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The Christian Faith and its Relevance to Counselling - Attempts at "Integration"

Garner, Gary O. (2003) The Christian Faith and its Relevance to Counselling - Attempts at "Integration". (Unpublished)

Abstract

Counselling, and its more intense process counterpart (psychotherapy) is concerned with helping people cope with normal problems and opportunities, and at the extreme end focuses on behavioural difficulties or deep seated personalities. The Christian faith implies involvement of Christian Counselling which deals with man spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Biblical Counselling - sometimes used interchangeably with "Christian Counselling" is that "which flows from a Biblical view of revelation, God, man, sin, and sanctification.", sometimes expressed as the God-ordained system of progressive sanctification. Within the general gambit of Christian Counselling, there are different approaches or techniques, however the distinction between "Christian" and "Biblical" counselling can often be quite fine.

Nouthetic Counselling goes further by totally rejecting the need for secular psychiatrists – often touted as being "Christ centered" using the authority of God. Psychoheresy is a related term to describe a so-called "problem" of mixed up secular psychological counselling ideas and concepts with the teachings of the Bible, where the main teachings of psychology often contradict or compromise the teachings of Scripture. Theophostic Ministry - arguably a derivative of the nouthetic concept is a relatively new technique of "prayer for emotional healing", whereby the Lord’s healing presence is invoked to deal with unresolved past traumas. Jesus that replaces the lies resulting from such past traumas with His truth.

Integration, in a counselling context, describes the relationship between psychology, and theology.

At one extreme, there is no integration with a blanket opposition to the integration of humanistic philosophies and all psychiatric-psychotherapeutic treatment regimes with Christian counselling and teaching. Some practitioners actually question whether there is even any legitimate place for the psychiatrist at all. The psychoheresy doctrine is closely promoted by such people, suggesting "it distracts believers, dilutes Scripture, dishonours God, develops the flesh, and debilitates spiritual growth"

The more orthodox methodology offered by most Christian organisations is a balanced integration of theology, psychology and spirituality. However, whilst some modern practitioners or scholars claim "Godly revelation concerning integration", most are able to merely state their commitment to integration.

Integration ultimately involves bringing God’s truth from all areas of His creation, both special and natural revelation, to bear on the therapeutic endeavour. The writer’s contention is that there is no fundamental incompatibility between the truth of the Bible and accurate, observable truth about man. Nonetheless, integration should always be based on the thorough study and interpretation of the Scriptures and the human condition, in order to equip us to apply truth. Whilst the Bible is the ultimate authority, both disciplines retain their own distinct identities and offer complete compatibility.

This is not to say that Christian Counselling professionals provide (or even attempt to provide) "genuine" Christian counselling care. Studies conducted appear to suggest a low rate of involvement here..

Nonetheless, the integration of both psychology and theology represents the very best that mankind, in all his imperfection, can offer.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 7217
Item Type: Other
Keywords: Christian, faith, counselling, integration
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Gary Garner
Deposited On: 27 Apr 2007
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 22:39

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