It's a mistaken belief that being a Christian means never experiencing difficulties that require help from a counselor. Many Christians find that the storms of life can be overwhelming and would be easier to handle with qualified Biblical guidance. Finding a good Christian counselor takes careful consideration to ensure that you receive advice that's in line with a faithful lifestyle.
Spend Time in Prayer
Admitting that you need a counselor to help you is a leap of faith. You're about to trust someone else with the most intimate difficulties in your life. Don't forget, though, that God already knows what you're going through and will point you in the direction of someone that you'll be comfortable with. Begin your search with time in prayer. Ask God to show you where to look and the type of person to look for. Continue to pray throughout your search for help narrowing down choices.
Ask Your Pastor for Guidance
The pastor of your church may know of good Christian counselors in the area. He may be trained in counseling himself or be able to connect you with other mature believers who have counseling experience. He can also pray for you and with you, both about the problems that you're dealing with and the search for a counselor. Remember that the people at your church share the love of Christ and don't want to see a fellow believer in distress. They'll do whatever they can to help you find guidance.
Look for a Biblical Focus
A Christian counselor should have a clear statement of faith. Study these carefully for each counselor that you're considering. Test them against Scripture to check that the guiding philosophy is Biblically sound. In addition, ask the counselors questions about how they apply the Bible and prayer to their practice. Find out if they pray with those they counsel and if they base their recommendations on Biblical teachings and principles. You want to be sure that the advice you get will be firmly rooted in Biblical truth.
Although a focus on God and adherence to Scripture is of utmost importance, the counselor you choose must also have the proper educational background. Research the school that they studied at to see if it's accredited. Note what degree they earned, and ask about their years of experience in counseling. Look into the type of license that they have and if that license is officially recognized in your state. Affiliations with respected professional organizations add another layer of credibility. The counselor must also be familiar with the types of problems you're dealing with in order to offer the best advice.
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A true Christian counselor displays patience and love toward clients but also doesn't hesitate to point out when something in their lives conflicts with Biblical teachings. He or she should be open and caring both while listening and while giving advice with the end goal of helping you overcome your problems using God's guidance. This is where praying together can help a great deal. You may not always like the advice that you get, but having someone pray with you about it makes it easier to see how to put what God is telling you into practice.
If your search for a Christian counselor seems to take longer than you expected, don't worry. Persist in prayer and continue to look. God will guide you to the right person, and once He does, you'll be glad you took the time to find truly spiritual support.