What should I do now that I realize I have been going to the wrong counselor?

I suggest that you change counselors. If you have come to recognize that the counseling that you have been receiving is not truly biblical, but did not know that such a thing as Nouthetic counseling was available, waste no more time with that which, if it hasn't already, may lead you astray.

But you ought not merely leave a counselor; explain why you are doing so. If he is not a Christian, you can simply say that you have learned Christian counseling is available and that you'd rather participate in that. If your counselor claims to do "Christian counseling," but what he does bears little resemblance to anything biblical, you ought to point that out to him. Indeed, if he has charged you a fee, you might even want to suggest that, in your opinion, he is counseling under false pretenses, that what he is doing is unethical and you think you deserve a rebate. Then duck! If he doesn't charge for counseling, you still ought to tell him that he misrepresents his counseling by calling it Christian, when plainly it isn't.

Perhaps you may ask, "But what if my counselor is my pastor?" That moves the whole issue into a higher venue. He is counseling in the name of your church. Depending on how biblical your church represents itself to be, your remarks and your actions may vary. If through enlightenment about counseling you have come to realize that your church itself (including your pastor) is liberal and does not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, you will need not only to find a counselor who is more congenial to the Scriptures, but you will also want to look for and join a Bible-believing congregation.

If, however, the church you are attending claims to be Bible-believing (and in most other respects may be), but the pastor does eclectic counseling (or in lieu of counseling, refers his members to eclectic counselors), you will want to have a down-to-earth talk with him. It may be that he knows no better; he is doing what he was taught in seminary. Or, it may be that he received no training in seminary or Bible College, so he has been stumbling along as best he can with what he has learned from the wrong books. Or, perhaps, he thoroughly understands what he is doing, and is entirely committed to eclectic counseling. In considering the three possibilities above, the first two may call for encouragement, prayer and supplying him with better books. Your goal would be, of course, to get him to consider biblical counseling. Meanwhile, you will want to find a biblical counselor for yourself. In scenario #3, you will have to consider your next moves carefully.

If, indeed, you decide to switch to a Nouthetic counselor, ask him if it would be possible for your pastor (or an elder from your church) to "sit in" on the counseling sessions. In most cases, not only will the Nouthetic counselor say "yes," but he will be delighted to have the opportunity to show the pastor what biblical counseling is like.

Perhaps you are not sure whether or not you ought to change counselors. What then? Well, you should speak initially with the Nouthetic counselor and compare and contrast what he says with what you have been involved in. If you still entertain doubts, ask him if you may counsel for two sessions to get a better idea of the differences. It is likely that many Nouthetic counselors will themselves make such an offer. You cannot go on burning the candle at both ends; or you will end up getting burned! Choose. Choose the Nouthetic counselor!

Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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