Counseling Resources

As part of our ministry here at Hillside, we believe in the importance of offering biblical counseling resources to our members and our community. Here on our website you’ll find answers to the questions you may have about this ministry. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, if you want to discuss anything further, or would like to make an appointment, please contact Pastor Paul at paul.brown@hillside.org or (408) 269-4782.

 

Why Biblical Counseling?

Life gets complicated. Relationships don’t work out the way we thought they would. Feelings of depression, anger, loneliness, or fear plague us. Others let us down. We let others down. Financial pressures squeeze us. Sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography and other temptations seem too strong to overcome. We wonder, “Did I marry the wrong person?”, “Can I ever be happy?” or “Have I gone so far that God won’t forgive me?”

For all these situations, and many more, we need biblical counsel. We need to know what God’s Word, the Bible, has to say, and understand how what it says helps us live successfully.

We also need someone to listen. Someone we can talk to that will care enough to take the time to understand, yet someone who is objective enough to help us see from a different perspective. Someone who can guide us with godly counsel to a better place.

That’s where biblical counseling comes in. A caring, godly person listens to your concerns, guides you to an understanding of what God, in His Word, has to say, and helps you learn how to put that into practice so change can occur.

 

What is Biblical Counseling?

Biblical counseling is simply the process of applying the truth of God’s Word to the problems and questions of life.

Because we believe that “God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness,” (2 Peter 1:3) we know that He has the answer to our questions, concerns and problems. He has given us these answers in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Unlike traditional therapy, biblical counseling doesn’t focus on relieving guilt, building self-image or easing symptoms only. Biblical counseling allows God’s Word to “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. (Hebrews 4:12)

By allowing God’s Word to reveal our motives and confront our sin, we are transformed from the inside out, so that we are conformed more and more to the image of Christ.

 

Does Biblical Counseling
address mental illness?

 

Contrary to some caricatures of biblical counseling, we do not deny the reality of mental illness. Depending on the situation, the counselor may request the counselee get a medical check-up to see if any of the presenting problems have physiological causes. If so, the counselee will need to pursue treatment with a medical doctor or psychiatrist. 

However, many behaviors that are routinely identified as mental disorders – depression, anxiety, post-traumatic syndrome disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and others – may not be disorders at all, but may be based in sinful patterns of thinking and acting.

The biblical counselor is committed to understanding his counselee as a whole person and recommending the appropriate treatment. For more information on this subject read this article from ACBC.

 

Who does Biblical Counseling
at Hillside?

Currently, Pastor Paul Brown is doing the biblical counseling. Pastor Paul has a Master of Divinity degree from Talbot seminary and 35+ years of pastoral ministry. He is currently pursuing certification through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).

In the future, we plan to train others to join the counseling ministry. If you are interested in finding out more about how you can participate, contact Pastor Paul.

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What is a Biblical Counseling
session like?

When you request an appointment, you will be asked to fill out a pre-visit questionnaire. This questionnaire helps the counselor understand you and your situation before the visit so he can be prepared to talk with you.

At the first session you and your counselor will get to know each other, you will be asked to share about your relationship with God and you will have the opportunity to explain, in much more detail, why you came in. Your counselor will work hard in this first session to give you hope that God knows and cares for you; that He wants to and is able to help you, and that you can change. You will be given some work to do before the next session. This might include Scripture reading, memorization, reading other materials, watching pertinent videos or listening to audio teaching.

In subsequent sessions you will review the work you did since last session and talk further about your situation and what the Bible has to say about it. You will talk about the expected length and plan for counseling and you may ask questions that you have. Each time you meet you will leave with work to do. This work is crucial to the counseling since it helps you discover for yourself who God is and how He can help.

 

Who can receive counseling and
how much does it cost?
 

We are pleased to offer biblical counseling as a ministry of our church. As such, it is available to anyone in our congregation, from another congregation or from the community at large. There is no cost to the counselee.

 

What resources can you recommend to
educate myself about the issues I’m facing?

Minibooks

In the lobby at Hillside you will find a wall display filled with short books on critical topics. These minibooks address things like anxiety, fear, adultery, caregiving, cancer, gender issues, pornography, parenting and much more. Though these books are not lengthy, they provide a biblically-based introduction to the topic and a plan to begin addressing it.

Websites

  • Biblicalcounseling.com – this is the website for ACBC. It provides resources for personal needs as well as information for the counselor

  • Biblicalcounselingcoalition.org – a site bringing together some of the top people in biblical counseling. Resources available that address many counseling topics.

  • IBCD.org – the website for The Institute for Biblical Counseling and Discipleship

  • CCEF.org – this is where we buy most of our minibooks. They have books, videos and other resources.