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  • Kara Kohnen, LMFT

Secular Versus Christian Counseling

What is the difference between Secular Counselings versus Christian Counseling?

As a general rule, both share the same desire to help people overcome their problems, find meaning and joy in life, and become healthy and well-adjusted individuals, both mentally and emotionally. Most counselors have graduate degrees and have spent years learning their craft. The word "counseling" can have multiple meanings, including offering encouragement, sharing wisdom and skills, setting goals, resolving conflict, etc. Counselors often probe the past (whether the problem happened a week ago or during childhood) in an attempt to repair the present. Sometimes they explore possible affects of physical and chemical imbalances that can cause physiological problems. A major part of counseling is resolving and restoring conflicts between people.


Secular Counseling includes: both licensed and prelicensed all with Masters degree or higher level of education. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor or Licensed Psychologists and “associates” of any of these are regulated by the Board of Behavioral Sciences of CA which ensures adherence to ethical standards of professional counseling. The Board has a consumer protection in place and mandates continuing education. There is a level of professionalism as established by the Board when you work with these therapists. Among these professionals, there are various theories or models and specialities. At Grow Through Life Counseling, we are group practice of youth specialists. We assess family culture at intake and this includes: religion, beliefs and practices to the extent this is important to the patient. (For example, if a patient uses prayer or Bible study, attending religious ceremonies or participating in their faith (any faith) as a coping skill, this is included in treatment plan and promoted as part of care). We have an ethical obligation to keep families and marriages intact whenever this is possible and work to have healthy communication about feelings within families while resolving and treating any mental health concerns. Secular Counselors are licensed by the state, and must abide by the rules the state creates in terms of laws, ethics and standards. Their work is considered medically necessary when treating a mental health concern and often can be covered in full or part by health insurance.


Christian counseling is distinct from secular counseling in that it specifically incorporates the spiritual dimension and the Bible. Christian counselors work from the idea that the Bible has a lot of practical wisdom. Christian Counselors answer to the church. They ask God for help, to pray, and offer religious solutions to those they counsel. It also creates a responsibility on the church to properly oversee the activities of these counselors. They are not regulated by the state laws or ethics. This type of counseling is generally not covered by medical insurance and not for the treatment of mental health diagnosis. Opposite from state-licensed counselors, Biblical/Pastoral/Christian counselors are required to pray, share their faith, read from the Holy Scriptures, etc. The fact that Biblical /Pastoral/Christian counselors do these things creates a clear distinction.

At Grow Through Life we offer Secular Counseling covered by insurance (with in medical necessity guidelines). We'd love to help your child and teen in San Diego and you can reach by calling 619-549-0329 ext 0.

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