of life.
You'll want to know what kind of license they hold. A Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) holds a master's degree, with coursework in family studies and human development. A LMFT is perfect for general counseling needs. A clinical psychologist holds a doctoral degree and usually specializes in a particular field, such as behavioral, child, or addiction. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in treating mental illnesses. Which professional you choose depends on the issues that are the source of your marital friction.
A prospective therapist should feel comfortable answering these and any other questions you may have. If you sense any reluctance or you feel uneasy, keep looking for a better fit. Your marriage depends on having a marriage counselor you can trust.
To learn more, contact a counseling clinic like Living Hope Clinic.