This Healing Magazine article by Jodi S.W. Whitcomb, MSW, provides a helpful overview of 4 commonly available choices for a Christian needing mental health care. The article, Mental Health Treatment And Christianity: Ending The Silence, describes her experience in working with a secular mental health organizations: “In the 25 years of my professional life I never have had to violate the fundamental beliefs of my faith.”
Christians are very diverse in their beliefs, preferences, and convictions regarding mental health recovery and treatment. This excerpt from that article describes 4 choices of mental health for Christians—secular counselors (who may or may not be a person of faith), Christian counselors, Biblical counselors, spiritual directors—
A Christian who needs mental health treatment has choices:
- Treatment via the secular world of mental and behavioral health that can be accessed through insurance. There are many types of counselors, coaches and therapists that can be accessed through this vast system of care.
- Counselors designed for the Christian community. These individuals provide support to people seeking help from the perspective of the Christian worldview. (Many times these counselors also take insurance; it just depends on the situation.)
- Biblical counselors who specifically base their counseling on biblical principles and look to guide the Christian back to the biblical principles in a loving way. Some of these counselors are private pay and some provide this service as a free ministry.
- A Spiritual Director is someone who guides people as they take a journey to become closer to the divine. A spiritual director is normally connected to a Catholic Church or other type of a liturgical church and has completed extensive courses and certification.
This list is not exhaustive, but it illustrates that a member of a Christian community does not have to suffer in silence without any help.
That’s the difference between a Christian counselor, Biblical counselor, and spiritual director.