Consent to Counsel

Consent to Counsel

Our goal in providing Christian counseling is to help you meet the challenges of life in a way that will please and honor the Lord Jesus Christ and allow you to enjoy fully His love for you and His plans for your life.

Commitment to Biblical Counseling

All Christians struggle with sin and the effect it has on our lives and our relationships. Whenever believers are unable to overcome sinful attitudes or behaviors through personal efforts, God calls them to seek assistance from other believers, and especially from elders, who have the responsibility of providing pastoral counseling and oversight (see Rom. 15:14; Gal. 6:1-2; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; Heb. 13:17; James 5:16). Therefore, this church encourages and enjoins its people to seek counsel from and confess sins to each other, and especially involving our elders.

We believe that the Bible provides thorough guidance and instruction for faith and life (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Therefore, our counseling is based on scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology or psychiatry. Unless they specifically state otherwise, none of those who counsel in this church are trained or licensed as psychotherapists or mental health professionals. In keeping with this fact, those who counsel should not be expected to follow the methods of such specialists, nor are they obliged to refer counselees to such specialists. Counselees are, of course, free to seek the advice of trained or licensed psychotherapists or mental health professionals if they so choose, even if members of this church, including the elders, discourage them from doing so. Our elders will be happy to communicate with such advisors and help you to consider their counsel in the light of relevant scriptural principles.

God calls our elders to set an example for us “in speech, in life, in love, and in faith and purity” (1 Tim. 4:12). Therefore, we expect them to treat counselees with every respect and courtesy, and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety or impurity during counseling (Eph. 5:3). We also expect counselees to promptly report any conduct that fails to meet this standard.

We practice the principle of men counseling men or women counseling women, and we take extra measures of accountability when we have to make exceptions to this rule.

To prevent our elders from being placed in situations that might compromise their biblical and ethical commitments, we, the people seeking biblical counseling, agree that we will not try to compel them to testify in any legal proceeding or otherwise divulge any confidential information they receive through pastoral counseling or ministry (Prov. 11:13, 25:9).

Seeking Professional Advice

In the process of Biblical counseling there are often times when there is a need for significant advice with regard to legal, medical, financial or other technical areas. In those cases you may be encouraged to seek independent professional counsel. Again, our elders will be happy to communicate with such advisors and help you to consider their counsel in the light of relevant scriptural principles. 

Commitment to Limited Confidentiality

The Bible teaches that Christians should carefully guard any personal and private information that others reveal to them. Protecting confidences is a sign of Christian love and respect (Matt. 7:12). It also discourages harmful gossip (Prov. 26:20), invites confession (Prov. 11:13), and thus encourages people to seek needed counseling. Since these goals are essential to the ministry of the gospel and the work of the local church, our counselors will carefully protect all information that they receive through pastoral counseling, subject to the following guidelines:

Duty to Warn

Although confidentiality is to be respected as much as possible, there are times when it is appropriate to reveal certain information to others. In particular, when those who counsel believe it is biblically necessary, they may disclose confidential information to appropriate people in the following circumstances:

  • when a leader is uncertain of how to counsel a person about a particular problem and needs to seek advice from other leaders in our church or, if the person attends another church, from the leaders of that church (Prov. 11 :14);
  • when the person who disclosed the information, or any other person, is in imminent danger of serious harm unless others intervene (Prov. 24:11-12). This includes suicidal intent with a plan or homicidal intentions with a plan;
  • when a person refuses to repent of sin and it becomes necessary to promote repentance through accountability and redemptive church discipline (Matt. 18:15-20); or,
  • when leaders are required by law to report suspected abuse (Rom. 13: 1), including abuse of children and the elderly.

By signing below I (print name), __________________________________, indicate that I have read this Consent to Counsel Form. I acknowledge my understanding of the above statements and agree to biblical counseling as explained in this document. I also affirm that any actions I take or fail to take following counsel I receive from members of this church, including the elders, are actions or negligence for which I am fully and solely responsible. 

Dated ___________

Signed ______________________________________________

                                                 (NOTE: Parent or Guardian must sign for a child)

Counselor: I have reviewed this information with the counselee.

Dated ___________

Signed ______________________________________________