The purpose of this essay is to discuss the positive and negative use of integration within Counselling. Much has been said about the integration of therapies and Christian values. The practice of secular psychotherapies has brought much conflict; many Christian counsellors have taken a different stance regarding the integration of psychology and religion. Some have embraced integration wholeheartedly whilst others reject it just as vigorously and many others fall somewhere between the cracks (Johnson & Jones, 2000, p. 9).
Christian psychologists have varied opinions on the topic of integrating psychology and Christianity. Gary Collins states that "few who believe in the integration of faith and learning would absorb and integrate these secular worldviews without weeding out the values, assumptions and methods that are at odds with biblical truth" (Johnson & Jones, 2000, p. 187). This essay will weed out the values, assumptions and methods underlining Narrative Therapy and draw a conclusion as to whether this therapy could be integrated within Christian counselling. The conclusion will be drawn from Narrative Therapy’s philosophy in fusion with a theological framework.
In gaining an insight into the origins of Narrative therapy we need to first explore the earlier works of family systemic therapy or more specifically family systems therapy which is a branch of psychotherapy that works explicitly with families (Corey, 2009, p. 411). Family systems therapy is indebted to its significant pioneers Alfred Adler, Murray Bowen, Virginia Satir, Carl Whitaker, Salvador Minuchin, Jay Haley and Cloe’ Madanes. This approach focuses on the family as the key to changing the individual’s perspective (Corey, 2009, p.10).
This systemic and constructivist approach to family therapy became known as the Milan method, although this model has lost credibility due to the fact that there are so many differentiated models (Sharf, 2011, p.570). The systemic approach focused on “cybernetics” or self-regulating systems whilst the constructivist approach focused on the study of fundamental problems such as those connected with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and scientific knowledge. Philosophy is the study of existence, knowledge, truth, justice, beauty, validity, mind and language. It is reliant on rational argument, critical thought and a generally systematic approach (Thomson, 2009, p.75). Grayling (1998), states that "The aim of philosophical inquiry is to gain insight into questions about knowledge, truth, reason, reality, meaning, mind and value" (p, 1). This is where Michael White and David Epston began the journey into the world of Narrative therapy.
Narrative Therapy is part of the postmodern approaches; the significant pioneers are Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg who are also the founders of Solution Focused brief therapy. The therapies under this approach believe that there are no single truths; the belief is “that reality is socially constructed through human interaction” (Corey, 2009, p.10). The name Narrative Therapy came from the inspiration of Jerome Bruner “a psychologist who has made exceptional contributions to the study of cognition, perception, and education” (Holt & Kysilka, 2006, p.312).
In the 1970’s Michael White and David Epston created a new concept that lead to the development of Narrative Therapy (White, 2009,p.10) a new concept that recognised that there are many possible interpretations of any event (Payne, 2006). Narrative therapy “assists clients in finding new meaning and possibility in their lives” (Winslade & Monk, 2007, p.392).
Anthony Quinton (1995) acknowledges in The Oxford Companion to Philosophy; philosophy is rational critical thinking about the nature of the world, justification of belief, the conduct of life, the ethics of theory and value. Most people have some concept of the world in which they live and their position within it, but...