As a pastor, counselor /psychologist, I am always interested in what is going on within the Christian community of counseling.
Although there are pastors who sometimes disagree, counseling is such an important need within Christianity.
It has always been part of the fellowship of Christians which has always insisted that we are to confess to one another our needs, our hurts and our sin.
Recently I was invited as a counselor to the North Central area of the Rio Grande Valley to meet with an addiction counselor at a rehabilitation and recovery center he had just started working at.
This was a supposed Christian Counseling and rehabilitation center.
With all due respect, it appeared neither Christian nor definitely not any kind of a professional rehabilitation or recovery facility.
Glassy eyed, rambling, people were running loose without supervision and many were obviously still using some addictive medications.
As I drove in the parking lot l was greeted by a young man who ran up to the car and just gazed into the car in a catatonic state just rambling something unintelligible under his breath.
It took the other counselor who worked there about five minutes to get the patient off the door so I could get out of the car.
The facility was horrible.
It was basically a couple of acres with three or four buildings which most seemed near collapse.
The facility was not fenced with no security and close to a main highway easily accessible by drug dealers.
When this counselor writer began talking with staff including the counselor who invited me, it was obvious that nobody there had any degree level counseling knowledge, no internship or residency and only one person had any addiction counseling certification and his certification was outdated.
As previously stated, this was supposed to be a Christian facility yet it was not associated with any known church or denomination.
More genuine Christian counseling and rehabilitation/recovery centers and facilities are needed but not like this.
A genuine counseling facility must have degree trained counselors with multiple certifications in their fields of specialty.
With the same regard, just because a church has a degreed pastor does not make a church a counseling center or the pastor a counselor.
Some of the finest pastor/ preachers known would be the first to admit they are not and will not counsel anyone with an emotional, psychological or addictive problem; not because they’re cruel or uncaring but because they are not qualified to counsel outside of the theological realm.
Many churches and denominations are encouraging the establishment of genuine Christian counseling centers with proper training, facilities and certifications.
Centers like the one this writer/counselor recently visited should be shut down and those doing the so called counseling reprimanded for their attempts and not allowed to do so until adequate certification obtained.
Many of these kinds of centers develop as the result of those who think they have been miraculously healed of their addiction and either convinces a naïve pastor or they set out on their own attempting to use non accepted and unprofessional methods to supposedly help those addictive break their addiction.
Although this writer/counselor believes strongly in miracles and healings, in thirty years I have never seen a supposedly healed addict that didn’t eventually fall back deeper than before and ultimately have to be admitted into a long term inpatient recovery/rehabilitation facility.
One of the key points of the Christian life is truthful living and Christians must be truthful about Christian Counseling of all kinds.
Make sure if you seek counseling, even Christian counseling, your counselor has more than a two year degree and a single certification.
Before you accept his or her advice, check them out. Look into their experience and background.
By all means seek out counseling if you find you have a problem with addiction, marriage difficulties, emotional distress or more.
Good genuine counseling and counselors are essential to a strong Christian community to increase our witness for Christ throughout the world.
May God bless us all as we seek the mighty counselor; even our Lord Jesus Christ.
© 2013 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III