A Christian Leadership Guide to Careers in Christian Counseling 

Counseling ministry with patient

Larissa Ferraro didn’t grow up knowing Jesus. Nor did she care too much for Him when she first saw a Christian counselor. All she knew was that she needed help, that she needed guidance, and that the answers she was getting from family, friends, and modern medicines weren’t working. 

According to her testimony which is shared on Faith Bible Seminary, once she attended a Christian Counseling conference, however, she was amazed at how “God had answers to all {her} non-organic problems.”

Suddenly consumed with the opportunities to pursue Christ and encourage others to grow and develop in their Christian faith, Larissa decided to walk away from her career as a business woman and pursue a life of Christian Counseling. Since then, her life, her marriage, and her struggles with infertility have turned into opportunities to comfort others, just as God has comforted her, allowing her the opportunity of finding a new calling within the world of Christian Counseling. Her days are now filled with opportunities to bless others, point people to Christ, and work on a book “about intimacy in marriage for women.”

Explore a Christian Ministry Degree – Request More Info Today!

Christian counseling is not only a unique opportunity to bless and encourage the men and women around you, it is a unique combination of caring for another’s mind, body, heart, and eternal soul. Being a Christian counselor isn’t just acknowledging and fixing the obvious and tangible problem, it is considering the holistic perspective of the person and discovering ways Christ can enter their heart and change their lives. 

It is an opportunity to change lives, both in the immediate and everlasting future. 

If you, like Larissa, have a heart to help others, if you long to spend your days working with and supporting those who are in need, who have lost hope in themselves, others, and perhaps even God, becoming a Christian counselor just might be the career and opportunity for you.

christian counseling enriches lives logo

A Career in Christian Counseling Enriches Lives!

Combine modern day science with biblical teachings and truth.
Discover the benefits of becoming a licensed pastoral counselor.

What Is Christian Counseling?

Christian counseling, as described by the International Association of Biblical Counselors, “seeks to carefully discover those areas in which a Christian may be disobedient to the principles and commands of Scripture and to help him {or her} learn how to lovingly submit to God’s will.”

Christian Counseling Has Come a Long Way in the Past Generation

Depressed womanStarting in the mid 60’s through the early 70’s, Christian counseling was introduced by Jay E. Adams and his book, Competent to Counsel. In it, Adams expounded upon his belief that it was the church’s responsibility to heal the morally corrupt rather than society’s job to prescribe medication.

All maladaptive behaviors, he believed, were the consequences of sin and should therefore be confronted, confessed, and weeded out through the power of the Word of God. Nothing more.

Today, Christian counseling has absorbed a more holistic and integrated philosophy and practice. 

Christian counseling deals with the whole person – mind, body, soul, and spirit – and is conducted in full alignment with Christian values. Much like mainstream counseling, the goal of Christian counseling is to help people regain a sense of control, purpose, and hope in their lives. Yet, unlike mainstream counseling, Christian counseling believes and teaches that we find that sense of control, purpose, and hope in Jesus Christ.

What this looks like, however, can vary, depending on your chosen practice. 

Different Approaches and Modalities Can All Fall Under the Umbrella of Christian Counseling

Although the foundation of Christian counseling may be the same, the structure that it is built upon may look slightly different. A list may include, but is not limited to, the following: 

Christian Psychotherapy: the goal of a psychotherapist is to help clients, primarily through dialogue, work through and overcome specific or general problems such as mental illness or sources of stress. 

Christian Psychology: With a goal to integrate Christianity into psychology, a Christian psychologist will incorporate psychology theories with biblical theology, often with a focus on God’s grace and forgiveness. 

Biblical Counseling: Rather than using outside texts or theories, biblical counseling holds fast to the belief that all answers can be found in the Word of God. The role of the counselor, then, is to connect the teachings, preaching, and stories of the Bible to today as well as directly to the individual’s life. 

Pastoral Counseling: With the goal of integrating psychological and theological concepts, pastoral counseling focuses on faith, spirituality, and theology while utilizing prayer, scripture study, and service to the community. 

How to Become a Christian Counselor

Woman visiting Christian counselorYou do not need a master’s degree to provide Christ-centered counseling. Nor do you need a formal degree to carry another's burden or provide a shoulder to cry on. What you do need is compassion, a heart for people, and a personal relationship with Christ. 

To provide licensed psychological therapy and spiritual guidance to individuals, couples, families, and groups, however, you will need to be highly trained – according to Best Counseling Degrees – in both psychology and theology. 

Education Requirements for Pastoral Counselors

To be a pastoral counselor, an undergraduate degree in psychology, theology, religious studies, or other human services is required. Once obtained, pastoral counselors will have to earn a graduate degree or doctoral degree. To balance the science with biblical ideologies, many choose to pursue a Master's of Divinity with a concentration in theology, Biblical studies, spirituality, or pastoral counseling. 

Requirements to Become a Licensed Pastoral Counselor

In addition to the above educational requirements, to become a licensed pastoral counselor, you must either pursue and become a Licensed Pastoral Counselor (LPC) license, become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or obtain a Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) license.

To continue their education and professional growth, as well as help build confidence in their profession, pastoral counselors often become Certified Pastoral Counselors (CpastC) or Certified Clinical Pastoral Therapists (CCPT) from the American Association of Pastoral Counselors, a program that provides clinical pastoral educators an opportunity to become academically prepared and fully authorized by a recognized faith group.

How a Career in Christian Counseling Can Enrich Lives While Resolving Challenges

A career in Christian counseling allows you opportunities to help those who are struggling with addition, depression, and trauma. 

A career in Christian counseling provides you an opportunity to combine modern day science with biblical teachings and truth, providing you a unique and holistic perspective on healing and growth.

A career in Christian counseling is an opportunity to live a life of service to Christ by serving those He came to save. 

If you have a heart for Jesus and the gospel message, if you share Christ's heart and long to serve those in need, comfort those in pain, and guide those who are lost into a deeper, more meaningful understanding of life in Christ, there may not be a better opportunity or career than Christian Counseling. 

Transform Lives through Christian Counseling!

If you have a heart for Jesus, the gospel, helping others and guiding them in their faith journey, consider Christian Counseling as a fulfilling career. Obtain your degree in Christian Counseling to make a lasting impact.