If you’re a Christian going through mental health issues, you may find yourself wondering what the Bible says about counseling. Does the Bible’s teaching condone or condemn therapy?
The short answer is, “Yes!” The Bible is the first form of support and therapy for Christians, so it definitely encourages people to seek counseling and therapy. There are even mental health professionals who specialize in Christian counseling. Christians can see a counselor who is highly trained in mental health issues and is able to incorporate God’s word in therapy for a full faith-based and relational therapeutic experience.
While some people rely solely on their faith to get them through life’s difficulties or mental health concerns, the Bible supports seeking therapy. Here’s what the Bible says about therapy and the common reasons people seek it.
The Bibles’ View on Common Mental Health Conditions
The Bible distinguishes between godly concern for God’s glory and others vs. ungodly anxiety and fear which focuses on what might happen to you. The Bible seeks to help people understand how to be good Christians, and many verses talk about easing worry and seeking refuge in the Lord. God calls upon Christians to find strength in their relationship with Him and with one another. Having a therapist who understands scripture and the therapeutic process can help you grow through your anxiety.
Christians often find hope in the Bible. Many verses speak to those experiencing deep sadness or despair and encourage them to seek help. In Psalms, David uses positive self-talk to remind himself of his strength alongside God.
Counselors can help people develop the skills to practice positive self-talk and recognize negative self-talk when it’s happening. These are valuable skills in healing from depression.
Temptation is rampant within society. The Bible says a lot about renewing your mind andhow, as humans, people are flawed and in need of help. The critical thing to remember is that Christians are never alone in their temptation, sin, or suffering. Finding strength in your faith to heal your substance use issues is key.
Many Christian counselors specialize in treating substance use issues. They can help you find the strength to heal, drawing inspiration from the teachings of the Bible. Additionally, numerous support groups specialize in Christian recovery from substance use.
Grief and Loss
The healing process from grief due to the loss of a loved one or something important looks different for everyone. As a Christian, you probably find hope in the Bible during times of struggle. Experiencing grief can seem earth-shattering, but the Bible reminds people that Christians are never alone in their suffering. The Bible can show a purpose to our pain and provide promises that those who mourn will be comforted.
Working through tough emotions is part of the process of counseling. Your therapist can help you find ways to grieve that work for you, some of which might include attending church services or finding comfort in specific practices or verses that reference loss.
Many couples seek marriage counseling for relationship and fertility issues. If you and your spouse are Christians and have issues within your relationship, the Bible supports working through these issues so the marriage can become healthier and more loving.
A Christian marriage counselor can help you and your partner identify the root causes of marital issues and help you draw inspiration from the teachings of Christianity. Forgiveness is a common theme found within the Bible. Your therapist can help you remember these teachings and practice forgiveness and empathy with your spouse.
Abuse and Trauma
The Bible asks Christians to cast off their doubts and lean into the love of God. After a person is abused or experiences trauma, they may question their faith. Christian counselors specializing in abuse and trauma recovery won’t dissuade you from your tough questions. Instead, they will walk alongside you and remind you of the deep love God has for you, despite your life and experiences.
The Bible teaches Christians that if they put their faith in God and God’s teachings, they will be strengthened and guided toward love. The Bible recognizes that people need support from others. Christian counselors and therapists can help you work through your emotions related to abuse and trauma.
Other Mental Health Concerns
Ultimately, God calls Christians to love. This love includes love for yourself. If you have mental health concerns that lead you to question if you need counseling or therapy, know that the Bible supports you in seeking help that allows you to love yourself and be mentally and spiritually healthy. You aren’t meant to suffer alone. And you can heal your emotional health while also strengthening your faith.
Common Myths Christians Think About Counseling
People who have grown up in the Christian faith may have some misconceptions about counseling. Truthfully, the Bible is full of messages of God’s love. Christian counselors will support your healing journey despite these common myths.
- If You Pray Hard Enough, You’ll Be Healed – We are not alone on this earth for a reason. God is a relational God and therefore expects us to work together for His glory. He has provided us with people who are given various strengths and talents in the world to allow us to help one another. Sometimes, seeking healing is the point. He wants us to ask for help from Him and each other. Rely on the resources the Lord has placed in your life and ask for help when you need it.
- If The Lord is My Strength, I Can’t Be Weak – Weakness is part of the human condition. The Bible tells Christians that God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. Seeking help during a time of weakness allows God’s voice to be heard loud and clear during those dark moments and shows us and others just how loving and comforting He is.
- I Can Just Talk to My Family, Friends, or Pastor About My Problem – The Bible encourages you to lean into your support system. But, sometimes, speaking to your family, friends, or pastor isn’t enough. These times are when mental health professionals come in. They are unbiased third parties who work for you, your physical and your mental health. Their focus is on you. They are professionally trained to recognize when a medical condition might be the cause of your struggle and help you get the help you need.
- The Therapist will Humiliate Me – Therapists create a safe, confidential and empathetic environment. A mental health professional will not intentionally make you feel embarrassed, as that’s detrimental to your comfort and trust. Your therapist is there to help you heal, not make you feel bad. Therapy may not always be comfortable because of the concerns you’re addressing, but it should be an overall beneficial experience.
- Counseling is Only for Weak, Mentally Ill, or Crazy People – Deciding to go to counseling involves an immense amount of strength and courage. Admitting that you need help is difficult. Christian teachings say to work on yourself and be honest about your faults. By asking for help to better yourself, you’re putting in work with your faith, showing humility and courage to work. All are parts of a critical process that ultimately strengthens you.
Understanding Christian Counseling
You can seek counseling that is faith-based and supports your views. Thousands of trained mental health professionals practice Christian counseling and will affirm your religious philosophy.
All Counseling can help connect you to a therapist you’re comfortable with. Regardless of your faith, beliefs, or mental health concerns, the search for a counselor for you doesn’t have to be difficult. Use our counselor directory for listings of therapists who understand your needs.