A lay counselor is usually found at a church or para-church organization and helps to guide people toward health by offering tools and encouragement, typically from Scripture or life experience more than specific training. A lay counselor may be great encouragement and support to people and to the pastors and church leadership who may have more people in need than they are able to properly help. Though any Christian is equipped with Scripture and the Holy Spirit to guide and encourage others, training will increase knowledge and tools for effective helping and increase awareness of liability issues that could impact churches and other organizations.

 

Curriculum

This course will lay a foundation for a biblical view of humans and health and how to counsel based on a biblical model as a foundation, as well as, analyzing other sources for useful tools that align with the biblical model. This course will clarify the scope of practice for lay counselors, the needed qualities and characteristics of a lay counselor, the laws and ethics relevant to lay counselors and the distinctions between lay counseling and other forms of helping.

This course gives a foundation of healthy human development from conception to the end of life, including what to expect in each stage of development in a lifespan, the variations that may occur and unhealthy reactions to the typical stages. The course relates the stages of human development with identifying ways to intervene and help people live healthy lives. This course builds on a biblical framework of God’s creation and design of humans, the impact of the fall of mankind and human potential through salvation in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

This course gives an understanding of verbal and nonverbal communication skills and how they impact counseling and helping others. Consideration is also given to differing communication styles in various cultures, ages and genders and strategies to build rapport and communicate effectively with many differing groups of people.

This course will review the relevant laws and ethics regulating the counseling and helping professions and the implication for lay counselors. The course will also clearly define the scope of practice for lay counselors, the liability topics to consider, and steps to take to resolve ethical dilemmas.

This course will review the effective methods for assessing client situations and collaborating to achieve a plan and goals for the counseling. The course will also review appropriate goals for lay counseling and steps to make proper referrals when appropriate.

This course will teach the basic fundamentals of crisis, including patterns of spiritual, biological, psychological, and socials effects, as well as give broad strategies for managing a variety of crisis situations. This course will also expand knowledge of how to build a network of resources and connect people with those resources in their community.

This course gives a context for many different cultures and their distinct customs and values as well as the patterns to help connect with a variety of people. The course demonstrates the value of diversity and includes exposure to new cultures and subcultures, including practicing empathy and seeing situations through the client’s perspective.

This course describes the effective theories and techniques of counseling and requires students to practice the techniques appropriate to the presenting situation.

This course reviews strategies for healthy living and engages the lay counselor to create a structure and plan for remaining healthy and avoiding burnout.

This course requires students to perform lay counseling at an approved site under appropriate supervision. Students will demonstrate the competency to perform core functions for lay counseling and will be evaluated on level of competency.