What Qualifies One to be a Christian Counselor?
to look as What Qualifies One to be a Christian Counselor? it is good to start with the definition of Christian counseling. Christian counseling is distinct from secular counseling. According to the International Association of Biblical Counselors, biblical counseling seeks to carefully discover those areas in which a Christian may be disobedient to the principles and commands of Scripture and to help him learn how to lovingly submit to God’s will. Christian Counselors, therefore, approach psychology through the lens of the Bible. They see the Bible as the source of all truth.
Anyone can be a counselor, once you have a relationship that is warm and you are close to someone in need of counseling. However, to be a Christian counselor, the following are required;
Relationship with God
You must have a relationship with God and know him (John 17:3, Psalm 25:14, and Isaiah 9:6). No counselor can succeed without the wonderful counselor.
Spirit of God
You have to be filled with the spirit of God, and have the mind of God. (1 Cor. 2:6-13). You must also depend on Him to do the counseling (v.13)
Knowledge of the Word of God (The Bible)
The one involved in Christian counseling must have a good knowledge of the Bible. This is so because Christian counseling cannot be done in a vacuum. The Bible as the Word of God is the final authority for faith, practice and symbol in Christian faith and the basic resource that guide counseling (FCS, Material on Counseling)
Knowledge of what is going on around us is also very important in being on effective counselor. We should not be ignorant of current happenings.
Acquisition of Practical Skills in Effective Counselling
According to Dr. G Keith Oslon, “[Research shows that] counseling is most effective when the counselor possesses three personal characteristics: accurate empathy, non-possessive warmth and genuiness”:
Anyone who hopes to effectively counsel young people must develop or cultivate accurate empathy e.g.
How can you empathize with a teenager raped?
- Filled with violent feelings, fighting back, uncontrollable nausea and confused, she struggled to tell her story –
- Platitudes (making comments like – “it is well” will not work, such words will just fall meaninglessly on the floor) even reading the bible to her may increase her sense of worthlessness.
- The best thing is just to agree with her in what she is going through, putting yourself in her situation.
- The counselor’s empathy will bring healing to her and show a deep understanding of what the young girl is going through and she will sense that someone cares and understand.
There is a way you show interest in the counselee that wins his/her heart. If he/she feels valued and cared about, the counselee will develop an internal basis for self – value and self – love. The counselee will begin to say, if the counselors care about me, then I matter (I am worth something).
Jesus showed this, when he reached out to the leprous man, touched him and cleansed him (Mark 1:40 – 42).
This is being open, sincere, not showing superiority, doing something immediately but not without thinking carefully about what one is doing, honesty without cruel confrontation.
Other practical characteristics are:
Humility of spirit
A person with a humble spirit helps the counselee to search for his/her own answers and not overly eager to give advice. The focus of the counselor is on the counselee’s thinking, feelings and experience and not on the counselor.
Counselors are to be emotionally stable. The counselees are struggling so they are to help them.
In all these characteristics, the counselor must continue to be in God’s presence to discern His mind and what should be done as he/she counsels and should always be in prayer (Prov. 3:5 – 6, Psalm 37:5).