What is someone looking for when they consult a counselor? Answers? Of course. Understanding, wisdom? Always. Healing? I imagine we all need lots of healing. But what kind of approach best facilitates these things actually happening in a counseling context?
It is my belief that the primary agent of healing in therapy is less about the training or theoretical orientation of the counselor and more about the cultivation of a safe, open, caring, and personal relationship. When this is established, it becomes the context for imparting wisdom, truth, and caring that leads toward resolving personal issues. The appropriate dynamic in therapy is not so much that of a teacher and student or a doctor and patient as it is a collaborative effort. Good therapy is a mutual process of discovery and growth.
In my journey as a counselor, I have been influenced as much by literature, philosophy, theology and the ongoing examination of my own life as I have by formal counseling study. Along the way I received a Master of Systematic Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary and subsequently a Master of Counseling from Colorado Christian University. While these provided me excellent formal training in established ways of thinking about life issues, my approach honors the uniqueness of every person’s story. Formal psychological diagnosis and treatment are often helpful, but at times the attempt to categorize gets in the way of a richer therapeutic experience that honors the full complexity of an individual.