This theory focuses on the integration of Biblical principles by combining several aspects of major theories to provide the best treatment for clients. This theory also discusses the nature and need of man as well as the most important factors in determining the health and/or dysfunction of man. This theory provides a detailed process of intervention based on several major theories, while using Scripture as a basis for each method. Overall, this theory focuses on the importance of the client’s role in therapy. Ultimately, through the combined theories and integration of Scripture, it is up to the client to apply these methods. As a result of that application, with guidance from the therapist, and a desire for a God’s wisdom, change and health can be achieved for the client.
Keywords: counseling, theory, integration, religion, spirituality, behavior, rational, emotive, cognitive, existential, Bible, Scripture, God
Philosophical Assumptions and Key Concepts
In an article discussing the importance of integrating religion in counseling it was stated that, “Richards and Bergin (1997) also noted a recent growth in interest in spiritual and religious issues in the United States, as evidenced by increased coverage of these topics in leading newspapers, magazines, books, and television specials. Likewise, in the fields of counseling and psychology, there has been a growing awareness about the importance of incorporating spirituality and religion into psychotherapy. For example, in the code of ethics, the American Psychological Association (APA, 1992) recognized religion as a component of human diversity” (Wolf, 2001). Therefore, as the importance of this integration grows, it is increasingly necessary for a therapist, especially one claiming to be a Christian, to develop their own theory of counseling. Therefore, this theory focuses highly on rationality, the ability to control ones thoughts, and the importance of dealing with the underlying, deeper issues one faces. Thus, it combines many ideas from Rational Emotive Behavior Theory, Behavior Theory, Cognitive Theory, and Existential Theory. This theory emphasizes the importance of perceptions and keeping perceptions rational. “Rational Emotive Behavior Theory can be summarized in one sentence by Ellis’s paraphrase of Epictetus, the stoic philosopher; ‘It’s never the events that happen that make us disturbed, but our view of them’” (Murdock, 2009). The way that one views events, and even themselves, has a great impact on how well they will interact with others. In addition, the ability to control ones thoughts plays a large role in how situations are viewed. According to the Bible, controlling ones thoughts is also possible through Christ as seen clearly in 2 Corinthians 10:5 “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (New American Standard Bible). Also, in line with Behavior Theory, “what needs to be changed, then, is the underlying cause, not the symptom. If you don’t treat the cause, you get more symptoms, perhaps different ones, but symptoms just the same; this process is called symptom substitution” (Murdock, 2009). Therefore, a process must occur in order for true healing to be attained. While Cognitive theory does mostly base its processes off of the theory of evolution, it makes an extremely valid point in stating that “…it recognizes that a critical aspect of human existence is the creation of meaning from experiences” (Murdock, 2009). Therefore, it is essential that one be able to develop meaning from their experiences based on a much deeper level of knowledge about life itself. This is where Existential Theory plays a large role. In Existential Theory, “For Frankl, meaning is inherent in each individual-each individual has an ultimate, true calling-and it is the task of the...