What exactly is pastoral counseling?

Pastoral counseling combines counseling and pastoral guidance from a Bible-based, Christian perspective.  It helps individuals address the struggles and issues of life in both a clinical and spiritual way.  Pastoral counseling helps individuals discover their identity in Christ and find healing and purpose in their relationships with God, themselves and others.

Am I talking to a pastor or getting counseling?

Both.  Pastoral counselors are involved in the ministry of counseling.  Pastoral counselors at In Focus Church are trained and experienced in both ministry and counseling.

How is pastoral counseling different than regular counseling?

Though pastoral counseling uses some of the same approaches as secular counseling, everything is Christ-centered and Bible-based.  Pastoral counseling uniquely blends counseling with the Christian faith.

Who is my counselor?

William Collins is the Pastoral Counselor at In Focus Church.  He has a Masters degree in Pastoral Counseling as well as additional Masters coursework in Theology and Ministry.  He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Association of Biblical Counselors.  He is also a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor through the Board of Christian Pastoral and Professional Counselors.  He is a veteran who has experience working with individuals with a military background and PTSD.  He has specialized training for working with a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, addictions, spiritual growth and formation, trauma, men's issues, and marriages.

Are your counselors licensed by the state of Georgia?

Counselors at In Focus Church are not licensed by the state of Georgia.  However, pastoral counselors are chosen based on their high level of counseling training and skill in addition to their Christian maturity.

When are appointments available?

Appointments are available Monday through Thursday from 11-4.  Additional appointment times may be available outside normal hours.  Appointments are made by filling out the information form or by contacting the pastoral counseling ministry directly by email or phone.

How much does it cost?

Pastoral counseling at In Focus Church is offered on a sliding scale.  We see this as your involvement and investment in your own growth and development.  Our costs are kept at a minimum to help offset the cost of supporting our ministry.  Any additional resources recommended by the counselor will be the responsibility of the counselee.  Additional donations are accepted and greatly appreciated.

How long are your sessions?

Sessions last for 45 minutes on average.  Couples also have the option of 90 minute sessions.

How long does counseling last?

Pastoral counseling is not meant to be a long term solution.  The length of counseling will vary person to person.Typically, counselees will see a pastoral counselor up to 12 sessions.  Anything beyond that will be referred to a professional counselor.  Counselors also reserve the right to make referrals or terminate counseling in situations where they cannot provide adequate care based on counselee needs or counselor training and experience.

Do I have to be a Christian to receive counseling?

No.  However, pastoral counseling is Christ-centered and Bible-based seeking to help individuals grow spiritually in their healing process. 

Are counseling sessions confidential?

Yes.  Confidentiality is one of our highest priorities at In Focus Church.  Confidentiality will be strictly maintained unless consent is given by the counselee to break confidentiality.  The only times a counselor is required to break confidentiality by law is:

1. When an individual expresses reasonable intent of suicide or to harm themselves or someone else.

2. When an individual is aware of or involved in any instances of child abuse, elder abuse, or abuse of a disabled person.

3.  In any instance mandated by a court of law or an attorney.

Can you fix my problems?

Contrary to belief, counseling cannot be guaranteed to solve your problems.  Counselors do not fix problems and generally they do not give advice.  The counseling process is about individuals exploring their issues so that they can find hope and healing through Jesus Christ.  In many cases, counseling can cause emotional pain and discomfort in the healing process.  Often, things will actually get worse before they get better.  However, we believe that through pastoral counseling and involvement in the spiritual community of the church that everyone can find hope and healing through Jesus Christ.  The success of counseling largely depends on the counselees investment in their own growth and the counseling process.

Didn't see your question? Any additional questions you may have can be answered by emailing care@infocuschurch.org.