frequently asked questions

biblical counselling

What is the difference between Biblical and Gospel Centered Counselling?

Christian counselling is a very broad title that often encompasses ideas and philosophies that are not compatible with the Bible. Christian counsellors tend to integrate (or combine) theories from secular thinkers with a Christian worldview.

Fully Biblical Gospel centred counsellors, on the other hand, do not integrate (or combine) secular ideas into their philosophy of counselling. Instead, they begin from the Bible, and seek to create their perspectives and methods of counselling from Scripture alone. As such, life, circumstances, emotions, thinking, and human change are shaped by the truths of the Bible over and above the theories of man.

Gospel-centred counsellors constantly ask the question “what will my counsel be to this person’s struggle and suffering built solely upon Christ’s gospel of grace? BCNZ’s counselling emphasize proper care for the physical body including recognizing the importance of professional medical care for medical problems. We are able and willing to work alongside those that provide these services.

Fully Biblical Gospel centred counselling is serious and compassionate regarding the struggles and suffering of counselling such as marriage difficulty, depression, anxiety, fear, addiction, anger, and abuse (to mention a few). Counsellors work to express love to those seeking help, and seek to avoid simplistic or superficial answers to the deep troubles of counselees (i.e. “Read this verse and you’ll feel better” or “Don’t worry, God is in control”).

BCNZ’s Biblical counsellors are strong students of the Bible, and have completed formal training plus a minimum of three years church-based training, to interpret the struggles of counselees through the lens of Scripture, rather than through the lens of the theories of man.

What is the Gospel?

What does BCNZ mean when we state that our counselling is fully biblical, gospel-centred counselling?

This means that everything we believe and do is calibrated by the gospel and its implications. You could say that we have a Gospel-Centred DNA.

So what does this mean and what does it look like in relation to our counselling a person going through real struggles and real suffering?

While there have been many good definitions of the Christian Gospel written over the years for the purposes of BCNZ’s website we have chosen to quote R.C.Sproul’s explanation of the heart of the Gospel.

We have also included an article by Paul. D. Tripp’s to help us understand how many Christians have a gap in the understanding of this gospel as it relates to the here and now aspect of their lives.

 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)

 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.


Article-by-R.C.-SproulGospel Article by Paul. D. Trip
What are the Goals of Biblical Counselling?

Biblical counselling has many goals, but our primary goal is to help you develop a whole-hearted love for God and others. Strange as it may sound today, our purpose is not to simply help you “feel better” or “find happiness,” but to help you grow in personal holiness and spiritual maturity for service in the body of Christ. Another goal of biblical counselling is to help you meet the various challenges of life in a way that will always please and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.

Uniqueness of Biblical Counselling

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer to your most basic problems. The Bible is the counsellor’s main tool. The Holy Spirit imparts gifts to the counsellor to guide and give hope through the Scripture. Prayer and dependence upon God are essential parts of biblical counselling.

Biblical counsellors have resources for helping you that unbelievers do not have—resources that are unique, sufficient, and superior to anything the world has to offer.

Biblical counselling is comprehensive in that it recognises the importance of the past, the present, and the future in your life. Both walking with God in this life and knowing Him in eternity are our concern for you.

Using the Scripture in counselling requires understanding your problems from a biblical perspective and then applying step-by-step biblical solutions to those problems. The counsellors who serve at BCNZ know how to bring the Word of God to bear on sinful and hopeless situations. Hope can be found and change can be accomplished as the Word of God is ministered in the power and working of the Holy Spirit.

The Sufficiency of Scripture

The Scriptures of both the Old and the New Testaments are authoritative and sufficient for all the issues facing you in life. Many people say they believe in the authority of Scripture, but their practice denies its sufficiency to meet their needs. For example, “Christian psychology” attempts to integrate various psychological theories and humanistic philosophies with the Scriptures because it lacks confidence in the Word of God to deal with a person’s “real” problems.

Biblical counselling on the other hand, both in its message and method, is conducted with a commitment to the absolute sufficiency of Scripture as the means by which a Christian’s spiritual problems must be addressed and solved. Christ taught that learning and applying Scripture is the starting point of change in our lives. Jesus prayed to his Father, “Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth” (John 17: 17).

Attempting to integrate secular psychology and Scripture is a rejection of the Bible’s claim to be sufficient for us! This approach to counselling only leads to confusion by blurring the lines between humanistic behaviour modification and genuine spiritual sanctification.

To claim that the Scripture is sufficient, though, does not mean that reading the Bible is all that is needed. For example, working with a physician is certainly sensible and wise whenever there is a possibility of physical or organic causes relating or contributing to your problems.

Referring to the Scripture, the apostle Peter said, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him Who called us” (2 Peter 1:3).

Biblical Change

Your circumstances are not the cause of your problems, rather they are tests which reveal the condition of your heart and which purify your obedience to God. It is only through an accurate biblical understanding of who and what you are that the true nature of your problems and their appropriate solutions can be known.

Biblical change first takes place in your mind. Your thinking must be brought into alignment with the Word of God. Biblical counselling focuses on genuine heart change; not merely changing your circumstances or behaviour.

The Holy Spirit is the One who works in all areas of sanctification. He can change your thinking, attitudes, and behaviours, ultimately bringing you into complete conformity to Christ.

You as a believer in Christ have the ability and necessary resources to glorify God and to live pleasing to Him. Counselling, when blessed by the Holy Spirit, helps you to become pure in heart, to have a peaceful conscience, and to sincerely trust God in order to live for His glory.

Counselling is a Ministry of the Church

The church is the means by which Christ has ordained to help believers grow into His likeness. Biblical counselling is not to be an optional ministry of the church. Preaching, teaching, evangelism, discipleship, and counselling are all vital parts of the church’s ministry.

Counselling is most effective when incorporated as part of the local church. You need the help of all combined church ministries. You need to hear the preaching and teaching of God’s Word to motivate growth and change. You need the love and fellowship of other believers for relationships that will assist and encourage you. You need godly leaders who themselves are growing and changing to teach you by their example.

The church encourages, motivates, and challenges believers to “love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24). A counselling ministry provides practical, relevant help based upon sound biblical principles that enable you to be adequately equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3: 17)

A Service to the Church

At BCNZ, we recognize that the role of pastors within the life of the church has grown, and now encompasses a wide variety of duties and responsibilities.

Pastoral counselling, on the other hand, is often a lengthy, complex and time-consuming process. For this reason, BCNZ exists to serve as an adjunct to the good pastoral work already being done by pastors. Our desire is to come alongside pastors and assist them with their counselling needs.

There are a variety of options available to pastors who desire to partner with BCNZ. From individual referrals, to contracted weekly or monthly counselling days on-site at their church, we will serve the church, and its pastors.

our counselling

What issues do BCNZ provide counsel for?

People come to BCNZ with many different struggles. We believe that the Bible speaks to all of life’s issues. Therefore, we apply a Christ-centered worldview to these problems and have seen life-changing results. Some of the issues that we regularly counsel include marriage and family issues, depression, eating disorders, sexual abuse, pornography, anxiety, conflict and addictions to name a few.

When does BCNZ schedule appointments?

By appointment, a biblical counsellor is available at the following times. The times listed below are available on a first-come, first served basis.

If your preferred time is already taken we will suggest another or place you on our waiting list and contact you when that time becomes available.

Your first assessment session will last approximately 90 minutes and subsequent sessions will be 60 minutes.

These times are strictly adhered to in respect of following scheduled appointments.

Monday Evening Appointments :

6:15-7:15pm or 7:30-8:30pm

Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday Appointments:






Will the information I share in counselling be kept confidential?

Confidentiality is practiced in our counselling sessions; however, absolute confidentiality is not supported by Scripture. In certain circumstances, the Bible requires that facts be disclosed to select others.

1. When a counsellor is uncertain of how to address a particular problem and needs to seek advice from another counsellor, the pastor or a leader in this church. The situation may be discussed but names will be withheld;

2. When a counselee attends another church and it is necessary to talk with his or her pastor or other church leaders (we will disclose to others only the information that we believe is necessary for them to effectively and biblically fulfil their responsibility to shepherd you);

3. When there is a clear indication that someone may be harmed unless others intervene; or

4. When a person persistently refuses to renounce a particular sin and it becomes necessary to seek the assistance of others in the church to encourage repentance and reconciliation (read Proverbs 15:22, 24:11 and Matthew 18:15-20 for further information on the matter of limited confidentiality).

Please be assured that our counsellors strongly prefer not to disclose personal information to others, and they will make every effort to help you find ways to resolve a problem as privately as possible.

Do I have to believe in God and the Bible to receive counselling from BCNZ?

BCNZ is pleased to offer you counselling, no matter where you stand spiritually. Our counsellors understand what God says about how to overcome your struggles and suffering, with His help. God cares and He helps us make sense of life. If you have an enquiry or are seeking answers and wonder if the answer to your struggle might be found in God’s Word, we would love to talk with you more about how God desires to help you grow stronger. We have had numerous people begin or renew a relationship with God through the counselling process.

How often does BCNZ schedule appointments?

Typically, we meet weekly for four or five weeks and then space it out. Even though every counselling case is unique, 10-12 sessions over four to five months helps most counselees to make good progress.

How much do sessions cost?

BCNZ is a ministry that keeps fees well below national averages for counselling.

Initial/Extended Consults are up to 90 minutes and the cost is $55.00 (this includes a $10 initial establishment fee).

Consecutive sessions are 60 minutes and the cost is $45.00.

We ask for all sessions to be paid at the time of the appointment.

How can I make a payment?

You can donate to the ministry of Biblical Counselling New Zealand or pay your account online using these methods:

Electronic Banking

Name: BCNZ-Services Limited
ANZ Bank
BSB: 06-0738
ACC: 0191720-00
Please remember to add either your name or invoice number for identification purposes.

Posting your cheque to

BCNZ-Services Limited
PO Box 8380
Havelock North 4157
New Zealand

Pay by cash / eftpos / Credit card  

BCNZ-Services Limited
New Zealand

Please know that when paying by Credit and Debit electronic transactions options this will cause BCNZ to incur a 2.75% processing fee. As we seek to be good stewards of the resources God provides please consider adding an additonal portion to offset any fees. ​

What is BCNZ's cancellation policy?

Initial appointments, prepaid at $55, must be cancelled at least 48 hours prior to the appointment. This is primarily because an initial appointment requires that 2 time slots are unavailable for use by others. If no cancellation is made with at least 48 hours notice, then no refund will be processed.

What can you expect from BCNZ?

1. Privacy. Everything will be held in strict confidence except where, in the counsellor’s judgment, there is a biblical requirement to involve others (e.g. criminal activity).

2. Care. BCNZ counsellors will care for you and treat you with respect.

3. Encouragement toward Christ-likeness. BCNZ staff will encourage you in your successes and exhort you to think and behave in a way that pleases Jesus Christ.

What does BCNZ expect from you?

1. Be honest. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to help you if you are not honest with us.

2. Complete weekly Personal Growth Projects. There will be weekly between sessions assignments that will encourage lasting change.

3. Give us a little time. Habits are not developed overnight, and new habits will take time to develop. In most cases, we ask individuals to commit to regular counselling appointments for a period of 2 to 4 months.

Is BCNZ Counselling covered by Health Insurance or ACC?

Given the nature of our counselling – that is Gospel Centred Counselling it does not come under any health insurance or ACC reimbursements. For this reason we have endeavoured to base our fees on the lowest scale possible.

Does BCNZ maintain a referral list?

At this time, we do not maintain an official referral list. Your best endeavour for finding a counselor is to speak with people who have benefited from a particular biblical counsellor or to ask the pastor or elders of a Bible-believing church for a recommendation.

In any case, be prepared to ask prospective counsellors about their theoretical orientation, their use of Scripture in counselling, and how Christ figures in the way they think about helping others.

For guidelines to help you wisely choose a counsellor, please go to Choosing a Christian Counsellor.


How does BCNZ support the local church?

At BCNZ, we recognise that the role of pastor within the life of the church has grown, and now encompasses a wide variety of duties and responsibilities. Our Executive counsellor was until recently himself the Executive Pastor of the counselling and care team of a large church and associated Christian school with combined numbers of 1700 congregants, school staff and students so knows first hand the pressures and demands of caring for large numbers of people.

Pastoral counselling, on the other hand, is often a complex, lengthy, and time consuming process. For this reason, BCNZ exists to serve as an adjunct to the existing pastoral care already being done by pastors. Our desire is to come alongside pastors and assist them with their counseling needs.

There are a variety of options available to pastors who desire to partner with BCNZ. From individual referrals, to contracted weekly or monthly counselling days on-site at their church, we will serve the church, and its pastors.

Does BCNZ provide childcare during counselling?

No. Unfortunately, at this time we are not able to provide childcare for counselees with children. Because counselling can often be intense and requires concentrated and deliberate thinking we find that having children present can be distracting. Parents are therefore requested to find their own childcare options.


Does BCNZ provide skype counselling?

While face-to-face counselling provides the best possible scenario for counselling, sometimes it is impossible for you and the counsellor to have that personal contact. Individuals struggling with health issues that keep them confined, or people living in areas where Gospel-centered counselling services are not available find BCNZ Skype counselling a helpful and effective option.

From Cape Reinga to the Bluff and including Stewart Island you can now receive real-time fully biblical gospel centred counselling from BCNZ.

Online counselling for those not located in the Hawkes Bay is now available throughout New Zealand providing you have a good Internet connection.

Why Skype counselling?

People seek Skype/FaceTime counselling for a range of reasons. Distance from a suitable counsellor, the convenience of not having to travel, the safety of being in your own familiar environment, and the issue of arranging child minding etc. While It is not quite as effective as a face to face counseling, it is an acceptable alternative if done correctly.

At BCNZ we also realise that there is a particular need for quality counsellors who come from a biblical perspective.  Due to the lack of fully biblical Christian counsellors in New Zealand we offer professional counselling from a biblical perspective, not just to those who can travel come to our office, but to others outside our local area.

Skype is software that you can easily and safely download off the internet for free. You can use video Skype on your PC, laptop, TV and even your mobile phone.

FaceTime is similar to Skype but is an Apple application. FaceTime makes video calls over Wi-Fi from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Mac. It can also connect through mobile networks on iPhone or iPad.

Our Skype/FaceTime counselling covers a wide range of personal issues and church related counselling issues.

How does it work?
  • Contact us to arrange an appointment
  • Our staff will send out informed consent and client information material.
  • The initial counselling session is to be paid 24 hours prior.
  • We will inform you of the skype address of your counsellor via email or text.
  • The length of each session is at least 60 minutes.
What are the technical requirements?
  • You need to have downloaded the free Skype/FaceTime software
  • For optimal performance you need have a reliable internet connection (if the Skype connection breaks, telephone counselling is a practical one-off backup option).
  • Please make sure that you have a quiet room without distractions and have set aside the time for counselling.
What is your policy with email and phone counselling?

Please note that BCNZ will not provide email or regular phone counselling for the following reasons.

I normally do not recommend or use counselling by phone or email, though individual counsellors may choose to do so, based on the severity of the problem and a lack of other counselling options.

A major part of any counselling session is the careful observation of the conscious and unconscious movements and postures by which attitudes and feelings are communicated.

I believe that a counsellor cannot observe these important details when there is no physical presence to observe thoughts, intentions, or feelings expressed by physical behaviours, such as facial expressions, gestures, eye movement, touch and the use of space.

In my endeavour to be a compassionate and caring counsellor I need to know more than the details of a person’s story I want to know the person themselves if I am empathetically and sympathetically connect with their personal struggles and suffering.

Written communication without free and active verbal interaction can so often be incorrectly interpreted no matter how carefully one might endeavour to read beneath the lines. No matter how cautiously a person may try to reveal information in written form there is a great and sometimes a dangerous biased interpretation of emails and text messaging by the recipient. For these reasons I have limited my face-to-face counselling to the occasional Skype or FaceTime counselling sessions as circumstances dictate.