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Counseling � PAGE \* MERGEFORMAT �2�


Counseling Theory and the Christian Worldview

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Modern Christianity has been given access to a vast array of knowledge and technological advancement, better materialistic blessings and can help their clients in a more profound way than their predecessors ever could. However, there are self-indulgent rules in counseling that interfere with Christian concepts of focus and concepts of how to live one's life in the imitation of Christ's. There is a lack of consensus in the many number of books available to counselors in Christian bookstores, which lead to confusion and disappointment for practicing health workers. However, if one can simply inspect closely the teachings of God and scripture, there are theological devices that allow for theory and practice that is biblically obedient, exclusively for the correction of human behavioral disorders and maladjustment.

It is also essential for Christian counselors to remain in touch with their religious community so that there is a sense of accountability and the distinctive approach that they take towards their patients may be thoroughly blessed and in accordance with Biblical teachings. In this paper, I attempt to create a counseling theory that may be compatible with the Christian Worldview, so that I may be able to have a theoretical framework through which Christian conceptualization of clients problems may be attained through modern, secular practices. I also provide models of personality, psychotherapy, health and abnormalities so that I may outline the finer points of my theory in realization of it.



4Introduction �

6Discussion �

6Model of Personality �

6Model of Health �

7Model of Abnormality �

9Model of Psychotherapy �

10Conclusion �

11References �



Counseling theory and the Christian Wordview


In psychology, human behaviour, way of thinking and emotional interactions is made the focus of study, and the interrelation between these elements is often what a lot of studies are based on. There has been no doubt in anyone's minds that psychotherapy works, and is a successively apt substitution for physical therapies and treatments, the magnitude of its positive effects are way higher than a deleterious lifestyle. In Christians, a person's philosophy tends to become their theory of psychology, hence the term "theology" or "anthropology" are used to denote theories in psychology. Furthermore, counselling is used as substitution for denotation of the application of theoretical assumptions in Christianity, as it is a biblical concept in itself.

Philosophical assumptions in counselling are also at least partially in agreement with a Christian Worldview, as not all orthodox psychoanalysis beliefs must be accepted to value particular contributions of counselling and psychology and their role in our awareness and understanding of patient's psychological afflictions. In psychotherapy, the theories and techniques used are mostly derived from clinical experience and reflection as opposed to experimental research devices. This makes it easier to define the magnitude of positive results that are brought forth by psychotherapy practices and counselling. Since approaches to psychotherapy are diverse, it is often difficult to evaluate the value of certain theories without seeing it in light of a broader perspective. Clinically, practitioners and academics find it hard to agree on how to define counselling and psychotherapy, but there are common features among the two, such as:

Approaches to reassurance and support

Adaptive functioning

Understanding and insight

Desensitize the patient to distress(Garfield, 1990)

Christianity is often seen as a spiritual aspect of faith that one may or may not follow. In psychology, integration with Christian beliefs is only possible to a certain extent. For one, the belief of psychology is adaptive and is known as counselling in biblical terms, but the moral codes of a secular setting apply. This task has been given the name of integration and even though the term evokes a sense of forced mixing of belief, it is not so because faith and scholarship naturally interrelate. In creating a counselling theory with respect to the Christian overview, some of the key concepts will be the ethical integration of Christian moral principles put to psychotherapy practice. As Christianity and psychology are both independent influences not naturally mixing with each other, perspective integration is another concept to consider while creating a counselling theory. It suggests that scientific and religious aspects of a client's reality may differ and be independent in nature and even though they may complement each other, cannot affect one another. In Christianity, limited freedom is practiced and it is believed that self-influence is one of the most defining ways of coping with disorders. That is not to say that the limitations may be seen in a negative light, as human beings practice free will, they impact their environment, thus impact their behaviour respectively. Most cognitive-behavioural therapists practise distinctive approaches to counselling, some believe that clients must be free in their powers of choice and freedom and may have family or person-centred approach to their psychoanalysis (Murdoch, 2009).


Model of Personality

A Christian perspective to counselling acknowledges the clinical theories of psychology, but looks at a second source for of knowledge for deeper insight: God's word. Delving into the scripture would provide an insight into what man is, and how he develops. It is also an opportunity to understand the term, "created in the image of God". With counselling techniques in a Christian perspective, several psychological and spiritual questions may be answered. A personality model in the shape of God would mean that a person has influence over certain aspects of his life and understanding of responsibility and authority, after one goes through marriage vows and/or bears children. In a personality model in Christian perspective, moral laws may also be used to describe the spiritual and psychological development of a human being. Another perspectival difference in a Christian Worldview as opposed to a secular one would be internalized moral laws when concerned with depression and other similar afflictions. One may not commit certain crimes due to depression because of scripture, based on the degree of moral fortitude. For believers in God, moral consciousness is the guiding light that leads one away from destructive behaviour due to emotional imbalance. Gods goal that we experience "abundant life" ( John. 10:10b),means that salvation and sanctification is required in all acts, hence leading away from the penalty and power of committing the sins that drive one to unhealthy, imbalanced behavior(Jones, 1991).

Model of Health

While the conventional training facilities of health care workers provide no practice of counselling through the spiritual side of man, a Christian perspective dictates that the historical role of a healer must be as a priest. The secular side of counselling or psychological therapies mirror the mainstream Western view of man being nothing more than an evolved animal. In a Christian Worldview, the health workers would not place negative connotations towards the difference between ethics and values but embrace naturalistic values presented in biblical relations to health. As most health workers are taught to remain neutral in ace of a psychological crisis of a patient and are given particular consideration over a non-judgemental attitude, these contrast sharply with the Bible and the concept of lightness and darkness in a spiritual sense. Thus a thorough understanding of scripture is necessary in understanding health practices. In common medical practices, it is believed that ethics may be determined at the will of patients, the desires of a medical organization or technical feasibility (Payne, 1986).

However, in a Christian Worldview, health workers must be taught that the Bible is the final authority on medical care and ethics, and does not clash with modern medical practices provided they are both clearly understood. It must also be understood that the Bible promotes optimal health and it was last enjoyed by Adam and Eve themselves, preceding their sin(Genesis 2:17b; Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:21,22). The Bible affirms that spiritual regeneration is the appropriate path to perfect health and medical practices are always under the authority of the holy book (Nehemiah 8:10b;Psalm 90:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Exodus 15:26; 1 Kings 3:14; Psalm 38; Proverbs 3:7,8; Timothy 3:16,17). There is also the case of biblical obedience, it is believed that perfect health may be promoted if one does not stray from the path of God and medical knowledge alone is not the only way forward.

Model of Abnormality

There are 3 modes to abnormality. The client may be suffering from hallucinations which cause the eye to see false sensory experiences that may feel completely real to them. Patients suffering from delusion mainly go through confusion in logical thinking, they may make decisions based on facts they believe to be completely true that may, infact, be false.The third type of abnormality may be inadequate emotional response to certain situations, for example, loss of empathy at the demise of a close family member or friend. These phases of abnormality range from moderate to severe disorders, and in common medical practice, are often treated through interactive psychotherapy sessions that may evolve through technological advancement. Probable causes of abnormalities such as those mentioned above, range from cultural variations to different levels of stress. They may indeed be hereditary as well, passed down from preceding family members who were exposed to environmental stress stimulus. There are also socio-cultural difficulties that may cause one to be faced with such abnormalities. Difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, or political and social unrest may cause one a level of distress that causes a severe psychological conflict in their minds. Psychological events such as particular experiences in life may trigger disorders as well as sensitivity towards certain objects or situations. Post traumatic stress disorder is one of the most well documented causes of mental abnormalities in a person. War veterans have long been known to suffer from this disorder and spend years in treatment for the fending off of painful memories and thoughts that do not allow them to move forward with their lives. Depression, restlessness and insomnia are the most recorded effects of PTSD and much has been done in recent years for this particular disorder. Often the labels stamped on patients suffering from the above disorders cause them mental stress as well, but modern medical practices as well as Christian counseling suggest that they may provide a level of comfort and control to the patients and prevent them from lashing out in sadistic, violent ways. There are certain contradictions in the health theme among Christian counseling and secular medical practices, as Jesus is noted to never use the term "mental disorder" but has affirmed the presence of evil spirits and possession that have led people to enjoy afflicting pain and misery in others. However, the concept of "free will" has been taught and practices by the Bible and those who choose to do evil acts are not given free passage to label themselves helpless. Those consistently opting for the wrong choice over the right one willingly are participating themselves in such activities and are lawfully obliged to pay for their sins as well as biblically.

Model of Psychotherapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the closest mirror image of reaching a biblical balance between cognitive and action oriented treatments. A collaborative effort between the client and their therapist is a concise way to treat disorders, but there are certain difficulties that are faced if one is to remain faithful to biblical teachings. The complete trust in the client's morals and values as the dictator to the therapy session takes much for granted and may not achieve the most productive results in terms of psychotherapy. There may not be a structural balance to the direction of the therapy and no growth in the client's goals as a person(Jones, 1991).

Counsellors who practice Cognitive-behavioural therapy may be able to eliminate suffering in clients who have had particular goal-oriented disorders or anxiety triggers through traumatic experiences in the past. As it is an educational method, there are precise ways of dealing with particular situations and homework becomes one of the defining features of cognitive-behavioural therapy. In practising Christian counsellors hold moral and ethical values as an inevitable part of psychotherapy and by identifying problems in a patients approach to interpretation of religious principles and teachings, counsellors can reach an understanding of behaviour associated with faulty ways of thinking and assuming. Clients can be consciously provided with alternative religious methods and concepts to choose from after inspecting their life experience. Religion is known as one of the most comforting and effective coping strategy for patients and including certain religious concepts into treatment strategies may only help improve a patient's recovery time and reduce their relapse rate in the case of severe disorders.


It can safely be concluded that in terms of counselling with compatibility with biblical teachings, there are certain methods that can be adopted as opposed to secular methods. Practising Christian counsellors believe that cognitive-behavioural psychotherapy is the most effective approach towards dealing with patients suffering from mental abnormalities and other psychological disorders. Being a thoroughly informed and perceptive Christian can help with the conception of theories that may be biblically obedient in nature and it is essential to keep going back to Christian teachings and theology about God's creations so one may remain informed. It is also crucial for Christian counsellors to keep in touch with their religious community so that there may be no doubt in their mind that they are appropriately dealing with clients.



Almy, G.L., (2000), How Christian is Christian Counseling? The Dangerous Secular Influences That Keep Us from Caring for Souls, Crossway Books

Collins, G.R., (1988), Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide, Thomas Nelson; Revised edition

Grunbaum, A, (1985), The Foundations of Psychoanalysis: A Philosophical Critique (Pittsburgh Series in Philosophy & History of Science), University of California Press

Jones, S.A., (1991), Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (Christian Association for Psychological Studies Partnership) IVP Academic

Lewis, S., (2011), Positive Psychology at Work, Wiley-Blackwell; 1st edition

Murdoch, N., (2009) Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Case Approach (2nd Edition), Prentice Hall; 2nd edition

Payne, E. (1986), The Christian world view of medicine, Coalition on Revival

Tan, S-Y, (2011), Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective, Baker Academic