Church Counseling vs State Licensed Counseling

The recent Dugger case has brought this to the forefront.
What are your thoughts on Church Counseling vs State Licensed Counseling?

I have some experience in counseling in the area of marriage and overcoming sins but I am not a licensed counselor. I do not have the academic qualification. Our counseling are limited to advice and most times to walk through with them. In the light of the legal implication on this, our parish has put up a position for professional counselor and people like us are not qualified. People do still come to us for counseling though, either through reference by friends or they just know that we used to do it.

There is a thin line in defining church counseling. Though the principle is the same, we also use spiritual aspect in advising people which is not learned in a formal counseling degree. Perhaps the trend would be for those involved in some kind of counseling in the church that they should take up the necessary paper qualification.


It depends on what you are receiving counseling for and in what state you live in.

It is becoming harder and harder to find state-licensed counselors that are willing to take a Christian approach to any issue. I have a relative, for example, who was seeking marriage counseling and had a benefit through his workplace that he could use. But none of the counselors on the list were willing to even discuss the marriage as a life-long Sacrament. The starting point was whether now is a good time to get divorced. :frowning: I have heard similar stories for other family counseling situations such as encouraging teen family members in being sexually active, telling parents to stop taking their children to Church and other “recommendations” that come from a different world view than a church counselor would take.

If it is a psychological or psychiatric issue, more training and certification is probably the way to go.

The only real effective counselor is one that is both state licensed AND Christian. If the session does not begin and end with prayer, look for someone else. I have walked out of sessions with non-Christian counselors when I realize they are hostile to people of faith.

What happens when a therapist is counseling a non-Christian?

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