“Dale and I met at church and have tried as best we can to have a truly Christian household. But we’re disagreeing when it comes to Mandy, our 11-year-old. She has so much anger and it feels like she’s pulling away from us. At least once a day she tells us she wishes she were dead. I think she needs to be in therapy, but Dale thinks we’re not praying enough and that forcing her to do more at church is the answer. He thinks therapy is nonsense and not Biblical.”

“Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in the those who take advice.” So says the 13th chapter of Proverbs, and two chapters later, you’ll find, “Plans fail without advice, but with many counselors they are confirmed.”

It’s not unusual for people of faith to wonder whether seeking therapy can be consistent with their beliefs. As Christians, we’re advised to turn our problems over to the Lord. So isn’t turning to that friendly person with a calming voice proof we don’t really trust God or have enough faith? Not at all. At Care to Change, we believe God guides his children to the help they need. Yes, prayer helps, and prayer leads us to get help from a professional, like we would a tutor, a trainer, or even a doctor. We say it often – we can have Jesus and a therapist, too.

As a parent, it can be tough to determine whether your child needs the help a counselor can provide. Frankly, it can also be a little embarrassing. Does it mean you’re a bad parent? And many childhood behaviors are perfectly normal and happily temporary.

So when should you reach out for some extra help from one of our professional counselors? The simple answer is sooner, rather than later. The sooner a counselor starts working with your family, the easier it is for them to provide the help your child needs. Delaying treatment may even make the situation worse, hurt relationships, and affect self esteem. That’s especially true if your child is showing signs of or an inclination to self-harm, such as cutting or discussions of suicide. A single act of cutting may seem minor, but it’s actually a warning sign of serious mental health issues.

It’s also important to act quickly if there’s a history of mental illness in your family. Scientists are still learning about genetics and mental health, but it does appear that a family history signals a greater likelihood your child may encounter problems.

The best answer we can offer is if you’re wondering whether your child might benefit from seeing a professional counselor, the need is probably real. Parents sometimes hesitate to reach out for help because they’re afraid of hurting their children’s feelings or they feel embarrassed by the situation. But it’s important to act before symptoms and issues become worse.

So if you’re thinking it may be time for your child to receive help, you’re probably right. Why not schedule an initial session with one of our counselors, who can talk with both you and your child and help you determine how we can work together to help them? As Proverbs 11:14 notes, “A nation falls through a lack of guidance, but victory comes through the counsel of many.”