International Lay Counselor Training: A Short Term Training-the-Trainers Program for Christian Leaders and Workers in Developing Countries
David K. Carson, Ph.D., David L. Lawson, Psy.D., Montserrat Casado-Kehoe, Ph.D., and David A. Wilcox, Ph.D.
Despite the variation in mental health issues globally, the experience of human pain and suffering is universal, including that caused by mental, emotional, and relational disturbances. Mental health is the least developed and most neglected area of health care in the world, especially in developing countries, and Christians there are not exempt from experiencing the full range of psychiatric disorders and marriage and family difficulties. In an age of strained and broken relationships, abuse and neglect, marital strife, troubled youth and families, various kinds of addictions, and rising incidences of mental and emotional illness throughout the life span, the need for lay counselors within the local church and larger Christian community has never been greater.
Increasing people's awareness of the mental health needs of children, adolescents, and adults, and the church's role in addressing them, opens up endless possibilities for believers to become more psychologically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually healthy, and for local church bodies everywhere to become more caring, supportive, and growth-promoting environments. Given the extreme scarcity of mental health professionals and services available in developing countries, and the resources to develop and support them, the authors contend that these needs within and beyond the church will only be met through a comprehensive lay counselor training approach.The most effective lay counselor trainers no doubt come from within the culture in which they are teaching and training. However, assistance from professionals in other parts of the world to train lay counselors may be needed and requested by church and ministry organization leaders in various host countries.These trainings must occur in partnership where outside trainers and ministry staff nationals work closely together in the training process.
This book outlines a training-the-trainers program that is currently being implemented in South and Southeast Asia by the first and second author. However, all or any part of this program can be adapted to trainers and trainees in various parts of the world where Christian organizations and church bodies request the training. In following Jesus' command to "feed my sheep", Christians are in a unique position to be leaders in addressing the mental health needs of people in their church bodies, mission and development organizations, and respective communities. Since some Christians in developing countries also view counseling as a potential outreach and evangelistic tool, the training of lay counselors can play a unique and important role in fulfilling the Great Commission. Indeed, the fields are white for harvest