Christian Counseling Theory Essay

Excerpt from Essay :


Concise Summary of Theory

Christian counseling is usually rooted in both Biblical truths and in psychological research. In Telling Yourself the Truth and How to Help People Change, the authors discuss how to counsel from within a Christian theoretical perspective. Although these two books have different areas of focus, their core messages are the same: change is to be instigated by God and sustained in the light of Christ.

The authors view traditional psychological theories such as psychoanalysis as being helpful as starting points, but no longer relevant from either a scientific or a spiritual perspective. Therefore, Backus & Chapain (2000) and Adams (1986) infuse psychology with Christian concepts. Christian concepts, drawn directly from the Bible and its parables, can help the individual see his or her life in a new and more accurate light.

Specifically, How to Help People Change defines change within a Christian context, whereas Telling Yourself the Truth addresses "misbelief" therapy for a Christian foundation for personal happiness. Both these books address the need for change as the basis for counseling. After all, clients seek counselors when something in life is uncomfortable or painful. Christian counseling brings the person to a place of wholeness and serenity while fostering faith in Christ.

In Telling Yourself the Truth, Backus & Chapain (2000)
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claim that misbeliefs create unhappiness. Rather than focus on the misbeliefs, a proactive approach to change emphasizes true beliefs and faith. Belief in Christ, fostered by Biblical study, can lead a person back to happiness. In How to Help People Change, the author stresses the importance of bringing the client back to the Bible. The author, Adams, affirms the supremacy of the Bible over all psychological theories.

Evaluation of Strengths and Weaknesses

The strengths of the theories embedded in these two books include their respect for Biblical truth and their emphasis on Christian counseling. It is important to frame change in ways that are helpful for the client's spiritual development. Backus & Chapain (2000) show that a lot of misbeliefs actually come from erroneous Church teachings, such as that it is not Christian to be angry. By dispelling these myths and misbeliefs, Backus & Chapain (2000) help readers and counselors understand the truth of Biblical teachings. Similarly, Adams (1986) shows that it is not just helpful but necessary to read scripture and incorporate scripture directly into one's life rather than harboring mistruths about Christianity. The core strength of the Christian counseling theory is that helping others must be achieved within a Biblical construct, or else any change will be fleeting and meaningless. Christian counseling theories teach universal truths like love and compassion that transcend time, culture, or personal preference. Therefore, readers can rely…

Sources Used in Documents:


Adams, J.E. (1986). How to Help People Change. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Backus, W. & Chapain, M. (2000). Telling Yourself the Truth. Minneapolis: Bethany House.

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