If you are wondering whether you are called to the work of Christian counseling, here some points to consider. These are not all-inclusive, but may confirm what you already know.
1. You are a people person
This does not mean that you have to be overly-outgoing or extroverted. Being a people person means that you have a heart for others and like to understand what makes people tick. You have a desire to see others grow and enjoy walking with them through their struggles over the long term. You don't shy away from emotions or awkward situations. You are gracious, accepting, and have what Carl Rogers called "unconditional positive regard" for those you work with.
2. You've worked on yourself.
When I was in seminary, my counseling professor told our class that all pastors, counselors, and caregivers should go to counseling. That left an impression on me and for the next four years, I went to therapy to work on my personal issues. That one resolution made me a better counselor—more than any textbook could. Dealing with your own trauma and grief breeds the compassion needed to authentically connect with others. Compassion is key to making any therapeutic relationship work. It's important that you regularly take care of yourself before you seek to help others. You cannot give out of an empty cup.
3. People already come to you.
Many people can sense whether you are a safe person to confide in. When this happens, feel free to ask them, "what made you relaxed enough to share this with me?" You might be surprised at the answers you receive. If you have people who are comfortable enough to open up to you, this might be a good sign that counseling could be a calling for you.
4. You know in your heart.
Ultimately, many people just feel God speaking to their heart about pursuing a call to ministry in counseling. If this is your case, you will also feel a passion for the field and a desire to learn more about helping others grow. If you are unsure, consider talking it over with a few close friends or a mentor you respect. If God has called you into this work, He will make a way, and He will give you the peace to overcome your insecurity about the adventure ahead.
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Tres Adames, MDiv, BCPC provides Christian counseling in Peoria, Arizona for adults, teens, couples, and families. He specializes in helping those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, anger, addiction, codependency, and relationship issues. If you would like to contact Tres or set up an appointment, visit his contact page.