I have had two conversations with people who provide Christian counseling for members of a church. Both conversations occurred within the last two weeks. The story is simple. Both men talk to people who need help and try to relate whatever issues they have to biblical principles. Both men feel called to do so. By "called" I mean that God told them they should be lay counselors.
Neither is a qualified professional counselor. One works for a Christian pastor who also does counseling. The other works as a volunteer who talks to people. Both do the counseling in private or semiprivate locations. Both counsel men and women, but not children.
When I asked what types of problems they were dealing with, depression, addiction, and impulse control issues came up as the top three. When I asked if they were qualified to help people with these types of problems, they both said no, but then claimed it was God's work. I guess that makes it okay.
I asked for an example of the help they give. For depression it was taking the person back to the bible and a better connection to God. The joy they connect with is supposed to help overcome depression. Addiction was treated through prayer. I'm serious - read the bible for a man who was so depressed that he could barely function, and prayer for the gambling addict.
I realize that two conversations do not establish a corrupt process, but damn. These people should not be helping anyone. Their victims need professional help. Why do Christians go to unqualified people for help? It makes no sense.