Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling by Mark McMinn

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4 MAT Review McMinn
Lynetric Rivers
Liberty University

In the book, “Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling”, author Mark McMinn gives the reader information on how these three entities can work together in Christian counseling. McMinn offers several ways in which this can be done including the use of prayer, Scripture, confession, forgiveness, the effects of sin, and redemption in counseling sessions. Through narration of counseling vignettes displaying different results, from different approaches demonstrates for the reader integration. There are very many counselors in different walks in their faith and McMinn helps to explore this area for future and practicing clinicians. 4 MAT Review McMinn

Mark McMinn authored the book entitled; “Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling” introduces the reader to his concept of integration of these three entities. McMinn separates spirituality and defines why it is unlike psychology and theology, he states, “We can become more with less competent in the spiritual disciplines, training ourselves to experience God more fully, but we can never be spiritually competent.” (2011, p. 11). This is an interesting observation since Christians are always growing but can sometimes become stagnant in their growth and in their walk with Christ. It was also pointed out that spiritual training is not done in the classroom, it is not in a curriculum, and thus harder to measure from someone other than the participant.

McMinn wants to empower the reader to explore their own Christian faith and how it can be incorporated successfully into therapy sessions with their clients. By educating the reader on a sense of a healthy self, he explores how prayer can be effective in sessions and also provides different methods for implementation. He stresses the importance of prayer and what it means at different times in relation to a counseling session he states, “We pray as we breathe, inhaling the wisdom of God's presence in this moment, exhaling a frantic need to have the perfect words or exact technique to “fix” our clients.” (2011, p. 109). This was one of the ways the author describes the use of prayer in counseling and how it also aides the counselor.

Exploring further into the use of Scripture in counseling sessions the author establishes the connection of support in different counseling models. Forgiveness was also another topic the author addresses noting, “Rather, my goal is to raise pertinent issues and make recommendations for Christian counselors to consider so that each unique counseling situation can be carefully evaluated and a psychologically and spiritually sensitive manner.” (McMinn, 2011, p. 250). McMinn additionally provides five steps in assessing before considering introduction of forgiveness in a therapeutic session. He does this by debunking misinformation, and other related concepts that are not true in the use of forgiveness in therapy. By tying together the topics of prayer, scripture, confession, forgiveness, and redemption the goal as McMinn puts it, “If not how we understand the relationship between psychology and theology but how we practically use the Christian faith in our counseling. Change brings challenge and Christian counselors they several significant challenges as they bring religion into the counseling offices.” (p. 26) Concrete Response

In McMinn's book, he uses a chapter to discuss forgiveness which reminded me of a client I had long ago. This client had suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from various family members. I remember this client disclosing horrible, horrible abuse and still having nightmares, at times hallucinations of the offenders, and fits of rage. At this point in my career I was co-counseling, and was just beginning to understand the impact forgiveness can have in physical health and emotional health. My problem was I didn't realize how the client wanted to...
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