Virtues of Counselors (III)—Be Able to Build Relationships

In the concluding part of our series on Christian counseling, the focus is on cultivating trust with counselees, an element crucial for effective guidance and support.

The Importance of Relationship Building

The cornerstone of good counseling is the ability to form authentic relationships. As Christians, our spiritual relationship with God helps to overcome personal biases, ensuring that we can effectively counsel a wide range of individuals. Every person is unique, shaped by God with specific talents and challenges. This uniqueness calls for a tailored approach to counseling. For example, we may view evangelism as the ultimate expression of faith, but not everyone is called to that. Someone might excel in other kinds of service, such as visiting the sick or elderly. It’s essential to withhold judgment based on our limited understanding of spiritual commitment.

The Art of Listening and Eye Contact

Effective listening is non-negotiable for building trust. It’s one thing to hear words; it’s another to understand the thoughts and emotions behind them. The ability to paraphrase what a counselee has said proves not just that we were listening but also that we care. This becomes especially significant in our busy, modern world, where genuine attention is a rare commodity. In addition to listening, maintaining eye contact is crucial. Our eyes can express empathy, concern, and focus, reinforcing that the counselee is in a safe and attentive space.

Active and Reflective Communication

Beyond the basics of listening and eye contact, a good counselor engages in active communication. This involves acknowledging, repeating, and most importantly, remembering what has been shared in past conversations. It signifies to the counselee that they are not just another case but someone we genuinely care for. Asking questions serves dual purposes: it clarifies any ambiguities and prompts further discussion, ensuring a more in-depth counseling session.

Crucial Elements of Listening

  1. Listening Doesn’t Equate to Agreement: When we listen, it does not automatically mean we agree with everything said. This distinction is vital to maintain our credibility as counselors.
  2. Purpose of Listening: The ultimate goal of listening is to understand the counselee’s heart and situation deeply. This was illustrated when Jesus listened to Martha and provided her with the wisdom she needed. Jesus didn’t just hear her complaint; he understood her emotional state and guided her toward a better path.

In summary, to be effective Christian counselors, it’s imperative to invest time in relationship-building, honed by the art of listening and enhanced by interactive communication. We should strive not just to offer platitudes but to guide our counselees towards the ‘more beautiful portion,’ akin to how Jesus counseled Martha. Let’s not just be transactional advisors but transformative guides, drawing wisdom from Christ, the supreme Counselor.

Please join us at True Jesus Church Chicago to learn more about God and His Holy Spirit. We are holding our Fall Evangelical Services and Spiritual Convocation (ESSC) from September 14 to 17. You are cordially invited!

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Bensenville, IL 60106
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