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Policy for Biblical Counseling

Biblical counselors at Bethel Church are available for a limited number of counseling cases.  All counselors have had extensive training in biblical counseling and must meet various training requirements established by the Bible and the Director of Biblical Counseling.  Further, each counselor is trained and supervised by other counselors.  Some counselors may be certified by the State of Texas;  however, any who are certified by the state do not use the practices or licensing of that certification in their counseling at Bethel Church.  Instead they have placed themselves under the authority of the Word of God and the Elders of Bethel Church.

The Role of Scripture

Persons seeking counseling services from Bethel Church are assured that all counseling will be conducted in accordance with the counselor’s knowledge and understanding of the Scriptures and the application of Scriptures to the issues of life.  We believe that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right (2 Tim 3:16).”  Consequently, all our counseling is Biblically based, and the Scriptures are the only authority in all cases.

This means that Bethel counselors will not use, refer to, recommend, incorporate, or otherwise depend on the teachings and methods of modern psychology or psychiatry. Our counselors do not counsel as mental health professionals, nor do they follow those methods. Finally, our policy is not to make referrals to such persons.

If the counselee is not sure that he will be interested in biblically-based counseling, he may first attend one or two sessions to discover what biblical counseling is like.  If he or the counselor determines that the counselee is unwilling to use the Bible as the final authority for life, or if he is uninterested in learning to do so, future counseling sessions will not be scheduled.

The Role of Secular Research

We believe in God’s common grace to all humanity, and therefore accept that believers in Christ can be informed by research from non-believers who do not espouse a Christian or even a theistic worldview. For example, while the fundamental worldview of secular counseling runs counter to Biblical counseling, there is an abundance of writings which describe knowledge gained through research and case care. Observations ascertained from these writings which do not contradict the standards and principles of Scripture may be used to enrich the care given to those who come to the Bethel Biblical counseling center.

The Role of Medicine

As a Biblical counseling ministry, it is not within our scope to recommend using, or not using, or to discontinue using legal medications to any counselee. As a church, we view legal medications as a Romans 14 issue. No counselee on medication should make any decision about that medication without consulting with their physician.

Counselee Responsibility in Counseling

It should be understood that biblical counseling involves two aspects: the counselor will provide scriptural teaching relevant to the counselee’s concerns, and the counselee will work toward making practical application of the same to his/her life. The counselee is held fully responsible for how he/she implements that counsel.

To assist the counselee in life application, each counseling session will conclude with the counselor assigning homework for the counselee to complete which will be discussed at the next session. The goal of the homework is not to get the work done, but through it to cause growth in Christ. Since this is such a vital part of the counseling process, completion of homework assignments is a requirement for counseling to continue. If the counselee is unwilling to complete the assigned homework, future counseling sessions will not be scheduled until the assigned homework has been completed to the satisfaction of the counselor.

We realize that some counselees may have a learning disability (such as dyslexia). In cases such as these, the counselee should discuss his disability in the first session so that the counselor can construct appropriate homework assignments. Also, there may be times when the counselee has an extenuating circumstance that prevents completion of the homework. In that case, the counselee should advise the counselor so that appropriate adjustments to the schedule can be made.

Termination of Counseling

It is our desire that each counselee be graduated from counseling after having gained the ability to apply biblical principles for growth and change in Christ, not only for the issue that brought them to counseling, but also for any future issues.

Other than graduation, at any time future sessions can be discontinued by either the counselee or the counselor. However, if the counselee is a member of Bethel Church, in some cases, based on the nature of the termination of counseling, the Pastor and/or Elders may be notified of the reasons for terminating the counseling sessions.

Under the same conditions and in the same way, if the counselee is not a member of Bethel Church, and based solely on counselor’s discernment of the matter, the counselee’s local church leadership may be contacted to discuss reasons for counseling termination.

Non-Members of Bethel Church

Please note that Bethel Church is committed to the spiritual health of its members thus, counseling of Bethel Church members always takes precedence over all non-member related counseling services.

Counselees Without Any Church Membership

According to the scriptures, God’s provision for His people is the preaching, teaching and fellowship provided at the local church level. We recognize counseling does not replace that provision. Therefore, if a counselee is currently not a member of a church or not a member in good standing with a church, Bethel Church requires the counselee to attend Bethel Church on a weekly basis while being counseled by Bethel’s counseling ministry. For example, if the counselee is going to have 12 counseling sessions, then Bethel Church expects that the counselee will attend Bethel Church for 12 weeks. After such time Bethel Church will be happy to assist the counselee in finding a church home and of course, the counselee is welcome to examine Bethel Church as a possibility. If the counselee does not attend Bethel Church on a regular basis (Sunday services and ABF at least three times a month) all future counseling sessions will be terminated.

Requirements for Members of Other Churches Than Bethel Church

(A) Leadership Notification

If the counselee is a member in good standing with a church other than Bethel Church, our policy is for the counselee to remain under the authority of the leadership at the counselee’s local church.

We fully recognize and respect the authority of the counselee’s church, and it is Bethel Counseling Ministry’s goal to complement the counselee’s local church leadership by coming alongside the counselee with the full knowledge of the counselee’s local church leadership. In this regard, we require that the counselee inform a person in leadership of their local church that they will be counseled by a counselor of the Bethel Counseling Ministry, and that the local church’s leadership may contact the Bethel counselor. Correspondingly, Bethel Church requires that the counselee provide to the Bethel counselor the name and the contact information of the person in leadership at the counselee’s local church who has been advised of Bethel Church providing counseling services for the counselee.

If no one in a leadership position is contacted by the counselee, Bethel Church’s counselor, based solely on the counselor’s discernment of the matter, may decide to move forward or not move forward with the counselee. Bethel Church’s driving desire is that the responsibility of the counselee’s spiritual well being is maintained by the authority of their local church and that Bethel Counseling is not seen as usurping that authority from the local church leadership.

(B) Worship at Bethel Church
 Bethel is a Bible teaching church. We deeply care about the Bible and the application of its authority in each individual’s life, therefore:

  • we preach expositionally, systematically delving into its rich, inerrant truths
  • we instruct appropriately, allowing the Word to transform children, students, men and women
  • we lead Biblically, encouraging men to sacrificially love and lead their families and our Church
  • we seek daily to have our minds renewed by Scripture's truths, applying them in all our relationships and responsibilities

We desire that these same benefits through the Word penetrate to the hearts of all our counselees. In our aspiration to achieve this goal, we require that all non-member counselees fulfill, on a weekly basis, worship at Bethel Church by listening to the latest Sunday sermon on the Bethel website or attending the worship service, then:

  • Write a summary of the major points
  • Explain the steps that will be taken for life application.

Confidentiality

Absolute confidentiality is not scriptural. In certain circumstances the Bible requires that facts be disclosed to select others (Matt. 18:15ff). In these areas we will follow the policy and procedures of Bethel Church. If the counselee’s church leadership inquires about the status of his sessions, we will disclose to them the information that is necessary for them to effectively and biblically fulfill their shepherding responsibility.

By Law, there are certain situations in which information about individuals undergoing counseling may be released with or without their permission. These situations are as follows: (Romans 13:1-3):

  1. Where it is proven that children are physically abused, neglected, or sexually abused.
  2. In emergency situations where there may be proven danger to the counselee or others, as with homicide or suicide, confidentiality may be broken.
  3. If a court of law issues a legitimate subpoena relating to a child abuse case, we are required by law to provide the information specifically described in the subpoena.
  4. If an unreported life-threatening felony has been committed, we are required by law to report it to the police.

Counseling Fees and Other Charges

Bethel Church does not charge a fee for counseling. However, there are costs involved in maintaining this ministry, and counselees who are able and willing to express their thanks and help to maintain the ministry are invited to make a donation to Bethel Church.

Resource Charge: At the beginning of counseling, the counselee will provide $25 (by check or cash) for the purpose offsetting the cost of counseling materials. During the counseling process, homework assignments may require the use use of resources such as books or pamphlets. The counselee is expected to pay for these materials, and these costs will be deducted from the $25 charge.

Late Cancellation Charge: Counselees are expected to attend each scheduled appointment, however if the counselee finds it necessary to cancel a counseling session he should do so by either by telephone or through e-mail to the counselor as soon as possible to avoid the late cancellation charge being invoked. In this regard a $25 cancellation charge will be assessed for a “no-show” or late cancellation. As long as no appointments are cancelled within 24 hours of the scheduled time, this charge will not be assessed. Emergency situations will be excluded from this charge.

Counselors in Training

Here at Bethel Church we not only provide biblical counseling, but are devoted to training biblical counselors. This means that the counselor may have one to two people assisting him/her in each counseling session.

Last Updated: 1/16/2013

Contact Information

Address: 825 Bering Drive, Houston, TX 77057 [map]
Tel: 713.782.8948 Fax: 832.202.2996
Email: info@bethelofhouston.com

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