To The Parents Seeking Christian Counseling For Teens

To The Parents Seeking Christian Counseling For Teens

We live in an increasingly non-Christian world, so how do parents seeking counseling from a Biblical worldview pursue Christian counseling for teens

First, the parent must be able to spiritually discern for themselves whether a counselor is Christian in their approach, and, second, whether or not the teen needing services identifies as Christian.  

It is not enough to know only one or the other; parents must recognize both.  

For example, if a Counselor professes to be Christian, but lacks Biblical acumen and omits Scriptural application, then the counseling is inherently non-Christian. Keep searching.  

Similarly, if a teenager is prompted (or required) by parents to receive Christian counseling, but he or she, as the teen in question, does not adhere to or abide by Christian ideology, the resistance has begun before treatment has even commenced. 

The first answer?

Matthew 7:7-8, Ask, Seek, Knock.  

The second answer?  Listen.  

Available Christian-Based Counselors in Colorado

Sara Deen, LPC

I want to help my clients to find ways to adjust and feel renewed in their ability to progress and grow!

Aurora, Colorado

(720) 437-9089

Ask - It Will Be Given To You

Christians are told in Matthew 7:7 to "ask, and it will be given..," so when seeking Christian counseling for a teen, parents can find value in asking questions of prospective Counselors that necessitate an elaboration of the counselor's faith-orientation, intervention framework, treatment outcomes, and any other inquires that lead to mutual agreement in moving forward.  

There are no wrong questions and only the ones without answers are those that remain unasked.  

Next? Listen. 

Perhaps the most crucial person from whom to ask questions in this pursuit, however, is the teenager himself/herself.  How do they feel about counseling in general?  Christian counseling, specifically? 

How do they identify in terms of faith, religion, and spirituality? 

To the wise, but fearful mama - ask!  To the strong, but worried daddy - ask! 
Keep asking, and the answers will be given, but the critical step toward receipt of any answer is the ability to get quiet after the questions have been asked.  

Shhh.  Just listen now.  

Seek And You Will Find

After the questions have been asked, the answers have been heard, and the plan for Christian counseling set in motion, the next step is to seek clarity and direction from God.  

Presumably, the practice of prayer has been underway all along, but if not, it's never too late to start.   If God is, in fact, leading the parent to pursue Christian counseling for their teen, then confirmation will follow.  

Matthew 7:8 says that "the one who seeks will find," which can be translated to this - if you're seeking God's will for your life and your teen, you will find it

You may find confirmation in the Bible a hundred different ways, but if you've got the Book open, you're in a solid position to receive what you seek.  

Will the Bible give you the exact name, office location, and phone number of a specific counselor who is going to be a therapeutic match made in heaven between Counselor and teen?  Not likely, but you will find guidance nonetheless.  

So, how does seeking God's will and direction look?  

Seeking divine guidance begins and ends with the Bible, but the path of discovery is often pebbled with wise mentors, pastoral advice, family input, circumstantial whispers, and even unlikely messengers.

The best methodology to seeking and finding God's will is to take all the limits off of His voice, because if He created it He can speak through it.  Recall the story recorded in Numbers 22 of Balaam's talking donkey.  

In this passage of Scripture, readers are given a glimpse into the lengths to which God is willing to go in order to address His followers.  Balaam was a man on a mission, but along the way he veered off course.  

To get his attention, God spoke to him through the mouth of the very donkey on which Balaam rode.  

If God can speak through a donkey, he can certainly speak through the people, places, and circumstances in which you find yourself as you seek Christian counseling for your teen.  As Balaam found the answers he sought, so too will you be able to find direction and answers when you seek.  

Knock And The Door Will Be Opened

Matthew 7:8 promises that "To the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Sometimes, finding the right Christian Counselor requires knocking on multiple doors.  

Try to be okay with knocking on a few before you find the right match (though, you may find your best match after just the first door!).  

Discerning the will of God often looks like a treasure hunt.  

You may knock on one door and like what you find, but two sessions in with your teen reveals that the match has not been made.  

Here is the reality - neither your teen, nor your Christian Counselor is perfect, and if you are looking for the perfect Counselor, the search results will remain inconclusive at best, and disillusioning at worst.  

Strive not for perfection, but for authenticity and connection.  

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Getting Involved

Once you match your teen to a suitable Christian Counselor, what is next for you as the parent?  How can you get involved and stay involved in your teen's treatment without hindering his or her autonomy, growth, and individuation processes?  

First, take some steps of action to cultivate a deeper understanding of where your teen is on his or her life journey.  Familiarize yourself with your teenager's particular life development stage from a psychological vantage point.  

This doesn't mean you need to go out and earn a Ph.D. in Eirk Erickson's Stages of Psychosocial Development, but it does mean you might want to spend some time researching the literature in the field to better understand the psychological issues your teen may be facing.  

Next, and this cannot be overemphasized, just listen.  

If you've already started the search for a Christian counselor for your teen, then you have clearly recognized a need.  

Bravo to you, mama and daddy, for paying attention and taking note of warning signs or red flags. In today's busy and chaotic world, it is becoming increasingly easy to miss, so keep up the good work.  Now, however, it is crucial to simply listen.  

Parents are typically wired to want to fix things, offer unsolicited advice, and direct the thoughts, behaviors, and actions of their youth, but letting your teenager feel heard is the most useful thing at this juncture.  

Ask the questions, observe the behaviors, and be ready to tackle problems, but sometimes, getting involved looks like nothing more than lending your ear.  

What To Expect

Like traditional therapy or counseling, Christian counseling for teens carries with it similar processes and outcomes, and it's important to expect progress, but also understand that progress can be slow.  

Embedded in any counseling, Christian Counseling included, is the collaborative task of harm reduction and improvement in circumstance and overall quality of life.  

However, parents seeking Christian counseling often hope for an outcome of conversion to be a natural by-product of the counseling process, where their teen miraculously overcomes all problems and receives Jesus Christ as Savior.  

While there is nothing inherently wrong with having this hope, it isn't always the result.  

In fact, it is rarely the end result.  Instead, the Christian Counselor may only be used by God as one of many seeds along the teen's path to healing, recovery, and, ultimately, salvation.  

The Christian Counselor's task is always to point the teenager to Christ, but the counseling process is only one component of a much bigger picture.  It's important not to idealize the Counselor as Savior.  Christian Counseling is a pathway to the Cross, not the Cross itself.  

Conclusion

Whether seeking traditional counseling or Christian counseling, the importance of asking, seeking, knocking, and listening is equally important.  

The benefits of Christian counseling exist for Christians and non-Christians alike, but for those seeking a Biblical foundation for which to identify, explore, and overcome life issues, Christian counseling offers that framework.  

Help is available and the warmth and love of God will lead you.  

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." - Jeremiah 33:3

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July 1st, 2022

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