You are on page 1of 4

Dodson 1

Katherine Dodson
Mrs. Spiers
Success Strategies
1 November 2016
Informational Interview
I learned a lot about Biblical counseling that I was unaware of before interviewing
my friend Janie Roper, a part-time Biblical counselor in Birmingham, Alabama. She
began thinking about counseling because she has always had the love for helping people.
Janie attended Auburn the fall of her freshman year, but due to becoming very ill, she had
to finish taking her classes back home in Birmingham. When she started taking
counseling classes at home, she recognized that each type of counselor was directed
towards a specific group of people (high school students, married couples, etc.) but she
saw a lack in counselors for teenage girls. She then knew she wanted to be a counselor
for teenage girls, and she wanted to use the Bible while doing this, so she began looking
into Biblical counseling. While attending Auburn, Janie was in the Human Development
and Family Studies Major and later ended up in the National Association of Nouthetic
Counseling program, which is now called ACBC, or Association of Certified Biblical
Counselors. The requirements of this program consisted of ten hours of observing
counseling, seminary classes, conferences, and one thousand pages of required reading
from certain books. The next step of this process was taking open book theology and
counseling essay exams that ended up taking about six months to complete once they
were graded and rewritten several times. The third phase of being certified into ACBC
was supervised counseling, which meant logging into a certain amount of hours of

Dodson 2
counseling and training. After putting her portfolio of notes, counselees, hours, classes,
and book reports together, it was sent to the national office and she was later cleared to be
a certified counselor on the Biblical website. This total process took about two and a half
years, and through all of this, Janie had a lot of experience with counseling. Janie told me
that it is more likely to be hired as a Biblical counselor via a referral from a current
employee. She also explained to me that if one was planning on working with a church or
ministry, a counseling degree and seminary classes would be required, but if one was
planning on having a practice of their own, a psychology degree and a specific number of
years would be required. The man who started nouthetic counseling and more
specifically, founded NANC, and wrote most of the books that Janie studied in the
process of becoming a Biblical counselor, is named Dr. Jay Adams. ACBC is the
professional association that represents this industry today.
When I asked Janie what specific qualities, backgrounds and achievements made
candidates attractive, she said that sound understanding and knowledge of the Bible was
necessary, but that one is not required to memorize the entire Bible. The Lord will
provide a verse that pops into your head when counseling someone in need. Other traits
of a good candidate include being willing to learn and be humbled to rely completely and
only on the Lord daily. Training to become a Biblical counselor is formal rather than onthe-job, however, the first time Janie sat in an actual counseling session, she was very
nervous because the formal training in no way compared to sitting with a real person
talking about their real life problems.
According to Janie, short and long term trends dont affect Biblical counseling,
because her job does not depend on herself, but the Bible itself and her dependence on

Dodson 3
trusting the Lord to provide. Janie listed several positive aspects of being a Biblical
counselor. She says that there is always something interesting because not only is this not
a desk job, but she is constantly hearing about other peoples lives. The job has taught
Janie how to trust in the Lord in different ways than she ever has previously and it is very
encouraging for her to see people walk out, knowing that she has had some effect on
them. There are several negative aspects of her job, however. She says that she feels as if
the blame is on her whenever someone leaves her office feeling discouraged and that
there is a lot of pressure if she lets other peoples problems become her responsibility.
Janie explained to me how hard it is to speak the truth to the people who dont want to
hear it and it can be frustrating knowing that it is not in her control of scheduling their
next appointment. The most frustration Janie ever feels in counseling is when clients who
are younger are forced to be there and make no effort to be counseled. She deals with
these types of situations by starting the session off by trying to be their friend, asking
questions about her hobbies or interests rather than getting straight to the issue that
brought the client to her office. Another huge negative aspect is the possibility of being
threatened, because this is very common for counselors of all kinds. Although there are
hard parts of every job, Janie considers Biblical counseling to be extremely rewarding.
She told me that one time she counseled a girl who brought a journal to each session and
wrote down every word Janie spoke to her. This made Janie feel as if she had a huge
impact on this girl and that her words really were helping whatever situation she was
going through at the time. She said it feels very rewarding when she sees a difference in
the people she talks to and knowing that her counseling and the Lords work through her

Dodson 4
is so prevalent and dependable. Janie says that the biggest benefit of her job is having the
ability to create her own schedule.
Most Biblical counselors earn a salary ranging from $40,000-$47,000, but it truly
depends on what specific area one counsels in and where the counseling is taking place
(church, school, etc.). Janie made the point that there is a big difference between
Christian counseling and Biblical counseling. Christian counseling is almost the same,
but medicine is never prescribed to the counselors clients, whereas a Biblical counselor
can partner with a doctor to prescribe medications for a client. Janie recommended that I
look into reading the book Instruments in the Redeemers Hands by Paul David Tripp, a
book solely about Biblical counseling. Her opinion on counseling is that every human- no
matter what age or what you are going through- needs a counselor.
Overall, this interview helped a lot for my choosing of a major and possibly a
future career. I learned so much about Biblical counseling that I was totally unaware of
before this interview, and I am so glad I learned it now rather than later. Hearing both the
negative and positive aspects, frustrations, and rewarding experiences that Janie has had
through Biblical counseling has opened my eyes to see the reality of this job and the
requirements that come along with it.