What is Christ-Centered Counseling?
Counseling is not just a clinical form of employment that enables a therapist to achieve a sense of heightened self-worth or personal satisfaction. For the committed Christian, it is a God-given opportunity to reach into a hurting community with genuine hope. As Christ-centered therapists, our professional training is enhanced by the healing agents of God’s immutable Word and the power of the Holy Spirit. We are not limited to diagnostics, assessments and the ever popular DSM-IV. While we embrace these as legitimate tools, we also recognize that we are in partnership with the Master Counselor. The Holy Spirit is our eternal advisor who delights in giving his protégés words of knowledge, words of wisdom and prophetic utterances to facilitate the healing process. Through this divine partnership we are empowered as ambassadors in the authority of Christ Jesus.
As Christian counselors, we share the concerns of Christ for the whole man: body, soul and spirit. We are the healing community that our society so desperately needs! Our ministry is open to “whosoever will” as they respond to the love of Christ Jesus. To the unsaved and hurting masses we extend the hope that is in Christ. To the prodigals of the world we extend the promise of a fresh embrace and reconciliation. Evangelism of the lost and reclamation of the backslidden is a priority.
As followers of Christ, we are also called to be “good and faithful stewards” of the resources that have been entrusted to us. We recognize that we have been given legitimate and needed skills that should be accessible to those around us. The talents that we have received must be invested wisely for there to be a measurable return. It is here that we need to face the reality of marketing. Allow me to submit the following question in an allegory: “Would it be appropriate for a woman with a high risk pregnancy to continue to see her chiropractor when she needs the expertise of a qualified OBGYN?” How tragic it would be to discover that the needed professional was just one door down but inaccessible because neither the woman nor her chiropractor knew the OBGYN was there. How many high risk people are there who could benefit from our training and giftedness but simply do not know who or where we are?
We must get the word out. I am not talking about unabashed, narcissistic, self-promotion, but rather a well developed plan that accurately portrays our product. Let us determine to be proactive and network with other professionals in the healing community, give out our business cards and hang up our shingles. We did not come to this place in our career to just sit in our office and anxiously wait for the phone to ring. Oh, how I needed to hear that! I have shied away from any serious marketing for fear of being seen as self-promoting. I have been too laid back, simply relying on referrals from a few friends that have trusted my work.
We also recognize that while we may be gifted, we are not all things to all people. The skilled surgeon has an array of instruments at his disposal. Each one has been designed for a specific function and serves its purpose in the healing process. We mirror those similarities. As responsible Christian counselors, we are aware of both our expertise and our limitations. We seek only to be used as His instruments in those areas where we are best suited. When considering the complexities of human development, the proclivity of the sin nature and the resulting individual and family dysfunction, each one of us must answer the following question: “Where does God want me to focus my practice?” Because we value the concepts of teamwork and recognize the necessity of collaboration with colleagues of like precious faith, we need to develop a referral network. Having the ability to direct our clients to other clinicians with the specific expertise needed will enhance and safeguard our clients and our credibility.
As practitioners in the Christ-centered mental health arena, we have an obligation to guard not only our reputations but also the reputations of our colleagues who share our value system. For this reason we must be professional in all our business dealings. The first rule in counseling is, “do no harm”. Knowing and adhering to a Biblical standard as well as an ethical code of conduct is not an option. It is a necessity. Developing and maintaining authentic accountability relationships safeguard us, our clients and our profession. There is no room for prideful attitudes that promote haphazard conduct in our public or private lives.
In our business practices, we should also strive to set an example of excellence in the materials we use. Having appropriate forms for data gathering, record keeping, policies and procedures, stationery and business cards should all be the best quality that we can provide. Counseling is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a variety of skills. We should enhance our strengths, staff our weaknesses, and avoid the temptation to do it all. If need be, partner with a group that provides that needed assistance.
I knew that I needed to speak to someone as I was really hurting and needed to talk but it was very difficult for me to admit that my marriage had sunk to an all-time low like it did. . . He hit me between the eyes with a statement that really caught my attention. It is a statement I will never forget as long as I live. This was my true wake up call, literally — George stated that “if you lose your family because of ministry, you have already disqualified yourself from ministry.” Wow! By now the…
For any and all who have a need for Godly counsel and spiritual direction, George would be among those at the top of my list of recommended providers.
God used you in our lives in a powerful way. Your presence, counsel, prayer, and phone calls have been a source of healing and hope.
I want to let you know that my husband and I renewed our vows in June 2014. (44 years) Your counsel and encouragement for me to take some time for God to work in his life and mine really helped me. God opened Bill’s eyes to his blind spots and renewed our love for one another during the nearly four months that I stayed in Colorado. Thank you! And Praise the Lord!
George was extremely helpful. He empathized with my struggles and really cared about my future. He was a great listener, but also offered so much practical advice and wisdom. Each week I felt like I left with something to work through which would draw me closer to functioning effectively in Christ.
Our meeting with you last week was very beneficial. I personally felt like you were delivering a message directly from God, straight into our hearts.
George went above and beyond what anyone could expect in using the gifts and abilities God has equipped him with to help guide our family through the healing process at such a traumatic time in our life.
He has a pastor’s heart, is trustworthy, a gifted communicator, a loyal husband and father, but most of all a devoted follower of Christ.
I think of George as a person who is not just a theologian, but also a believer who leads by example. His personal relationship with the Father has brought him through the many struggles that we all face, in a way that is an example to everyone with whom he has come in contact.
Thank you so much for your prayers, support with wisdom, counsel and guidance. May our Lord give back to you more in every aspect of your life for the time spent guiding us wounded sheep. You have been a tremendous blessing.
Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed your message this morning. You were right on target and your illustration was exceptionally effective.
It was a great first meeting with you. I’m so glad my spouse consented to join us. You have come up in conversation several times today as we have reflected on what God did through you last night. You are being used mightily by Him in your counseling. Thanks again.
You have a gift. I definitely felt the Holy Spirit working through you. Using scripture and keeping God at the center was awesome.
In 2008 I hit my rock bottom… Your faithfulness to Christ’s calling most likely saved my life, marriage, and family… You gave us a lot of guidelines that were extremely helpful in giving us hope, and which turned my behavior and habits around… Had you not been there, I’m pretty sure I might be dead by now.
George was warm and friendly and always put us at ease. He was extremely encouraging and transparent, which helped us in discussion. We were given some valuable insights for our upcoming marriage.
God used your prayers and encouragement to help us not give up and to continue to stay faithful to God’s work. We genuinely appreciate you.
George Stahnke is caring, knowledgeable, professional, and sincere. What everyone needs when they are having a hard time.