COUN 507-B01: Spring 2011
March 13, 2011
It is important to develop a biblically based theory of Christian counseling that integrates psychology, spirituality, and theology. This model must be flexible enough to incorporate non-believers, while attempting to gently facilitate a personal relationship with God in both believers and non-believers alike. It is the author’s intent to develop an integrative theory by using techniques proved valid by science, in conjunction with theological truth. This integrated approach will take into account personality structure, motivation, development, and worldview to devise a plan of change for clients. This process will allow the author to determine the appropriate amount of integration necessary in treating each client on an individual basis. Organizing the author’s own personal theory will improve decision making and growth. This essay will serve as a launching pad for the author to identify individual areas of strength and development.
A comprehensive personal theory of counseling should accommodate the integration of psychology, theology, and spirituality. It is important to match the client’s spirit, with the scientifically proven techniques of psychology, backed by theological truths. McMinn (1996) says that counselors who fail at integration are neglectful of their client’s needs. 1 Corinthians 12 explains that body parts each serve a purpose, but cannot function alone. Instead, they all work together in order for the body to work effectively as a whole. Because of this knowledge, I have developed my personal integrated theory of counseling based on a blend of the work of various authors.
Systems, Concentric Circles, and Personality Formation
In order to be effective, counselors should have a working knowledge of the differing personality types, as well as how behavior models work. Dr. Larry Crabb (1977) says, “Whenever we dissect an organism to examine its constituent parts, we are in danger of losing sight of the whole functioning organism (p. 87).” Personality develops throughout a lifespan, as a person grows. It is unique to each individual and is a God given gift to be used for His Glory. According to Hawkins (2006), there are five factors that counselors should look at which influence and shape the human personality. They are the core, soul, body, temporal systems, and supernatural systems, and work together concurrently and affect the entire system. Counselors must be aware of all aspects of the client in order to provide effective treatments.
Knowing the structural aspects of the personality is imperative for understanding how to effectively help people in need. Crabb (1977) says that human personality is composed of two parts, the physical and personal. “The body belongs to the physical side and the spirit and soul to the personal (p. 88).” However, Hawkins’ model is more comprehensive and takes into account all of the systems that effect the personality. He proposes the personality is comprised of several systems of circles.
The heart, mind, and soul are the core of a person, and are where life abounds (Hawkins, 2006). According to Genesis 1:27, man is made in the image of God. At our core we are unique individuals, with different talents, dreams, and abilities. However, sin and selfishness are also a part of the first system, or core, of personality (Hawkins, 2006). It is the goal of Christian counselors to help clients seek to become more like God. Crabb (1977) says that the Holy Spirit can guide clients through a transformation of their personality. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new… (2 Corinthians 5:17).” Personality development in a Christian occurs when God becomes the focus of an individual’s thoughts and...