Christian Counseling: Objectives for Pastoral, Lay, and Peer Counselors
If you want to come along side of people through counseling, take some time to think through objectives not only for the counselee but also for yourself as a counselor.
What should be the counselor's objective?
RE: the counselor's involvement
The objective of the counselor ought to be to work himself out of a job. The counselor should work with people in such a way as to encourage personal discovery of the truth about their situation and personal responsibility in planning a solution to their problem. In so doing, the counselor is a teacher, training people to develop healthy life management skills. As the counselor helps people work through their current situation by merely guiding or facilitating the process, people learn for the future. People are more likely to change because they own the solution, not simply told what to do.
RE: the counselee's need for help
The first and foremost objective a Christian counselor should have for the people he counsels is that they grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Helping people reach their potential in Christ is the ultimate end toward which all counseling should lead . . . to live that full, abundant life Christ came to give them (John 10:10), to live productive, fruitful lives (John 15:1-8). In a real sense, a counselor is a discipler.
RE: the solution to the counselee's problem
"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." (Prov. 14:12) -- Humanistic solutions yield temporary and long-range ineffective results. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Prov. 9:10) -- The application of godly wisdom yields deep-seated and lasting change.
This doesn't invalidate the field of psychology. There is natural revelation in which God uses what He made to teach men truth about Himself (Ps. 19:1-6; Rom. 1:18-20). And, there is divine revelation in the form of God's inspired Word which was written for our instruction to equip us (Rom. 15:4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Truth, regardless of the source, is useful. God's Word, however, is the only infallible source. Scripture is the final authority. The objective then should be to filter other sources through the grid of Scripture to discern what is truth and what isn't.
The People Helping Ministry Manual includes a section on counseling with the content on this page as well as these topics:
You might also be interested in:
- Becoming a Christian Counselor
- Bible Truths for Coming Alongside of One Another
- Listening Skills
- Other Counseling Resources