McMinn, Ph.D., Mark R. Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (1996) 4 MAT Review: Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling Abstract
Christian counseling is all about integrating psychology, theology and spirituality into counselor and clients lives. Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling gives insight into how these three perspectives can be used to help individuals identify certain aspects of their lives that might be enhanced when the counselor includes spirituality into their counseling sessions. We also see how important it is for the counselor to be in touch with their own spirituality so that they can lead by example.
Many counselors have a hard time addressing their own faith, with their clients. They question whether it is acceptable to talk to their clients about their Christian beliefs. Therefore, many times spirituality will fall by the wayside in the counseling session. McMinn (1996) gives us ways in which the counselor can integrate their spirituality into the counseling sessions and promote Christian guidance, into their clients lives. The goal of the Christian counselor is to promote mental and spiritual growth, so that the client can draw from their faith and look to God for guidance.
McMinn (1996) allows us to see that we need a healthy sense of self in order to overcome our obstacles (p. 47). One way we develop a healthy sense of self is to pray. Praying allows us to be in touch with God. McMinn (1996) states that “those who pray often tend to experience more purpose in life, greater marital satisfaction, religious satisfaction, and a general sense of well-being” (p. 66). However, the counselor must first establish a trusting relationship with the client before they can effectively use prayer within the counseling sessions. If a trusting relationship is not established, the counselor runs the risk of the client pulling away or ending the counseling relationship.
The use of scripture can also play a part in the counseling sessions. McMinn (1996) has indicated that scripture can provide substance for contemplation and theological boundaries to keep the client from slipping into heresy and self worship (p. 107-108). We also see that sin is thought of as the cause of many psychological issues. When looking at sin we look at the internal and external attribution factors that contribute to emotional behavior. The way that we look at things can affect how we respond to certain issues. Therefore, it is important that as counselors we put things in perspective and allow ourselves to be unbiased.
McMinn (1996) also allows us to see how the confession of the client can alleviate some of the clients emotional issues. When a counselor establishes a trusting relationship, with their client, they allow the client to confide in the counselor. This allows the client to relax and open up. Once the client has confessed then it is important to establish forgiveness. McMinn (1996) states that “forgiveness is an act of compassion that comes from one person’s identifying with another” (p. 216). When we allow ourselves to have insight and humility we can release ourselves from our sin and seek redemption. As counselors we can offer the client a feeling of redemption when we use our own psychological, theological and spiritual abilities to enhance the counseling relationship (p. 242). The way a client is treated or responded to can often allow them to transform into healthier individuals. Overall, McMinn (1996) allows us to see that when we counsel individuals we have the ability to impact them on many different levels. By praying with our clients, introducing scripture into the counseling relationship and establishing good trusting relationships with our client, counselors are able to hear client confessions, help the client establish a relationship with God...