Sometimes a person might have some trauma, memories, or patterns that create unhealthiness in their behavior, and in their lives. As such, they might need the help of qualified professionals who are trained to help this person get to the bottom of their emotional problems. These professionals are also able to help a person create strategies for new and healthy coping tools. These professionals are called counselors. They offer professional counseling service in Whitecourt.
In order for a person to become and to offer counseling service, they have to first take classes in social issues, psychology, and other courses dealing with people skills, and in conflict resolution. It’s important to keep in mind that those who offer counseling service aren’t psychologist. They aren’t medical professionals, although a psychologist can counsel people. A professional counselor works exclusively to help people solve their live issues, and their emotional issues.
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There are many types of issues that can be manages, and even resolved with professional counseling. These issues can include phobias, smoking cessation, people skills, self-esteem, and other issues dealing with one’s emotions. Life issues that can be helped with counseling service can include grief, life changes, public speaking, and family services. Sometimes, a romantic couple or a married couple might find that they need counseling service. There could be major issues that might cause the demise of the relationship. There could be issues with respect or boundaries in the relationship. Sometimes a couple might want a mediator, because they need a neutral party to help them work through disagreements. As such, couples counseling is a very popular form of counseling service. This type of counseling has done a lot to save relationships, marriages, and families.
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Are there different types of Christian counselors?
Yes, There are many different types of Christian counselors. Gary Collins wrote the first article on the different types. When he first wrote his article he identified five basic categories which are still, for the most part recognized today.
Main Stream Counselors: These counselors receive training known as CPE or Clinical pastoral Education training. These individuals are educated as pastors receiving a complete theological education. When they decide to become counselors they go through a secular training program. Because they have a religious background they are able to integrate the drastically different secular education into their previous religious education
Main Stream Counselors have been criticized for being too liberal. They often negatively view conservative evangelical theologians. They believe that the conservative counselors cause people to steer away from Christian counseling due to the fear that they will be judged and condemned for their behavior. Main Stream Counselors want people to feel that it is OK to be imperfect and that we are all humans, what matters most is that we try to live our lives for God and recognize when we fail. Rather then be condemned for failing they believe that being supportive can help the person avoid failure later on.
Evangelical Pastoral Counselors: These counselors use a counseling theory outlines that the bible is the only foundation of all counseling. These counselors are confrontational, that is, they are very blunt, to the point, and have no problem pointing out when you are at fault for your problems. They take an educational approach to counseling, by the time you are finished with counseling you will have a greater scriptural knowledge to guide your future decisions.
Christian Professionals: The father of Christian counseling Clyde Narramore falls into this category. As does James Dobson, founder of focus on the family, and an outstanding author. These individuals have received a purely secular education and generally, possess state credentials or licensure. These individuals choose to keep their roots in biblical evangelical theology despite their secular background. These counselors have to find ways for integrating their psychological knowledge and skills with biblical truth.
Theoretician Researchers: This group is comprised primarily of university professors. They take a scholarly, scientific approach. As the name implies they work extensively on researching, developing and testing new theories and techniques. These counselors do not necessarily "work in the field" unless their research requires them to do so. Their education is almost always secular, unless they are university professors at a private religious university.
Evangelical Popularizers: This is the set of Christian counselors, who use their education to write self-help books, put together marriage seminars, help youth leaders develop action plans to help troubled youth etc. These counselors aim to help ordinary people who want to help themselves.
The five categories of counselors were identified in 1975 and are still recognized to this day. There have been some changes within each category. For example the evangelical counselors have started to move away from clinical pastoral education in favor of a secular education.
Within the last decade the evangelical pastoral counseling and Christian professional counseling approach has been widely adapted by seminaries. The seminaries have started many masters and doctoral programs that provide an equal mix of theology combined with counseling, therapy, psychology, and marriage and family therapy.
There is a massive and heated debate over the mingling of Christian theory with psychology. One side argues that Christianity and psychology are not compatible at all while others argue that they are completely compatible. Some counselors are somewhere in the middle, and the number of individuals in this category seems to be growing substantially each year.
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This is a simple three stage approach to counseling. This process is for when someone comes to you with a problem or wanting to talk about something. It is for the 'normal neurotics like you and me", not for dealing with people with serious psychiatric conditions.
It avoids giving advice (a trap for any counseling approach). If you stick to this approach you will do no harm and will probably do much good.
Stage One: Listening
Listening means understanding the content and the feelings that go with it.
Cerebral understanding is not enough.
Never make a statement that defines the issue or the other person's feelings; ask instead. Not, "You're feeling . . . " but instead, "Are you feeling . . ? ". Not, "The issue is . . ." but instead, "You think the problem is . . ." or, "The way you see it is . . . ". At this stage it may be enough to say "uh-huh" or nod your head.
This stage ends when the person starts talking about the issues behind the problem. You will know you have done well when you get agreement to your suggestions of what the issue is and the feeling behind it.
Stage Two: Exploratory Listening
When the person talking to you feels heard they will move on to deeper things. At this stage you can start asking exploratory questions. Asking if they have felt this way before; What they have tried to do in similar situations - whether it worked or not; Whether there are other thoughts and feelings that are going on for them. You can, if you see something clearly, offer observations of what you see. Things like, "You seem happy/sad/angry . . ." and so on. Even here it is probably better to ask a question than to make a statement.
The critical issue at this stage is to stay in touch with their feelings at the depth they are feeling them.
If you can't do this, let them know; don't fake it. You can something like, "Sorry, I can't handle this right now." They will appreciate this more than pretending (and they'll always know if you are just pretending).
This stage ends when the issue is seen differently, a new insight is achieved.
Stage Three: Doing Different Things
Once they see things differently they can start to do things differently, or at least plan to.
The temptation when anyone comes to you with a problem is to try and jump to this stage immediately. This is a mistake. What is needed is the time to explore what is going on and to see it in a new way.
At this stage you can make suggestions of what has worked for you.
Don't get trapped into playing "Yes, but . . .".
If they give reasons why your suggestions won't work, don't argue. Instead, ask what they have tried, why it didn't work, and what they can do differently this time.
You may want to organize that they can check in with you so that they monitor how they are going with their new way of doing things.
This stage ends when they try out new behaviour with you or when they have a plan of the new behaviour they want to try with others.
This process is almost entirely about listening.
The other person always knows more about their own situation than you do.
Never offer advice about what they should do. In the third stage you may wish to say what has worked for you if you have dealt with a similar issue yourself.
With a little practice you can get quite good quite quickly at this process. You may well become someone people come to 'for advice'. As long as you do stick to this process, and don't offer advice, you will do much good and help many people.
More Information and Resources about Counseling Center
Wikipedia : Counseling Center Whitecourt, Alberta
CNN : Whitecourt, Alberta