Interventions That Apply Scripture in Psychotherapy

Topics: Psychotherapy, Clinical psychology, Albert Ellis Pages: 18 (6014 words) Published: October 30, 2011
Journal of Psychology and Theology 2005, Vol. 33, No. 2, 113-121

Copyright 2005 by Rosemead School of Psychology Biola University, 0091-6471/410-730

INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY
FERNANDO GARZON
Regent University

Christian therapists are sometimes challenged in their work with appropriately religious clients to develop treatment components that incorporate the Bible. Utilizing a case study format, this article describes various intervention strategies available for the clinician to consider. Psychodynamic, psychoeducational, theoeducational, cognitive, behavioral, and affective experiential therapeutic examples are presented. As long as sound ethical and religio-cultural assessment guidelines are followed, Scripture remains a rich resource for clinicians in their work. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Heb. 4:12 (NASB) He sent forth his word and healed them… Ps. 107:20 (NIV) . . . in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21b (NASB)

(e.g., Adams, 1970), while others take a situationspecific, client-specific stance. This article uses the case of George (a fictional amalgam composed from several different clients) to provide examples of various intervention strategies. The article is not an exhaustive literature review of all interventions that might incorporate Scripture as a resource; rather, the aim is twofold: first, to increase Christian therapists’ awareness of the variety of types of Scripture interventions available, and, second, to stimulate “divinely inspired creativity” in the further development of strategies to incorporate the living Word of God in Christian psychotherapy. THE CASE OF GEORGE George is a 30-year old single Caucasian male construction worker who presented for psychotherapy with chief concerns of depressed mood, low self esteem, suicidal thoughts, and trouble sleeping. He describes these symptoms as occurring “on and off” over the last 10 years. George has no plans or intentions of acting on his suicidal thoughts and agreed to a contract with me to monitor these thoughts. He commonly makes statements like “I’ll never amount to anything “ and “I’m a loser.” He also displays a constricted expression of affect. Currently, George is most depressed about his lack of progress in any career. He’s been working construction or other odd jobs since he graduated from high school twelve years ago. George would really like to be a pilot, but he has not taken any steps in that direction. “They’d see right through me,” he laments. He also has a tendency to take on too many overtime projects, leading to another comment, “I get anxious when I think about saying ‘no’ to offered work.” Prior to his current treatment, George has never seen a therapist. He reports suicidal thoughts as an adolescent but reports never making an attempt. “I came close a couple of times, but never did anything” he notes. 113

T

he Bible, as seen from the passages above, makes no apologies for the potency of its message to heal. Accordingly, whatever our approaches to Christian therapy, we are challenged to discern how the Bible’s message applies to our work. Christian counseling is a tremendously diverse profession (Johnson & Jones, 2000; McMinn & Phillips, 2001). Within this diversity exists a wide variety of perspectives on if, when, and how to use Scripture in psychological treatment. Some approaches might eschew overt strategies incorporating Scripture in treatment, others mandate such usage as the only true way to do Christian therapy A version of this article was presented for the Scripture and the Disciplines Conference, Wheaton College, May 25th, 2004. Correspondence concerning this article may be sent to Fernando Garzon, PsyD, Center for Counseling and Family Studies,...

References: Adams, J. E. (1970). Competent to counsel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. Anderson, N. T. (2000) Victory over the darkness: Realizing the power of your identity in Christ, 10th anniversary edition. Ventura, CA: Regal. Anderson, N. T., Zuehlke, T. E., & Zuehlke, J. S. (2000). Christcentered therapy: The practical integration of theology and psychology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Backus, W. (1985). Telling the truth to troubled people. Minneanapolis, MN: Bethany House. Beck, A. T., & Weishaar, M. (2000). Cognitive therapy. In R.J. Corsini & D. Wedding’s (Eds.), Current psychotherapies (6th ed., pp. 241-272). Benner, D. G. (1983). The incarnation as a metaphor for psychotherapy. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 11(4), 287294. Benner, D. G. (1998). Care of souls: Revisioning Christian nurture and counsel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. Benner, D. G. (2002). Sacred companions: The gift of spiritual friendship and direction. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. Benson, H. (1996). Timeless healing: The power and biology of belief. New York: Scribner.
One might also point out the rich usages of imagery seen in the psalms (Psalm 23, for example) and highlight our regular usage of imagery in our daily functioning. While some people don’t have the capacity to imagine visual images, for most the skill is readily apparent. When one thinks of a red car, for example, a mental image often accompanies the words “red car.” In another example, the command “don’t think
FERNANDO GARZON Cloud, H. & Townsend, J. (1992). Boundaries: When to say yes and when to say no to take control of your life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Cook, D. (2004). Crossing traditions: Ignatian prayer with a Protestant African American counseling dyad. [City/State: Publisher?] Ellis, A. (2000). Rational emotive behavior therapy. In R.J. Corsini & D. Wedding’s (Eds.), Current psychotherapies (6th ed., pp. 168-204). Endean, P. (1990). The Ignatian prayer of the senses. The Heythrop Journal, 31, 391-418. Entwistle, D. (2004). Shedding light on Theophostic Ministry 2: Ethical and legal issues. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 32, 35-42. Foster, R. J. (1998). Celebration of discipline: The path to spiritual growth. 25th anniversary edition. San Francisco: Harper Greenberger, D., & Padesky, C. (1995). Mind over mood. New York: Guilford. Garzon, F. & Burkett, L. (2002). Healing of memories: Models, research, future directions. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 21(1), 42-49. Garzon, F. (in press). Inner healing prayer in “Spirit-Filled” Christianity. In R. Moodley & W. West’s (Eds.) Integrating traditional and cultural healing in counseling and psychotherapy. London: Sage Press. Guyon, J. (1975). Experiencing the depths of Jesus Christ, G. Edwards (Ed.). Goleta, CA: Christian Books. Hawkins, R., Tan, S-Y, & Turk, A. (1999). Secular versus Christian inpatient cognitive-behavioral therapy programs: Impact on depression and spiritual well-being. Journal of Psychology & Theology, 27, 309-318. Hurding, R. F. (1995). Pathways to wholeness: Christian journeying in a postmodern age. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 14, 293-305. Johnson, E. L., & Jones, S. (2000). Psychology and Christianity: Four Views. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. Johnson, W. B. (2001). To dispute or not to dispute: Ethical REBT with religious clients. Cognitive & Behavioral Practice. Vol 8(1), 39-47. Johnson, W. B., DeVries, R., Ridley, C. R., Pettorini, D., & Peterson, D. R. (1994). The comparative efficacy of Christian and secular rational-emotive therapy with Christian clients. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 22, 130-140. Johnson, W. B., & Johnson, W. L. (1998). Self-Help books used by religious practitioners. Journal of Counseling and Development, 76, 459-466. Lonsdale, D. (1990). Eyes to see, ears to hear: An introduction to Ignatian spirituality. Chicago: Loyola University Press.
121 Magnavita, J. J., & Carlson, T. M. (2003). Short-Term restructuring psychotherapy: An integrative model for the personality disorders. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 13, 264-299. McMinn, M. R. (1996). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale. McMinn, M. & Phillips, T. (2001). Care for the soul: Exploring the intersection of psychology and theology. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. Nielsen, S., Johnson, W.B., & Ellis, A. (2001). Counseling and psychotherapy with religious persons: A rational emotive behavior therapy approach. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Peucher, D. & Edwards, K. J. (1984). A comparison of secular and religious versions of cognitive therapy with depressed Christian college students. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 12, 45-54. Propst, L. R. (1988). Psychotherapy in a religious framework: Spirituality in the emotional healing process. [City/State: Publisher?] Propst, L. R., Ostrom, R., Watkins, P., Dean, T., & Mashburn, D. (1992). Comparative efficacy of religious and nonreligious cognitive-behavioral therapy for the treatment of clinical depression in religious individuals. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 94-103. Richards, P. & Bergin, A. (1997). A spiritual strategy for counseling and psychotherapy. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Sides, D. (2002). Mending Cracks in the Soul. Colorado Springs, CO: Wagner Press. Tan, S. -Y. (1996a). Religion in clinical practice: Implicit and explicit integration. In E. Shafranske’s (Ed.), Religion and the clinical practice of psychology (pp. 365-387). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Tan, S. -Y. (1996b). Practicing the presence of God: The work of Richard J. Foster and its applications to psychotherapeutic practice. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 15, 17-28. Tan, S. -Y. (2003). Integrating spiritual direction into psychotherapy: Ethical issues and guidelines. Journal of Psychology & Theology. 31(1), 14-23. Tan, S. -Y., & Ortberg, J., Jr. (1995). Coping with depression. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. White, S. A. (1984). Imago Dei and object relations theory: Implications for a model of human development. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 12(4), 286-293.
AUTHOR
GARZON, FERNANDO L.: Address: Center for Counseling and Family Studies, Liberty University, 1971 University Blvd, Lynchburg, VA 24502. Title: Associate Professor. Degrees: PsyD, Fuller Theological Seminary. Specializations: Religious psychotherapy; forgiveness; and multicultural counseling.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Interventions That Apply Scripture in Psychotherapy Research Paper
  • Essay about Review of Interventions That Apply Scripture in Psychotherapy
  • Essay about PSYCHOTHERAPY
  • Existential Psychotherapy Research Paper
  • Psychotherapies Essay
  • Psychotherapy Essay
  • Psychotherapy Essay
  • Psychotherapy Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free