The primary difference between secular counseling and Christian counseling is the authority of which the counselor is held accountable. Secular counselors are licensed by the state in which they practice and must strictly adhere to the rules that the state has in place. These counselors may not pray with their patients or discuss religion at all unless it is requested or initiated by the patient. They may not provide counsel against things including abortion and homosexuality.
In contrast, Christian counselors will answer to the church. They are required to ask for God's help, offer religious solutions to their patients and pray with them. This creates a sense of responsibility by the church to over the activities that these counselors engage in. These are the most distinct differences between the two types of counselors.
Secular counselors will normally have a master's degree. Many of them will hold a PhD too. A religious counselor will have a degree from a university that specializes in religion while a secular counselor will receive training from one of the state certified schools.
Secular or non-religious counseling is dyadic in nature. It is based solely on the relationship between the counselor and his or her patient. While it is effective in addressing both emotional and mental issues, it does not consider spiritual matters. Christian counseling is triadic in that it not only is about the relationship between the therapist and patient but also involves the patient's spirituality. For this reason, Christian counseling is unique.
These therapists not only work to provide guidance in resolving personal and emotional challenges, but also are trained specifically to the patient see themselves as God sees them and help them to learn to accept themselves how they are. They must be able to help their patients to live and exhibit behavior that is in line with what is written in the bible.
Secular counseling involves many different designations including L. P. C. (licensed professional counselor,) L. M. F. T. (licensed marriage and family therapist) and L. M. H. C. (licensed mental health counselor.) The same can be said for Christian counseling who also feature a variety of designations. Some of them include L. P. C. (licensed pastoral counselors,) L. C. P. C. (licensed clinical pastoral counselors) and C. C. C. (certified Christian counselors) to mention just a few.
When seeking counseling from a Christian counselor, ensure that he or she was trained and licensed by either a church or other similar organization that will hold them accountable for their actions. Two of the most renowned associations include the National Christian Counselors Association and the Board of Christian Counselors.
What really matters when selecting a counselor is that you find one that is truly motivated to help you. Do not be afraid to request a telephone conference first to find out more about the beliefs that your therapist has to ensure that you both share the same religious viewpoints and morals. Taking this time in the beginning can save a lot of time and trouble in your search for the right therapist.