Christian counseling integrates the fundamental specialties of psychology, theology, and spirituality into the counseling relationship. McMinn (1996) delivers this insightful guide into the profuse approaches of integration through the means of Scripture, prayer, confession, and redemption. This resource provides further insight into how these aspects may be applied and enriched through the incorporation of spirituality into sessions. McMinn (1996) demonstrates an influential, working model of integration through the display of various counseling situations and life experiences. The intent is to navigate an integrated path of achieved goals and lasting change, through established trust in God and the counseling relationship.
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The process of integrating psychology, theology, and spirituality into Christian counseling is blatantly complicated. Christian counselors attempt to understand such complexities and apply them towards spiritual and professional development. McMinn (1996) suggests that “ when counselors respond in caring, nonjudgmental ways, clients feel relief” (p. 165). The client may then receive scriptural and spiritual guidance to overcome struggle and develop a healthy sense of self. Supplying detailed perspectives of such growth, enables each client to acknowledge and attain personal responsibility for each aspect of the client’s life. This may be difficult to present when questions of spirituality continuously linger. Therefore, scriptural use takes the back-burner in counseling practices more than it should. McMinn (1996) indicates the prominence of closing this hole by demonstrating the positive impact that Scripture has in counseling. The goal is to promote healthy, spiritual growth by example and through supportive autonomy of the client’s intake and effort concerning God’s guidance.
The effectiveness of spiritual growth results from the level of acceptance and input one has towards a healthy relationship with God. This entails deliberate and conscious application of in- depth work regarding the components of sin, confession, forgiveness, and redemption. Applying prayer and scripture to these components is a highly effective technique both inside and outside of the counseling atmosphere. McMinn (1996) proposes that “ those who pray often tend to experience more purpose in life, greater marital and religious satisfaction, and a general sense of well-being” (p. 66). Scripture contributes meaning, relief, and perspective regarding the influences and entities of one’s cognitive and behavioral beliefs. Therefore, Scripture provides the ingredients for sustaining faith, hope, and love in God. Appropriate devotion to Scripture and prayer results in confession and alleviation of some struggles. The client may then be able to humbly establish forgiveness and seek redemption from sin.
McMinn’s (1996) seemingly cognitive-behavioral approach involves the positive characteristics of humility, self-awareness, and empathy. By positively integrating the facets of psychology, theology, and spirituality into Christian counseling, counselors will be able to cater to an extensive spectrum of clients and issues. God contains healing powers greater than any other. This is precisely why it is essential for counselors to incorporate faith when shepparding clients to God. Assimilating prayer, Scripture, and trust in the counseling relationship shall enable the client to ascertain forgiveness and redemption of sin as a result of a continuous journey of a healthy, spiritual relationship with self and God. Concrete Responses
I have been a member of the same church since I was two years old. I became quite involved with fundraisers, youth group, or teaching children’s church during my teenage years. However, the more I became involved was the more I was pushed away. Our various church group leaders, primarily two families, have slowly but surely gained control over our entire church. Needless to say, people have veered into other congregations, thus causing a lowering attendance. Church services have become more about certain people and shared knowledge of others’ situations instead of coming together as a family of God, through God. How could people act this way, especially in God’s temple? How and why would God allow this to happen in HIS temple?
I maintain loving relationships with many of the members, but they are disappointingly submissive overall. For me, church is about a loving, spiritual family coming together to worship God, support each other, and Shepparding others unto God’s path. Sadly, I have felt distance with my church, received judgment from the two families, and witnessed support of others more so than for actual members. Nevertheless, I look at this as a means for personal, spiritual growth. I currently communicate and feel closer to God more than I ever have. The value acquired from McMinn (1996) has sparked a review of integral disciplines and how I may apply them towards a progressive rebirth of an actual church family. I can only continue to pray for direction and healing regarding this beautifully historical and spiritual place of worship. Reflection
Overall, McMinn (1996) is highly applicable, beneficial, and comprehendible in regards to the Christian counseling profession. The contents represent a perceptually broad spectrum of integration tasks beneficial for counselor intake and resulting technique applications. Curiosity has supplied my yearning for more distinct answers pertaining to these integration tasks. I question McMinn’s current stance on the more specific and customary steps of his cognitive- behavioral approach and therapeutic applications in general. The production of this resource stems from over a decade ago and is seemingly outdated. However, this insightful platform provides much to build upon. What is the next step in examining and furthering these observations? How does one even begin to initialize or attempt further research? Under what ethical guidelines shall further scientific research of religions interventions be followed?
In terms of Christian counseling, McMinn (1996) methodically lays the groundwork for reflection upon the integration of psychology, theology, and spirituality. He applies numerous facets of integration through the origins of prayer, scripture, human nature, and several others. As a future Christian counselor, I found the contents of this resource to be highly enjoyable and insightful. More specifically, I value McMinn’s (1996) direct emphasis upon the spiritual path of Christian counselors presented throughout this book. It reiterates that Christian counselors shall holistically exemplify God’s word and works. Counselors promote growth by embodying the equivalent, healthy, and spiritual demeanor required of clients. In my opinion, embodiment of God’s way will grant the necessary provisions for accurately and respectively applying the integration of psychology, theology, and spirituality in the Christian counseling atmosphere. Application
I have obtained an absolute fascination with the contents of this book. This reading has aided in deeper investigation into my characteristics, values, morals, and spirituality. McMinn (1996) says it best in that “ the value of counseling interventions is found less in one’s technical training and theoretical orientation than in one’s character” (p. xi). I feel that the spiritual track is one of continuous highs and lows. As a result, consistent and faithful input is critical for maintaining a healthy relationship with God.
I further realize the glorious impact of incorporating the spiritual disciplines in every facet of my life. Therefore, my primary obligation is to become a more sound and healthy child of God. I intend to do this through increasing involvement in prayer, scripture, and reflection. Such adequate understanding and demonstration is necessary for sharing and enabling Holistic insight with others. Authenticity may then be applied through respectful examination and understanding of the client’s spiritual beliefs. My approach is to provide therapeutic assistance, through the light of God’s way, for the suffering of others. I also hope to Sheppard others, with God’s intent, by applying this resource as a guide for the spiritual growth of self and others.
McMinn, M. R. (1996). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House. ISBN: 0-8423-5252-X.