Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC provides marriage counseling, family therapy, and individual counseling in Plantation FL.
What is Christian Counseling?
Well, that depends on who you ask. Wikipedia defines Christian Counseling as: “Christian counseling is pastoral counseling which draws upon psychology and Christian teaching”, whereas others say that “Christian Counseling must counsel the soul with techniques generated by the Spirit of God”.
I have to be honest, as a professional counselor, I have no idea what counseling “techniques generated by the Spirit of God” would be. So, lucky for me, I’m married to a guy that graduated from Princeton Seminary. I asked him. He didn’t know either.
My guess is, that for most people, Christian Counseling means counseling for life and relationship problems, that draws upon biblical teachings. While in theory that sounds great – after all, the bible contains lots of useful wisdom about life and relationships. In practice though, it’s a little trickier. You see, the designation “Christian Counselor, or “Christian Counseling” has no regulation whatsoever. So, any Bob or Jane with no counseling training or education in psychology can call themselves a “Christian Counselor”. And it’s not just that they might not have any training in counseling, they might not have any formal training in theology either because there exists no law regulating who can call themselves a Christian Counselor.
Now, I’m not saying that all Christian Counselors have no training, but unless their training also qualifies them to sit for licensure exams in the counseling professions, I would be cautious as a client.
Does Dr. Gagnon provide Christian Counseling?
Not exactly, but close. One of my areas of speciality in counseling is spirituality. Years ago, when I became a counselor, I was exploring and developing my own spiritual direction. During that process, I wondered about how spiritual concerns and issues are addressed in therapy by counselors. And I discovered, from discussions with my colleagues, that most counselors shy away from talking about spiritual matters with their clients because they feel it’s not their role. What’s interesting though, is that in a national survey of therapy clients, 85% said they would like their therapist to address spirituality as part of their overall therapy.
In addition to that, there are many areas of life that might bring someone to counseling, that could potentially also bring up spiritual and religious concerns. For example: whether to stay married or get divorced after infidelity ; sexual relationships and religious beliefs ; death and bereavement. All of these areas could raise spiritual and religious questions for a therapy client.
So while I don’t think that discussing spirituality is necessary if a client is not interested in that, I don’t shy away from it either, if it’s a relevant part of someone’s life. The benefit of the spiritual exploration I did in my own life is that I am familiar with the major tenets of many traditions, including Christianity, Catholicism (yes, I know that’s part of Christianity), Judaism, Buddhism (including Zen and Tibetan), Islam, Hinduism, Native American Beliefs, and Wicca. I am also a student of popular spiritual teachers and authors such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Don Miguel Ruiz and Eckart Tolle.
So while I don’t provide Christian Counseling per se, I certainly can incorporate Jesus’ teachings and Christian values in my counseling when clients prefer that. By the way, people always want to know, so I’ll tell you: I consider my own spirituality to be eclectic, and I happen to be married to a Christian pastor.
Plantation FL Counseling Services
In my Plantation Florida counseling practice I offer a variety of counseling services including individual counseling, couples therapy, family therapy and counseling for children and teenagers. We serve clients from the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, which includes the following cities: Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Sunrise, Davie, Cooper City, Tamarac, Hollywood, and Dania Beach.