Christian counseling · Christianity · Transitioning life's choices

Transitioning To Lay-Counseling From Graduate Degree Training

pretty 3I’ve been thinking awhile now about promoting myself as a Christian Counselor, someone who has been trained in Counseling, but earned her degree in a mainstream, worldly university.  I thought I would share about how I am going about starting a company from my past experience as a counselor in mental health.

Once a registered intern in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling, earning a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology years ago, I studied theories and worked in the field along the path of becoming a licensed therapist.  But I had a special heart for the very mentally ill, and drug-addicted people adding complications to trying to figure out what had happened to those people.  In some of my therapy groups, some of my clients would ask me whether I thought they were mentally ill first, leading to their drug addiction, or whether they were drug addicted first, leading to their mental illness?  

These would be complicated questions, and I would ask them to provide detailed information about their life’s history’s, focusing on family relationships.  I would ask who in their families had mental illness, who had drug addictions, or other addictions and try to help them sort out what they suffered from, first: mental illness, such as depression, or drug addiction to medicate their pain.  It was an important question for many on their mental health journeys.

But I have learned there is a soul sickness that many of us have had; those of us who were raised without God and having no idea who He is.  He may have been a man in the sky which we resented because we’ve been treated as “less than” than men or we have been taught that he is a mean Father figure who can’t be figured out, or who supposedly punished us to make us hate him  Whatever the definition of God was to many of us who got the definition wrong, we didn’t want God in our lives.pretty2

My story took a bad turn, well several, and I came upon God who has changed my way of thinking about the counseling industry.  
As a reformed mental health clinician which is what I was referred to in my former life’s career, I have found God to be the most inspiring therapist in all the world.  I’ve been around long enough to know this, at least for myself.  He has shown me ways that I did not know existed, like a heart-felt love for strangers and people I’ve known, that I never knew I had!  The Holy Spirit is Precious and gives us life-sustaining love, encouragement and true comfort!

Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths.  Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. ~ Psalm 25:04-5

 

What I want to do is to teach some of the skills I learned in graduate school that I think are still helpful as a counselor; be you a lay-counselor, or a mental health clinician like I was. Any form of counseling may be helpful, but I think God has to be in the relationship you have with the person you are supporting.  It’s not clinical diagnosing like I have been trained, but having an ear for listening, supporting, and being there for another person.  These are the traits I would expect from a counselor of any kind.

image prettyMaking a transition to a Godly lay-counselor from a mainstream academic, worldly, University degree program will be a huge change.  Like water is to wine; there is a big difference.  

If you step into a new field, there is plenty of preparation and laying of the groundwork. Like building any new house you have to have a strong foundation.

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. ~ Matthew 7:24-27

A strong biblical foundation will serve you in every new change made in your life.  Let the Lord Jesus Christ lead you, and you will live your life in ways that are satisfying, and well-spent.

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