If you are a Christian planning to practice the discipline of counseling, one of the most important decisions you will make is whether to operate under the authority of your state or under the authority of the church. Christians entering the counseling profession should consider the distinct differences. A license from your state requires you to abide by the state's regulations. A license from a religious institution holds you accountable to the organization that issues it. An organization such as the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) requires the Christian Counselor to adhere to Christian ethical standards.
The primary differences between state-licensed professional counselors and NCCA licensed Christian Counselors who are under the authority of the Church are clear and well defined. Counselors who have been licensed by the state are held to strict ethical standards that mandate an individual’s right to be free from religious influence. The state licensed professional counselor is forbidden to pray, read or refer to the Holy Scriptures. They are also prohibited from counseling against things such as homosexuality, abortion, pre-marital sex and other Christian principles. Initiating such counsel would be considered unethical by the state.
Furthermore, in most states in the U.S. a state licensed counselor "must not promote their personal religious beliefs" according to the code of ethics in each respective state. The only time a state licensed counselor can include religious principles, morals, activities or instruction is if the counselee initiates or requests counsel in this area. The state-licensed counselor may not have the education, experience and knowledge of Scripture that the credentialed Christian Counselor provides.
In fact Christian and Pastoral Counselors are well trained in theology as well as psychology and are required to pray, share their faith and read the Holy Scriptures. This fact creates a clear and exclusive difference. We are two distinct professions and govern ourselves accordingly.
There is a reason state regulatory laws govern counselors. They do this in order to protect the public and ensure professionalism within the counseling profession. As a Certified Academic Institute with the NCCA, Feed My Sheep School of Counseling strives to attain a similar goal within the Christian community and at the same time operate within compliance with state laws. The state and federal governments have jurisdictional boundaries preventing them for passing laws that inhibit the Church from fulfilling its purpose and ministering to humanity’s needs. Undeniably the state recognizes that counseling is one of the responsibilities of the Church and its clergy. Therefore, the state does not and must not interfere with the Ministry of Counseling.
Therefore, each individual must decide if he or she wants to be an agent of the state or a servant of the Church. Biblical, Pastoral or Christian Counselors looking for certification, accreditation should consider the following: If you have a Divine call on your life to counsel and minister to the hurting from a Christian perspective, then a state license may possibly hinder such ministry. Many Christians find the ethical dilemma created by state laws regarding counseling to be unacceptable.
Feed My Sheep School of Counseling offers everything required to become credentialed as a Licensed Christian Counselor or Licensed Pastoral Counselor. We are a Certified Academic Institute with the National Christian Counselors Association. NCCA authorized counselors are ministering in every state of the United States as well as in many nations around the world. Their licensing and certification is approved by over 150 Universities, Seminaries and Bible Colleges offering Christian Counseling Degrees.
The Christian counselor, minister or priest may request fees and receive compensation for the services they render, as long as they remain adherent to the state laws governing such procedures. One must decide whether they are going into the business of counseling or into the ministry of counseling. Most people find it more satisfying to choose one or the other. Remember the main difference lies in which authority you operate under.
When you decide to become a Christian counselor through Feed My Sheep School of Counseling you will be required to place yourself under the authority of a religious organization and have written credentials to substantiate it. If you need ministerial credentials we will assist you or provide you with the information you will need to accomplish that.