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  1. Book Analysis



    The book :Christian Counseling Ethics, by Randolph K. Sanders. Chapter 15 – 20


Subject Religion Pages 5 Style APA


Advantages and Disadvantages of Lay Counselling

As non-ordained congregants who feel the need to use their spiritual calling to care for others and volunteer their time to offer services under their churches, lay counsellors play a vital role within their churches. These people regularly receive supervision from licenced counsellors in their bid to provide counselling services to people with diverse emotional, social, relational and economic challenges within their churches.

There are several advantages of lay counselling. Lay counselling offers an opportunity for church members to address various problems that their members go through. Within the church, there are people who face various challenges in life, some of which affect their commitment both to the church and their families. Some have anxiety, depression, financial problems, grief, infertility, broken families and relationships, loss of jobs, disease and domestic violence (Tan & Scalise, 2016). To handle most of these problems, the victims need a broad support system within the church, at work and in the wider community. Lay counselling can integrate the support systems and offer a safe place where people can share their burdens based on the biblical teachings and laced with love. The disadvantage lay counselling may have is that the counsellors, not being fully fledged and professionally trained, may fail to take into account some elements of counselling that are essential for the people with issues to get better.

One of the ethical issues that Sanders discusses within his work as far as lay counselling is concerned is confidentiality. In every counselling venture, the element of confidentiality is supreme, and the ability of the counsellor to keep secrets that they are told is central to successful counselling sessions (Sutton, 2019). It is essential that everything that the counsellor discusses with the person being counselled are only documented for reference to the same case and not as case examples for future counselling sessions or examples to be used in church. Working with a counsellor who does not value confidentiality is near impossible because secrecy is one element that a person struggles with as he or she seeks out the counselling services. When it gets impossible to keep secrets, then there cannot be lay counselling.

Lay counsellor training is a vital programme that equips counsellors with the necessary skills to handle people from diverse cultural backgrounds and with varied forms of problems. The counsellors then have to possess some set of skills in this bid. The area that I feel has to be reinforced in lay counsellor training today is mental health. Often, the problems presented to counsellors are issues that need extensive understanding of mental health because, in a big way, these problems take huge psychological and emotional toll on the people concerned. Understanding mental health and the factors that contribute to it is therefore prerequisite for valuable counsellor function. When counsellors understand the mental health of their clients within the church, they can bring in an extensive perspective and offer solutions that work for these members of the church.

With heightened social problems and economic hardships, the need for lay counselling is perhaps more acute today than it was a couple of years ago (Fuadi, 2017). There are many people who have problems but cannot afford to visit expensive psychologists due to economic or social constraints. These programs still function to help clients develop healthy coping mechanisms, facilitate behaviour change, improve relationships and guide in decision-making. In future, I want to be a lay counsellor equipped with the needed skills to help people through the emotional and psychological problems they may be going through. I would want the members of my church to have safe places where they can openly confide in me with the full knowledge that I could help relieve some of their pain.

As discussed above, lay counselling offers an opportunity for church members to develop a mechanism through which they can be of help to members undergoing various life challenges. The counsellors have to possess prerequisite counselling skills, and especially the understanding of mental health, in order to professionally handle the clients.



Fuadi, L. (2017). Influence of Behavioral Counseling Techniques, Token Economy and Parent’s Parenting Class of Behaviour Prosocial X Syamsulhude Tegallinggah. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 21(2).

Sutton, G. W. (2019). Lay Counseling: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry: Revised & Updated. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 38(1), 57-59.

Tan, S. Y., & Scalise, E. T. (2016). Lay Counseling, Revised and Updated: Equipping Christians for a Helping Ministry. Zondervan.



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