Working with Evangelical Clients: Basic Beliefs, Denominations and Counseling Techniques to Use: Part 1

This is part of my Outline for a new counseling education course I am developing by the same name. When I finish a section of the course I am posting a blog to go along with it. This course is not yet completed.

Welcome

Hello and thank you for joining me.  Let me start by introducing myself.  My name is Johnny Sanders.  I am a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma and Texas.  I have my own private practice called Truth & Grace Counseling in Duncan, Oklahoma.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I am personally a Christian and operate my practice as a Christian counselor.

Full Disclosure

I am upfront with beliefs in Christian counseling with my clients since informed consent is incredibly important.  That being said, I have made this course as objective as I can.  I have done my best to not attempt to say what is right or wrong about any of the beliefs mentioned here.  I also have done my best to include first hand sources from different denominations instead of my own opinion.  Throughout the course I will give you access to different resources to learn more information.  Again, I have included as many first hand resources as I can to direct you. 


Why I Made This Course

I am making this course for a couple of practical reasons.  One, the state of Texas is now requiring Licensed Professional Counselors to have at least 3 hours of continuing education on “cultural diversity or competence.” This course is made to help fulfill this requirement for those in the State of Texas.

Second, this course aims to help serve you well with your evangelical clients.  It’s difficult to get an accurate number of how many evangelicals are in the United States.  This is in part due to it being hard to get an exact, agreed upon definition of what evangelical even means.  I have links from both a Gallup poll and Pew Research to get a good estimate.  Regardless, we are looking at around 25% of those in the United States identify as evangelical.  This number will vary depending on age and location.  However, it is very likely that at least some of your clients are evangelical. 

Different Categories

I believe it is important to have context into what evangelical means and what it means for your client.  This course will go into further detail over differences in types of Christianity. There will be several times that I will try to categorize different parts and denominations of Christianity.  The first categorization will be into three main categories.  These Categories are Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant.  This course will not heavily focus on Orthodox or Catholic faith but I will give a brief history of the Reformation which led to Protestant Denominations.

Calvinist or Arminian

I will also discuss the differences between Reformed/Calvinist beliefs and Arminian beliefs.  While there are differences in some denominations with these beliefs, this is not a cut and dry section.  There is bleed-over into different denominations, individual churches and even individual members on this argument.


Mainline or Evangelical

We will spend time looking at the difference between Mainline and Evangelical Protestants.  As with Catholic and Orthodox churches, this course will not spend as much time on Mainline churches but we will discuss some of the differences in these churches.

Evangelical Denominations

From there, we will go into differences in some Evangelical denominations.  This is not an exhaustive list of all denominations but covers some of the major denominations you are more likely to see.  The denominations we will cover are Baptist, Christian, Lutheran, Nondenominational, Presbyterian, and Pentecostal. 

Lighthouse on the coast

Evangelical Terminology

Next we will cover some Evangelical terminology that you may see from your clientele and try to give definitions to these terms. This again will not be an exhaustive or fully agreed upon list. However, it can help increase your vocabulary and able to have a better idea about what these clients may be talking about.

Assessment and Techniques

Lastly, we will finish with very practical ways you can address faith in your evangelical clients.  We will look at ways you can assess what type of faith your client has.  We will also cover some examples of different techniques and coping skills to suggest to your clients who see their evangelical faith as important to them. 

man with head on forehead sitting on a couch


Warnings

I will leave this introduction with a few warnings.  In no way is this an exhaustive list on any of these topics. As mentioned earlier, I will leave you with as many first hand sources as I can.  It is absolutely impossible to fully cover any one denomination fully in this training much less thousands of years of Christianity. 

This also is not a training to show you which is the right denomination or belief.  This is educational in nature.  I am not all knowing about any of these topics so I encourage you to do more research on your own.  You absolutely do not have to share a Christian faith in order to benefit from this training.  Again, I wish for this to be educational and leave you with some practical ways to engage with the faith of your clients in session.

Structure


This course is broken down into multiple sections.  Feel free to take your time and cover each section at your own pace.  Each section will have a short quiz at the end.  As mentioned before you purchased this course, if you are looking for CEU credit please check with your state board.  I am an approved provider for CEUs in Oklahoma.  The other state I’m licensed in, Texas, does not require approval for presenters.  Please check with your state to see what your CEU requirements are. 

Evangelical Course