Counseling Case Conference (C3)
By Deepak Reju
Growing Godly Counselors
Good counseling training requires growth in both knowledge and grace. Many counselors
expend a lot of time growing in their head knowledge—biblical knowledge and counseling
knowledge (i.e., understanding counseling theory). But head knowledge can do more damage
than good if it is not grounded in love, grace, and hope (1 Cor. 12:31). Christ-centered
counselors must exemplify God’s grace to struggling believers. To grow in grace, counselors
need to learn how to put that head knowledge into practice in real-time, real-life situations in the
church, under the supervision of older, wiser, loving Christians. To that end, we’ve created three
opportunities: (1) Co-counseling with an experienced counselors; (2) leading groups on difficult
heart issues (worry, sorrow, anger, etc.); and (2) Counseling Case Conference (C3 for short).
Counseling Case Conference is a monthly meeting where counselors present real situations and
sort through how best to administer the gospel and care for struggling believers. This equips the
counselors doing the presentation; especially those counselors who are struggling to sort through
difficult situations and need help in thinking through the situation. This equips counselors-in-
training because it grows them in both knowledge but more importantly, it grows them in grace
as they watch and learn how more experienced counselors lovingly sort through difficult
The Write-up. One counselor will prepare a short write-up (2 pages max) using the following
(1) Pseudonym for the counselee(s), so that we protect his or her identity.
(2) Brief description of the person and their problems. Start with basic facts about their
profile, i.e. age, ethnicity, employment, and any other facts to round out their basic
profile. After that, give a brief overview of their problems.
(3) Background factors. List any background factors that are relevant.
(4) Brief description of their significant relationships.
(5) Identity in Christ or Unbelief. What does their identity center on? Are you working with a
believer or an unbeliever? What leads you to this conclusion?
(6) Functional Theology of God. In contrast to what the person is supposed to believe (i.e.,
confessional theology), tell us what his or her functional theology is (i.e., what they
actually believe about God).
(7) Heart issues, thoughts, desires, hopes, idols. What does the person want, hope for, desire
(8) The Person’s Response to Sin and Struggle. What does the person do in response to the
(9) Critical incidents. Key moments that are useful to know about.
(10) Scripture. What does the Bible say about this person and their struggles? Don’t just cite
verses, but if you can, think of biblical themes that relate to their life.
(11) Strategy/Action plan. What’s God’s agenda for change in this person’s life? What has
been done? What should be done?
(12) The counselor’s own heart issues, sins, life factors. Where does the counselor’s life
intersect with this struggling Christian’s life? What are the counselor’s heart issues or
unhealthy desires that intersect with this person’s life? Can you (the counselor) relate to
(13) Questions for the group. What would you like to ask the group?
With twelve categories and only two pages, you must be brief. I’m making the write-up short to
save you time. So, don’t do an exhaustive write-up. Additional relevant information can be
discussed at the case conference meeting. Because of the confidential nature of these real-live
situations, we will need to give the 2-page case descriptions back to the presenter at the end of
our discussion time; so that the copies can be disposed of carefully.
I have found two types of case studies presented: those ministry situations that really have no
relevance to the counselor’s junk/sin/desires/struggles or those that have a lot to do with the
counselor’s struggles. If you pick the later, you will get a lot more out of the experience. How do
you find ministry situations that overlap with your junk? Ask questions like, “Which people
cause me the most anxiety or frustration?” or “What counselor situations do I struggle with most
in my life?”
Discussion Time. We’ll meet for 1 ½ hours on the 4th or 5th Sunday of the month; from 4:30 to
6:00 PM. We’ll divide the time accordingly (and generally in this order):
1. Start with giving the presenter a few minutes to add any additional details.
2. Open up to the group to ask additional questions.
3. Take time to think through Scripture’s relevance and biblical themes.
4. Take time to think through strategy/agenda for the counselor and struggling person.
5. Think with the counselor about their own heart issues.
6. Pray for the counselor and struggling person.