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.
RE: the counselee's need for help
The first and foremost objective Christian counselors should have for the people they counsel is that they grow into a deeper relationship with the Lord.
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).
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. Along with the content on this page, it also briefly provides potential results when these are our objectives. The manual also includes the following topics about counseling:
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