Christian Theology in Christian Counselling:  A Biblical Perspective on Human Nature and Effective Counselling and Psychotherapy

Approaches to Integration of Christian Faith and Psychology

This session will explain the Non-Integrative Paradigm; the Manipulative Paradigm and the Non-Manipulative Paradigms in the process of integrating Christian Faith and Psychology. It will further explain four basic approaches: 1. Christianity against Psychology. 2. Christianity of Psychology. 3. The parallels model. 4. Christianity integrating Psychology. An overview on the development and fundamentals of a distinctly Christian Psychology will be given.

A Biblical Perspective on Human Nature

A biblical perspective on human nature will be covered with the following five assumptions: 1. The basic psychological and spiritual needs of humans include the needs for security (love) and significance (purpose) and for hope (forgiveness). 2. Humanity’s basic problem is sin. 3. The ultimate goal of humanity is to know God and enjoy Him forever, thus, spiritual health is primary. 4. Problem feelings are usually due to problem behavior and, more fundamentally, problem thinking. 5. Assuming a holistic view of people with physical, mental-emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions. Attention will be given to the understanding of mystical aspects of spiritual life, e.g., the ”The Dark Night of the Soul”.

A Biblical Perspective on Effective Counselling

This session will propose and describe thirteen principles of effective counselling from a biblical perspective:

  1. 1.The Holy Spirit’s ministry as counsellor is crucial and dependence on Him is essential.
  2. 2.The Bible is a basic and comprehensive (not exhaustive) guide for counselling.
  3. 3.Prayer is an integral part of biblical counselling.
  4. 4.The ultimate goal of counselling is maturity in Christ and fulfilling the Great Commission.
  5. 5.The personal qualities of the counsellor are important, especially spiritual ones.
  6. 6.The client’s attitudes, motivations, and desire for help are important.
  7. 7.The relationship between client and counsellor is important.
  8. 8.Effective counselling is a process involving exploration, understanding, and action phases, with a focus on changing problem thinking.
  9. 9.The style or approach in counselling should be flexible.
  10. 10.Specific techniques or methods of counselling should be consistent with Scripture; cognitive-behaviural ones may be especially helpful, with qualifications.
  11. 11.Cultural sensitivity and cross-cultural counselling skills are required.
  12. 12.Outreach and preventions skills in the context of a caring community are important.
  13. 13.Awareness of limitations and referral skills are also important.


Is Psychotherapy Effective?

An overview of the latest research results focusing on the outcomes of counselling and psychotherapy. The discussion will also address research outcomes pertaining to Christian Counselling and Psychotherapies.

 A look at Empirically Supported Treatments (EST’s)

An overview of the criteria by the Task Force on Promotion and Dissemination of Psychological Procedures.

 A look at Empirically Supported Therapy Relationships (ESR’s)

A summary of the work done by the APA Division 29 Task Force.

The discussion will also extend to a Biblical Perspective on EST’s, ESR’s ESP’s and EBPP’s. In conclusion, the effectiveness of Lay or Paraprofessional Counselling will also be addressed.




Christian Faith in Clinical Practice:  Implicit and Explicit Integration

Implicit Integration

Discussion on the more covert approach in Christian therapy where the therapist’s deep faith and guidance by God is not explicitly communicated and where the therapist does not initiate discussion of spiritual issues, use of spiritual resources, etc., focusing on how this approach is often chosen by Psychodynamic or Psychoanalytical therapists.  

Explicit Integration

Focusing on the explicit and more overt approach to integrating Christian faith into clinical practice through the following three aspects:

  1. 1.Using religious and spiritual resources in therapy.
  2. 2.Dealing with spiritual issues in therapy.
  3. 3.Fostering intrapersonal integration and the development of spirituality in the therapist and client.

As part of Explicit Integration approaches:

Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT).

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

*The “Inner Healing Prayer” (to be covered Saturday afternoon).

In this session the following approaches will be dealt with: (1) Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) that combines mindfulness training with CBT for the treatment of depression and its recurrence; (2) Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) with four major components: regulating affect, tolerating distress, improving interpersonal relationships, and training in mindfulness; and (3) Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with six major components: acceptance, cognitive defusion, being present, self as context with a transcendent sense of self, values, and committed action. A biblical perspective on these approaches will also be provided.


The Holy Spirit and Christian Spirituality in Counselling and Psychotherapy

The lecture explains:

  • The Work and Ministry of the Holy Spirit (The Spirit’s Power and Gifts, Truth, and Fruit);
  • The Work of the Holy Spirit in Counselling with a definition and description of Christian Spirituality;
  • The Holy Spirit and Christian Spirituality in Counselling; The various types and approaches of Christian Spirituality; and the twelve major approaches to Spiritual Formation.

The Inner Healing Prayer Intervention and Case Study (An Explicit Integration Approach).

Prayer is a major spiritual resource or intervention used in explicit integration. The various prayer modalities - meditative, ritualistic, petitionary, colloquial and intercessory – and their effectiveness in psychotherapy are discussed.  

The inner healing prayer intervention as a form of prayer designed to facilitate the client’s ability to process affectively painful memories through vividly recalling those memories and asking for the presence of Christ (or God) to minister in the midst of this pain is explained.. The seven step model for the inner-healing prayer will be demonstrated in a case study.

Closure of Conference