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Choosing Our Counselors Wisely

933783_thinking1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

– Psalm 1

Watch the progression here.

  • First, we walk with someone who is ungodly.
  • Then we stand around for a longer time and talk.
  • Then we sit with them  – showing that we are in agreement with them.

We become like those we hang around.  We embrace the philosophies and ideas of those from whom we seek counsel.  Ideas, attitudes, sin, philosophies, priorities – these are ALL contagious!  Let’s choose VERY CAREFULLY what influences God desires us to surround ourselves with.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,

but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

     -Proverbs 1:7

TO WHOM DO YOU GO FOR WISDOM, ENCOURAGEMENT, SYMPATHY and COUNSEL?

Do you talk about your emotional, spiritual, marriage and family problems with:

  • your coworkers?
  • your extended family?
  • your neighbors?
  • your friends at church?
  • a professional?

Where do you seek wisdom for your life?

  • self help books?
  • romance novels?
  • movies?
  • academia?

We need to carefully ask ourselves some serious questions before accepting the ideas of other (even those who say they are Christians):

  • What agendas do these people hold dear?
  • What do they believe about Christ?
  • What do they believe about marriage and femininity and masculinity?
  • What do they live out in their own lives and marriages?
  • Do they live in total submission to Him and do they desire more than anything to obey His Word?

Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30

Are  you going for advice to someone who is WITH Jesus?  Will they:

  • uphold the covenant of your marriage?
  • respect your husband?
  • honor Christ with their words?
  • seek God’s glory in your life?
  • speak the truth in love to you?
  • point you to the Bible?
  • pray with you and for you?
  • be willing to gently, lovingly, firmly show you any sin in your life that is destroying you?
  • uphold God’s Word as absolute truth?

Or will they:

  • drag you away from Jesus?
  • plant doubt and fear in your heart about God or your husband?
  • promote divorce even when God’s Word does not?
  • encourage you to trust SELF instead of Christ?
  • promote idolatry – encourage you to put things above Jesus in your heart?
  • insist on you demanding your “rights”?
  • tell you that you need to be “happy” no matter what the cost to your husband, your marriage, your children and your relationship with Christ?

COMMENTS FROM A WIFE WHO WAS SEEING AN UNBELIEVING PSYCHOLOGIST (She is commenting to me and to a Christian man on the thread, as well):

My counselor was harsh when it came to men, so I stopped discussing anything with her about my husband. She’s also (an unbeliever) and although her beliefs do seem peaceful she acts amused about my faith in God. I’ve been seeing her almost 2 years but it’s time to move on. I will seek a Christian counselor. Someone who is more of a match. We have Christian counseling centers throughout this area. That psychologist did help me with anxiety issues but I have found more help on April’s blog for everything else.

April’s blog helps me lean on God and seek him, that counselor says lean on myself and meditate.

I don’t find peace in that.

I will let her know that I need a Christian counselor. She has suggested I find a different counselor too, a few times. Maybe she’s uncomfortable with my faith. I told her I don’t believe in divorce when she suggested it and I told her why. How clueless Ive been!!!

I thought I could keep our different beliefs separate from the counseling but it affects every aspect of it.

My stronger faith and beliefs since being on Peacefulwife’s blog have interfered in her counseling approach with me. Thank you GOD.

My counselor made me feel confused a few times, so I stopped telling her my personal relationship stuff. It was obvious she leaned heavily towards being single and self supportive. Nothing wrong with either of those things but that meant divorce for me. Ughh. I will pray for the women she counsels. Thanks for taking the time to help me sort out my thoughts on this. Actually you were supportive about what I already felt and kinda knew so thanks for your insight and kindness.

  • I didn’t realize that this very educated psychologist would cause such conflict in me or that her “education” would be in conflict to my faith.

I just was looking for some psychology to help with an anxiety issue and she did help me with that , to understand it as well. She was a bit too full of herself though. Very prideful. Looking back I can see that now in her responses and reactions to things I told her.  Good thing I felt uneasy inside and backed off with sharing. Now I see that uneasiness I was feeling was our conflict of beliefs.

I didn’t go to an appt. last week with her. Missing last week’s appointment feels freeing. I feel good about my decision. Like a cloud has been lifted. Wow.

I was feeling pulled between being a biblical wife and being a feminist.

I had no idea what that conflict was inside my head. April…please never stop what your doing here. So many are deceived. I have tears in my eyes. I think that being the wife I want to be – and that I know God is calling me to be – is going to become easier now. Not easy… just easier.

Love and Hugs.

FROM ANOTHER WIFE:

I totally agree with this article. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I own my own private practice and do Christian Counseling. I would like to preface though that even some Christians, as well as Christian counselors, may not always be Biblically-based, so make sure that what they, or anyone else, is sharing or advising is always in line with God’s Word. Just as there are “good” and “bad” doctors, there are “good” and “bad” police officers, there are “good” and “bad” pastors, there are “good” and “bad” counselors…always “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

36 thoughts on “Choosing Our Counselors Wisely

  1. Powerful post here, April. It is important to have godly mentors who give godly advice in this journey. We have to guard our hearts and our thoughts ALL THE TIME. Not because a so-called expert says that we should do this and that, when it conforms to the world and not to Christ’s Teachings, we must really weigh it out and not decide on anything contrary to God’s Words.

    Jesus is the Ultimate Doctor. He heals marriages and broken spirits with His Words of Life.

    1. Peacefulwife Philippines,

      It is VERY tempting today to take the word of “experts” as weighing more than the Bible in our lives about certain topics. But – I believe that a big part of the reason we are where we are today as the church and in our culture is because we have put worldly wisdom above God’s wisdom – to our great detriment.

      Thank you so much!

  2. I totally agree with this article. I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I own my own private practice and do Christian Counseling. I would like to preface though that even some Christians, as well as Christian counselors, may not always be Biblically-based, so make sure that what they, or anyone else, is sharing or advising is always in line with God’s Word. Just as there are “good” and “bad” doctors, there are “good” and “bad” police officers, there are “good” and “bad” pastors, there are “good” and “bad” counselors…always “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet 5:8).

    1. AMEN!!!!! Thank you, Melissa!

      Would you please allow me to include your comment in the post? I think it is important for women to hear your words of wisdom and warning. Thank you so much for sharing!

      1. My husband and I have been seperated for over a year now and planning on moving back together soon. It’s been a long journey and there’s still alot to overcome! I am completely trusting God for good to come out of what the enemy meant for harm in our marriage! We have been seeing a marriage therapist and he is not a christian counselor. Recently, I went to see him alone because I had some issues that were heavy on my heart about some things that I havn’t seen change with in my marriage. He counseled me to be empowered and stand up and not allow my husband to emotionally abuse me anymore! I think “abuse” is a bit harsh, I mean we all get harsh with our words when in conflict! Well, we have anyway but we are working on that. When this therapist said this to me my whole attitude changed! It went from trusting and believing God for healing in our marriage to “that’s right! I don’t have to put up with this any longer”. I thought this therapist has to be right because he’s the expert, right? ahh, no, wrong! I believe because I am a child of God that puts me in a different category than “how the world does marriage”. Soo, I am thinking I need to find Godly counsel. Please pray that my husband will be in agreement to this! What got me back on track was a women’s conference that my sister invited me to at this little church. The title was “when life doesn’t go our way”, the woman speaker based it off of the story in Chronicles about King Jeosaphat! What he did in his battle with so many armies coming against him. He looked to God first and trusted God and did exactly what God instructed and his army never had to lift a finger to fight and won the battle because God said…The battle is not yours it is mine! this conference got me right back on tract only stronger because I realized that I don’t have to fight this battle that’s going on in my marriage. My job is to look to God and give it to him and obey him and he will do the rest.

        I just found out about this blog through a good friend and I am so thankful she gave me this website to check out!! Very inspiring!

        1. Sheryl, thanks for posting. It helps me to know that I am not alone as I could totally relate to your post. So many battles, disagreements, emotionsl ‘abuse’ incidents, beliefs, therapy. I have felt hopeless recently, trying to ‘stand up’ to my husband, who makes certain comments at times which hurts, then I just go crazy at him…just waiting for the next time…didn’t realize I would be this miserable with him and he’s husband number 2! (Obviously that has its own consequences) and now I have to live with that. I’m giving it to God, and trying to distance myself from hubby as I just don’t really like him anymore 🙁 sorry for moan, but living in hope that God works in our marriage, husband has already said he believes and starting going to my very ‘lively’ Penecostal church, hubby likes it…which is a miracle in itself! I wait and pray….thanks April for this site, maybe I should try the respect Dare again… xx

          1. I havn’t tried the respect Dare. We are still seperated but I could try it. We are planning to move me back in with him in July after my son is gone to basic training. I’m conflicted on if I should move back in under his conditions. He’s so harsh with me. He wants me to be kind and loving and I stife for that of course and yet he is very harsh with me and doesn’t take his own advise! Sorry for your situation! It is so hard! I am trusting God as well to soften his heart.

          2. Hi Sheryl, I will add you to my prayers! I agree it is too hard sometimes, my husband can be so nice and good with the kids and to me, but then he will sometimes be harsh and make comments, its like living with someone with a split personality as he very cleverly and convincingly is able to turn it around on me and make it seem like it is me and my problem…..anyway, I feel like I have to hold it altogether for the kids so am just trying to plod along….I will keep praying and hoping. Obviously being together with your husband would be wonderful, perhaps just be sure he understands your feelings about his ‘harshness’ and ask for him to be a bit less harsh! if you know what I mean….then you have something to work on I guess xx hugs xx

  3. And when you find a godly counselor who is giving biblical advice, follow it. Don’t reject the advice and/or “fire” the counselor. Doing so sends the very clear message to your spouse that you’re more interested in being “right” or vindicated than in truly loving your husband and having a good (biblical) marriage. (Speaking from painful experience here.) There aren’t many things more frustrating and defeating for a husband than going through months (or years) of counseling, personally “submitting” to the counselor’s advice/reproof when it’s aimed at the husband, but seeing the wife reject the advice/reproof when it’s aimed at her.

    1. David J.,

      Thank you for sharing. I pray that wives will hear and take your wisdom to heart.

      Ladies,

      It is easy to demand that our husband change. But it is much more painful when we are confronted with our own sin. Many of us do not want to hear that we have any sin in our lives. It is easier to justify our sin, rationalize it or be blind to it. Still, how desperately we need to hear the truth in love and to purge the sin from our lives so that we can become the women God desires us to be for His glory. The longer we cherish sin in our hearts, the more toxic it becomes to us, our walk with Christ and all of our relationships.

    2. As I am in the Mental Health Profession, I can attest- the men almost always are ready to take the advice and follow it to the letter. Women, almost never want to see their flaws and instead have to be coaxed to make progress. It is sad that we women have too much pride and often miss the mark instead of swallowing our pride and walking with God. One favorite verse is Proverbs 13:10 “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.”

  4. I had my son in counseling for a time to overcome some issues with his ADHD. The counselor put in his head that since he is drawn to theater and stage and film that perhaps he was gay. No… I am sorry that I am not kidding. We immediately stopped going to this counselor. It took months to work through what one 45 minute session put into his brain. Since then, I have found more Godly counsel for him. And guess what, he does not have one single feeling of “being gay”.

    I cannot begin to get people to understand that when seeking counseling services, if the counselor is not on par with your values, than you are being led by the devil. If in your heart, divorce is not an option, being reminded weekly that divorce would solve everything weakens your resolve. I feel so sorry for this person who has been in counseling for 2 years listening to the whispers of the devil.

    On a general note, MOST counseling should be solution focused and brief. Meaning you should see real progress within six months to a year (as long as you are putting in the time, doing the homework and invested in getting better). If you do not, you should seek other services. Think of it this way- If you had a physical disease, would you seek the same treatment weekly for two years with no result? No. You would go get another opinion. The same goes for most mental health issues.

    April- I appreciate you addressing mental health on your blog. Unfortunately many religions do not put faith in mental health and see it as having a weak resolve. They feel if you pray harder or make better choices, it will all go away. Understanding the science behind mental health disorders (it is my profession) helps me better educate those who think you are “weak” if you suffering with depression or anxiety….

    1. Sara,

      OH MY GOODNESS!?!??!!

      I cannot imagine a counselor saying that – and he is a teenager? 🙁 That breaks my heart!

      I appreciate your insights, Sara. Thank you so much!

      Mental health issues can be very confusing because there are times when sometimes they can be spiritual in origin – or sometimes they can be medical in origin – or even the result of side effects of certain drugs or medical conditions. It can be difficult to “measure” and “judge” what is going on exactly. There is no blood test to measure “depression levels.”

      So, it does take a lot of godly wisdom and also sometimes godly medical advice in these situations. Thankfully there is a lot of help available today. But we do need to be careful where we go and whom we trust.

  5. I just started reading a book that seems appropriate for this topic – “Jesus, The Greatest Therapist Who Ever Lived” by Mark Baker.

    I wouldn’t normally recommend a book that I’ve only read a few pages of, but so far, I enjoy it a lot, and it seemed fitting to this post.

  6. Hey April,
    I was really convicted but also in couraged at the same time by this post. I’m currently struggly because I have a cousin who feel really close to me but who is not ready to come to Christ. She calls me every day to talk about her problems and her “boyfriend” issues. I no longer feel comfortable just sitting there listening to her problems because we don’t have anything in common but she says she likes talking to me because I just sit there and listen. She says she sometimes just need someone to vent to so for the past year or so I’ve been there for her. I really don’t want to cut her off but at the same time i don’t feel comfortable allowing her to discuss her problems with me beacuse all of them are ungodly and from the world’s point of view. I sometimes comment to her or hint to her about Christ and me choosing to follow Him but she doesn’t seem ready.I’ve also realized that i sometimes get caught up in the flesh and speak or think from the world’s point of you when I talk to her. If you have any advice for me on how to handle this I would greatly appreciate it and In the mean to i’ll take it to the Lord as well, maybe I may just have to witness to her more and more until she herself either come to Christ or completely walk away from Him and me.

    1. Jeannydut,

      I believe it may be wise to prayerfully approach God about how you can shine for Him to your cousin. It is not a gift to her to just listen as she destroys herself going far from God. I pray God will give you His Spirit and power and that He might work in her heart so that you can begin to speak the truth in love to her and point her to God’s wisdom and His ways and His design.

      If she doesn’t like hearing about God and Christ and the Bible, she will stop coming to you on her own. But – it is also possible that God may speak to her through you and draw her to Himself!

      Much love!
      April

    2. jeannydut –
      (I hope this response isn’t too much information. Sorry that this is so long…)
      I understand that you’re in a difficult spot. Let me assure you that you are a blessing to your cousin right now. I have been through some very dark times in my marriage and my cousin was the only person I could vent to. I held so much inside for so long, then when I started leaning on her, I started letting things out. I knew that she couldn’t solve my problems, but it was sooooo comforting to have her there with me during that darkness. I just needed someone to listen, to care, and to understand my pain. She has truly been my angel, as you are right now to your cousin. You are helping her tremendously, even if she doesn’t take your advice.

      But, I realize that it’s a lot of pressure on you, and you just don’t know what else to do or how long this will go on. Perhaps, if you referred her to some resources that are not specifically Christian-based, but also do not conflict with Christian values either?
      If she wants a future with this “boyfriend” (like – marriage), it would benefit her to learn what it actually takes to have a healthy, long-term relationship. If there is a lot of drama in her relationship right now, it’s obviously not a healthy one. Maybe once she learns more about what a healthy man-and-woman relationship looks like, she might decide for herself what changes need to be made?

      John Gottman is a world-renowned marriage scientist. He has many books on what makes relationships work and don’t work. I have read a lot of his advice and nothing stood out to me to conflict with Christian values. Maybe you can recommend his books to her?

      One topic which Gottman mentions as important in a strong relationship is “emotional intelligence”. This quality in a person will enhance every aspect of their lives – not just relationships.

      Somehow, find a way to talk to her about learning and developing “emotional intelligence”, or emotional regulation, or emotional strength, or emotional maturity. It’s called many different things. You can watch videos on Youtube and get books about it. (Tell her this is something you’ve decided to do for yourself and you’d like for her to learn about it with you)

      It takes practice to develop, just like faith and/or any personal virtue. For me, once I started focusing on emotional strength within myself, I literally felt like a new person – and it improved my marriage tremendously.

      It teaches you how to think clearly, logically, and productively, even when you feel sad, scared, hurt, etc. It’s easy to let our negative emotions create very negative thoughts which leads to anxiety and unhealthy behavior.
      Developing this strength within oneself helps a person to ACT and behave in strong, positive, productive ways even when they don’t FEEL strong and positive.

      I have not read this book, but here’s a book on the topic recommended by a therapist who specializes in it – The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook

      Lastly, maybe you could encourage her to go back to school, or start a side business or other hobby – something that would develop her own strength and self-worth, so that she knows how much she deserves a healthy relationship.

      Sorry to write a novel! You asked for advice, so I felt the need to respond with my two cents.

      Above all, continue to pray for her, of course…..

      1. eternallylearning,

        Yes, the greatest need this precious cousin has is Christ. She cannot have God’s peace, joy and abundant life without Him.

        Definitely, she needs prayer!

        Some of those books may be helpful – but – there are also plenty of godly books on marriage that would point her to Christ. 🙂

  7. 1 Corinthians 1:19-25

    English Standard Version (ESV)

    19 For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach[a] to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men
    .

    1. Marie,
      So true!

      We tend to think, in our sinful nature, that we are so much more wise than God.

      But we are NOT!

      God’s wisdom is infinitely higher than our own.

      Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  8. Speaking of Godly counselors…… I was looking this morning for the Song of Solomon series you had linked in one of your posts this morning and couldn’t find it. This is one of the best marriage studies I have EVER heard. Could you please re- post the link? Our anniversary is this Friday, and I would like to have it for my wife and I as she recently told me she would like to listen to it again.We have been married for 38 years on Friday and have only rediscovered true intimacy in our marriage in the last 2 years.

  9. I found them last night and downloaded them. Thanks for the link. My wife wants to spend time going through all of them on our anniversary. It should make it a really special day!

  10. Christian counselors are no guarantee it will help your marriage. In my case christian counselors have been detrimental. I would never in good faith recommend a christian counselor. Also be very careful of Focus on The Family christian counseling recommendations.

    1. Hopeful Husband,
      That is true. And just because someone is a “Christian” does not mean they give Spirit-filled, biblical advice. Sometimes, we humans give tainted advice. How I pray everyone will always weigh anything any human says, including me, against Scripture by the power of God’s Spirit. Humans are fallible. Only God’s wisdom is trustworthy.

      Our ultimate hope and trust must be in Christ alone.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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