What is biblical counseling?
Simply put, biblical counseling is the guided process of taking the wisdom of God and applying it to the difficulties in our lives. It acknowledges that the Bible is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16), knowing that in God’s divine power He has given us everything pertaining to life and godliness in Scripture (2 Peter 1:3). Biblical counseling uses these truths, with grace and love, to provide healing and encouragement.
How is this different than secular counseling?
A secular counselor is who you would find if you looked up “therapist” in a directory. That person would have training in the social and medical fields relating to psychology. While there can be great value in these practices, what we offer is often referred to as “spiritual counseling.” Based on the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word, we take into account the sinfulness of man and our need to be reconciled to a holy God – a process filled with hope.
Who can benefit from counseling?
The fallen world, our own sinfulness, and the devil all act against us. Anyone wanting to prevent their effects, to heal from them, or to stand alongside others as they journey through the same could benefit from biblical counseling. Topics that commonly get worked through include:
• Marriage relationships
• Child and family relationships
• Eating disorders
• Financial counseling
• Crisis or trauma counseling
• Pre-engagement or pre-marriage counseling
Who can receive counseling?
Counseling through the Bridge Ministries at Valley Bible Church is available to anyone in our church body, as well as the community at large. You do not have to be a Christian to meet with us, but please be aware that the Gospel will be at the heart of what we discuss.
How are your counselors trained?
The core members of the Bridge Ministries are licensed pastors. While several of us have wider training and experience, this means that we are primarily pastors who offer spiritual counsel, as opposed to licensed counselors who operate at a church. The Bridge Ministries is also a training ministry, equipping people to provide godly counsel. In addition to having their personal character and giftedness affirmed, a lay counselor who operates through the Bridge Ministries will have spent at least 40 class hours, an additional 40 homework hours, and 10 observed interaction hours before being confirmed in their role by the Elders of Valley Bible Church.
What is the cost for counseling?
All counseling is provided free of charge as a ministry of Valley Bible Church.
What about confidentiality?
As standard practice, the information shared in counseling will not be released from these sessions except with the consent of the counselee or their parents or guardians. Bridge Ministries takes very seriously the trust and confidence you place in us as you share the details of your life and situation, and we will guard that information carefully. For example, our online data exists on our own encrypted server, and our physical paperwork is locked behind three sets of physical locks. We make every effort to have what you share with us stay with us.
However, there are situations in which it may be necessary and wise for us to share certain information with others. This includes:
• If there is a clear indication of harm or danger to self or others;
• When there is evidence or reasonable suspicion of abuse against a child or dependent adult;
• When a counselor shares information with a member of the leadership of Valley Bible Church (pastor or elder) for their wisdom, encouragement, or accountability in a specific case;
• When a Christian persistently refuses to renounce a particular sin, and it becomes necessary to seek the assistance of others to encourage repentance and reconciliation (Proverbs 15:22; 24:11, Matthew 18:15-20);
• In each of these situations we will make every effort to be sensitive to your situation and to disclose only as much information as is necessary and wise, withholding such specifics as names and places to the degree possible;
• As a part of our training of new counselors there may also occasionally be a counseling trainee who sits in on your counseling session, but this will always be with your prior consent and these individuals will be held to the same standards of personal integrity and confidentiality as your counselor.
What can I expect the process to look like?
Counseling is a broad term for what can look like many different things. It may mean a simple phone call to get an outside opinion on a difficult decision, or it could be regular meetings for some time. Our goal is to help you bridge whatever gap is between you and your biblical joy, getting you back on the road to sanctification (being like Christ) with grace and truth. A typical counseling meeting is about an hour long, and most people find it helpful to meet a handful of times.
When is counseling available?
Most counseling occurs during business hours during the week. It is our goal to respond to inquiries about counseling within a week, and typically we can arrange to meet face to face within two weeks.
How do I get started?
Contact Bridge Ministries through phone, email, or our website to begin the process. We will likely have you fill out a bit of paperwork (see forms below) at the beginning. This helps us to get to know you better, you to have a better expectation of what we offer, and for us all to maximize our time in person the first time we meet. Pastor Chad Ingalls oversees this ministry, and would be happy to answer any questions or concerns which may arise.