Consent to Counsel
We are offering Biblical counseling to the community as a free service of Harvest Bible Chapel (HBC). As part of our mission to train and equip others for counseling, we may have counselor(s)-in-training participate in the counseling with us. Be assured that they are interested in your welfare and are held to the same standards of professionalism and confidentiality as our biblical counselors. We do not offer professional psychotherapy. We are a church and our counselors are under the authority of God’s word and our church elders. We believe that your ultimate hope and help comes when you bring an open heart ready to receive the Spirit of God and the Word of God in the community of God. We also believe that life difficulties are better weathered in friendship. This is why we will ask that you bring a friend with you to counseling or that you would be willing to have an “advocate” assigned by us to walk alongside you during our time together. Your advocate will not be a co– counselor and must be willing to submit to the process we lay out as a care plan. You should ask your counselor about the role of the advocate in the first session.
As part of our formal counseling process you will be asked to fill out forms that help us get to know you. Harvest has endorsed counselors (HECs) who are well-equipped to counsel from God’s word and we will do our best to assign someone that is a good fit for you.
We believe the Bible provides thorough guidance and instruction for a life that is pleasing to God. Therefore, our counseling is based on scriptural principles rather than those of secular psychology or psychiatry. Although some of the pastoral or lay counselors of Harvest Bible Chapel may be trained or licensed in other fields, such as medicine or psychology, they will not practice in that capacity, but only as biblical counselors under the authority of the elders of Harvest Bible Chapel.
Not Professional Advice
If you have significant legal, financial, medical or other technical questions, you should seek advice from an independent professional. Our ministry staff and volunteer lay counselors will be happy to cooperate with such advisors and help you to consider their counsel in the light of relevant scriptural
principles. We are often asked about insurance as well. As we do not practice as licensed professionals, we do not make diagnoses nor do we submit insurance claims. There is no charge for corrective counseling so there is no need to be reimbursed or cover a charge.
In Harvest Counseling we desire to see others become equipped to handle the Word of God and speak the truth in love to others. Because HC is a training ministry, apprentices (i.e. those being trained in biblical counseling) may be present in the counseling sessions and they will abide by the confidentiality statement articulated below.
Resolution of Conflicts — On rare occasions, a conflict may develop between a counselor and a counselee. The parties hereby exercise their election, as provided in Illinois Uniform Arbitration Act (710 ILCS 5/ Uniform Arbitration Act) to submit any disputes or claims to Christian resolution within the church. The parties
understand that the Bible commands them to make every effort to live at peace, and to resolve disputes with each other in private or within the Christian church (see Matthew 18:15-20; 1 Corinthians 6:18). In order to make sure that any such conflicts are resolved in a biblical manner, we require all of our counselees to agree that any dispute that arises with a counselor or with Harvest Counseling as a result of counseling will be settled by mediation under the leadership of HBC. We will make every effort to resolve conflict in a manner according to the principles of scripture. By checking the box below you are agreeing to this process.
Communication and Community
At HBC we desire to grow in caring for those who come to Harvest Counseling for counsel and care. It would be our goal to have you become part of the HBC family. It is imperative to our mission and your long-term care that we stay in consistent and regular communication with the leadership of HBC (Small Group Leaders, Coaches and Pastoral staff) and/or the person you have designated/chosen as your advocate. This form gives us permission to discuss only the necessary information in regard to your situation with the appropriate and concerned parties in accordance with the confidentiality guidelines explained below. Please read the following information carefully.
Confidentiality is an important aspect of the counseling process, and we will carefully guard the information you entrust to us. There are situations, however, when it may be necessary for us to share certain information with others:
- When there is a clear indication that a counselee wishes to harm him/herself or someone else.
- When there is evidence or reasonable suspicion of abuse against a minor child, elderly person, or dependent adult.
- If we are subpoenaed or court-ordered to disclose information.
- In discussions with the pastoral staff or elders of HBC, previous counselor(s) and/or your advocate, for the sole purpose of gaining information for your care, or to help in follow-up and after-care.
- When a counselor is uncertain of how to address a particular problem and needs to seek advice and wisdom from another Harvest Bible Chapel staff member, or elder.
- If you are a believer, attend our church and persistently refuse to renounce a particular sin and it becomes necessary to seek the assistance of others in the church to encourage repentance and reconciliation (see Proverbs 15:22; 24:11, Matthew 18:15-20)
In all of these situations, we will make every effort to be sensitive to your situation. Please be assured that our counselors strongly prefer not to disclose any of this personal information to others. We will strive to help you resolve the difficult situations you are experiencing as discreetly as possible.
The next steps involve bringing in advocates to walk alongside you during this time. Simply put, an advocate is someone who loves God, loves God’s Word and loves and/or cares about you.
Having clarified the principles and policies of our counseling ministry, we welcome the opportunity to minister to you in the name of Christ. If these guidelines are acceptable to you, please indicate this by checking the boxes below.