If you’re asking yourself whether or not you should pursue a Christian counseling degree, you are probably feeling compelled by the crisis state of mental health in the United States.
While the debate rages over preventative solutions to the cycle of tragedies playing out all around us, you might be feeling a call to step in and do something. You want that something to play to your strengths and your interests, while fulfilling God’s call on your life. As you pursue your degree, seek advisors to help guide your interests and strengths along the way to your counseling degree.
A Christian Counselor’s Strengths
Within the general field of psychology there are specialized options such as children, adult, marriage, and addiction counseling; even social work contains many elements of counseling. While good Christian counselors will differ from one another in specialization and skill, there are a few strengths and traits all counselors should have. Let’s examine a few of those traits.
Help people who are hurting
- Empathy– Like sympathy, empathy involves acknowledging the suffering or struggles of another person, but it goes deeper by feeling that person’s pain and responding with compassionate understanding. A Christian counselor should have a great deal of empathy for fellow human beings.
- Acceptance – Christian counselors should have an intimate awareness of their own flaws and shortcomings so that they are more readily available to respond to the needs of others without a judgmental spirit. Every counselor should be able to accept people wherever they are in their lives, knowing that we live in a diverse world filled with people from all walks of life.
Navigate our ever-changing culture
- Problem solving– A Christian counselor is able to look into a person’s life, full of all of its many complexities and challenges, and use discernment to provide them with the tools they need to affect positive change in their life.
- Effective communication – A Christian counselor knows that their profession consists of many conversations as they try to help people work through the problems of life. They are excellent speakers who take complex ideas and tailor them to their audience so that the intended message is understood and taken to heart. They are also excellent listeners. They give people the respect, attention, and confidentiality they deserve as they are entrusted with deeply personal information.
Understand the brain and human behavior
- Science– As human beings, we are staggeringly complex. So too are the struggles and challenges we face. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one out of every six adults in America is living with a mental illness (44.7 million in 2016).Christian counseling seeks to navigate the complexities of mental illness and help make sense of them, with the Bible as the foundational lens through which every problem in the world today is viewed.
Be a Gospel-centered counselor
- Foundational faith– A Christian counselor is, you guessed it, a Christian. They approach each client with the underlying belief that and that the Gospel is the ultimate answer to all of life’s problems. A Christian counselor seeks to show each patient the love and kindness that God first showed them.
Learn more about degrees at north central university
As you consider whether this might be the path of study for you, we invite you to learn more about degrees at North Central. With decades of professional experience, the instructors in the School of Social & Behavioral Sciences at North Central University know that a competent and compassionate mental health practitioner such as a counselor can make a huge difference in the life of someone who is struggling. Download our free viewbook to learn more about how NCU could be a good fit for your future.