Lessons Learned As a Biblical Counselor, Part One: Reflections after Two Years of Biblical Counseling

October 10, 2011

Hayley Satrom

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Hayley Satrom

Lessons Learned As a Biblical Counselor, Part One

Note from the BCC Staff: This is the first in a series of periodic posts by biblical counselors regarding what they have learned during their years of ministry in biblical counseling. Today Hayley Satrom shares what she’s learned after two years as a biblical counselor.

Lessons Learned

I stared in disbelief across the room at Sarah. (The name “Sarah” is a pseudonym used to respect the confidentiality of the client described.)

“I’m feeling so much better,” she stated matter of factly. “Praise God, right?”

“Right,” I nodded, in amazement. For weeks this young woman had been desperate to end her life as she battled severe post-partum depression. She had lost her will to get out of bed, forgotten her desires and personality, and even wondered whether she might truly be a Christian. Yet today, she was showered, wearing make-up and clean clothes, holding her baby with a smile, and celebrating with me that she felt hope again. She felt relief. And she attributed it all to God. Not to me. Not to her psychiatrist. Not to her husband. Not to her church. Surely she appreciated us all, but her praise ultimately lifted to God.

As did mine.

My Grace Is Sufficient

A biblical counselor for a mere two years, I must admit that I learn new lessons daily. In fact, sometimes hourly. There are too many to write about in a single blog post. Yet one theme echoes throughout all of the lessons God has taught me during these first two years:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).

God’s grace—through His Spirit, by His Word, and in His Church—is sufficient.

In only two years, I have seen many things in the counseling room. I’ve seen heartache, hope deferred, anger, sadness, betrayal, stubbornness, deception, grief, selfishness, and loneliness. I’ve seen depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, various forms of abuse, eating disorders, unwanted pregnancies, infertility, suicidal ideation, marital discord, and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Do these lists overwhelm you? Try engaging these difficult dynamics head on, as a new counselor, and in only two years, no less!

On my own, I am no match for such trials. Praise God that I am not on my own. In many cases, I felt lost in trying to address these difficult situations. But God was never lost.

As biblical counselors, we can all rejoice that we are NOT on our own. We are feeble and human. We may be blessed with good training and decent instincts, but our greatest resource is God Himself. How often do we remember this? How much do we lean into Him? How completely do we trust God’s grace?

God Is Enough

It is true. God is enough; for us and for our clients. If we forget this, danger lurks. As counselors, we will start to believe that we are responsible for changing our counselees’ hearts. We will forget to faithfully pray for our counselees, and to offer God’s Word to them; instead we will lean into our own understanding and tactics. The result will be sinful pride in our successful cases, and discouragement when our counselees go astray. Our clients will stumble as well, as they look to us and other forms of worldly wisdom as their ultimate hope, while becoming distracted from their true Healer, the only Savior Jesus Christ.

Whether new counselors or veterans, let us persevere in reminding one another of our greatest strength in counseling:

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:28-29).

Join the Conversation

What are the greatest lessons you’ve learned in your years of ministry as a biblical counselor?


10 thoughts on “Lessons Learned As a Biblical Counselor, Part One: Reflections after Two Years of Biblical Counseling

  1. Hayley,

    What a great reminder!  Thank you, thank you!  You’re certainly not the only one feeling overwhelmed.  I still feel it after 20 years.  I hope it never goes away, as it drives me to God and His grace.

  2. Well said Hayley! Thank you! We are completely dependent on God’s grace, just as our counselee friends are.  Our job: speak the truth in love. God’s job: to change people by His Word through His Spirit.  I often go back to 2 Tim. 2:24-26… The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. 

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