A Biblical Counseling Process: Guidance for the Beginning, Middle, and End

Lauren Whitman
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What makes counseling biblical? What does the biblical counseling process entail? What is the focus of each stage of the process? Lauren Whitman, an experienced CCEF counselor, addresses these questions and more in A Biblical Counseling Process, sharing a process from start to finish that will help guide counselors in reaching the hearts of their counselees and connecting them to Jesus, who brings hope and change.

Although there is not a one-size-fits-all formula for biblical counseling, Whitman captures the scope of a counseling process and identifies two major tasks for the beginning, middle, and the end. Each of the chapters works together to explain, describe, support, and illustrate these tasks. The author also provides a case study that continues throughout the book, providing readers with an example of how to implement the process.

As part of CCEF's Helping the Helper series, A Biblical Counseling Process will equip counselors, pastors, and lay leaders to approach their counseling ministry intentionally so that their work faithfully points people to the Lord, considers who he is, his heart, and what he calls us to. Useful for new and seasoned counselors alike, this resource will equip helpers with a vision for what a progression of counseling looks like.


Lauren Whitman, MA, is a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF), where she has served for a decade. She also serves as the developmental editor of the Journal of Biblical Counseling and is the author of A Painful Past: Healing and Moving Forward and A Biblical Counseling Process. Whitman, her husband, and their two children make their home in the Philadelphia area.

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"Each person we counsel is unique and the challenges they face have their own complexities, but each counseling experience has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Whitman provides an excellent framework that guides the overall flow of counseling while acknowledging and leaving room for the individualization that comes with each person. She offers a big picture overview of the process and dives deep into details on key components of counseling—first session, transitions, closing session, etc. This book answers a myriad of frequently asked questions regarding the practical matters of counseling. Students of biblical counseling and new counselors will have answers to these burning questions and experienced counselors will also find insights and tips to hone their skills as ministers of God's Word. This book will be a required read for my students."
Curtis W. Solomon, Executive Director of the Biblical Counseling Coalition; cofounder of Solomon SoulCare

"Two things especially stand out in the refreshingly clear prose of Whitman's contribution to biblical counseling literature. First, Whitman leads by example in applying specific Scriptures to specific, vivid counseling situations. Second, she provides simple, doable foci for counselors at each stage of counseling and clear benchmarks for where each stage begins and ends. I commend this highly accessible, gracefully written book to anyone looking to do vocational biblical counseling!"
Alasdair Groves, Executive Director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); coauthor of Untangling Emotions

"As the biblical counseling movement has matured and grown, there has been a significant need for solid teaching on biblical counseling methodology. Counselors and helpers can have good theology and training, but they need to be equipped for the actual work of counseling—how to sit and listen, how to structure their sessions, and so on. Lauren Whitman has written a brief but packed resource that fills that gap marvelously. It will undoubtedly be my new go-to guide in training helpers and counselors."
Jonathan D. Holmes, Executive Director, Fieldstone Counseling; author of Counsel for Couples: A Biblical and Practical Guide for Marriage Counseling

"Scripture does not reduce the care of souls to predictable steps or specific techniques. If it did, we would rarely pray and we would have little reason to listen. But Scripture does reveal wise love and real help. Lauren brings these two together in a way that gives practical direction to strengthen care for others."
Edward T. Welch, Faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of numerous books, including A Small Book for the Anxious Heart

"The process of biblical counseling is neither rigidly scripted nor loosely improvised. But what does it look like in practice? In this much-needed book, Lauren Whitman gives shape to skillful love as she charts a wise path between those two extremes, carefully explaining the major tasks associated with each stage of counseling. Full of practical examples that vivify these major tasks, Lauren's book is an ideal resource for training lay counselors and for use in graduate biblical counseling programs."
Michael R. Emlet, Dean of Faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF); author of Saints, Sufferers, and Sinners: Loving Others as God Loves Us

"The moment I finished A Biblical Counseling Process I added it to our counseling training program. Rightly interpreting people's experience has often been a far more difficult task for biblical counselors than rightly interpreting the text of Scripture, and Lauren's work raises our ability to accurately and helpfully understand the people God places before us."
Nate Brooks, Assistant Professor of Christian Counseling, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC

"Lauren captures the principles for thoughtfully and wisely walking alongside a hurting individual. She demonstrates how each stage builds on each other, along with practical illustrations and examples. It is a wonderful resource for those looking to better understand the process of counseling."
Julie Lowe, Faculty and counselor, Christian Counseling & Educa;tional Foundation (CCEF); author of Building Bridges and Child Proof

"Simple structures make complex tasks more manageable. We listen better, empathize more accurately, and offer more helpful guidance when we have a process we trust. Lauren provides clear tasks and manageable assessments for the beginning, middle, and end of the counseling process. Whether you are a new counselor learning ropes or an experienced counselor reviewing the basics, A Biblical Counseling Process will help you structure your thinking as you serve as God's ambassador to those coming to you for counsel."
Brad Hambrick, Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church, Durham, NC; general editor for Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused

"Recently someone asked me to describe how to tie a necktie. While I am proficient at tie tying, I found it very difficult to describe the process. In the same way, while I have counseled for thousands of hours, I sometimes struggle when trying to describe the particulars of the counseling process to my students. Lauren Whitman's book fills this need as she describes the particulars of the process of counseling. As I read, I often found myself saying, 'Yes, that's how we do it.' I anticipate that this resource will benefit many as we strive to faithfully shepherd the souls of God's people."
Dr. Jim Newheiser, Director of the Christian Counseling Program, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC

"This slim volume is a weighty resource. Lauren Whitman's outline of the process of biblical counseling is methodical, giving a structure and a reason to follow it. It is biblical, rooting that method in Scriptural truth. It is practical, with examples that ground us in real life. New counselors will find a pattern to help them begin. Experienced counselors will find many fresh insights. This outstanding resource fills a significant gap in our biblical counseling library."
Steve Midgley, Executive Director of Biblical Counselling UK; senior minister of Christ Church, Cambridge

"While most counseling books give you principles and stories, this one is unique because it teaches you the important parts of a counseling process. But it does this in a gospel-centered and practical way that I haven't seen often. If you are a counselor, your knowledge of how to help your counselees will grow considerably, your use of Scripture will be strengthened, and your hope in Christ will made more firm. Who could ask for more? This book has taught me much, and it will also teach and edify you!"
Deepak Reju, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC; author of On Guard; coauthor of The Pastor and Counseling and Build on Jesus

"Reading A Biblical Counseling Process will help shape you into a better counselor and provide you with direction toward more effective counseling sessions. With a focus on knowing the person rather than solving a problem, this book offers distinctly biblical direction coupled with well-defined, compassionate applications of professional practices. An excellent primer for formal construction of the counseling process from start to finish."
Eliza Huie, MAC Director of Counseling, McLean Bible Church, Vienna, VA; dean of biblical counseling at Metro Baltimore Seminary; coauthor of The Whole Life

"Biblical counseling is nuanced work, and I've often wondered if I'm 'doing it right.' Thankfully, what Lauren has written here is both intuitive and practical—she answered questions I didn't even know I had about the process, then offered examples to demonstrate real-life counseling exchanges. Counselors of all experience levels will benefit from reading this book. I'll be keeping it nearby for quick reference and session prep!"
Christine Chappell, Outreach Director and Hope + Help Podcast host for the Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship; author of Help! I've Been Diagnosed with a Mental Disorder and Help! My Teen Is Depressed

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1 Review

  • 4
    Primer for Biblical Counselors

    Posted by Wendy on 11 03 2021

    This very helpful, succinct resource is essentially a primer for newer counselors, guiding them through the beginning, middle and end of a counseling relationship, covering both theory and practice in an easily implementable way. First the theory is outlined with the goals of counsel at that stage, a potential session structure, and topics for the counsellor to be considering. Then, through the use of one main case study throughout the book, Whitman illustrates how to do it in sessions with a real counselee. Positive aspects include: - The call to be empathic, face our own assumptions, and be aware of cultural differences with a counsellee. - She models a natural and seamless way to integrate scripture and Jesus with someone’s life experience. - The approach seems to be similar to person-centred cognitive behavioural therapy. However, it is integrated with a biblical perspective that acknowledges sin, forgiveness, potential for change and growth in Christ, and a desire to love God and others. - It’s well structured, and easy to read. One note: this book should not operate as a stand-alone tool. It does not make the reader a biblical counselor. Anyone training to be a biblical counselor would likely be taught much of the content. So, it will likely function as a simplified reminder of what a counselor in training would be learning or already know. So, this book is aimed at a rather specific audience - the new biblical counselor - but for them, there is much of value within.

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