Frequently Asked Questions

About Christian Family Institute (CFI)

Listen to this podcast to hear our founder, Dale Doty, tell the story of how Christian Family Institute began.

The dictionary defines counseling as the active exchange of opinions or ideas, or the process of advising or giving guidance solicited from a knowledgeable person. The field of counseling today has a very mixed history. Counseling has been taking place for thousands of years. We know in ancient times from biblical history counseling was conducted by spiritual and religious leaders. Christian churches practiced what we came to call counseling…

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In a classic article written for Christianity Today in 1975, Gary Collins suggested that today’s Christian counselors fall into five categories. The first category Collins called "the main stream." Main stream pastoral counselors generally have taken Clinical Pastoral Education training (CPE). The CPE approach takes a pastor with a theological education through an essentially secular training program in counseling…

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Basic Assumptions. Christian Family Institute counselors have worked together to compare ideas about the integration of psychology, and marriage and family therapy with biblical theology. Counselors recognize that Christian counseling must first start with a Christian who has been brought to new life in Christ. Prior to our conversion we were dead in our sins and transgressions…

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The Local Church. Christian Family Institute was founded in 1977 for the purpose of providing Christian Counseling to the body of Christ. Christian Family Institute was originally started with the assistance of local churches with a variety of denominational labels. Though each member of the staff of Christian Family Institute is an active leader in a local evangelical church, Christian Family Institute does not represent any single church or promote divisive doctrine…

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Psychology is a mixture of science and philosophy. One function of psychology is theory construction. Psychology attempts to formulate theory to explain man’s behavior, his nature, and how he lives, changes, and develops disorder. This is an area of psychology that clearly overlaps the field of theology. It is in this area that psychology most displays its inadequacy…

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Spirituality & Faith

When Christian Family Institute chose it’s name, it was not intended to exclude those who are not Christians. The name was chosen to inform clients of a number of things. For those who are Christians, it serves to let them know that their faith will be respected, encouraged and harnessed as a resource in helping them solve their issues. For those who are not Christians, it serves as a way of being honest about what our worldview is. We believe that is difficult to be value-neutral in the therapy office…

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Yes. If that is what you want. Some clients prefer that our counselors do not pray with them.

Part of the process of therapy is for the counselor to assess each client in order to determine what the problems are and how best to help them. It is during this assessment—which can last more than one session—that the question of prayer is addressed.

Therapists use a number of resources, in finding help for their clients. As Christian therapists, those resources include many things that are faith specific. One of those tools is the Bible. We consider the clients preferences when determining what tools to use. If a client expects and desires Bible reading to be a significant portion of their work then we will certainly consider that. If a client is uncomfortable with that focus, then we can utilize other tools.

Parenting & Marriage

We will work with you and your spouse to improve communication, teach you conflict resolution and discover how to meet each others’ needs adequately. Even if a marriage doesn’t need to be "fixed", it can be improved and become more fulfilling if the couple is willing to work towards positive change together.

Two year old children do occasionally need professional services. When parents have concerns for the welfare of their young children, professionals trained to deal with children can assist parents with an objective assessment. We also work with parents to help them with parenting plans and teach parents how to deal with the stressors that might be affecting the child. For young children, play therapy can sometimes be helpful and is available.

Mental Health Topics

Christians are not immune to depression. Christians face the same challenges as non-Christians. Depression can affect anyone, at any age, race or ethnic group. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, clinical depression affects more than 19 million Americans each year. Some Christians do not seek help for depression when prayer alone has not led to relief. Spiritual factors may not be the only contributing factor to one’s experience of depression. Christian Family Institute specializes in treating the spiritual, emotional, and mental health needs of individuals, couples and families.

Sometimes! Medication is not the ONLY answer to many psychological, mental health, or life stress concerns. However, medication is sometimes indicated during the process of evaluating and treating an issue with long-standing history and severe symptoms. For example we compare taking medication for severe depression to taking medication for a chronic illness like diabetes. A diabetic would not have as much success in their overall health, if they were not on a regimen of healthy eating, exercise, and appropriate medical care.

This is true for some mental health concerns as well. Research has shown that a combination of talk therapy and medication, under the care of a psychiatrist or primary care doctor, can be the best treatment for chronic or ongoing mental health concerns.

Many situations in life do not require medication, but if during the course of treatment, symptoms persist or increase in intensity, your counselor may recommend a consultation with your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist.

Only a physician, such as your family doctor or a psychiatrist, can prescribe medication. A psychiatrist is specially trained in managing psychological issues using psychotropic medications. We are available to consult with the physician of your choice to collaborate on your mental health/medication needs when indicated by assessment and a mutually agreed-upon treatment plan.

What to Expect From Counseling

At Christian Family Institute, we work with people in a variety of contexts. We see many individual clients. We also work with couples, families, children, adolescents, partners, business associates, pastors and staff, and many combinations of relationship dynamics. For marital therapy, we prefer to see both partners together when possible. If a family has a concern, we like to see the family together. When you begin working with one of our counselors, bring whoever is willing to attend and who you believe is concerned about the issue, and your therapist will let you know who else might be invited to be a part of the solution.

Prospective clients have formed their expectations of counseling based on what they have heard from other people, read, and seen on television and in the movies. When a client comes to counseling, all of these previous experiences lead the client to have a certain set of expectations about what the experience will be like. If a person has watched One Flew Over the Coo-Coo’s Nest, they may fear that psychiatric and mental health services are primarily for the seriously disturbed…

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Private practice professionals engaged in counseling customarily charge anywhere from $60 to $150 per hour. Many clients find these fees to be prohibitive. What many clients do not realize is that health insurance may provide for Christian counseling just as it provides for the services of a physician. Health insurance companies, PPO’s, HMO’s, and companies with self insurance often reimburse…

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Jesus said, "…the worker deserves his wages" (Luke 10:7b). To insure the stability and quality of our practice, we choose to use the "fee for service" model rather than the "contribution" model. The professionally trained and licensed staff at CFI works diligently to dispense the best Christian counseling available. We do not consider our work as "just a job," but we do earn our living this way. We also believe that people work harder to solve their problems when they are personally invested in the outcome. We are covered by some insurance companies and we, also, offer some reduced fees for those facing hardships. Our friendly office staff will be happy to help you choose the best plan for your needs.

One of the most asked questions we hear is "Do you take my insurance?" We love it when the answer is a clear-cut "yes" or "no". Unfortunately, we find ourselves frequently saying "it depends". It depends not only on your insurance company, but on which of the dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of policy’s your insurance company offers that you might have…

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The frequency with which you meet with your counselor will be part of an agreement that you and the counselor will come to, ideally at the conclusion of the first session.

At Christian Family Institute, we do our best to tailor a custom treatment plan for each individual, couple or family with whom we work. Most clients attend treatment approximately once a week, particularly in the beginning stages of counseling. As desired changes are attained, visits tend to be scheduled farther apart, such as every-other-week or monthly to help monitor and support ongoing change.

As the need arises and as schedules allow, we can also offer more intensive assistance (two or three meetings in one week) in order to stabilize a crisis situation.

Nearly all helping professionals at some time or another find themselves needing to make a referral to another specialist. Whether one is a physician, pastor, or a psychologist, we sometimes find that the client’s needs and goals can best be met by someone who has special training beyond what we possess. Sometimes we discover that the client’s needs conflict with our own needs, as in the case of a pastor who may have a client in need of intense, long term counseling…

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The first step in making an effective referral is believing that referral is an appropriate and professional service which is in the client’s best interest. If we believe that the client is being short changed by our referring them, we will often not be effective in making referrals…

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You can call anytime!

Not all of the following information is necessary, but it’s helpful when scheduling if you are prepared with:

  • A brief description of the situation
  • Contact info for the primary client
  • Their insurance information, commonly found on the card issued by the insurance provider
  • Knowledge of their schedule
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