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Benefitting from Christ-centered Counseling

Are you feeling led to pursue Christ-centered counseling to work through the issues in your life? That's wise! Counseling can be incredibly helpful for growth and healing. But to make the most of this method of therapy, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. The counselor's role is to guide you towards Christ and help you apply God's Word to your life (James 1:22), but you also play an important role. The effort you put into the process will, in part, determine what you gain from it. With the right mindset and expectations, counseling can lead to life-changing breakthrough. Approaching it with honesty, vulnerability, and a desire for change by God's grace can be a pivotal time in your life. However, the choice is ultimately up to you. Ready to get started? Here's what you need to know…

Preparing for Your Counseling Session:

To make the most of your session, consider these tips:

  1. Create a list of questions and concerns you want to discuss. Write them down so you don't forget anything important. Be open and honest about your struggles. Your counselor needs a complete understanding to provide helpful advice. 
  2. Bring resources like a Bible, notebook, and pen. Look up relevant scripture and take notes during your session. Review them later for further insight. 
  3. Approach your session with an open mind and a humble heart. Be receptive to what God's Word says about your situation. Truth may be difficult to accept, but it's the path to real freedom and healing. 
  4. Share details about your spiritual life and your relationship with God. Talk about your prayer life, Bible reading habits, church involvement, and participation in ministry. Bring your questions, your doubts & fears, and any spiritual struggles you would like to work through. Active faith and obedience to God's Word are essential for overcoming life's challenges. 
  5. Inquire about any homework or action steps you can take to apply what you learn. Counseling is most effective when you make intentional changes based on each session. Don't just listen to the Word, put it into action!
  6. Follow through with your commitments and be accountable. Let your counselor know how your application is working and if you're struggling to follow through. They can provide encouragement and help you make adjustments. 
  7. Take advantage of additional supportive resources. Consider meeting with a mentor or joining a small group to help you stay focused between counseling sessions. Discipleship like this can be synergistic with the therapy you receive. By attending a church, you can give and receive encouragement within the Body of Christ. 

Asking the Right Questions About Christ-Centered Therapy:

Asking helpful questions is crucial during Christ-centered therapy. Be honest and open about what's really on your heart. Your counselor can't read your mind, so express your concerns, doubts, fears, and struggles. Ask the Spirit to guide you as you ask yourself questions like:

  1. Which feelings/thoughts are most apparent? (see Proverbs 20:5)
  2. What is the root cause of these feelings/thoughts? (see Proverbs 4:23)
  3. How can I change unhealthy patterns of thinking/behaving? (see Romans 12:2)
  4. What truths of God’s Word can help me better manage my emotions and thoughts?

Don't shy away from the difficult questions. Challenging conversations often lead to the most helpful insights. Your counselor is there to listen without judgment and to provide God-honoring guidance. Discuss your expectations for counseling and the specific goals you want to achieve. Do you need help improving communication in your marriage? Developing better coping strategies? Overcoming addiction or destructive habits? 

Identifying the issues you want to address will make the process more productive. Ask follow-up questions to ensure you fully understand the advice or strategies suggested. If something isn't working, speak up right away so you can explore alternative approaches. The more open and honest you are, the more you'll grow. Remember, change is challenging and takes time! Stay committed to the process, even when it's difficult. The results will be well worth it.

Following Through With Homework and Application:

Following through with the homework and application provided by your counselor is crucial for maximizing your experience. Make time to complete any recommended reading, journaling, or reflection exercises. These activities reinforce what you learn in your sessions and provide valuable insights into yourself, your behaviors, and your relationships with God and others. Even if the assignments don't seem directly related to your main concerns or felt needs, trust that your counselor has chosen them intentionally to complement your therapy. Be honest in any journaling you might do and openly share your thoughts and feelings on those pages. Of course, your journal is private, but sharing can bring greater clarity and awareness of areas in your life that God wants to transform. Discuss your progress with the homework and application during each session. Let your counselor know if anything had a significant impact or was particularly challenging. Accountability will also help motivate you to follow through each week. Commit to consistently practicing what you're learning, not just immediately after your session, but in the days and weeks that follow. 

True transformation through Christ-centered counseling comes from applying the knowledge and insights found in scripture. Only then will you experience heart and lifestyle changes as intended by God. Stay patient and remember that real, lasting change is a journey. Try not to be discouraged by inevitable setbacks or a slow pace of progress. With a commitment to the process, the support of your counselor, and God's grace, you will grow in Christ's likeness–which is the top priority!

- Ben Sheppard, Marketing & Development

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. - Philippians 1:6


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