FAQs about Counseling
1. What is the counseling ministry?
The Center for Biblical Counseling (CBC) is a ministry of the Word. We believe the majority of counseling needs people face today are spiritual in nature and that the Scripture is sufficient and applicable to address them. We offer counseling for people in need and training in counseling for those who want to sharpen their knowledge and skills in helping others. Many who participate in one or both of these counseling ministries find they are blessed with a greater recognition of God’s grace and power in their life and an increasing appreciation for the wisdom and applicability of His Word.
2. What is Nouthetic counseling?
We understand counseling to be “intensified personalized discipleship in the Word of God.” It differs from the preaching of the Word with respect to the intensity with which it is applied to a specific need. It is “personalized” as opposed to being generally taught and applied as is the case with the preaching of the Word in public worship. And it is “discipleship” in that the goal for the person being helped is to grow more into the image of Christ, experiencing the fruit of the Spirit and displaying a godly life.
The word “Nouthetic” comes from the Greek word “noutheteo.” It can be translated “admonish, warn or exhort.” “The verb means ‘to impart understanding,’ ‘to set right,’ ‘to lay on the heart.’ The stress is on influencing not merely the intellect but the will and disposition….the idea is not that of punishment but of a moral appeal that leads to amendment.” (Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament – “Kittel”) It is our conviction that the Gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ brings about an inward transformation of the heart and life of the one who places his trust in Him. In counseling we seek to come alongside the counselee in order to assist him in this transformation process, aided by God’s Word and Spirit.
3. What does it cost?
CBC is a ministry of Christ Church of Moscow Idaho. As a ministry we do not charge for our counseling.
However, we do give away a tremendous amount of literature to those we counsel as a help in bringing them closer to Christ. If you are interested in becoming involved in the ministry of CBC through financial means, please feel free to contribute.
4. Who is in charge of the counseling ministry?
CBC has a board of directors which is overseen by the session of elders of Christ Church, Moscow. Pastor Mike Lawyer is an associate minister with Christ Church and he is the executive director of CBC. We have lay counselors who are in various stages of training and these are overseen by Dr. Lawyer
5. What is Dr. Lawyer’s training and experience?
Dr. Lawyer pastored for twenty years before coming to Christ Church. He has been with us for almost eleven years. He has received a Bachelor of arts in Philosophy from the University of Idaho, a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and a Doctor of Ministry in Counseling from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.
6. Does anyone else counsel?
Yes. There are others who counsel to a lesser degree and still others who are being trained. It is our hope that the number of people trained in counseling will increase. In reality everyone counsels every day. Each time we give advice, make a suggestion as to how someone might respond to a situation, correct our children or give comfort we are counseling. Our desire is to help people grow in their ability to do this.
7. Where is the counseling done?
Most of the counseling is done at the Anselm House, which house the offices of Christ Church and CBC.
8. How long do the sessions last?
The first session usually lasts a little over an hour. Subsequent sessions run slightly less than one hour.
9. How many sessions does counseling usually last?
The number of sessions depends on the nature and severity of the problem, the response of the counselee, and the number of problems that need to be addressed.
10. Must you be a member of the church to receive counseling?
No you do not have to be a member of Christ Church to receive counsel.
11. What type of problems do you counsel?
We counsel a wide variety of problems such as marital conflict, depression, panic attacks, anger, parenting issues, anxiety, drug and sexual enslavement, various types of sexual problems and more.
12. What is your view on psychiatric medication?
Medication can be helpful in certain situations by allowing a counselee to recover enough clarity of thought to enable him to interact and respond to counsel sufficiently in order to facilitate change. Medication, though, does not address the root of non-organic (spiritual) problems. It is important therefore to address such problems spiritually from the Word of God. Biblical counselors, unless properly licensed, do not prescribe or take counselees off of psychiatric medication. We do seek to work with medical doctors when addressing questions regarding such matters.
13. Is the counseling kept confidential?
The Bible clearly says that gossip is sin. Therefore, those who counsel as a part of CBC’s counseling ministry will not release information about particular counselees except in the few situations required by the Bible and then only to those who need to know. Those situations are: (1) when someone is being or in danger of being harmed, this includes the counselee; (2) when necessary to prevent a crime from occurring or to report the occurrence of criminal activity (see Romans 13:1-7); (3) when someone persistently refuses to repent or to stop a sinful pattern and it becomes necessary to seek assistance from his/her church (see Matthew 18:15-18).
14. What if I miss an appointment?
There is no penalty for missed appointments, but we do ask that you be a good steward of your time and the counselor’s time as well. Repeated misses may result in the cessation of counseling until the counselee is able to make scheduled appointments.
15. Is there anything else I should know?
Yes, there are several things that might be helpful.
- Part of CBC’s counseling ministry involves teaching and training people to counsel. It is possible that someone in training might sit in with your counselor to observe the session. You may inquire as to who that might be and if there are practical reasons why it would not be wise to have that person sit in other arrangements can be made.
- We believe the counseling of non-organic (problems with spiritual roots) problems is properly viewed as a ministry of the Word of God done in the context of shepherding (Ez 34:1-16, 2 Tim 3:16). It is one part of CBC’s effort to proclaim God’s truth so that the “manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church” (Eph 3:10). Therefore since we counsel under the authority of the church and see it as a vital part of her ministry, if the counselor believes it is necessary to seek the advice of or report to a person’s elders he/she will do so. That is a rare occasion, but we do want to be upfront with you. Should that occur the counselor will speak with you first regarding the matter.