Biblical Counseling Certificate Program
About Our Training
The Biblical Counseling Institute offers an in-depth training program leading to a nationally recognized Certificate in Biblical Counseling. The program is open to pastors, vocational ministers, teachers, professional counselors, and lay leaders within the church.
The Certificate in Biblical Counseling is offered jointly by the Biblical Counseling Institute and the Riley Center at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
BCI believes and teaches that God’s Word is fully sufficient for the counseling task and superior to anything the world can offer. Our position is based on the following (and other) passages of Scripture:
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
“…His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Pet. 1:3).
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple
The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes
The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether
Certification classes are offered throughout the U.S. We also offer courses online through distance learning (Link to Distance Learning).
Our focus and objective is the preparation of the Body of Christ for the ministry of reconciliation, restoration, and evangelism. To accomplish this goal, the BCI program is taught in four levels:
Level I addresses the theological basis for biblical counseling through an examination of Scriptures that uphold the sufficiency and superiority of God’s Word. Also addressed is the spiritual preparation of the counselor and his/her readiness to assume the counseling task.
Level I goes on to provide a thorough overview of biblical care and the application of God’s Word within specific counseling situations. Finally, the role of the Holy Spirit, the process of transformation, and the purpose and power of repentance are examined, helping the student gain an understanding of the structure, process, and practice of biblical counseling.
The following courses are required to complete Level I:
Introduction to Biblical Counseling is the first required course for all students. The course introduces builds a theological foundation for biblical counseling, helping the student establish a firm scriptural understanding of the call and preparation for biblical care and discipleship. The course will also teach basic concepts of Biblical counseling including problem identification, the development of biblical language, counseling planning, and counseling techniques and intervention with individuals and families in crisis.
Biblical Counseling with Individuals expands upon the basic principles offered in the introductory class. With a focus on individual spiritual, emotional, relational, and behavioral concerns, the student is trained in specific techniques of care in a one-to-one relationship of discipleship, education, and counseling.
Common issues of depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, grief, anger, and addiction are highlighted with ongoing training in problem definition and treatment strategies. Specific case scenarios are offered along with role-play opportunities, helping the student practice the application of Scripture and biblical principles in an ongoing relationship of growth and development.
Required Reading for Level I:
Abercrombie & K. Skinner
Babler & D. Penley
Competent to Counsel
Recommended Reading for Level I:
A Theology of Christian Counseling
A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry
Level II continues to address the practice of biblical counseling and provides insight into specific issues faced within the counseling ministry. Primary focus centers upon the marriage, family, and children, including the following topics:
- Biblical structure for the marital relationship and parenting.
- Marriage and Family Problems
- Pre-Marriage Counseling
- Child and Adolescent Issues
- Divorce and Blended Families
The following courses are required to complete Level II:
Biblical Counseling with Couples and Families trains the counselor to intervene with relationship problems present in pre-marital, marital, and family relationships. A system of premarital counseling is taught along with techniques for addressing mild to severe marital conflict.
Critical issues such as marital preparedness, the biblical structure for marriage, communication, and intimacy are explored along with methods for addressing crises such as infidelity and divorce. As with all course work, specific case consultation is provided along with role-playing opportunities and supervision of technique using biblical principles as the cornerstone of all intervention.
Biblical Counseling with Children and Adolescents offers focused, specialized training for helping children and teens between the ages of six (6) and eighteen (18). The student is given specialized training on matters of childhood development and the unique challenges that come with this population. A thorough study of biblical structure for the home, biblical leadership and authority, and the scriptural role of parenting will be undertaken.
Much emphasis is given to the process of helping parents in the management of such issues within a Biblical framework for the home, as opposed to individual intervention with children and youth. As with all courses, the student will have the opportunity for case presentation, role-play, and supervision with specific case material.
Required Reading for Level II:
Christian Shrinks Answer ALL Your Questions...
Abercrombie & K. Abercrombie
Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible
Preparing for Marriage God’s Way
Recommended Reading for Level II
Shepherding a Child’s Heart
Age of Opportunity
Level III addresses evangelism and the counseling process with unbelievers. Primary is the recognition that many counselees requesting biblical care, may not be converted (born-again). The student learns the application of Scripture and the presentation of the gospel, helping counselees recognize their status before God and the commitment of their lives to Christ.
Also, Level III teaches the use of Scripture in crisis situations, which is a unique and challenging area of ministry. Responses to natural disasters, crime, personal loss, and victimization, equip the student for crisis ministry opportunities.
The following courses are required to complete Level III:
Biblical Counseling is not only a tool for restoration and discipleship, but can be a productive area of evangelism for the biblical counselor. In this course, the student will learn specific methods of spiritual inquiry, testimony, and Scriptural texts relevant in leading the counselee into an initial relationship with Jesus Christ.
This course addresses the response of the Body in crisis situations. Counseling approaches for use in natural disasters (hurricanes, floods, earthquake, etc.), crime situations (homicide, sexual assault, terrorist activity, etc.), and personal crisis situations (sudden loss, abuse, etc.) are taught.
This course is especially useful for Chaplains, disaster relief workers, crisis first responders, police and fire staff and ministers, or anyone dealing with unique and sudden trauma.
Recommended Reading for Level III:
Crisis Counseling: Not If But When
Coping with Counseling Crises
A Gospel Primer for Christians: Learning to See the Glories of God’s Love
Level IV provides advanced training with chronic and challenging counseling scenarios that require specific training and practicum. Here the student will acquire skills in addressing:
This course provides the student experience in working with chronic and severe cases requiring specialized care and expanded resources. Situations such as severe depression, suicidal threat, addiction, psychosis, eating disorders, etc. are explored, with emphasis on case studies, supervision of actual cases, and role-play.
This course will also train the counselor and pastor to interface with medical doctors, hospitals, treatment programs, and church resources to complete the continuum of care necessary to provide support and resolution for long-standing issues.
This course is devoted entirely to the presentation of individual cases from the churches and practices of the participants. Each student will have the opportunity to present one case in detail and receive a detailed analysis of his/her treatment process from the beginning assessment through the termination of counseling.
Recommended Reading for Level IV:
The Heart of Addiction: A Biblical Perspective
Seeing with New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand
Counseling the Hard Cases
Scott & H. Lambert
The final level of training provides the student the opportunity to counsel under the supervision of the BCI faculty. Each student will complete a minimum of 20 counseling hours in their church or professional setting. Students will submit case notes on each hour of counseling to his/her supervisor (BCI faculty member) and will have twelve (12) hours of face-to-face supervision and discussion in person or via Skype or FaceTime.
Each student must arrange a counseling practicum in their local area through a church, counseling center, or another ministry. BCI will assist the student in making these arrangements. The practicum will consist of 20 hours of counseling observation and participation, under the supervision of the BCI faculty. Counseling case notes will be submitted to the supervisor (BCI faculty member) for each counseling hour.
Each student must complete twelve (12) hours of face-to-face prior to graduation from the program. The supervision will be provided by a BCI faculty member only. Supervision must occur in person if the supervisor is local, or via Skype or FaceTime when necessary due to the distance from faculty. This important component of the training ensures the counselor’s progress and readiness for certification by addressing actual case situations ongoing in their areas of ministry.
Recommended Reading for Level V and Beyond:
Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth
Counseling: How to Counsel Biblically
The Arthur W. Pink Collection (43 volumes)
Available as Ebook through Amazon
The Cost of Discipleship
Additional Requirements: Examination
Upon the completion all training, practicum, and supervision, students must submit a letter of endorsement from his/her pastor or church leader, evidence of church affiliation, and a signed profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tuition and Expenses
$80.00 (Per Class)-Individuals - $640.00 Total
$120.00 (Per Class)-Married Couples - $960.00 Total
Counseling Practicum and Supervision:
$350.00 Married Couples
Total Program Cost:
$890.00 Individuals (Plus cost of books for required reading)
$1,310.00 Married Couples (Plus cost of books for required reading)
Individual Course Tuition
Students are permitted to take individual courses in Biblical Counseling without committing to the entire Certificate Program. Introduction to Biblical Counseling is a prerequisite to taking any other courses in the curriculum.