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What is the CFI model of Christian counseling?

Basic Assumptions. Christian Family Institute counselors have worked together to compare ideas about the integration of psychology, and marriage and family therapy with biblical theology. Counselors recognize that Christian counseling must first start with a Christian who has been brought to new life in Christ. Prior to our conversion we were dead in our sins and transgressions (Eph. 2:1). "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive in Christ even when we were dead in our sins and transgressions" (Eph. 2:4). As counselors we recognize that spiritual things can not be understood unless one is born of the spirit of God. To the non-Christian, spiritual things seem foolish (I Cor. 2:14). After one has become a Christian and begins to grow in faith and a knowledge of God’s Word, our entire value system is shaped by our Christian faith, our bible study, and our life of prayer.

As we grow as Christians, all of our principles are transformed by scripture. Whatever other wisdom we might find useful from psychology and other sources must be judged by scripture.

At Christian Family Institute, counselors are called to counsel. Counseling is not a profession unrelated to our faith. Just as ministers are called to the ministry, Christian counselors are called to the ministry of counseling. The scripture indicates that each Christian is given spiritual gifts for the purpose of ministry to the Body of Christ (I Cor. 12:7). For Christian counselors, spiritual gifts will be manifested in the style of counseling that the counselor provides.

As Christian counselors we recognize that all people have a need for Christ. As Christian counselors we also recognize that God’s Word is absolutely reliable and authoritative in all it speaks to, particularly matters of faith, lifestyle, and morality. Christian counselors derive their sense of morality from God’s absolute Word. In practice we are committed to loving all persons whether or not they are Christians.

Human beings function and malfunction as a result of a complex and seamless interaction between biological, psychological, social, and spiritual forces. Malfunction in any one of these areas produces a ripple effect. If a person has a cavity in one tooth, the pain may radiate to many surrounding areas. So also do symptoms spread in any of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual dimensions.

As Christian counselors we also recognize the value of psychology, marriage and family therapy, counseling, psychiatry, and medicine. Persons who consult with us are often concerned about problems these disciplines may address. For one client the issues that bring them to counseling may be of a moral nature involving guilt and confusion. The next client that comes to us may be experiencing the consequences of sin in their life. The next person who comes may have been sinned against by others who were abusive and are attempting to recover from the damage that was done to their life. The next client who comes to counseling may be experiencing psychological symptoms related to a genetic or medical condition. As Christian counselors we depend on the Holy Spirit as well as our training in these disciplines in order to be effective in helping people with their concerns.

This approach would be classified by Collins (1975) as a "Christian Professional" model. We would classify it as a "spoiling the Egyptians" approach according to the Crabb (1977) model.

Listen to this podcast to hear our founder, Dale Doty, tell the story of how Christian Family Institute began.

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