Friday, 21 February 2014 18:18

What is Biblical Counseling?

Written by  Lou Priolo, Eastwood Counseling Center
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Biblical counseling reflects the Scriptures at every point (major and minor). That means that every bit of advice you get from your counselor should have solid biblical support. At any point in the process, you have the right to stop and ask him to explain the biblical basis for his counsel.


Now it’s not that everything a truly biblical counselor tells you will be based on a biblical directive (imperative / command), but there should be at least a firm biblical principle behind everything he says. Moreover there is often more than one way to skin a cat (or ice a cake) biblically. From time to time, when giving advice based on a biblical principle rather than a directive you might hear him say something like this: “Unless you have a better idea (in other words, unless you can come up with another biblically-derived solution), may I suggest that you do this.” Other times, when the Bible clearly directs you to follow a particular course of action, your counselor will be more directive. Sometimes the solution to life’s problems is found by simply beginning to obey certain clear biblical directives.  Sometimes the answer to a problem is clearly delineated in the Bible.


Counsel from the Scripture is the privilege of every believer. God has given us His Word as our only rule of faith and practice. Allow me to briefly acquaint you with some of the elements of the counseling process so that you might know what you as a believer in Jesus Christ may expect from biblical counseling.



1.  You should expect to see good results from biblical counseling. No matter how difficult your struggle might be, you should have hope that you can change. You should expect to see results first and foremost in your own life because as a Christian all the conditions for you to change have been met by God.



2.  You should expect the Spirit of God to work through the Word to bring about change. You can expect that the Holy Spirit is going to take the Scriptures you will be internalizing (through Bible reading, study, memorization, and meditation, etc.) and change you from the inside. No Christian can properly grow or change apart from God’s Word.



3.  You should not expect to break any bad habits. We all have struggled to overcome a variety of bad habits we’ve picked up along the way. Many Christians, however, when they “struggle” with sin don’t really struggle at all. Rather, they simply confess their sin to God, pray that He will help them change, and promptly get off their knees expecting that God has somehow infused (“zapped”) them with a special infusion of grace which will enable them to never commit the same sin again, without any (or very little) further effort on their part. It is not enough merely to pray that God will change us. We must also do what the Bible says is necessary to “put off” the sin and “put on” Christ. So, change is a twofold process for the Christian.



4. You should expect to be taught, convicted, corrected and trained by the Scriptures. One of the best ways to view the counseling process is through the eyes of 2 Timothy 3:16. “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” The Scriptures have been given for four distinct purposes: teaching, reproof, correction and disciplined training in righteousness. The processes of biblical counseling will take you through all four of these distinct procedures.



5.  You should expect to be given a fair amount of counseling homework.Biblical counseling requires work not just insight. It requires the counselee to know the truth, but more importantly to practice it. Biblical counseling homework helps translate the truth you are learning from the Bible into daily living. It helps you “walk the walk” not just “talk the talk.”



6.  You should expect to be asked to make commitments to change. In addition to counseling homework, your counselor will occasionally ask you to make specific commitments to certain general courses of action. He might ask you to spend a specific amount of time each day (for at least as long as you are in counseling) reading and studying the Scriptures. You may be asked to commit to spending time each day with your spouse in uninterrupted, undistracted communication. You could be asked to commit to learning how to be a more biblical spouse, parent, or employee). Your counselor might ask you to make a commitment to radically amputate  something from your life that has habitually enticed you to sin. (See Matthew 5:27-30)



  1. You should expect a bit of temporary discomfort (pain).I know you didn’t expect this one but going to counseling is sometimes like visiting the dentist. Nobody really likes going, but most are willing to put up with the “discomfort”—the scraping and poking, the pushing and prodding, the slobbering, the bleeding, the unpleasant aromas, the temporary numbness, soreness and inability to articulate properly. Why are we willing go through all that?  Because we have considered the alternative: PAIN! Either we put up with some temporary, discomfort for a few hours or we live day in and day out with constant and ever-increasing pain (not to mention the risk of further complications). Change is hard, no doubt about it. But there is something that is much harder: not changing.



Last modified on Thursday, 27 February 2014 18:21
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