Ready for Counseling?

How to pick a truly wise counselor

There are some bobblehead counselors who are happy to give you a weekly dose of affirmation for the rest of your life. If you want someone to always agree with you, save your money and just get a dog!

4. A wise counselor encourages a team

Proverbs 15:22 says that "Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success." Does this mean that you should be seeing two or three psychologists at a time? Of course not. However, you should always have a team of counselors and advisers. Your family physician can help with hives, but probably knows little about a brain tumor. Your pastor can help you with spiritual questions, but probably isn't equipped to help with an eating disorder.

Wise counselors know their limits. They will encourage you to depend upon a multitude of advisers. They won't try to be your mentor, friend, spiritual director, financial guru, parenting expert, and nutritionist. A counselor who nurtures dependence or gives the air of a know-it-all is a big red flag!

If you want someone to always agree with you, save your money and just get a dog!
5. A wise counselor's words are life-giving

"The tongue has the power of life and death," Proverbs reminds us (18:21, NIV). Further, "the words of the wise bring healing" (12:18) and "encourage many" (10:21). Can you discern life-giving words? They aren't necessarily fluffy, happy statements. In fact, sometimes the truth hurts. Whether the occasion calls for encouragement or a rebuke, a wise counselor promotes life. Ask yourself the question, "Is this counsel building life and vitality into my marriage, my friendships, and my relationship with God?"

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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