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Biblical Counseling vs. Licensed Mental Health Counseling

Biblical Counseling vs. Licensed Mental Health Counseling

At Peace Family Counseling our goal is to help you restore peace and hope in your life and relationships. One approach we offer is by being a faith-based counseling group. By this we mean, we want to integrate faith in a way that is respectful of where you are at in your spiritual journey. We strive to make people comfortable when they come to us for counseling and will never integrate these two (mental health and biblical counseling) unless requested by the client. For more about our approach to faith integration and counseling, you can click here. And for more about the difference between the license types for mental health counselors, you can click here.

While we believe both licensed mental health counseling and biblical counseling can serve a purpose in helping people heal, it can be difficult to know where to start, especially if you’re not sure what the difference is between the two approaches. In this blog post, we will identify 5 main differences between the two.

A Difference in Education

Licensed mental health counselors receive a master’s degree from an accredited university in psychology or a psychology related field. The focus of their studies is rooted in psychological theories and evidence-based practices. Professionals in this field draw upon established therapeutic models such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), psychoanalysis, and life-span development to address mental and emotional issues.

Biblical counselors may or may not attend a Christian college or Seminary, and may or may not have a degree in counseling. Most Biblical counselors will go through some type of certification or training process in order to learn the techniques and principles to help people heal. Biblical counseling is grounded in religious principles and scriptural teachings, integrating faith and spirituality into the therapeutic process.

Framework

Another key distinction revolves around the framework which guides the counseling process. Mental health counseling relies on empirical research and established psychological theories, emphasizing the importance of evidence-based practices. Mental health counselors will seek specific training on these evidence-based practices and may use a variety of interventions tailored to the individuals’ preferences and ways of learning and growing.

Biblical counseling places the Bible as the ultimate framework. Practitioners in this field believe that spiritual guidance and adherence to biblical principles are essential for addressing mental and emotional struggles. Biblical counselors typically receive ongoing training on interventions to help people heal that are rooted in the Bible.

Goals and Outcomes

The goals and objectives of mental health counseling and biblical counseling also diverge.

Mental health counseling aims to alleviate symptoms, enhance coping mechanisms, and promote overall psychological well-being. Therapists in this field work towards helping individuals develop insight into their behaviors and how they show up in relationships, creating healthier coping skills, and developing resilience.

On the other hand, biblical counseling seeks to integrate faith into the healing process, aiming to address not only the symptoms but also the spiritual aspects of a person’s life. The ultimate goal is often spiritual growth and a deeper connection with one’s faith.

Integration of Faith

Mental health counseling generally focuses on psychological and emotional aspects and can incorporate religious or spiritual elements when requested by the client. Mental health counselors often have a deep understanding of human behaviors, how past injuries (emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.) help create current thought patterns and ways of processing the world around them. With this knowledge, mental health counselors work toward identifying triggers and creating healthy boundaries.

Biblical counseling is the explicit integration of faith into the therapeutic process. Practitioners view mental and emotional struggles through a spiritual lens, exploring how one’s relationship with God and adherence to biblical principles can impact their well-being.

View of Human Nature

The foundational beliefs about human nature form another contrast between mental health counseling and biblical counseling. Mental health counseling typically emphasizes individual autonomy, personal growth, and the potential for positive change.

In contrast, biblical counseling views human nature through a theological lens, acknowledging the impact of sin and brokenness while also emphasizing the potential for redemption and transformation through a relationship with God.

In summary, mental health counseling and biblical counseling differ significantly in their theoretical foundations, sources of authority, goals, integration of faith, and views of human nature. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for individuals seeking counseling services, allowing them to choose an approach aligned with their beliefs, values, and preferences. Whether rooted in psychology or faith, both forms of counseling contribute valuable perspectives to the diverse landscape of mental health support.

 

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