Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church​

"Planting, Growing, Harvesting Together"

About Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church's Biblical Counseling?

Are you struggling to make life work? Are things not turning out quite the way you expected them to turn out? When you look at your life and relationships do you think, “This can’t be my life?” Or maybe you or someone you know has said:

 “How do I manage my emotions?”

 “I can’t quite seem to get over this issue in the past”

 “I could really use some parenting help!”

“I could really use some marital help!”

“I am a dad who just can’t seem to connect to my daughter.”

“My child seems to have ADD. What do I do now?”

“I know God has forgiven me for ___________________________; however I just can’t seem to forgive myself.”

“I really struggle with anxiety”

“What do I do with the bouts of depression?”

“I can’t seem to get my anger under control.”

“I have been diagnosed with (bipolar, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, PTSD, Autism, Self-injury, Anorexia, OCD). Does the Bible really have something to say about this?” 

“I have experienced sexual abuse. How can I move towards forgiveness and peace?”

“I am addicted to pornography. Can I really experience victory?”

“I am ready to be set free from this addiction.”

“I am experiencing same-sex attraction. Can the church really help? I have tried to ‘pray the gay away’ and that has not worked at all.  Can the Bible and the church offer something more?"

“I just can’t see get along with _______________________. Is it me? Or is this just my thorn in the flesh?”

“I have experienced painful rejection and I just don’t want to go through that again.”

“When I was younger, I ___________________________, and I just can’t move past the guilt.”

“I have so many questions about my faith. I am just not sure if God really exists or if the Bible is really for me.”

“My mother-in-law and I just can’t seem to get on the same page.”

“I am experiencing unbearable grief at the loss of my ___________________________. Hope and God seem a million miles away.”

“Sometimes life is just too hard and everybody would be better if I just killed myself.”

“It’s really hard to see my parents age and their care is really wearing me down but I don’t know what else to do.”

“My spouse is a cheater. I can’t trust him/her. I just don’t think it’s worth trying to work this out.”

“I am single and have a libido that is on overdrive. Certainly God understands if I have need to take care of it.”

“I can’t seem to get my weight under control.”

“I am a step-parent. Now what?”

“I can’t seem to get pregnant and that’s all I ever wanted…to be a mom.”

“My kids are teenagers…teenagers!”

“What do I with my retirement years?”

“I just can’t seem to get the finances under control.”

We live in a fallen world and sometimes it falls on us.  When it falls on us, it’s normal to experience hurt; it’s normal to feel pain.

The Church over the last 50 plus years has not the greatest job handing people who are suffering or struggling with sin. It has either referred suffering people to secular helpers who don’t know Jesus or His Word or it has taken an approach that says, “Take two of these verses and I will see you in the morning.” Before the advent of modern psychology the Church has always been in the business of caring for hurting souls. The Church stands today with thousands of years of experience is dealing with the cares of this world. We want to draw upon their legacy.

While it is normal to hurt, it is also possible to experience hope. Hope looks toward the future.

God’s Word not only provides real answers to life’s challenges, it also describes the process. The author of the book of Hebrews wrote, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (Hebrews 12:1-3, ESV) 

The cloud of witnesses are those who come along side you in your journey toward healing and growth. The community of faith at Pleasanton EFree serves in this role extremely well. They encourage, pray and help in practical ways those who are struggling. Your journey towards healing is not going to be a sprint in most cases. The author describes the journey this way, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” The Greek word translated “race” is agona. This where our English word agony comes from. The journey toward healing is not a sprint, it is not really a marathon, it is probably closer to a triathlon—an Ironman Triathlon at that. But, the good news is there is a finish line, there is hope and you are not in this race alone. 

We believe that that the complex problems we face in today’s world can only be rightly understood from a biblical perspective. God as our Creator has given us His Word (the Bible) as our final authority for understanding our problems and ourselves. God promises to help and bless those who obey Him; therefore, the one who seeks for and follows God’s answers will find hope and wisdom to respond to the problems of life.  Our desire is to help you respond to your trials and suffering by offering you practical help through the ministry of Biblical Counseling.

  • What is Biblical Counseling?
  • Biblical counseling is gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, compassionate burden-bearing through the sufficient Word of God within the authority and structure of the local church, empowered by the Holy Spirit and prayer.
  • Biblical counselors are committed to sharing the wisdom, truth, hope, comfort and encouragement of the Word of God to re-shape perspectives, clarify life’s purposes, teach biblical principles, and equip others to rightly respond to circumstances for God’s glorify.
  • Are your counselors licensed?
  • Our counseling is based on the conviction that God’s Word (the Bible) contains wisdom that is superior to any other source to help you deal with the practical, everyday circumstances of life. Therefore, our counselors are not licensed clinicians, psychotherapists or mental health professionals. As biblical counselors we do not offer advice based on psychological philosophies, even though some of our counselors may have been trained in those disciplines. If you believe that you would benefit from psychological counseling, psychotherapy, or from other mental health professionals, please consult with your current health-care provider for a referral.
  • Why Biblical Counseling?
  • Our counseling approach is based upon the belief that the Bible has fully provided the answers we need to respond to all of life’s problems. We believe God's Word is infallible and is therefor superior to any other source of wisdom for counseling. We desire to skillfully and practically apply biblical answers to the difficulties people face.
  • Who Benefits?
  • Individuals— people of all ages and backgrounds find practical help to the specific problems they face.
  • Families— families find practical help to solve conflicts and strengthen relationships.
  • Churches— Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church desires to help the local church train and equip their own leaders in the ministry of soul-care.
  • Communities— Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church desires to reach out to everyone in our community and region with practical, biblical answers for this life and for eternity.
  • Since God’s Word is robust and comprehensive, biblical counseling offers relevant help for any problem, such as marriage, parenting, addictions, disorders, fear, anger, grief, etc.
  • How Do I Begin Counseling?
    • To start the counseling process, email or call (301) 503-4561 to receive an application, fill out the personal profile and return it by email, mail or in person. 
    • After we receive your completed personal profile, we will put you on our waitlist. Once we’ve identified an available counselor, we’ll contact you to schedule your first appointment in the first available opening.
    • If you have an urgent need, please let us know right away and we will do our best to make adjustments to meet with you as soon as possible for an initial assessment meeting.
  • What can I expect?
  • Your initial appointment may last 75-90 minutes; normal sessions are generally 60 – 90 minutes. The total number of sessions will vary from person-to-person, depending on needs. You will be required to invest from 1-6 hours per week with assignments for practical application.
  • Our Biblical counseling ministry is primarily a counseling training ministry, therefore you can expect to have one or two trainees observing and possibly participating in the counseling process. Please be assured that all trainees are committed to respecting you and guarding your privacy (please see our confidentiality statement below), with one exception: if your counselor violates biblical principles or is not acting in your best interest as a counselee and does not respond to biblical confrontation from the counselee and/or trainees, the trainee will go to the immediate counseling supervisor to seek a resolution.
  • Why are trainees involved?
    • Our primary commitment is to train counselors so we will ensure a growing, long-lasting presence in the community. We cannot provide free counseling without continually training more counselors. Only under rare exceptions will we counsel without trainees present.
    • Trainees normally observe and do not actively participate in sessions, however you will benefit as they pray for you throughout the week as well as during sessions.
    • Depending on circumstances, your trainees may be available to mentor or disciple you between sessions, and in some cases mentoring or discipleship can continue for a time after ‘graduation’.
    • We believe that your counseling experience will be greatly enhanced with the involvement of trainees.​
  • What about Cost?

    • Biblical counseling is completely free, however you may be asked to purchase pertinent materials at your cost. If you are unable to cover the costs we offer scholarships on a case-by-case basis. We do accept donations to help us with these expenses.

  • Can I Help Defray the Costs?

    • Since biblical counseling is simply the ministry of sharing God’s Word we do not charge for our counsel. However, there are expenses in our ministry to maintain our facilities, cover costs for training and materials. These costs are currently covered by community of faith at Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church, as well as other faithful friends and supporters who stand with us through on-going prayers and financial support.

    • If you would consider joining our family of supporters (Galatians 6:6), we would gladly welcome your partnership in prayer and financial support, however you are under no obligation to do so.​

  • Who Can Come?

Pleasanton EFree offers counseling to any individual (child, teen or adult), couple or family; however we may reserve the right to give priority to members and attendees of Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church.

  • What about Cost?
    • Biblical counseling is completely free, however you may be asked to purchase pertinent materials at your cost. If you are unable to cover the costs we offer scholarships on a case-by-case basis. We do accept donations to help us with these expenses.
  • What do we expect of you?
    • We will ask you to invest daily time and hard work throughout your counseling experience. Our goal is for you to encounter lasting life-change, which will not take place without a serious, whole-hearted investment in the process. We do ask you to keep your appointments, complete homework assignments, and attend worship services weekly. If you do not have a church home, we may require that you attend our church and one of our adult Sunday School classes during your counseling relationship.
  • What about Confidentiality?
    • Because our counsel is spiritually based, we do not have the same, broad confidentiality privileges of licensed mental health professionals. It is possible that our records may be subpoenaed and/or that we could be required to testify in judicial proceedings if you’re involved in litigation. If you have concerns about the confidentiality of any information you intend to share with Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church you should consult your attorney before speaking with us. Please be assured that we strongly prefer not to disclose your personal information. We will make every effort to protect your privacy and confidence within the limits of the law and with the following biblical mandates for confidentiality, as we understand them.
  • What is Biblical Confidentiality?
    • We are committed to guarding your information with the greatest of respect and confidence; however, we believe that in the following situations it may be necessary to share certain information with others:
    • a. When the counselor is uncertain of how to address a particular problem, he or she may need to seek advice from another counselor, pastor or elder in this church, (this will be done without disclosing your personal identity).
    • b. If you are not a part of Pleasanton Evangelical Free Church, it may be necessary for your counselor to talk with a pastor or other leader from your church (the counselor will only disclose necessary information for them to effectively and biblically fulfill their responsibility to shepherd you, but this will be up to the discretion of our counselor).
    • c. When there is a clear indication that someone (including yourself) may be harmed unless others intervene, we will contact appropriate authorities. This includes when there is reasonable cause to believe child abuse is occurring, the counselor will act in accordance state guidelines.
    • d. For Christians, if there is persistent refusal to respond to biblical truth by renouncing particular sin(s), it is our biblical obligation to involve others within the Body of Christ to encourage repentance and reconciliation (see Proverbs 15:22; 24:11 and Matthew 18:15-20 for further information on the matter of limited confidentiality).