Biblical Counseling FAQs aka Frequently Asked Questions
biblical counseling faqs and the common answers to them.
Biblical counseling is very similar to other kinds of counseling. The goal is to help people. The counselor comes alongside you to help you deal with issues in your life. The main distinctive of biblical counseling is that its basis is the Bible rather than psychology. Your counselor’s training is in helping people using a biblical worldview, with a foundation based in Scripture, which can sometimes differ from the culture’s values or from some of the philosophical foundations of psychology. Biblical counseling takes a holistic view of helping people: People are comprised of mind, body and spirit and all areas need to be considered in order to bring the maximum help. Your biblical counselor will seek to understand all areas of your life to the best of her ability and will work cooperatively with your medical doctor and other professionals who are providing support to you.
Anyone can benefit from Biblical Counseling and everyone is welcome, regardless of your spiritual condition.
Biblical counseling here is very affordable. In most cases your fees will be not much more than the average insurance co-payment. We can help you with the financial aspect of counseling if that is an issue for you. It is our desire that no one be turned down because of the cost of counseling. However, we also recognize that we all value more what we invest in personally, so you will be expected to pay what you are able. Please see the Fees page of this website for more detail.
Individual Counseling Sessions last around 75 minutes. Marriage/Family Sessions last around 90 minutes. You and your counselor will discuss your time limitations in order to respect your other commitments. With marriage and family counseling there may be an additional session during the week with an individual spouse or family member – there is no additional fee for that session.
Biblical counseling falls into the category of pastoral counseling rather than psychological counseling. There is no medical component to biblical counseling and therefor there is no medical record or “official record” produced. However, biblical counselors do keep confidential records of your counseling sessions. It is our policy to destroy those records after a reasonable amount of time following the last counseling session, except for your name, address, phone and email and a brief summary of the counseling.
There is no set time limit on counseling. However, most counseling lasts between 6 and 12 sessions, with some continuing for a year or more depending on the seriousness and severity of the problems. Counseling will not solve every problem you have. Rather, the goal is to equip you with a mindset and tools to tackle the current problem and to enable you to handle other problems in the future yourself or with a supportive set of relationships.
Very. What is said in your counseling sessions is private and your counselor will not share the specifics of your situation outside of your session. The exception to that is in the case of circumstances that fall under the mandatory reporting statutes of the State of California. See the Counseling Release of Liability form for specifics. You will be asked to read and acknowledge those exceptions prior to your first regular session. Your counselor may share general information regarding your case, but without identifying information, in order to seek assistance from other professionals in order to better serve you. If you run into your counselor in a social setting, you may be surprised that she doesn’t immediately acknowledge you. This is for the protection of your confidentiality. Your counselor will not bring up in public your counseling relationship nor discuss the fact that you are in counseling with others, even your close friends or family members.
Marriage counseling is best with both spouses involved. However, significant progress can be made just working with one spouse. Sometimes the commitment of one spouse, and the subsequent positive changes, will encourage the other spouse to participate.
Biblical counseling is a newer discipline and as such the field is young and growing. There are several professional organizations that have developed for the purpose of training and certifying the skills of biblical counselors. Your counselor is certified by the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation, by the International Association of Biblical Counselors and by the Association of Biblical Counselors. She has also trained with the Institute of Biblical Counseling and Discipleship and the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. She is a partner in the Biblical Counseling Coalition.
Limited evening appointments are available. Weekend appointments can sometimes be accommodated under unusual circumstances, but not as a regularly scheduled appointment. We will do our best to find an appointment time that will work with your schedule and responsibilities.
Biblical counseling is not medically based and therefore most insurance companies cannot reimburse for the sessions. We will be happy to work with you and your insurance company if they are willing to consider it. Contact your own insurer for specifics.
Biblical counselors are not medical professionals and do not prescribe medications nor make recommendations regarding medications. Your counselor, however, will be happy to discuss your medications, pros and cons, side effects, etc. with you and will cooperate with your medical practitioner to help you receive the very best care possible. We do not promote or discourage the use of psychotropic medications – you and your medical practitioner are the best equipped to make good medical decisions. Our role is to support you to get the best possible outcome.
If you have a medical emergency, including the threat of harm to yourself or others, the most appropriate action is to call 911 and then whatever friend or family member is the most supportive and available. If you have an issue that you need help with and it is not a medical emergency and you feel it cannot wait until your next scheduled appointment, feel free to email or leave confidential voice mail for your counselor and she will get back to you during business hours. Phone number for confidential voice mail is: 805-736-3391.
Please do your best to keep your appointments. Effective counseling relies on continuity and that is lost when appointments are skipped or delayed. We ask that you do not schedule optional activities and appointments during your regularly scheduled counseling appointment time. If you do need to cancel for any reason, you may leave a message at the phone number on our contact page or use the contact form you find there to email your counselor. Please give as much notice as possible if you have to cancel an appointment to allow the possibility of another client using your appointment time.
If you need help with a problem, it doesn’t matter the size. If it’s important to you, it’s important to us.
Our office is in the building of Christ Reformed Baptist Church, 2210 E. Vista Way, Vista, California. Park in front or in the lot next to the building.
Please see the contact page of this website. You can leave general messages and confidential voice mail at 805-736-3391. Email via the contact page is also confidential. More frequently updated info about the counseling practice can be found on Facebook at Susan Phillips Biblical Counseling and you can ask general questions by posting there.