Over at the Biblical Counseling Coalition blog, Pat has written a nice piece on why he loves church-based counseling. It's worth reading. I like his first point in particular because I hadn't really thought about it before.
First of all, no one has to pay me anything! I'm so thankful that the church pays my salary so I can counsel for free. Congregants appreciate it too. It feels more in line with gospel ministry ("freely you have received; freely give") and I think it promotes a less "professional" and more pastoral relationship.
I've often wondered in "pay for service" counseling how anyone knows whether the counselee got her money's worth at a particular counseling session. How much do insights, practical suggestions, or encouragements cost? Some days I might feel the need to give them a refund! I'm also glad I don't feel pressure to meet only for one hour or for only a certain number of weeks, etc. I like the flexibility to meet longer or shorter, depending on what's happening and what the needs are.
Read the whole thing.