Before You Go To Counseling
by Jalea Seals, Licensed Professional Counselor
If you could design how healing works how would you design it?
If we were honest I think most people would want their hurt to be self-healing. Not unlike the bad guy in Terminator II. Be able to heal without the help of others without sharing the knowledge of being weak and wounded.
I believe we often seek professional counseling in order to limit the amount of individuals aware of our wholly un-togetherness. But in doing so we miss something beautiful, we miss God’s design for healing.
Healing often occurs through counseling because it provides empathy, encouragement, challenge, understanding (being known), hope and space to be vulnerable.
What if the Church fulfilled these roles?
The Church, the big “C” Church, the body of Christ, fellow believers in the good news of the Jesus, YOU AND ME.
Who is better qualified to empathize, encourage and challenge you, the Church? Who has a better hope to herald than the Gospel of Jesus? Who has a better understanding of your identity in Christ than those who share in it as heirs? What encouragement is their outside of the good news of Jesus?
Please know who is talking to you. I am a clinically trained licensed professional counselor. I have gone through 3 rounds of therapy trying to work out my daddy/mommy/sibling/friend issues and I have never been known as well, encouraged as genuinely or challenged as deeply as I am in my City Group, Discipleship Group, in my godly friendships or in my marriage.
Here is the deal when we as the Church offer empathy, encouragement, challenge, understanding and hope, we are not just caring for our weak and wounded we are caring for each other. We are functioning, as Paul Tripp says, instruments in the hands of our Redeemer.
Before you go to counseling:
1. Cultivate your relationship with God
- a. Be honest in your prayers
b. Pray for courage
2. Cultivate godly friendships.
- a. Get involved in gospel saturated communities (City Groups, Discipleship Group, wherever) don’t just show up; be known.
b. Use the courage God has given you to be honest and vulnerable–talk, share your story, ask for help, encourage others with what God has shown you.
God called me to counseling and I am an advocate for it but I worry when it has become our first and only resort.
God designed us to live connected lives, to be known, mutually encouraged and constantly reminded of his redeeming work in our heart and in our world. His story line needs to be on repeat in our minds which requires more time than 50 minutes once a week.
Before you go to counseling for empathy, encouragement, challenge, understanding, hope and space to be vulnerable try the Church, God’s bride, the very body of Christ.
If you would like to know more about counseling at The Paradox please visit here.