Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?

We’re going to try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about Christian counseling in this post. Have a question that wasn’t covered here? Leave a comment or send us a message over on the contact page!

What do you have to do to become a Christian counselor?

We categorize Apis and Ivy as a Christian counseling center because every counselor who works here has either a therapy degree from a seminary or a separate theological degree in addition to their therapy degree. Theological training is important because we want our counselors to have in-depth knowledge of Christian beliefs before we advertise as Christian counselors. We also want to make sure that we’re advertising accurately. Lots of therapists identify as Christians, but most don’t have any formal training in integrating theological beliefs into mental health practice.

Not all Christian counselors have this kind of training. In fact, many churches hire ‘counselors’ who are just kind, empathetic people with no counseling experience or even a degree in therapy. Practitioners in the state of California should have a MFT, PCC, or MSW designation to show they’ve completed a master’s level degree and have training in how to do therapy.

Why is Apis and Ivy a Christian group?

We do this because it’s easier to get on insurance panels with a specialization. Many insurance panels won’t accept new therapists who don’t specialize in something specific, and many areas don’t have any Christian counselors listed at all.

We also want to make it easy for people who want Christian counseling to find us. It can be hard to find a therapist who is trained in integrating theology and mental health unless they specifically advertise.

What about people who aren’t Christian?

Because all our therapists are either licensed professionals or post-graduate associates, everyone here is able to do appropriate therapy whether you’re Christian or not. We’ll ask you about your religious beliefs during the intake at your first session. If you indicate that you’re not Christian, we’ll use the best possible empirically proven methods to help you meet your mental health goals. If you say you are Christian, we’ll ask you if you want to integrate religious or theological discussion into your sessions using empirically proven methods. You can always change your mind later.

Your therapist should never evangelize to you in session or pressure you about your religious or spiritual beliefs. In fact, that’s against the law. You can file a consumer complaint to the Board of Behavioral Sciences if you think your therapist is doing something illegal or unethical in your sessions.

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