McMinn, Mark R. Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality In Christian Counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1996.
Dr. Mark McMinn compiles an excellent resource for those who have chosen the path of Christian counseling. It focuses primarily on two important aspects of the Christian counseling field : in counseling sessions and life outside of counseling sessions – namely the counselor’s task and the counselor’s life.
He starts his book with a brief section – written with James Wilhoit – that talks about religion in the Counseling office. It informs the counselor of the importance of utilizing the Christian faith in counseling not ...view middle of the document...
If a counselor is to utilize prayer, he must understand how it is used and when it is used. He must also realize that true effectiveness of prayer is achieved by having a healthy prayer life of his own.
Chapter four states the importance of scripture in counseling and how it should be incorporated in the sessions. Scripture should be used in accordance to the spiritual, psychological, and emotional state of the client. To be truly effective in counseling it must not only be used in the session, but also in individual – counselor and counselee – lives as well.
Sin is the topic of discussion in chapter five. The topic of sin must be handled with the utmost care. Sin should only be discussed if the counselor and client have a healthy definition of sin. Sin is a major cause for many problems in a person’s life, but it should be approached in humble and empathic ways to encourage healing rather than guilt and shame. It should be discussed only in the effort of changing the inner life not behavior.
McMinn discusses confession in his sixth chapter. Confession is the doorway to humility and compassion. Confession causes one to recognize his sin and dependence on God for true change. As a Christian counselor, one should carefully urge confession in order that forgiveness can take place- which is discussed in chapter seven.
Forgiveness is addressed by Dr. McMinn – with the help of Katheryn Meek – in hopes of regaining a healthy relationship with self, others, and God. The Christian counselor uses this method to bring about a healthy sense of self. Forgiveness is an important step that brings about psychological, emotional, and spiritual relief in one’s life.
The last chapter deals with redemption. Redemption is what all Christians – counselors or not – should focus their ministerial efforts. To understand redemption, you must have a grasp of all the other topics addressed in this book. Redemption is the sole objective for counseling and the counselor must first recognize his redemption before he is urged to be a vessel to redeem someone else.
McMinn’s work concludes with urging the counselor to be able to use all that he has learned – simultaneously – to aid in treating a client. He is to be in balance from theological teachings to psychological training. It will not be an easy task, but dependence on God for empowerment and direction will aid in a successful effort.
Concrete responses: Get vulnerable!
This book brought to the fore of my mind many instances in which I can relate these principles of counseling. I’ve never attended any formal counseling sessions, but I have had many counseling sessions with pastors – when I was younger and even recently. In the church setting, prayer is most always used to start any session, but – in my experience – it seemed to be direct and forceful to the point of making me feel less spiritual than I already felt. I believe that prayer not only should be carefully considered in the formal counseling session,...