Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Psychology is just sinful human beings sinfully thinking about sinful human beings

From my COUN 506 class discussion board. The questions were: 

Clarify your rationale for agreeing or disagreeing with this statement: "Psychology is just sinful human beings sinfully thinking about sinful human beings." 

Can psychology and Christian counseling really be integrated?  If yes, how; if no, why not?

And my response: 
Psychology is man’s attempt to understand human nature using science and reason. While it is true that because of the fall and original sin, man’s thoughts are “imperfect and partial”, it does not negate the fact that God gave humans the ability to reason  (Entwistle, 2010, p. 12). While some human behavior leads to poor choices that lead to mental illness, this is not always the case. There are a great number of psychological illnesses that are biologically based, which could not be considered the result of sinful choices. To present that mental illness is only the result of sin leaves a great many people disenfranchised and without the grace God offers. Claiming that illness, mental or physical is simply the result of sin could lead a client to searching for the source of their sin, or to find more faith, instead of seeking treatment.
Psychology and Christian counseling can and should be integrated. While God’s Word is all encompassing, it also frequently references times when God imparted non-spiritual wisdom to others to bring His purposes to pass. Geometry and woodworking were necessary for the ark, despite God’s command to build it. The Israelites were told by God to take from Pharaoh’s land before traveling into the wilderness so they were prepared (Crabb, 1977). Pastoral counseling without knowledgeable interpretation of God’s word and competency in mental health treatment is ignorance at best. While the intent is good, it can lead to further harm, especially when Christ’s word is used as the base. One must not simply rely on counseling or preaching, but must ensure that both are in congruence with God’s word. God’s word should be the foundation, but also a filter through which all other knowledge passes before it is incorporated into a client’s treatment.
Crabb, L. J. Jr. (1977).  Effective biblical counseling: A model for helping caring     christians become capable counselors.  Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan       Publishing House.
Entwistle, D. (2010). Integrative approaches to psychology and christianity: An introduction to worldview issues. Philosophical foundations and models of integration. Eugene, OR:Cascade Books.

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