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Counseling Agreement

Before Beginning Biblical Counseling

In order to make our first session as profitable as possible we would ask you to give careful attention to the following items. If you have difficulty in completing any of the following steps, please call the Biblical Counseling Coordinator and we will be glad to answer any questions you might have. If you are unable to complete these before our first scheduled meeting, please call to reschedule your appointment.

About Biblical Counseling

The biblical counselor is trained in the meaning and use of the Bible and biblical principles for counseling. He is committed to the position that Scripture provides the only authoritative guide for what we are to believe and how we are to live. He will not base his counseling knowledge on his own opinions, experience, or concepts of behavior, but will seek to apply the full range of biblical truth into focus on the counselee's need.

The biblical counselor deals with a wide range of problems, including broken marriages, parent-child relationships, fear, depression, alcohol and drug abuse, tension, anxiety, worry and other problems resulting in mental and physical immobility.

Biblical counseling is done in teams. Normally sessions are conducted with a lead counselor and one or two assistant counselors in attendance. You will find them courteous, factual and efficient. Confidentiality is respected but held within appropriate limitations. A case may be discussed with other counselors or other professionals, but only to the degree necessary to find further biblical solutions to the problem. All such consultation is conducted in accord with the highest standards of biblical ethics.

Biblical counselors believe in the total health needs of the counselee. Your counselor may recommend that you have a full or specified medical examination. If medical assistance is required, counseling will continue whenever possible.

Your counselor will use all of his skill in applying biblical principles to help you in whatever problem deprives you of the peace and joy that God has promised to you in His Word. Your counselor will concentrate on three basic foundations from God's Word:

Hope — Because in Jesus Christ we have a great High Priest who has been tempted in all things, yet without sin. Thus, because of Him, even though every sin common to man may be tempting you, God has promised that He will not let you be tempted beyond your endurance, but will provide for you the way to escape from sin so that you can endure it (1 Cor. 10:13; Heb. 4:14-16).

Change — Because in Christ we can learn how to lay aside the old selfish ways of living and put on the new ways of living in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Eph. 4:20-24; Col. 1:10).

Practice — Because we need to prove ourselves to be doers of God's Word, lest we be merely hearers, forgetting and deluding ourselves. Only in effectual practice of the Scriptures shall we be blessed in what we do, and only then will we please the Lord (James 1:22-25).

Normally, counseling sessions will last one to one and one 1/2 hours each week and will continue for eight to ten weeks. If you respond quickly to biblical counsel the number of counseling sessions may be lessened. However, if the counselor does not observe definite change in the first few weeks, he will seek to identify the cause of the failure, discuss it with you and help you to correct it.

Your first appointment will be arranged by a scheduling supervisor or one of the administrators. Subsequent appointments are to be confirmed with your counseling team. One of the assistant counselors will become your contact on any questions or matters requiring discussion, and will consistently talk with you on a weekly basis between the actual counseling sessions. Often, this same counselor will continue to follow up with you for a period of time after counseling has been completed. If you are unable to come to any of the counseling sessions, please notify your counselor at least 24 hours before the session.

If a counseling team is not immediately available, you will be counseled as soon as possible on a one-time basis. During this session, the counseling team will provide a plan for you to follow while you are waiting for the regularly scheduled sessions. You may be encouraged to attend the ongoing Self-Confrontation Course while you are awaiting counseling so that you may begin to work on solutions to problems immediately.

In order to achieve lasting victory over the problems of life, it is vital that each person becomes established in a consistent Christian walk. The Lord has provided the local church to help in this process (Heb. 10:24-25). Therefore, it is important that counseling sessions be accompanied by church activities that encourage discipleship and fellowship. For this reason, the counseling team may contact your church and request their assistance. One of your elders or deacons may even become part of the counseling team to provide the most effectual help for you. It is our commitment to do what will best bring about the victory you can experience over your problems.

You will need a notebook and your Bible at all sessions, including the first. Be sure to bring them each time. Come with high expectations! You will find hope and encouragement even during your first session. From then on, with your cooperation, we are confident that you will find the true, good and acceptable answer to the difficulty that prompted you to come to us.

Consent and Commitment to Biblical Counseling

Our Goal — Our goal in providing biblical counseling is to help you meet the challenges of life in a way that will please and honor the Lord Jesus Christ and allow you to enjoy fully His love for you and His plans for your life.

Biblical Basis — We believe that the Bible provides guidance and instruction for faith and life. Therefore, our counseling is based on scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology or psychiatry. The counselors of this ministry are neither licensed as psychotherapists or mental health professionals. It should be understood that biblical counseling consists of the giving of scriptural counsel and the practical application of the Bible to each individual. Yet, the counselee is held fully responsible for how he implements that counsel.

We are confident that the Bible has all of the information necessary for life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). There are no problems between people that the Bible fails to address either in general or specific principles. Our counselors are not infallible, nor do they pretend to know all there is to know about biblical teaching and its applications to life, but they are well equipped and competent to help people change. They will make a point to differentiate between God's commands and their suggestions.

Professional Advice — In the process of biblical counseling there are often times when there is a need for significant advice with regards to legal, medical, financial or other technical areas. In those cases you well be encouraged by your counselor to seek independent professional advice. Our counselors will cooperate with such advisors and help you to consider their advice in the light of relevant scriptural principles.

Confidentiality — Confidentiality is an important aspect of the counseling process and we will carefully guard the information you entrust to us. However, absolute confidentiality is not biblical; in certain circumstances the Bible requires that facts be disclosed to selected others (Matt. 18:15ff). If your church leadership should inquire, we will disclose to them only that information which we believe is necessary for them to effectively and biblically fulfill their responsibility to shepherd you.

There are five situations when it may be necessary for us to share certain information with others: 1) when a counselor is uncertain how to address a particular problem and needs to seek advice from another pastor or counselor; 2) when a counselee attends another church and it is necessary to talk with his or her pastor or elders, 3) when there is a clear indication that someone may be harmed unless others intervene, 4) when a person persistently refuses to renounce a particular sin and it becomes necessary to seek assistance of others in the church to encourage repentance and reconciliation (see Matthew 18:15-20; Proverbs 15:22; 24:11) or 5) when criminal activity has been committed and the counselee refuses to bring the matter to the attention of local authorities. Please be assured that our counselors strongly prefer not to disclose personal information to others, and they will make every effort to help you find ways to resolve a problem as privately as possible.

Resolution of Conflicts — On rare occasions a conflict may develop between a counselor and a counselee. In order to make sure that any such conflicts will be resolved in a biblically faithful manner, we require all of our counselees to agree that any dispute that arises with a counselor as a result of counseling, will be settled by mediation and, if necessary, legally binding arbitration in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Institute for Christian Conciliation; judgment upon arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. (We will be happy to provide you with booklets that explain that Christian conciliation process and describe its benefits and procedures.)

Termination of Counseling — It is our desire that the counseling arrangement will conclude with a resumption of healthy participation into your local church and life contexts. However, at any time during the counseling process, the counselor or counselee, has the option to terminate the counseling arrangement.

Expectations and Commitments — As your counselor invests in you, he will also have some expectations of you. First, it is important that you be honest and be willing to trust your counselor. It will be very difficult to find help if you seek to hide or deceive away from the hard truth of your situation. Second, your counselor will regularly send you away from each meeting with a bit of homework. As the hard work of change happens more outside of the counseling meeting, this homework will be purposeful and necessary to work toward genuine and lasting change. Last, your counselor will be looking for a commitment of time. Problems and bad habits develop over long periods of time and often cannot be broken in a matter of days. For this reason, your counselor will be looking for a commitment to eight to ten meetings, held once a week. All meetings may not be necessary, but your counselor will seek to make that determination.

Having clarified the principles and policies of our counseling ministry, we welcome the opportunity to minister to you in the name of Christ and to be used by Him as He helps you to grow in spiritual maturity and prepares you for usefulness in His body. If you have any questions about these guidelines, please talk with the Administrator.

Electronic Signature

I, , have carefully read the conditions for counseling set forth on this page and agree to enter into counseling in accordance with them.

I am filling out this form on behalf of the counselee:   

   

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Thank you for taking the time to fill out this form! Your complete and honest answers will aid the counseling process and allow the counselor to better understand you and your situation.

We encourage you, if you have not already, to go back and review your answers. Once you click "Finish" an email will be sent to the Open Door Biblical Counseling and Discipleship Ministry. If you filled in your email address under the Personal section, you will receive a copy of your PDI.

Your counselor will contact you to set up a meeting time and location that is convenient for both parties. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our counseling office.

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