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Online Christian Counseling Degree
Overview of Christian Counseling
Christian counseling degrees provide students with an introduction to concepts used in the evaluation of mental and emotional issues, along with basic psychological theories and counseling techniques. Taught from a biblical perspective, christian counseling programs offer a broad foundation in human behavior, brain function and theoretical approaches to counseling. Degrees in christian counseling are typically available at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate levels.
A bachelor’s degree in Christian counseling provides a wide-ranging introduction to human behavior and prepares graduates for non-licensed counseling roles. Master’s degree programs are designed to for graduates who intend to pursue state licensure and professional counseling work in hospitals, churches, and other clinical settings. Doctorate programs provide advanced training in specialized areas of counseling, including pastoral marriage and family counseling, pastoral counseling, and psychotherapy.
Career Paths with a Degree in Christian Counseling
There are many career paths open to graduates of Christian Counseling programs, depending on the degree level. With an associate or bachelor’s degree, it is possible to find entry-level positions in case management, community relations, advocacy and Christian counseling. Graduates can become involved in crisis intervention, family support, and helping people with developmental disabilities. Other options include positions as worship leaders or pastoral counselors.
By earning a master’s degree in Christian Counseling, even more opportunities are available. A graduate degree program provides a more in-depth exposure to methods and techniques which serves as preparation for a counseling career in a church, agency or private practice.
Christian Counseling Degrees Online
In order to pursue a career in Christian Counseling, you need to have a degree. Undergraduate degree programs at accredited institutions provide a strong foundation with a combination of coursework and capstone experiences. Graduate level programs allow students to delve deeper into psychological theories while integrating Christian faith and sound counseling principles. The next section will examine the objectives and curriculum requirements for earning an associate, bachelors, or master’s degree in Psychology-Christian Counseling.
Associates in Christian Counseling
A two-year Associate in Christian Counseling program helps students understand the multi-faceted aspects of the profession. Students are challenged to integrate faith and the study of human behavior in an academic environment. Many students transfer to a bachelor’s degree program in Psychology – Christian Counseling after graduation. By the end of an associate degree program, students should be able to meet the following objectives:
- Understand the major doctrines of the Bible.
- Integrate a biblical view with an understanding of the relationship of Christianity to the counseling process.
- Identify personal areas of spiritual growth.
Sample Associates Degree Curriculum
The coursework in an associate degree program consists of a combination of core competency and elective classes. General Education requirements include communication, humanities, mathematics, physical science, social science and biblical studies courses. Major Core requirements include psychology course such as those in the table below:
Study of the nature of spiritual life through examination of biblical, theological and sociological foundations for Christian spirituality.
Pursuing a Masters in Christian Counseling shows a candidate’s intent to counsel individuals, families, couples and groups through their personal issues, problems and addictions using a counseling methodology centered in Christ’s life and teachings. Christian counseling students work independently or in group practice to become licensed counselors and therapists.
Additionally, some graduate students view the Master’s degree in counseling as a way to enter the world of business or private practice. While graduate studies do vary, candidates hone skills to help others by applying different techniques and treatments targeted to each client’s situation, such as:
- Introduction to theories and models of counseling including temperament theory; research impacts of models across modalities to gain a clear idea of strengths of each
- Research into the personal of the counselor through ideologies of the various founding fathers of psychology
- Feminist critiques of Christian Counseling theory and method
- Evidence-based practice and data tracking in the Christian counseling setting
- Research psychoanalytic and psychodynamic therapies
- Research common outcomes and hurdles to effective Christian counseling
- Research and practice empirically-supported treatments that align with cognitive therapy, and the role of the counselor in this process
- Gather data on the common factors of change, and draw archetypal generalities based on evidence in order to deduce thematic elements of struggle
- Research the client as a common factor amongst counseling interactions – focus on solutions and narrative therapies
- Practice psychotherapeutic integration of the four main factors of the counseling dynamic: patients, counselors, relationship and expectation
- Research the counseling model as the common factor in the dynamic. Assess and develop milestones for treatment using this rubric
- Consider the counselor-patient relationship as a factor for success. Discuss ethics and coping techniques to manage vicarious stress
- Managing hope, expectations, and placebo effect in the counseling dynamic
PhD in Christian Counseling
While students who pursue a PhD in Christian counseling may indeed intend to practice as a licensed counselor, the primary aim of any PhD program is to ensure an exacting degree of expertise in research in a specialized area, while also ensuring that candidates have a solid foundational background of information to relate their research interests appropriately. While each area of specialization is slightly different given a candidate’s aptitude and approach, most PhD programs will have the following elements:
- Engage in focused research endeavors from the outset of the PhD program
- Gradually attain academic independence from chosen advisor as specific research interests are developed
- Study a range of topics that focus on both the behavioral and neurological hallmarks of the patient
- Work with the overarching goal to advance Christian counseling’s clinical level of expertise
- Commit to empirical approaches to using testable hypotheses while advancing theory and practice by this method
- Appreciate the field of Christian counselling as a foundation for meaningful inquiry and practice
- Hone knowledge of a broad array of evidence-based psychological theories and research as well as the Christian framework and archetypes for practice
- Commit to integrating science and Christianity in practice in order to further patient well being both at an individual and societal level.
- Contribute through theory, research and practice in ways that are meaningful to clinical practice
- Prepare exemplary and clear research proposals
- Ensure that research endeavors remain relevant to avenues of clinical practice
- Develop adroitness at disseminating and communicating research findings to a broad audience
- Hone ethical and professional standards in academic and Christian clinical settings
- While endorsing the Christian archetypal and behavioral framework as goals, support multicultural and diversity aspects of counseling and relationships
- Develop assessment, program evaluation and action plans using evidence based theory
- Exercise professional communication skills, including teaching and supervision