Counselling Agreement

Compulsory Agreement

Before you make an appointment with Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling online, you will be required to agree to the following terms. Completing your booking will be considered to be your agreement with these terms.

Conditions, Definitions and Certification

The following outlines several conditions upon which counselling cases will be initiated. While this is not meant to be exhaustive in scope, it does represent our philosophy of biblical counselling, a vital aspect of the total shepherding ministry of Living Hope Church Pretoria.

Our Definition of the Term Counselling – By counselling we mean soul care or intensive discipleship as a function of the church rather than counselling as understood in the field of health that accredits licensed psychological counsellors.

Certification—The counselling you receive at Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling therefore is not part of the licensed government psychological discipline but the counsellor/s is/are certified with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). Such certification requires a firm commitment to a high level of conduct, education and adherence to the principles of the Biblical Counselling movement. It is also renewable annually.

Framework

Our Framework – We believe that the Bible provides thorough guidance and instruction for faith and life. Therefore, we base our counselling on Scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology and psychiatry. Neither the pastoral nor the lay counsellors of Living Hope Church Pretoria are trained or licensed as psychotherapists or mental health professionals, nor should they be expected to follow the methods of such specialists. Some of the counseling at Living Hope Church Pretoria is provided as part of counsellor training. To facilitate both counselling and training, the counsellor may have one to two people assisting him/her in each counselling session. In the online counselling environment, the counsellee may invite another person to attend the session when making a booking.

Focus

Our Focus – Our purpose is to deal with issues within the scope of biblical parameters. We are confident that the Bible contains all necessary information for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). There are no problems between persons that the Bible fails to address either in general or specific principles. While our counsellors do not pretend to know all that there is to know about biblical teaching and its application to life, nevertheless, they do know much, they will counsel from their understanding of the Bible, and they will do their utmost to help you. If you should have significant legal, financial, medical or other technical questions, you may choose to seek advice from an appropriate independent professional. Our pastoral and lay counsellors will be happy to cooperate with such advisors and help you to consider counsel in the light of relevant Scriptural principles. By scheduling an appointment with Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling you acknowledge that you do so voluntarily and that you agree to counselled from a biblical perspective that agrees with the evangelical Christian faith.

Foundation

Our Foundation – All counselling will be conducted in accordance with the counsellor’s understanding of the Scriptures. Your counselling will be biblical counselling in which the Scriptures are, in all cases, the final authority. If you are not sure that you will be interested in biblically-based counselling, you will be given the option of attending one or two sessions to discover what biblical counselling is like. If you are unwilling to use the Bible as the final authority in counselling or are unwilling to apply the biblical principles assigned, sessions may be terminated.

Prerogative

Our Prerogative – At any time during the counselling process, for reason(s) sufficient to him/her, the counsellor shall have the option of terminating counselling.

Our Confidentiality Commitment

Our Commitment to Confidentiality – Confidentiality is an important aspect of the counselling process, and our counsellors will carefully guard the information you entrust to them. To ensure that you are receiving consistent counsel and support, however, the counsellor(s) will need to be able to discuss your situation with others such as appropriate leaders of the church you attend, your attorney, if you have one, and/or other individuals involved in your life. Information disclosed in counselling sessions will be held confidential to the extent that the counsellor believes the Bible or the State requires. Absolute confidentiality is not Scriptural; for instance, matters of church discipline (cf. Matthew 18:15ff), or criminal incidents, may require the counsellor to divulge information to others. Please be assured that Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling strongly prefers not to disclose your personal information to others (if not needed), and will make every effort to help you find ways to resolve a problem as privately as possible.

Your Confidentiality Commitment

Your Commitment to Confidentiality – You too must agree not to discuss our communications with people who do not have a necessary interest in the counselling process. Furthermore, you must agree that you will not attempt to force any counsellor to divulge any information acquired during the counselling process or to testify in any legal proceeding related to the issues discussed during the counselling process.

Fees

Our Fee – Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling charges no fees.

Mediation

Mediation – On rare occasions a conflict may develop between a counsellor and a counsellee. In order to make sure that any such conflicts will be resolved in a Biblically faithful manner, we require all of our counselees to agree that any dispute that arises with a counsellor or with Living Hope Church Pretoria as a result of counselling will be mediated by Living Hope Church Pretoria’s elder board. In addition, all counselling notes and records are considered to be the property of Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling. Having clarified the principles and policies of our counselling ministry, we welcome the opportunity to minister to you in the name of Christ and to be used by Him as He helps you to grow in spiritual maturity and prepares you for usefulness in His body.

Acknowledgement, Waiver and Age

By scheduling an appointment with Graceunlimited Biblical Counselling you are actively acknowledging your agreement to these terms.

You are also actively committing to legally indemnify the counsellor should you have a grievance regarding a counsellor who counsels according to this framework rather than according to a psychological framework.

You are also declaring that you are over the age of 18 and that you are legally permitted to seek counsel as described in this document. If you are under the age of 18, you are required to:

      • either invite one of your parents or a legal guardian to attend the counselling sessions,

      • or provide a letter of consent from your legal guardian authorising another responsible person above the age of 18 to join you in the session.

Acknowledgement

This Counselling Agreement has been adapted from the Counseling Agreement of Faith Community Counseling and other sources, without implying that either Faith Community Counseling or the other sources are in agreement with the way in which they are used here.