The role of a Christian Counselor during counseling sessions is aiding one who is in distress, sin, or suffering and offering to that person a Christian solution. While this solution may not be the solution of easiest choice, it must always be a solution that correlates with the moral law. This is why a Christian Counselor must also be well versed in Moral Theology.
Moral theology is the study of morality, virtue, and Christian law. A Christian Counselor must be aware of the Divine Positive Law that encompasses the study of the commandments. He or she must also be well versed in the ideals of the Natural Law or the law that is imprinted upon all souls that reflect the goodness and truth of the Creator. In addition to this, one must also have a clear understanding of virtues and vices and how they are applied to the soul. While this first element deals with the objective nature of moral theology that binds all men, there is also a subjective element that guides the inner compass of man. This part deals with the subjective nature of human acts. While human acts can be classified objectively as good or evil, one must determine the intent and knowledge of an individual who commits those actions to determine culpability. Obviously in most cases, this is left to the eyes of God which, unlike man, sees everything that happens.
Conscience is a key element in any counseling. This subjective element of human actions deals with the inner workings of the soul between the intellect and the will. Good consciences are formed in accordance with God’s law while bad consciences seek only one’s own end. Sociopathic consciences are devoid of these things, while narcissistic consciences only hope to fulfill the appetite of the passions that deal directly with their physical or personal pleasure and gain. In addition to this, there are consciences that have doubt and some consciences that are scrupulous in nature. All these pathologies need to be addressed when dealing with the formation and overall health of one’s conscience.
As Christian Counselors we want to guide our spiritual children in the formation of good consciences. In doing this, we must instruct and also help one understand the three important criteria for human actions in regards to culpability. First, what is the objective nature of the action. Second, what is the subjective nature of the agent and finally, what are the circumstances surrounding the objective action. Circumstance can sometimes change the nature of the action-much the same way murder and self defense differ due to intent and self survival.
As one can see, the importance of a strong moral theology is critical to good counseling. If you are interested in courses in Christian Counseling, please review the program.