Dr. Lloyd-Jones once spoke to a group of doctors about the essentials needed to counsel men and women. He said this:[The counsellor] is not doing something outside himself. He is giving something of himself and his experience, and there is an exchange taking place between the patient and himself. Hence the most important thing of all in counselling is the character and personality of the counsellor.
What is the greatest essential in a counsellor? I would say that it is a quiet mind, and that he is at rest in himself. You will remember how our Lord put this on one occasion — ‘Can the blind lead the blind? If the blind lead the blind they will both fall in the ditch.’
In other words, if a man is in trouble within himself, and is restless, he is really in need of counselling himself. How can he give useful counsel to another? The first requisite, therefore, in a counsellor is that he himself is possessed of a quiet mind, a mind that is restful. It is at that point, of course, that the importance of the Christian faith comes in.
I am prepared to defend the proposition that no man ultimately can have a quiet mind, a heart at rest, and at leisure from itself unless he is a Christian. He needs to know a true peace within — the peace of God which is able to keep both mind and heart. The patient comes in to see him in an agitated troubled condition, and can detect if there are similar manifestations in the counsellor.