Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity
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Reply to 2 classmates for each forum. You must explain briefly (200-250 words) as you reply to your classmates, probe their answers. Did they justify why their list of concepts was so important—or non-obvious? Was their answer to the client persuasive? Include a biblical worldview. You are required to include at least one reference in each reply. Remember to use APA formatting.
Chapters 1-2: McMinn, M. R. (2011). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling (Revised ed.). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House. ISBN: 9780842352529.
Entwistle, D. N. (2015). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity: An introduction to worldview issues, philosophical foundations, and models of integration (3rd ed.). Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN: 9781498223485.
Chapter 4: Hawkins, R., & Clinton, T. (2015). The new Christian counselor: A fresh biblical & transformational approach. Eugene, OR: Harvest House. ISBN: 9780736943543.
Suzanne Post: As I absorbed the information from week four, questions of how I would care for those suffering in my office came to light. What format would I use to organize my thoughts that would most efficiently grasp who the client is and how to begin to structure a plan? How will I assess the client’s style of relating to others? As a Christian Counselor, how would I blend Biblical references with psychological theories and Christian techniques?
I found several significant points that were helpful in guiding me through the above inquiries. In Lecture one, Mark McMinn’s “Rate Limiting Factor” and “Assessment Map,” secure and insecure attachment styles (Hawkins & Clinton, 2015), Lecture two’s METAMORPH Integrative Christian Counseling Grid, and David N. Entwistle’s book Integrative approaches to Psychology and Christianity the Allies Model.
The “Rate Limiting Factor” in Lecture one reminds me to know who my client is, what my goals are, my theoretical map, to know who I am and acknowledge that I remain open to continuous learning. Also, in Lecture one, the “Assessment Map” reminds me to focus on three areas of the client, their awareness of self, awareness of the need and openness to healing relationships. The client’s style of attachment will educate me as to how they relate to me as their counselor, their families/friends, and to God (Hawkins & Clinton, 2015). The METAMORPH Grid in Lecture two gives me a format from which to integrate theories, techniques, and Biblical resources appropriately for each client. The Allies model integrates Christian counseling with the most efficient theories to aid the suffering client (Entwistle, 2015). The four other points align with this model’s foundation based on God’s Word and God’s Works (Entwistle, 2015).
A question posed was how would I help a client who wants me as the counselor to remove their suffering? The American Counseling Association (ACA) clearly states in code A.11.c., Appropriate Termination, that ethically I must assess if this client is not going to benefit from my services as he is stating. I begin my evaluation with a response which stems from my belief that suffering is not a bad thing but a way of healing (McMinn, 2011). I show empathy and compassion in the statement, “That sounds painful and frustrating” (week three, lecture 3). I listen to his response and then ask, “if you woke up tomorrow morning and God had removed all your pain what would the people around you notice that was different” (Young, 2017)? We have read Scripture in previous sessions, I ask if he would read Isaiah 41:13, “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, Fear not, I will help you.” I ask him to describe what he heard in that Scripture. I listen to his response. He begins to see he was falling into an old pattern of wanting someone to fix him instead of being patient and trusting God. I help him with his self-awareness by stating “One of the things I have noticed is your perseverance and willingness to cry out to God for help just as Jesus did in the garden in Gethsemane” (week three, lecture 3).
American Counseling Association. (2014). ACA Code of Ethics, Alexandria. VA
Entwistle, D.N. (2015). Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity: An introduction to worldview issues, philosophical foundations, and models of integration (3rd ed.) Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.
Hawkins, R., & Clinton, T. (2015). The new Christian counselor: A fresh biblical & transformational approach. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
McMinn, M.R. (2011). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling (Revised ed.). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.
Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506 Week Three, Lecture Three: Spirituality, suffering and counseling dynamics [What does it mean to be a “Wounded Healer?” (Nouwen)]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.
Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506 Week Four, Lecture One: Multi-tasking in Christian counseling [Multiple Assessment: The “Rate Limiting Factor” (McMinn)]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.
Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506 Week Four, Lecture One: Multi-tasking in Christian counseling [McMinn’s Assessment Map]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.
Peters, C. (n.d.). COUN 506 Week Four, Lecture Two: METAMORPH grid and integrative counseling [METAMORPH]. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.
Young, Mark, E. (2017). Learning the Art of Helping: Building Blocks and Techniques. (6th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson.
Carolyn Post: Suffering is an important topic to address as most of our clients will be working through a form of suffering. There are five concepts from this week that stood out to me including the nature of suffering, the importance of hospitality, the value of road maps for hope, the opportunity for growth from sorrow, and the beauty of sorrow when addressed in light of redemption. The nature of suffering in lieu of God’s sovereignty is a difficult conversation as it can lead to sorrowful laments of why a loving God would let pain happen. Prior to this week, my response focused primarily on fallen creation as the catalyst for sin and suffering. Although still foundational to suffering, Peters (n.d) shared additional causes, including punishment, misuse of human freedom, internal dissonance, loss of foundation, hopelessness, shame, and/or idolatry and addiction. I would argue that these causes are trickle down effects from the fall, but it provides a more robust overview of the nature of suffering (Peters, n.d.).
Second, Peters (n.d.) stressed the importance of hospitality and solidarity when working with suffering clients. A warm, genuine, and empathic presence creates a safe space for clients to process suffering, and sometimes moments of silence can be supportive for clients working through intense pain (Peters, n.d.). Thirdly, in addition to a warm presence, a road map to recovery can help instill hope in suffering clients (McMinn, 2011). Having a plan typically leads to quicker recovery, and as counselors we should work to efficiently ease suffering (McMinn, 2011). However, sometimes suffering is part of the growth process, and instead of masking the suffering through counseling techniques, it can be healing to lean into healthy sorrow that God can use to bring about maturity (McMinn, 2011). Lastly, the beauty of sorrow is that “brokenness is a prerequisite to understanding God’s grace” (McMinn, 2011, p. 42). Without brokenness we would not need, or understand, the redemptive power of Christ, and with the awareness of our deprived nature, our appreciation of God’s love and justice is magnified (Hawkins & Clinton, 2015).
In response to my suffering client, I would respond with hospitality (McMinn, 2011). My tone would be warm, my posture would be inviting, and my facial expressions would be genuine as I addressed his concerns (McMinn, 2011). I would normalize his frustrations of wanting to see immediate improvement, then I would re-orient him to the road map to provide encouragement and to re-instill hope (McMinn, 2011). Depending on the situation, I may demystify the assumption that sorrow-elimination is the sign of success, and that it can be healthy to fully feel the emotion of sorrow as one works toward healing (Hawkins & Clinton, 2015). Following the session, I would reevaluate the client’s treatment plan to ensure I wasn’t missing anything. Overall, my response strategy would be to disarm the client’s frustration through hospitality and normalizing, and to provide hope through encouragement and revisiting the road map.
Hawkins, R., & Clinton, T. (2015). The new Christian counselor: A fresh biblical &
transformational approach. Eugene, OR: Harvest House.
McMinn, M. R. (2011). Psychology, theology, and spirituality in Christian counseling (Revised
ed.). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House.
Peters, C. (n.d.) COUN 506 week three, lecture three: Spirituality, suffering, and counseling
dynamics. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Online.