You are a man, and you need counseling. You know it; your friends or family have been bugging you and now you are ready to take the plunge. You want a Christian counselor, and now you need to decide whom to call.
Asking your pastor (if you attend a church) is an easy first step but if you are not a regular attender or are uncomfortable with that, what is the next option?
If you are like most men, you don’t like looking a rookie. You may call a trusted friend for his recommendation, just like you were hunting for a good mechanic. Opinions are like noses (everybody has one), and while you may get a suggestion, how do you know if it is the right fit for you?
There are relatively few common standards for someone to call themselves a Christian counselor. When you look for a lawyer, physician or CPA you can be assured that any name on a list means that person has met a minimum level of schooling and competency.
What Christian Counselor Is Right For You?
Here are seven questions you should address upfront before you call:
- Are you able to pay? Some church counselors operate on a free or donation basis. Most professional counselors will have a fee schedule. You are making an investment in your future, and it is well worth it to find competent help. Most accept credit cards or will work out a payment schedule with you.
- What shared beliefs/backgrounds are important to you? Check their website for a statement of beliefs. Is the center under a church/denomination or are they stand alone. It is important to understand what they believe about the bible and about the present day power and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Do they believe in healing, signs and wonders, deliverance and so on? Ask about what is important to you!
- Does anyone you know recommend this counselor/counseling practice? If not, do they have a website with client testimonials that you can check?
- If they are a licensed counselor, who is their licensing with? Are they licensed by a Christian counseling body (AACC, NCCA for example) or are they state-licensed? State licensed counselors may have limitations on views they can share on topics where the world and bible differ (same sex attraction, for example).
- What are the services offered, educational and experience levels of staff? If possible, review this online prior to calling so you can better know whom you want to meet with.
- Have they helped other people with issues similar to the ones you are facing? Many counselors/counseling centers will have client testimonials on their website.
- Is the nature of your issue such that you need to meet with a male counselor? Most Christian counselors are female. If you are dealing with lust or sexual issues, you are going to be better served by meeting with a man. That is just common sense.
If you have these answers in hand, you will be better able to determine who can best help you. You will know much more after the first session with the person, but this upfront legwork should lessen the uncertainty for you!
Check out our YouTube video on the same subject!