Fitzpatrick: "Gospel-centered counseling is grounded in the saving work of Jesus Christ"
"We live in the Age of the Counselor. It's not much of a question anymore whether people will get counseling at some time or other. The question is what kind of counseling they'll get… Every (counseling method) has foundational beliefs about what is wrong with people and how they can be helped.
"...Gospel-centered counseling… is the process of one Christian coming alongside another with words of truth to encourage, admonish, comfort, and help - words drawn from Scripture, grounded in the gracious saving work of Jesus Christ, and presented in the context of relationship. The goal of this counseling is that the brother or sister in need of counsel would grow in his or her understanding of the gospel and how it applies to every area of life and then respond in grateful obedience in every circumstance, all to the building up of the church and for the glory of God.
"(The) gospel-centered paradigm is derived from the Bible...We derive our paradigm from the Bible because we distrust merely human diagnoses of what's really wrong with us and because we recognize our utter powerlessness to effect deep change in anyone by our own efforts. Only God's Word has the power to discern 'the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Hebrews 4:12), and to illumine our darkened understanding (Psalm 36:9, John 8:12, 1 John 1:7)…
"Gospel-centered counseling seeks to answer the questions, 'What is wrong with us?' and 'What can be done to help?' by intentionally applying Scripture in a balanced way, recognizing both what the gospel declares about us and what it demands of us. Counseling that neglects the Scriptures when seeking to answer these questions always eventuates in a bloated self-opinion and an enslaving and futile self-focus. Counseling that neglects what the gospel says about us will eventuate in works-righteousness and its ultimate and inescapable fruit, either pride or despair, or a vacillation between the two. Counseling that neglects the obligation forced on us by the gospel always eventuates in complacent laziness, excuse-making, and loose… gospel-centered counseling...applies both gospel declarations and obligations to every problem we encounter." -- Elyse Fitzpatrick, "Counsel from the Cross", pp. 91-93