anyone really help me?
You've probably heard the joke about how many
psychologists it takes to change a light bulb; "just one,
but it has to want to be changed." Well,
the truth is: the very best counselor cannot change your life
apart from your desire and cooperation. We are like the coaches
and trainers in sports: we do not play the game for
you; we help you play it better.
Remember too, even the most gifted athletes rely on coaches and
trainers. This is not a sign of weakness but of wisdom. They need
the help of people with more objectivity and expertise. So it
is with us in this serious "game" of life. It is not
a shame to seek help when life is not going well. If you have
been trying to work things out on your own for a while, and (down
inside you know) you're really not making progress, please humble
yourself and let God lead you to the help you need!
As you seek help, beware of becoming intimidated by the professionals.
Take their counsel seriously; but remember, none of us is God.
At very best, “we know in part and we prophesy in part”
(1Cor 13:9). No credentials or spiritual status alters this fact.
Prepare to pray and discern the will of God. A good and godly
counselor may be able to supply knowledge, insight, perspective,
new experiences and relational skills that you have not attained
on your own. Throughout your therapy, you should at least sense
in your own heart that what you are being led to do is helping.
Don't just take someone else's word. Trusting a counselor is essential,
but you need not be gullible.
Expect the experts to make sense to you. Feel free to ask questions
about the kind of counseling offered, the counselor's beliefs,
training received, and experience in the particular area of concern
to you. Our ministry offers a free first session wherein we go
over some orientation materials, which explain our ministry’s
operation. You actually meet with your counselor and discuss your
situation so that the counselor can make a personal assessment
and therapeutic recommendations. You also get the chance to experience
relating with the helper, which we view as very important.
What kind of credentials should you expect a competent helper
to hold? The choice is really up to you. A credential is a document
designed to support the credibility of its owner – that
is, to offer reason that the one holding the credential should
be trusted in a particular way.
Across the nation over the past couple of decades, states have
enacted legislation to license those who would counsel. Under
the authority of the State, licensing boards have been created
to establish the professional standards for each type of license.
Fortunately, in most states where counselor licensing has been
enacted, exemptions from licensure were written into the law to
protect people like us who operate with church-based credentials.
There is certainly nothing wrong with getting counseling from
someone who is licensed by the State; many Christians are. Still,
you should know that no state licenses “Christian counselors”;
they merely license counselors. Thus, what is sometimes
billed as “Christian counseling” only means a Christian
is offering services to a Christian market – and this from
a secular worldview and/or new age spirituality in which he/she
received training. Personal and relational problems often intersect
with moral and/or spiritual issues. At such intersections, we
believe you are wise to have your life in the care of someone
with a biblical worldview, a solid devotion to the Lord Jesus,
and real dependence upon the Spirit of God in his/her work. The
bottom line is this: In your attempt to find someone to help,
you should seek someone whose qualifications satisfy you.
Consider this insightful and professionally honest quotation from
M. Scott Peck's popular book, The Road Less Traveled:
"A therapist's ability bears very little relationship
to any credentials he or she might have. Love and courage and
wisdom cannot be certified by academic degrees. For instance,
‘board certified’ psychiatrists, the therapists with
the most credentials, undergo sufficiently rigorous training so
that one can be relatively certain of not falling into the hands
of a charlatan. But a psychiatrist is not necessarily any better
a therapist than a psychologist, a social worker or a minister
-- or even as good. Indeed two of the very greatest therapists
I know have never even graduated from college. ... Word of mouth
is often the best way to get started on your search for a [counselor]."
Improvement Ministry, Inc. is a 501 c (3) organization. Your gifts,
therefore, qualify for a legal tax deduction.