What is Christian counseling?

iHope is a distinctly Christian counseling center. We say this often, and it’s even printed on our business cards.

But what does it even mean?

Christian counseling is a typical mental health counseling process, involving a client who sits down with a trained counselor to work together toward a goal – with the distinction that the counselor incorporates biblical truths and relies first and foremost upon the power and truth of God’s Word in Scripture. 

In Christian counseling, the counselor keeps the Bible as the foundation of everything that is discussed, suggested, or processed. But this does not mean that the counselor only uses the Bible. For most issues, the counselor will also bring in other mental health counseling interventions or strategies that are in line with biblical principles. 

For example, one intervention that might be used is called “thought stopping and replacement,” which is an intervention from a model of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). There is a lot of research showing that CBT is helpful for issues like anxiety or depression. But even more importantly, this intervention from CBT aligns with Scriptural truths. Much as Paul tells us in Philippians 4:8, our thought life is hugely influential on us. This intervention teaches us how to stop our unhelpful or untrue thoughts and replace them with truth. We can take the thought captive and submit it to Christ’s lordship – which is grounded in truth. 

At iHope, each of our counselors are professionally trained as well as active, professing Christians. They bring this into the counseling room in different ways, but all are comfortable with spiritual interventions like prayer, Bible reading, and Christian fellowship. 

Christian counseling is not magic – but, neither is Christianity. We rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, the truth of the gospel, and trust in Christ for our healing and redemption. May He be praised by every counseling session calling itself “Christian counseling.”

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Communications Director