Our Blog

By Lauren Thomas, MA, LPC

We have come a long way in reducing stigma around mental health and seeking help from professionals, but in some circles, debate about the efficacy of therapy to treat various problems still exists. If you’re a Christian and on the fence about starting therapy, this blog is for you. There are several myths that may be preventing you from getting the help you need, and I want to provide some encouragement that you can be a faithful believer AND go to therapy.

Here are 5 common worries that hold Christians back from scheduling a counseling session:

1. “I need to pray and trust God more”

We live in a broken world. In the physical world, we see this in the destruction brought about by hurricanes and other natural disasters. We notice this in the sickness and death of all living things. Likewise, our brokenness is evident in our propensity for sin. While sin and death have been defeated through Christ’s finished work, we still sin and experience its consequences. God gives us free will, and we do not always make wise choices. We hurt others and others hurt us. What is the result? We struggle with guilt, shame, anger, and grief. Our bodies, hearts, and minds experience the effects of trauma, anxiety, and depression.

We can trust God wholeheartedly, pray regularly AND experience pain and suffering. Christ-followers are not exempt from the trials of this world. In John 16:33 Jesus tells us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

God hears us when we pray. We can trust Him to provide exactly what we need, when we need it. Sometimes he heals and delivers instantly, and sometimes the answer is “no” or “not now.” Have you considered that finding a compassionate therapist with expertise in what you’re going through can be an answer to your prayers? God can use people to accomplish His purposes in us – such as healing and growth.

2. “Seeking help means I am weak, or my faith is weak”

Related to the first point, sometimes we believe that if we prayed harder, trusted more, or our faith was stronger, we wouldn’t struggle as we do. We established that much of the brokenness in this world is not our fault. Bad things happen, leading to consequences that impact us emotionally, mentally, and physically.

When we break a bone or contract an illness, we usually do not hesitate to consult a physician. Yet when we have panic attacks, looping negative thoughts about ourselves, or feel isolated from others because of past hurt, we tend to “push through” or ignore our pain. We think it will get better over time, or perhaps we’re afraid people will think we’re not faithful Christians if we admit our problems.

The truth is that our sufferings only intensify in silence. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but courage. Sharing a need, inviting another person into our stories and healing process, is one of the bravest things we can do.

Scripture is full of verses that speak to the necessity of participating in life together. Galatians 6:2 instructs us to “carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 tells us that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

God can use therapists, who have training specific to the issues you are facing, to provide tools to help you experience life differently. You don’t have to do life alone.

3. “I can share my problems with my pastor or small group instead”

There is certainly value in sharing our burdens with those with whom we are in regular fellowship. Our pastors and church friends care about us and can offer prayer, as well as emotional, spiritual, and practical support. This type of community is essential. At the same time, there are some problems that may be too sensitive in nature to share in a group setting. Sometimes we filter how we really feel to protect others’ feelings or downplay the intensity of what we are going through to protect our image. Perhaps we have shared prayer requests in the past and have been ridiculed or given unhelpful advice. Not all pastors are trained in the areas where we need support.

Seeing a professional therapist offers guaranteed confidentiality and support from someone who is not a part of your day-to-day life. Sessions are a safe space, free from judgment, so there is no need to filter true thoughts and feelings. Therapists assist clients in setting goals and work at the client’s pace to achieve them. Their education and experience working with a variety of specialties makes them ready to help or provide a referral if necessary.

4. “I don’t trust psychology”

Sometimes there is fear that the techniques used in therapy may contradict the Bible. How can we trust that our counselor is offering the best tools to help us? In therapy, we often talk about “evidence-based practices.” This means that the treatments used have scientific evidence that supports the effectiveness of those treatments. Multiple studies have been conducted to determine whether a particular approach works for the specific problem being researched.

Therapists who use such practices want to offer the best level of care to their clients. Just as a cardiologist gets extensive training to learn how to treat heart problems, or a neurologist specializes in knowing the ins and outs of the brain, counselors also get ongoing training to best help those in our care (it’s required to get and keep our licenses!). Whether it’s learning how to assist couples, help resolve anxiety symptoms, or work with those struggling with addiction or PTSD, we are dedicated to using the best techniques to help people experience greater peace and have better relationships. We believe this knowledge works in tandem with the wisdom the Lord gives us (Proverbs 2).

5. “My therapist may not share my worldview”

The trust and rapport developed between therapist and client is one of the top predictors for success in therapy. We have freedom to choose who we work with when selecting a counselor. It’s important to find someone who is a “good fit” for us, and if that means finding a person who shares our worldview, that is absolutely possible. We can filter our search on sites like Google or Psychology Today with criteria such as “Christian” or “faith-based” counseling.

At Lime Tree Counseling, our therapists are believers who love God and His Word. We provide Christian counseling upon request, but also work with people across the faith spectrum, or with no faith at all. We offer the best possible practices and care to help people experience the healthy life they envision for themselves.

Let’s Get Started

If you’re ready to take the first step, please contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation or initial 50-minute session. Our team would love to connect with you and answer any questions you may have about Christian counseling or any of our other services. We offer in-person services at our office in Montgomery County, PA, and online counseling in Pennsylvania, online counseling in North Carolina, and online counseling in Colorado.