If you’re wanting counselling for an area of your life mentioned about you make a booking for an initial appointment.
Jeremy is trained in Marriage Counselling. He’s eager to help anyone navigate the blessings and challenges of married life.
Jeremy is also a trained Prepare-Enrich facilitor. Prepare-Enrich is a secular tool designed to help couples who are preparing for marriage (‘Prepare’) or strengthen those already married (‘Enrich’).
Looking for Bible-based resources for yourself or as you help others? Jeremy has a large range of CCEF minibooks addressing particular topics. Drop by to browse the collection.
If you’re thinking about meeting with me, what should you expect?
Before a first counselling session I’ll provide you with a short intake form. This is to give me an idea of who you are and what you want to focus on.
A first session is getting to know each other. I’m eager to hear your story, talk through the issue you’d like to focus on and consider together what a good way forward might be.
Throughout our time together, I want to know what’s important to you. Listening on my part is essential. God invites us to share what’s on our hearts with him. The amazing thing is he’s impacted by us. He listens, is moved and acts for our good. Like him I want be impacted by what matters to you.
Part of that is prayer. Speaking to God about the things we’ve discussed. Responding to the things he says to us in the Bible. Asking for his help. So I pray in our time together.
How long will we meet for? And how regularly?
That’s flexible and its up to you and I to work that out together on the basis of the focus for counselling, what’s helpful and availability.
Sometimes I meet with someone for four sessions on a fortnightly basis. And that’s enough to get kickstarted in making changes. Others I might meet with over a longer ongoing basis.
It’s really about what’s most helpful for knowing God personally and moving forward in your area of focus.
In between sessions I might suggest things you could do to apply what you’re learning. Action steps. That might include reading a Psalm, a mini book, listening to a talk, journalling what you’re thinking and feeling, or inviting the input of someone else in your life who knows you well.
So it’s important to ask yourself, am I ready to commit to the process?
It’s worth asking, ‘Am I ready for counselling?’
When we think about coming for counselling we’re usually in one of three places:
(I’ve borrowed these from counsellor Todd Stryd.)
Notice how each of them has something to do with a readiness for change?
If you’re thinking, “There’s a problem and there’s work to be done” you’re ripe for the counselling process. You’ve already got an openness to look at yourself honestly, you want helpful input from others, and you’re committed to the process.
But what if you’re thinking “There’s no problem”? Or “There’s a problem but it’s no big deal”? Does that mean don’t book in for counselling?
My role is to help wherever you are on the spectrum of being ready to change.
But it’s worth saying upfront the more open you are to looking at yourself and the more committed you are to the process, the more you’ll benefit from it.
One thing that’s important to the process is having space between sessions to put into practice what’s discussed. That doesn’t mean you need hours and hours of time between sessions. But if you’re headspace is full and you can’t take any action steps or process anything between one session and the next it will limit the benefit to you.
Cost is another factor. Counselling fees are currently $80 per session. I have flexibility to simply accept a donation of you’re under financial pressure. But I think there’s is something helpful about the cost. Like time and effort, putting money towards something can express a commitment to the process. It can say, “This is important to me. I want to work towards change in this area of my life.”
I’m a Christian. I meet with everyone—whether you are a Christian or not. I’m eager to help wherever you’re at.
But if you do see me, you need to at least have an openness to the wisdom of the Bible. Because it really does shape the help that I give.
What is biblical counselling?
I realise we may react differently to this term.
For some of us it draws a blank. We don’t know what it is.
For others it’s good. We want to know the help we’re getting has it’s basis in who God is and what he says.
But for others it’s bad. We may think of people who’ve been ‘hard line’, harsh or rejecting much of the wisdom that God has given to others outside the church.
Here are some ways I think about biblical counselling and what I mean by it.
First, little ‘b’ biblical. (I’m borrowing this from my friend Kurt Peters.)
What do I mean?
The Bible is very clear in it’s teachings. But there are a wide range of ways that the Bible’s teachings can be applied to our everyday, personal and unique circumstances. These applications are truly biblical when they keep with the clear, specific and general teaching of the Bible and within the big picture of what God is doing in the world (as shown in the Bible).
So there’s more than one biblical way to address our troubles as people.
Biblical counselling is about the Bible shaping the help that we give to each other. It’s about meeting together to help join the dots between what God says and the everyday issues of life that each of us face.
Second, it’s little ‘c’ counselling. (Also from Kurt.)
Often the world around uses the word counselling to speak of something very formal. A relationship with a professional trained in psychology, counselling or therapy. This would be big ‘C’ counselling.
Biblical counselling can includes this.
I’m using counselling in a broader way. To counsel is to influence. In this way we’re always giving counsel to each other. We speak about how to live. We influence each other.
So biblical counselling is about the Bible influencing us. The counsel we give each other is based on what God says.
It can happen informally in a conversation after church. Or it can happen in a counselling room.
Biblical counselling is about helping each other bring the reality of who God is and what he says to the stuff of life. The things that are hard. The places we get stuck. It’s about working towards change in these places knowing that God wants to make us like Christ.
That leads me to another way to think about it. The goal of biblical counselling is becoming fully human. It’s learning to live and flourish as God intended. It’s learning to reflect God’s likeness in the details of how we live.
In many ways the help I want to provide is ‘pastoral care’. Applying the wisdom of the Bible in personal conversations.
Through church history pastors have walked alongside people in churches doing what’s been called ‘the cure of souls’. As there are doctors who focus on the body, there are others who focus on the spiritual. They do through preaching and teaching but also personal conversation.
I want to work alongside supporting and extending the care that pastors to provide to those in their churches. My role means I’m set apart to have these kind of personal conversations. To help in connecting God’s words to the details of life in a way that other church staff may have limited capacity for.
I walk alongside others who may be receiving care from psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, social workers or other professions.
How does what I do relate to such helping professionals?
I want to help people I counsel interpret the help they’re receiving through the lens of Scripture. Calvin spoke of reading the ‘world through the Word’.
These other professions have insight and help to offer. We want to take that on board in a way that keeps knowing God central.
Ed Welch likened biblical counselling to the book of Proverbs and the wisdom of other ancient cultures. As you study Proverbs in the Bible you can see some profound similarity with other writings. But there’s a difference. The organising principle of Proverbs is the fear of the Lord.
So we think about similarity and we think about difference.
As we think about helping professions there should be a similarity between the help provided. The way a biblical counsellor looks at anxiety should resonate at some level with the wider culture. God has gifted many with helpful observations and insight outside the church. So if we’re on a different tack entirely for how we might help an anxious person then that should be a red flag to us.
But as we read and engage with what the world is saying in medicine, psychology and counselling fields, we expect there to be something missing. There will be difference. The wider world doesn’t keep fear of the Lord central to daily problems. There may be a lot we can learn from strategies for dealing with anxiety. But we want to take that on board in such a way that keeps God central in our lives.
That’s reading the ‘world through the Word’. Using the Bible as our lens for taking on board everything that’s true and good for human flourishing.
Scripture speaks to us at a deeper level than our culture. The Lord who made us knows us better than anyone else. We’re not just a collection of desires and needs. We bear the image of God. In the Bible God holds out to us a unique vision of what it means to be fully human.
This is the foundation of how I think about helping others. There’s a place for other helping professions. But I want everyone to be shaped by God’s vision for personal change.