Fresh Light – A ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Congregational life & Witness

Various locations

Fresh Light is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to adults, available to all faiths and none.  Operating from a Christian understanding of life and the world, volunteers are committed to standards of best practice and ethics in their counselling.  The ministry we offer seeks to bring comfort, strength, peace, hope and transformation in difficult seasons of life. 


Fresh Light is an expression of God's love for the world extended through the life of His people in the church.  Its ministry is offered primarily as a supplement to the pastoral care of the local church, but may also be provided independently of any church link.  The wishes of those seeking help will be fully respected.  Enquiries can be made by individuals, ministers of congregations, friends or relatives.

Variety of life circumstances and struggles where we offer help

Counsellors come with experience in dealing with a variety of stressful life circumstances arising from, but not limited to, relationship difficulties, bereavement and loss, abuse, lack of trust, childlessness, sexual health, family issues, anxiety and depression.  In some circumstances, it may be advisable or necessary to explore alternatives.

A framework for Christian Counselling

Fresh Light offers counselling within a biblical understanding of life and the world1.  In practice, this means that, while counsellors may approach their work in a range of different ways, they will understand the issues they are seeking to address within the framework of the Bible’s story, including the following:-
 
Creation.  God made everything and it was good.  He made human beings, male and female, in his image.  We are relational beings because we are made in the image of God.  People have great value because they were made by God.  The creation accounts offer valuable insights into how God intended life and the world should be.
 
Fall.  Humankind fell into sin and the resulting brokenness of the world is the reality in which we now live.  This is the root cause of all human problems.  Those problems fall into three general categories – they could be the result of our own sin, the result of the sin of others, or simply the suffering associated with living in a fallen world that is not the direct result of our sin or the sin of others.  In every case, Christians understand that life and the world is no longer the way it is supposed to be.  The Bible’s varied descriptions and depictions of sin and its effects offer valuable insights for Christian counselling.
 
Redemption.  Salvation from sin and its effects is offered through the work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection from the dead.  Christ’s redemption enables the forgiveness of our sin.  It empowers those who follow Christ to struggle against sin and its effects in their lives.  Christ also helps us forgive others just as we have been forgiven.  While full redemption from sin and its effects is not possible in this life, Christ’s work offers the possibility of radical change through the power of the Holy Spirit.  
 
Restoration.  The Christian hope is that all things will finally be restored in Christ.  Again, the Biblical picture of that restored life and world offer valuable insights into human wholeness and wellbeing that Christian counselling works towards.
 
While this framework will not be imposed on clients in a coercive or manipulative way, it offers core parameters of what it means to address the issues they raise from the perspective of Christian understanding. 

Confidentiality and the support of the local church

Fresh Light is an expression of God's love for the world extended through the life of His people in the church.  Its ministry is offered as a supplement to the pastoral care of the local church, or in completely confidential form.  In practice this means that those clients referred by any congregation for counselling will be offered the option of their minister, or other primary agent of pastoral support, being kept informed of the progress of their journey.  Clients may:

  • choose to do this themselves
  •  allow their counsellor to make suggestions as to what ongoing pastoral support the minister, or primary agent of pastoral support, or the congregation could usefully offer.  In such cases, the content of any disclosure will be agreed with the client.
  • decide not to take up the option of informing anyone in their local church that counselling is taking place, in which case, their wishes will be respected and complete anonymity and confidentiality observed.
Counsellors and the counselling process

All counsellors have been carefully selected and trained to work within a framework of recognised best practice in counselling and the teaching of the Church.  They will bring to the task respect, empathy, integrity, honesty, transparency, resilience and commitment to appropriate application of Christian wisdom, grace and truth.
 
Every counsellor adheres to a strict code of ethics, including confidentiality, which will always be respected.  Client consent will be obtained for any referral or subsequent disclosure of information, save in those situations when the law requires disclosure to be made.
 
A complaints procedure is in place and every attempt will be made to resolve any difficulty with the ministry provided.    

Donations

There are no set fees for counselling.  Clients are invited to make donations where possible and can do so in a variety of ways during or following counselling.  Where clients are referred by their local church, it may be that the congregations can support their counselling.  The service provided to each client will be identical regardless of whether any donation is made.

Accessing a counsellor

An appointment for counselling can be made by telephoning +44 (0)28 9261 0586 on weekdays between 9am and 1pm.  Messages can be left on the answering machine outside of these hours.
 
First appointments are usually arranged within two weeks of initial contact.  The first appointment is known as an Assessment Interview and, like ongoing sessions, lasts approximately one hour.
 
Counselling takes place in a variety of locations as agreed.

Click here to download an information leaflet about Fresh Light.


 [1] Like all ministries of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Fresh Light’s theological basis is provided by the recognised standards of the denomination, the Word of God in the Bible, and The Westminster Confession of Faith and Larger and Shorter Catechisms which set out what the church believes the Bible to teach on certain important points.


Counsellor supervisor volunteer opportunity

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is currently looking for volunteer counsellor supervisors. You can find more details here.

Closing date for applications Friday, 9th March 2018