Christian counseling…..

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“There are remedies for the soul’s ills in the Christian faith. Both psychiatry and psychotherapy literally mean “soul healing” (psychology literally means “the study of the soul”). Until recently, soul healing was understood to be part of the church’s responsibility. However, for the last 125 years, a secular framework has dominated both fields, while much of the church drifted away from its calling to help heal the soul. Today, apart from some popular biblical counseling literature, a vigorous Christian agenda is virtually unheard of. Meanwhile, it has been difficult for believers to imagine how psychiatry and psychology might look were they founded upon a Christian worldview rather than a materialistic one.

So this is a good time to check our bearings. Growing postmodern sensibilities are permitting greater diversity; the example of Christian philosophy over the past 30 years is encouraging. We would do well to comb through Christian literature — beginning with the Bible — to develop a robustly Christian approach to psychiatry and psychology in the 21st century. Perhaps we could develop and test theories that elaborate specifically Christian psychiatric and psychological concepts, models, and practices, e.g., (1) viewing humans not merely as organisms, but also as social persons made in the image of the triune God, dependent and ideally centered on him; (2) understanding sin as the worst kind of psychopathology that afflicts all humans, including Christians; and (3) developing counseling models that focus on Christ’s death and resurrection and the edifying benefits he thereby provides his people. We cannot measure the Holy Spirit, but we can measure the Spirit’s effects!”

(From a book review by Eric L. Johnson of Christianity Today of A Christian Cure for OCD? by Psychiatrist Ian Osborn)

As I have read about the emerging field of Christian counseling, I am excited to be entering the field at this time. Had I entered counseling 35 years ago, I might have been moulded in a different model, formed in a different paradigm. Having come to Christian counseling through the route of personal experience and formation in a biblical worldview first, I am better able to see the value of being a Christian who is called to healing ministry instead of being a counselor who is, oh by the way, also a Christian.

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