How does Secular Counseling and Christian Counseling Differ?
Nature of Man
Secular Counseling systems have an inadequate view of the nature of man, and this gives rise to systems that do not consider the enormous complexity of man’s being and his needs. Secular counseling sees man as a bio-psycho-social being, and believes him to be basically good or neutral.
Christian Counseling sees man as spiritual, as well as bio-psycho-social, and believes him to be basically oriented toward self, fallen, and sinful.
Empowering Individuals to Change
Secular Counseling systems do not possess the ability to empower the individual to change. Though there may be some attention to the need for change and the assertion of one’s “personhood” (his “rights”) to accomplish this, there is no power to effect true inner change.
Christian Counseling relies on the empowering of the Holy Spirit and “being transformed by the renewing of our minds.” (Roman 12:2)
Meaning for Life
Secular Counseling systems cannot provide meaning of life.
Christian Counseling can and does. Man-made “meaning of life” falls short of the true depth and meaning of purpose of life that God gives to us.
Helping a Person to Repent
Secular Counseling cannot help a person to truly repent. There is no authority to forgive sins.
Christian Counseling has authority through Christ. Christ gave authority to his followers to bring his absolution to all manner of confessed sins, thus relieving legitimate guilt. (Romans 8:1 and James 5:16)
Dealing with Problems
Secular Systems believe that knowledge of one’s problems will result in a desire to change. They rest primarily on gaining insight through the counselor’s reflection of feelings, making observations, and experimenting with behavioral changes.
Christian Counseling acknowledges the value of insight and good listening skills, but seeks out the root of the problem, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so that the spiritual infection can be healed.
Basis for One’s Values
Secular Counseling systems are supposed to be “value-free.” They presume that there are no absolute values, and they cannot address the issue of right or wrong. There is no basis for morals or ethics. Each person is encouraged to develop his/her own “belief system.” (“And they did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” Judges 17:6 and Proverbs 21:2)
Christian Counseling is based on the values and truths as expressed in the Holy Scripture. We recognize that we are in need of the Savior. There is right, and there is wrong; while there is forgiveness for sin, there is usually a consequence for sin as well. We are urged to turn from wrong (sin) for our own good.
Belief in the Supernatural
In most Secular Counseling, there is the attitude that the supernatural does not exist or is not relevant. If you can’t see it, feel it, taste it or hear it, it doesn’t exist.
Christian Counseling is God-driven. We operate in God’s reality, not the world’s. “The weapons we fight with are not of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” II Corinthians 10:4 NIV