Personal Counseling Theory
In developing a theory of counseling, keeping theology, spirituality and psychology as the foundation is the key. I have had the opportunity to study many different counseling theories, and upon reflection, feel they have valid concepts and techniques that would aide me in my search for a working counseling theory of my own. This model will utilize theories based on secular psychology as well as Scripture.
A comprehensive theory of counseling for any Christian counselor should always keep in the forefront the integration of psychology, theology, and spirituality. Knowing and understanding the human condition requires us to take into account the mind, the soul (or spirit) and the body. According to McMinn (1996) “for Christian counselors doing interdisciplinary integration, two areas of competence are necessary and sufficient: psychology and theology.” (pg.9) He goes on to say that successful integration will also include a third area of competence; spirituality. This paper is an attempt to outline approach for effective Christian counseling using an integrative theory that will serve to ensure the psychological and spiritual health of my clients. Theory of Personality Personality develops through our lifespan. Knowing how the personality develops and its structure is important for understanding how we can assist clients seeking our help. Hawkins’ (2006) model of personality takes into account five distinct factors: the core, soul, body, temporal systems, and the supernatural. These five factors come together to shape the human personality. Using Hawkins is concentric circles affords the counselor the ability to look at the client as a whole as well as to see the individual parts that make up the personality. Crabb (1997) believes it is important to also look at “the key functioning elements within the human personality” (pg.88) At the center of who we are, is the core; our human spirit. The image of God and the Holy Spirit are also a part of our core. 1 Corinthians tells us “do you not know you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” We have God at our center and all the talents, gifts and abilities that he has bestowed upon us making us the unique individuals that we are. Our personality can also be shaped by our own soul. Hawkins (2006) says the soul is made up of an individual’s feelings, conscious, thinking, emotions, and volition. Our thinking can shape who we are, and the misbeliefs we tell ourselves can destroy the person God created us to be. Backus & Chapian (2006) believe negative self talk and misbeliefs are the direct cause of emotional turmoil. “The words you tell yourself have power over your life. If you tell yourself something often enough, eventually you will believe it.” (pg. 171) these words can either be negative or positive. It is our choice to speak the truth through the promises God made to us. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” (Jer 29:11) The temporal system contains the groups that Hawkins says we deal with every day. This includes family, friends, church, government, and our community. As human beings, we are in this world together. No man stands alone. The relationships that we cultivate can impact who we are as a person and can have a role in shaping our personality. Cloud and Townsend (1999) believe in order for relationships to be healthy, they need clear and defined boundaries. “If you know where the boundaries are in your relationship, you know who owns things such as feelings, attitudes and behaviors.” (pg. 18) Boundaries are important to set so we don’t mistake others feelings and attitudes for own. Sandra Wilson (2001) builds on this idea in her concept of hurt people hurt people. She states that the...
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