What is Online Christian Counseling?
As its name suggests, online Christian counseling is “pastoral counseling” that integrates both psychology and Christianity into the therapy session. It’s considered a real-life approach to counseling using the foundation of the Bible as the guiding, dominant force.
Christian counseling is a form of therapy that has been around since the 1960’s, yet it has only seen explosive growth in the past few years. The reason for this is two-fold. One, more people are turning to their Christianity for guidance in their spiritual, mental and emotional state. Two, Christian counseling is now offered online, derived from the standard online therapy, which itself has seen massive growth.
Why Christian Counseling Online?
There are a range of reasons why people are turning to online Christian counseling, none of which are surprising. For starters, religious Christians use their faith in every aspect of their lives. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a personal guide to life and how to conduct themselves, both with regard to their physical and emotional state of being. So, while they value the academic background to therapy, having the theological foundation within counseling is, at the very least, equally as important to them. Secondly, Christians are no different than anyone else. They lead busy lives and experience life much in the same way as others: family issues, traffic, an intense work schedule, appointments, emergencies, etc. Who has time for traditional in-office counseling sessions? This is exactly why millions of people have switched over to online therapy.
The one difference between regular online counseling and Christian counseling online is obviously the religious factor. There are a variety of online therapy websites that employ thousands of psychologists. Naturally, religious Christians were initially reluctant to switch over because many of these psychologists were not certified pastoral therapists, rather academic ones. However, these counseling websites realized the enormous amount of demand for online Christian counseling and thus stated hiring Christian counselors at a rapid pace. Now, companies such as Betterhelp and TalkSpace employ hundreds of licensed Christian counselors to choose from. There are even online therapy websites, such as Faithful Counseling, that only employ Christian counselors.
How Any Christian Will Benefit
When most people think about Christian counseling, they tend to assume it will help with only a limited number of areas, such as relationships, individual spiritual growth or overcoming parenting challenges. However, this is not the case whatsoever. Looking at it from the individual human level and as already noted, Christians are no different from anyone else. People are people, and thus many of us experience the same difficulties throughout our lives. From depression, stress and anxiety, to PTSD, grief, addictions and every single other area of mental health, all humans are susceptible to ‘down cycles’ in their lives. And, it’s even harder for people of faith. Not only do many deal with the clinical challenges such as depression, but many people experience hardships and cracks in their spiritual journeys. This is precisely why online counseling perhaps may be even better than for someone who does not keep the faith. A religious Christian can take advantage of therapy with a faith-based therapist, by working both on their clinical and spiritual needs.
How Does Christian Counseling Work?
Now that you understand why people are increasingly choosing online Christian counseling, let’s take a look at how exactly it works.
Professionals on Board – it’s important to remember that these counselors aren’t just life coaches or random strangers connecting with you. These are certified mental health professionals, with extensive training in both academic sciences and Biblical doctrine.
A Range of Areas – because these are licensed professionals, each counselor has a specific area they specialize in (e.g. depression, relationships, addictions, stress, intimacy, abuse, trauma, etc.). While Christianity will serve as the foundation to your sessions, you will also receive therapy in the area(s) you require.
Combination of Faith + Values – your Christian counseling psychologist will focus on your faith and values, helping you to use these as a guide to living in the right mental and emotional state of mind.
Uses Compassion and Respect – even if your counselor is not on the same level as you spiritually speaking, he/she will use compassion and respect of your personal religious level. There is no judgment, only support.
Regaining Hope & Purpose – this is actually the goal of online Christian counseling. It’s to help you regain a sense of hope for your life through Christ. In turn, this helps to provide you with a meaning and real sense of purpose in life.
Better Understand Yourself and God – of course the above naturally leads you to a better understanding of yourself and God, which is entrenched in the Holy Spirit’s conviction. This is another primary aim of Christian counseling.
What You Should Expect in Your Sessions
Though people are in fact turning to online Christian counseling in droves, it’s still a fairly new area. As such, most people don’t know what to expect. To be completely straightforward: it’s very difficult to describe how your sessions will play out. This is because this is dependent on a range of outside variables, such as who your Christian counselor is, which online Christian counseling service you choose, your willingness to fully participate in your sessions (along with your counselors full support), etc. However, it’s not all question marks. For example, assuming you stick with a top Christian counseling service, you can expect your counselor to be extremely professional and a religious Christian as well. Exercises given to you by your counselor will be built upon Biblical wisdom, no matter the denominational association, and with clinical expertise as the driving force to help you live a better life. Additionally, since many of the best online Christian counseling services offer unlimited support, you have the ability to receive counseling via chat, email, phone or video. While people’s desires vary, phone and video sessions will likely lead to the best chance of success. While you can chat or email with your counselor multiple times throughout the day, both phone and video chat offer uninterrupted therapy sessions. Ideally, this is the way to go, especially if you’re going through a medium to severe crisis. Any way you go, though, you can expect to receive timely and professional, yet challenging support, in a Christian setting.
Customer Reviews: A Massive Added Insight
As you have gathered so far, therapy is very individualized and thus it’s tough to say how it will work for you. Even our online Christian counseling reviews here at E-counseling.com are only individual reviews based on our experiences with each respective service. However, by reading dozens of customer reviews, you can gain valuable and oftentimes in-depth insights into how their therapy sessions progressed. You will also be able to determine if that specific company is right for you. Are you having parenting issues? Are you anxious and fearful? Some online Christian counseling services are better than others in specific areas of mental health. Like E-counseling.com’s expert review, many customer reviews will detail what they needed help with, what types of exercises the counselor provided, the effectiveness of the service, the usability and privacy features, and virtually anything else you’d like to know. Whether you’ve conducted hours of research or you’re more of an impulsive decision maker, one thing is certain: make sure to read the customer reviews of the Christian counseling service you are looking into signing up for.
Online Christian Counseling Conclusion
Using an online Christian counseling service is truly the ideal way to seeking out help. With all of the stresses in life, in addition to the efficiency and abundance of Christian counselors offered by these online services, you should explore these options. Not only will you grow mentally stronger, but it will help to solidify your own spiritual beliefs as well.