A conversation about the process of Christian Counseling with Ryan Likes, Community Counselor at Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission.
Nitish: What are the greatest rewards and greatest joys in doing Christian Counseling?
Ryan: The joy of listening to people. People want to be heard. Being invited into somebody’s story. Counseling is a safe place to hear what is really going on in people’s lives. People experience nourishment by being valued and being honored.
Nitish: You see their soul being lit up.
Ryan: A lot of times, this is where discovery happens. A lot of times we see God moving when we feel safe.
Nitish: We share what we really feel rather than have our masks.
Nitish: How have you seen Christian Counseling work with your clients? How has it been an instrument of healing?
Ryan: Recognizing God as the ultimate healer. Part of it is to invite the Holy Spirit into the process of healing. Sometimes we do not know exactly know where that is going to take us. It always takes us to good places.
One of the big areas of healing I see is in people’s conceptions of who God is. As a Christian Counselor, I am able to pay attention to this person’s understanding of who they are, who God is, and how God sees them. There can be a lot of pain and a lot of guilt and a lot of brokenness that stems from misunderstandings.
Nitish: Misunderstanding of God.
Ryan: Absolutely. Classic situation is seeing God as an angry, condemning God.
Nitish: A lot of things you feel that you have to do to please God.
Ryan: Clarifying what is the true picture of God and who God is. We see a lot of healing come from that.
Nitish: What are some surprising benefits you have observed from Christian Counseling?
Ryan: Integration of body, soul, and spirit. Problems in the body affect soul and spirit. We need to address the whole person. It is a surprising benefit to see God work in amazing ways and learn how eager God is to heal us.
Nitish: We are not called to grin and bear it and get through life. We have a great resource in God who is the ultimate healer. We really to tap into God.
Ryan: It really makes me a better counselor.