Caring for People God’s Way will help equip counselors and mental health caregivers to respond to the growing needs of others who are broken and in need of healing. Each course comes complete with six lessons, worktext and, of course, exams – all of which will assist caregivers in providing competent and compassionate care to those who are hurting.
Unit 1: Introduction to Biblical Counseling
BCOU 101: Becoming a Christian Counselor
Some believe that God’s love language is people and He cares deeply for His creation. He also calls us to Himself and desires to work through others to touch those who are hurting and bring them a message of hope. This session introduces the tough issues that commonly result in pain and brokenness, the modern-day search for answers, and the biblical basis of a competent counseling ministry.
*** BCOU 102: Using Your Spiritual Gifts in Counseling
Knowing one’s ministry strengths and spiritual gift areas are important in caregiving. Knowing how to connect with someone in pain is just as critical. With the right outlook, people can better recognize how these factors impact their relational skills approach to counseling others. This session addresses foundational scriptural principles for understanding and maximizing spiritual gifts in caregiving ministries.
BCOU 103: Helping Others Find Significance in Life
Who a person is “in Christ” can make all the difference in the world and the concept of self-worth is vital to the helping relationship. This session outlines root causes that negatively impact one’s identity, the false beliefs that maintain them, and the resulting sense of guilt, shame, punishment, and hopelessness. God’s solutions are applied which then help people experience greater freedom and wholeness.
BCOU 104: The Power of Truth
How are a person’s problems understood from a biblical perspective? How would a counselor determine the factors that hinder lasting change in people? This session teaches a diagnostic template called the TRUTH Principle, as well as provides a therapeutic roadmap for effective problem identification. The result is knowing how to lead a person into genuine repentance, both in heart and in habit.
BCOU 105: Overcoming Depression
Depression affects nearly one in five Americans and can come upon an individual gradually or suddenly. If not properly recognized and dealt with in a timely fashion, it can impair a person’s ability to function. This session discusses the causes, physical effects, and neurobiology of depression, while offering positive suggestions and encouragement that can be applied toward recovery and well-being.
BCOU 106: Surviving Sexual Abuse: On the Threshold of Hope
Untold millions have been abused by someone they love or trust. The effects of abuse are staggering, but a healing path is possible in Christ. This session provides insight to equip the church in facing the reality of sexual trauma, understanding its impact, knowing the basics of protecting the vulnerable in one’s community and guidelines to help the wounded step through the threshold of hope.
Unit 2: Faith and Life
BCOU 201: The Effective People Helper
Transformational helping involves both a calling from God and the requisite skills. This session describes a model of Christian counseling from understanding the human condition to essential counseling skills. Cognitive components include seeing the world through God’s eyes and basic principles of biblical people helping. Behavioral components include a sense of orientation for counselors and clients, as well as expressing Godly character and virtues.
*** BCOU 202: Bringing People into God’s Presence
Before real help is offered that has a biblical and Christ-centered foundation, caregivers must first understand who God is, His nature and the awesome power He can provide in the life of both the counselor and the counselee. This session shares how to value and rely on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in counseling ministry so that others can be led toward freedom and renewal.
BCOU 203: How to Help People Change
Counselors not only need to know what to do in a session, but also how to accomplish identified goals. This session describes six essential ingredients related to change including safety, emotional containment and enhancement, client education, restructuring, and engagement. It explores concepts that need to be addressed from the counselor’s perspective and articulates the spiritual components of helping people change.
BCOU 204: Heart Matters: Repentance and Godly Sorrow
No matter what technique used by counselors to help people change, healing often begins with a change of heart. Whether confronting an addiction, bad habits, the aftermath of an affair, or other destructive behaviors, there is no substitute for true repentance and godly sorrow. The dynamics and powerful freedom associated with an authentic turning of the heart are examined from a practical standpoint.
BCOU 205: Forgiveness: Letting Go of the Past and Pain
Some people are enslaved to their past and its pain. They burn with anger, resentment, even bitterness, and cannot seem to forgive or let go. As a challenging issue in everyday life, this session describes why forgiveness is essential to a healing dynamic and how current problems may result from a lack of forgiveness. Insights are given on how to encourage clients to forgive using practical steps.
BCOU 206: The Spiritual Disciplines in Counseling
Christian counseling often incorporates one or more of the spiritual disciplines such as prayer and inner healing prayer, the use of Scripture, silence and solitude, confession, and forgiveness. Additionally, authentic disciplines or circumstantial spiritual disciplines including waiting, suffering, persecution, and mourning are examined, along with several precautions and appropriate ethical guidelines.
Unit 3: Marriage and Family
BCOU 301: Marriage: Keeping Love Alive
Marriage should be the most fulfilling human relationship a man and woman will ever experience. Sadly, the opposite is sometimes true, especially when the union begins to fracture and break apart. This session addresses factors that both diminish and strengthen passion, commitment and love within a marriage. A detailed description of detrimental influences that lead to divorce is also given.
BCOU 302: Healthy Sexuality: A Biblical Foundation
Sex is frequently viewed as a taboo subject within the church, but God created sexuality and physical intimacy within marriage to reflect His image. This enlightening lesson unfolds a biblical theology regarding God’s glorious and incredible gift of sexuality, including an understanding of the intimate, creative Trinity. How to cultivate and celebrate healthy sexuality and a more passionate love life in marriage are also discussed.
BCOU 303: Addiction and Recovery
Substance use disorders, along with behavioral and process addictions, are at near epidemic levels in the United States. This session unpacks the fundamental dynamics of addiction including unmet needs, categories of addiction, classes of drugs and chemicals, neurobiology, stages of addiction and common factors. The recovery and restoration process is also explored from a biblical perspective.
BCOU 304: How Couples Lose at Love: Disaffection in Marriage
All marriages will go through times of disaffection when spouses may feel distant from one another. The problems themselves may not be the real issue, but how they are attended to often determines the future health of the marital relationship. This session discusses the Cycle of Disaffection, how to break free from its influence and the need for safety, forgiveness and grace in the marriage.
BCOU 305: Hope-focused Marriage Counseling
When a marriage is in crisis, sometimes it becomes difficult to have any confidence things will ever get better. Some couples feel so hopeless they conclude there are no real solutions except divorce…giving up when the marriage could be saved. This session helps lead troubled and frustrated couples down a path toward promise and restoration. With fresh hope, new strategies can be developed.
BCOU 306: Divorce Recovery: Starting Over Again
The United States still has one of the highest divorce rates in the industrialized world, impacting marriages both inside and outside the Church. The effects on family members, friends and finances can last a lifetime. This session addresses the pain of divorce, how to compassionately assist individuals who are walking down that road and the steps needed to regain hope for the future.
Unit 4: Challenging Issues in Biblical Counseling
*** BCOU 401: Crisis Response and Intervention
In order to render emotional and spiritual care for persons who experience a traumatic event, caregivers need a basic understanding of how people respond to crises. This session provides the necessary core skills to ensure a balanced approach toward those in crisis, including how to decrease symptoms of post-traumatic stress and assist individuals in adapting so they can return to normal functioning.
*** BCOU 402: Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling Ministry
How do caregivers know when they are counseling beyond their competence? When should confidentiality be maintained and when must it be broken? Is proper consent needed? What about making a referral? These questions and more are discussed in this session about ethical and liability concerns associated with lay counseling, as well as how to avoid situations that expose caregivers to undue legal risks.
BCOU 403: Breaking Generational Patterns
The Scriptures describe the sins of the fathers being passed down from generation to generation. Counselors often face dysfunctional family systems and must learn how to recognize them and break these patterns of destruction. Using the life of Abraham as an example, this session discusses the course of generational transmission along with effective ways on how these patterns can be overcome.
BCOU 404: Infidelity: Stabilizing After the Affair
Infidelity and unfaithfulness within a marriage can be overwhelming whenever it is discovered and cause significant devastation. Helping couples reestablish a healthy relationship after an affair is critically important. Rebuilding trust and working through the hurt are necessary. This session teaches counselors how to assist couples in moving through the process of forgiveness, healing and godly restoration.
*** BCOU 405: Pain and Suffering: Helping People in a Broken World
A Christ-centered model for compassionate caregiving is needed now more than ever before. This session describes how to be an Ambassador of Reconciliation in connecting others to a loving and gracious God. The power of relationship and the role of encouragement provide the necessary biblical foundation as servant leaders for making a difference in the lives of the hurting.
***BCOU 406: Breaking the Bonds of Sexual Addiction
Research suggests at least 10% of a church’s congregation wrestles with some form of sexual sin and countless individuals languish under the secret shame. Sexual addiction is as powerful and destructive as any other addiction, but there is hope for those trapped in bondage. This session offers biblical solutions and how to bring healing and restoration to those who struggle in this area of their lives.
Unit 5: Emerging Issues in Biblical Counseling
BCOU 501: Managing Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are among the most common problems in America today and untold thousands continually experience their disruptive power. This session shows how these two conditions impact an individual’s health on multiple levels: physically, emotionally and mentally. It also provides clear steps and needed boundaries in managing stress, reducing anxiety, and living a more balanced life.
BCOU 502: Grief and Loss
Counselors are frequently called by God to minister to those who grieve and suffer loss. However, helping people who have experienced tragedy and are caught in overwhelming grief can be challenging. This session discusses ways to respond and show compassion and care in times of grief and loss. Coping strategies to help clients normalize what they are feeling and find hopeful outcomes are also given.
BCOU 503: Psychiatric Care and Medication
There are numerous questions about if, when and how psychotropic medication should be used in a counseling situation. For some problems, medication is essential and Christian helpers need a general awareness regarding the purpose of referral to a qualified physician. This session examines several common medications and their intended purpose, as well as their effects and the potential treatment gains they bring.
BCOU 504: Financial Bondage: Strategies for Freedom
Many relationships and marriages are torn apart by a misunderstanding and/or misappropriation of financial resources. Biblical principles must be applied to this important area of life or the risk of bondage and financial ruin can increase dramatically. This session provides thought-provoking, step-by-step and timely strategies in establishing a solid plan for money management and godly stewardship.
BCOU 505: Anger Management
Anger is not just potentially destructive, but can also eat at the very soul of an individual who harbors rage in his/her life. Is all anger wrong? How does one know when anger is justified? How can caregivers help those who seem to be characterized by bitterness in their lives? This session points out the destructive process of unresolved anger and how to effectively manage such powerful emotions.
BCOU 506: The Helping Process: Basic Skills and Practice
Balancing truth with grace and clinical knowledge with biblical principles, involves a skill set that often determines the quality and the effectiveness of Christian counseling. This session looks at some of the fundamental characteristics of the helping relationship, including listening, asking good questions, formulating a strategic plan of action and having a “ministry of presence” when working with clients.
*** Lessons not recognized for NBCC credit