Austin LIFE COUNSELING
Our goal is to cultivate a culture of care throughout Austin Life Church by providing gospel-centered, church-based, clinically-informed counseling, training, consulting, and referrals.
If you are looking for counseling, please fill out our request form. An elder from Austin Life will follow up with you shortly to set up an initial consultation. The aim for this meeting is to hear what is going on, listen, pray for you, and gather information so as to assess what the next best steps are for you.
If you are a couple looking to setup pre-marital counseling, please fill out our counseling request form.
What is the difference between pastoral and clinical counseling (i.e., LPC, LMFT, LCSW)?
Authority and Accountability: A pastoral counselor is accountable to the local church or ministry board under which he or she serves. A clinical counselor is accountable to the state licensing board (e.g., LPC, LMFT, LCSW) whose credential he or she holds. The entity to which a counselor is accountable sets the standards by which that individual can practice and serves as the point of appeal if a counselee believes the counselor behaved unethically.
Values: A clinical counselor seeks to work within the value structures of each counselee and not impose their values on their client. A pastoral counselor believes that Scripture provides the values that contribute to human flourishing because the Bible reveals God’s intent for how people and relationships were designed to function.
Treatment strategies: A clinical counselor works with the counselee to identify goals and selects best-practice therapeutic strategies to reach those goals based upon the leading diagnosis in the counselee’s life. A pastoral counselor seeks to make practical application of Scripture to the problems in living the counselee has identified and encourages these to be lived out in the context of Christian community to reach the counselee’s desired goals.
Training: A clinical counselor has standardized educational and supervised experience criteria which are set by the state in which he or she practices. A pastoral counselor’s education and experience may vary. It is important for the counselee to understand the education and experience level of their pastoral counselor.
Professional cooperation: When other professionals are involved in the counselee’s life—physicians, social workers, psychiatrists, attorneys, etc.—these professionals are more accustomed to working with a clinical counselor and there may be advantages that make meeting with a clinical counselor decidedly advantageous for the counselee. When these professionals consult with a pastoral counselor, they do so more as a clergy member providing life history or a character witness than as someone providing a mental health assessment.