The Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling is the thought provoking book of McMinn which was published in 1996 and includes ample guidance and inspiration for the practitioners of Christian counseling.
This book reveals that how the three perspectives of psychology, spirituality and theology can be amalgamated to facilitate individuals in identifying definite aspects of their lives. The book has mainly focused on two essential aspects of field of Christian counseling that are the counselor’s job and the counselor’s life.
McMinn(1996) has provided an insight into the practices that can help a counselor promote Christianity by infusing spirituality in counseling interventions. He states that it is the main objective of a Christian counselor to sustain spiritual and mental strength to enable the client look to God for direction (McMinn, 1996).
McMinn(1996) truly states that praying extensively from God enriches a person’s life with significant purpose, elevated satisfaction and a feeling of well-being. The book also advices the counselors to maintain credulous intimacy with the client prior to the integration of spirituality in the counseling session.
Talking about the Psychological and Spiritual Health, McMinn(1996) emphasizes that Christian counseling reinforces mainly three aspects of an individuals’ life that are sense of self, consciousness about human requirements and precincts and most of all a strengthened affiliation ith God. The book has appropriate sections about the various challenges faced by the counselor, focal points for strengthening the clients spiritually and psychologically and the potential outcomes of every basic constituent of counseling: psychological, theological, and spiritual. A substantial portion of book has been dedicated to the most essential components of a Christian’s life :worship, forgiveness, transgression and redemption.
Emphasizing the significance of prayer, McMinn(1996) coined the notion that a counselor must enrich himself with the capability to use prayer at appropriate time which is highly conditioned with the vigorous prayer life of counselor himself. In chapter four of the book, McMinn (1996) revealed the importance and way of incorporating scripture in counseling session by checking the compatibility with spiritual, poignant and psychological state of the client. Talking about the sin in chapter 5, McMinn (1996) entails that counselor must treat the sinful attributes of client with empathic approach to trigger the client’s healing.
According to McMinn, confession enables an individual to identify his sin and looking forward to God for the actual transformation of his life. So the counselor should emphasize confession profoundly to pace the ground for forgiveness (McMinn, 1996). In the last, author projects redemption as the main focus of counseling so a counselor should ideally depict his own redemption before redeeming someone else. The book provides a convincing operational framework with the aid of life illustrations and succinct scenarios of counseling to the counselors to assist and support clients in moving towards a better and healed life at a swift note.
The counselor is required to maintain equilibrium between the theological guidance and psychological training which can be achieved by sound reliance on God for direction and strength(McMinn, 1996). The book has thoroughly revealed “an opportunity for Christian truth to be incarnated in the therapy relationship” (p. 240). Concrete Response The book reminds me of the terrible days of my life when I was passing through the most frustrating phase of life after losing my friend in a road accident. My life, faith, ambition, pleasures and charms were culminated with her sudden departure from my life.
I was complaining all the time that why Lord selected my innocent beloved to leave this world at such a young age. My belief was getting firmer day by day that God does not listen to my demands at all that’s why he snatched someone who was more than life for me. I could not make myself survive with the frustrating thoughts that how God who is embodiment of compassion and mercy can put his creature in such unbearable pain. My parents took me to a counselor by ignoring all my resistance. In the initial days, he used to listen to my agonies and depressions and talked about my relationship with my lost friend.
He drove scripture in our session and gave a fine tone to my feeling of self. He infused a deep sense of spirituality in me and emphasized with exemplifying the good moments of my past that how God has a reason for every occurrence which we cannot foresee and how prayer can relieve grief and can make one understand the God’s deep compassion for us. He urged me to pray in every session as it would do wonders for my drastic grief. After two months, I began praying with my counselor and burst into tears and confessed my deeper instincts in front of God to seek forgiveness and redemption.
I returned back towards a normal life because I realized that I just needed someone to reinforce my relationship with God to enable me seek guidance and empowerment from God at times of adversity. Reflection McMinn has amply revealed the integration of spirituality in Christian counseling in a powerful, appealing and convincing manner. The book beautifully entails that the counselor must observe his client deeply to depict that when he would be able to respond appropriately towards a specific approach.
McMinn’s ideas about prayer really strike the heart that without God’s assistance one cannot proceed towards emotional stability. The book presents an excellent guidance to Christian counselors about appropriate approach towards displaying spirituality in their exposures with their client to ensure a finest blend of spirituality, theology and psychology. The intriguing idea coined by McMinn has direct applicability to counseling that a counselor would be able to amalgamate spirituality and psychology only if his own life is rich in spiritual attributes.
Apart from the positive features of the book, a few things have gone unanswered in book as Lord, the greatest spiritual counselor, has remained out of the narration when it came to the self-determination that when and how to integrate prayer, scripture or call for forgiveness. The impact of book would have doubled if there was much reference to the spiritual work. Another question striking the mind is that would same counseling approach would be appropriate for every age group particularly the teenagers?
McMinn (1996) has not revealed that how to tackle the teens in the prescribed perspective of spirituality because they are the most difficult group to counsel especially when it comes to psychological and spiritual dilemmas. The teen might have concerns that why should he stay away from sex when many people in his surroundings are doing that? Another unaddressed concern is pertaining to the application of spiritual approach when there is a difference of faith and religious background between the counselor and counselee.
The book provides excellent directive and guiding material pertaining to the application of spiritual elements in psychology. This books would not only help the counselors in coming up with effective sessions, but it would enhance their capability to preach redemptive lessons too. The biggest transformation I have come across after reading this book is the way I will approach my counselee from now onwards. The book enriched me with the knowledge about the type and intensity of a spiritual technique to be applied to a particular client.
I am convinced by the pragmatic lines of McMinn(1996), “the value of counseling interventions is found less in one’s technical training and theoretical orientation than in one’s character” (p. xi). Our own lives and practices will always reflect through our actions and statements so I would infuse spirituality in my life extensively to give more effects to my counseling words. I would be an excellent listener rather than being intensely judgmental towards my client to make them feel comfortable and leading them to the point where I could mould their lives in desired way.
I would always make my counselees feel that their beliefs are highly respectable for me so that they can share their anxieties, depressions and concerns openly. I would assure them that all I want is to just expand their beliefs by integrating prayer and scriptures in our session. McMinn’s work has brightened my vision and expanded my mental orientation towards strengthening the counseling bonds with clients.
- Clinton,T. & Hawkins, R. (2011). The Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling: An Indispensable Tool for Helping People with Their Problems. Oregon: Harvest House Publishers. ISBN 978-0-7369-4356-7.
- Johnson, E. L(ed). (2010). Psychology & Christianity: Five Views. New York: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-2848-7.
- McMinn, M. R. (1996). Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality In Christian Counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN: 0-8423-5252-X.
- McMinn,M. R. & Campbell, C. D. (2007). Integrative Psychotherapy: Toward a comprehensive Christian Approach. New York: InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-830-2.
- Nelson, J. M. (2009). Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality. New York: Springer. ISBN 978-0387-87572-9.
Cite this Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling
Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling. (2016, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/psychology-and-theology/