Is it OK for Christians to participate in counseling?
Some Christian leaders have spoken out against psychology as a discipline that does not acknowledge the role that God plays in restoring mental or relational health and well being. Dr. Ramsey is not a psychologist but a Marriage and Family Therapist. Dr. Ramsey provides a Christ centered approach counseling when clients prefer that God be part of their healing process. Christ centered therapy may include the use of scriptures and biblical examples to illustrate therapeutic insights, praying with clients, direction based on biblical principles and God’s plan for his disciples. Some examples of reasons why Christians my choose a professional counselor include:
· Personal Sin: When sin becomes too much for an individual or couple to overcome with their personal sources of support, counselors can help by facilitating awareness, repentance, and commitment.
· Spiritual Warfare: Helping people identify and break down the strongholds in their life that may be challenging their ability to make Christ like decisions and spiritual growth.
· Undisciplined Living: Sloppy living habits, careless indulgence, and inattention to everyday responsibilities can lead a person down a path to significant stress. Learning to prioritize, organize, and make disciplined decisions about how time is spent can be facilitated in counseling sessions.
· Psychological Disorders: Overwhelming life events or genetic/chemical issues can result in coping patterns that become too overwhelming to overcome without help. Counselors are trained to help people identify the stressors that are impacting their well being, and develop new coping mechanisms to undo dysfunctional habits.
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems. MFTs broaden the traditional emphasis on the individual to attend to the nature and role of individuals in primary relationship networks such as marriage and family settings. MFTs have graduate training in marriage and family therapy and at least 2 years of clinical experience. MFTs are recognized as a core mental health profession, along with psychiatry, psychology, social work, professional counselors, and psychiatric nursing.
Research studies repeatedly demonstrate the effectiveness of marriagge and family therapy in treating the full range of mental and emotiona disorders and health problems, including mariatl distress and conflict. Studies show that clients are highly satisfied with services provided by MFTs and clients report marked improvement in work productivity, co-worker relationships, family relationships, partner relationships, emotional health, overall health, social life, and community involbement. Recent studies of consumers show that MFTs are the mental health professionals they would most likely recommend to friends. Over 98% of clients of MFTs report therapy services to be good to excellent.
A family's patterns of behavior influence the individual and therefore may need to be a part of the treatment plan. In marriage and family therapy, the unit of treatment isn't just the person - even if only a single person is interviewed - it is the set of relationships in which the person is imbedded.
Marriage and family therapy is:
· specific, with attainable therapeutic goals
· designed with the "end in mind."
Marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including: depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems.
Research indicates that marriage and family therapy is as effective, and in some cases more effective than standard and/or individual treatments for many mental health problems such as: adult schizophrenia, affective (mood) disorders, adult alcoholism and drug abuse, children's conduct disorders, adolescent drug abuse, anorexia in young adult women, childhood autism, chronic physical illness in adults and children, and marital distress and conflict.
Marriage and family therapists regularly practice short-term therapy; 12 sessions on average. Nearly 65.6% of the cases are completed within 20 sessions, 87.9% within 50 sessions. Marital/couples therapy (11.5 sessions) and family therapy (9 sessions) both require less time than the average individuated treatment (13 sessions). About half of the treatment provided by marriage and family therapists is one-on-one with the other half divided between marital/couple and family therapy, or a combination of treatments.How can therapy help me?
- Attaining a better understanding of yourself, your goals and values
- Developing skills for improving your relationships
- Finding resolution to the issues or concerns that led you to seek therapy
- Learning new ways to cope with stress and anxiety
- Managing anger, grief, depression, and other emotional pressures
- Improving communications and listening skills
- Changing old behavior patterns and developing new ones
- Discovering new ways to solve problems in your family or marriage
- Improving your self-esteem and boosting self-confidence
Do I really need therapy? I can usually handle my problems.
Why do people go to therapy and how do I know if it is right for me?
- What are my mental health benefits?
- What is the coverage amount per therapy session?
- How many therapy sessions does my plan cover?
- How much does my insurance pay for an out-of-network provider?
- Is approval required from my primary care physician?