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Running head: Integrative Theory Paper

Integrative Theory of Counseling from

From a Christian Worldview

LaVelle Figueroa

Liberty University

COUN 507 TD SO1 200640


Course Due date 10/18/09
Instructor Dr. Glenna Dunn
Submission date: 10/
Integrative Theory 2

Abstract

Personally, I believe that a comprehensive theory of counseling should

integrate include psychology, theology and spirituality. As well a

comprehensive theory of counseling must also address the major traits that

constitute our personality. It also will help us understand the different types

of personalities that exist and how they affect the behavior of our

counselees’ so we aid their transformation process. Factors that cause

illness are broad but through multitasking counselors can gain understanding

in different domains. By using techniques from the psychological area in

conjunction with theological truths while being cognizant of a person’s core

spirit a therapist can combine all disciplines to help clients. Employing a

Biblical worldview to counsel leads clients down the path of hope and change

in Jesus Christ
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GRADING GUIDELINE FOR PERSONAL THEORY PAPER


COUN 507/PACO 600 Theology and Spirituality in Counseling

The following represents an additive template for grading. Instead of


beginning with 100 and losing points for errors, you begin with a 0 and earn
points for your work In determining your grade, three questions will be
asked.

QUESTION VALUES TOTAL 100 POINTS


HOW DID IT RUN THE COURSE? Question Value: 35 Points
• Submitted with correct cover sheet and/or title page followed by
an Abstract, Table of Contents, with Grading Guideline for
Personal Theory Paper correctly attached?
Score:

• Evidence of proof reading? Score:


(Minimal typographical, grammatical, punctuation errors, no
unnecessary pages, paragraphing/sentence structure is proper and
without awkwardness, body length is not more than 12 pages)

• Followed current APA Guidelines (headers, margins, spacing,


numbering, font, referencing titles correctly with initials, italics,
and appropriate use of lower case letters, etc.)?
Score:

HOW DID IT HANDLE THE SOURCE(S)? Question Value: 25


Points
• Citations are properly referenced? (A minimum of 15
appropriate citations) Score:

• Reference list? (A minimum of 10 sources must be referenced:


at least 6 must come from the required reading; the Bible counts
as 1; instructor counts as 1; 2 from recommended reading, journals,
or online documents) Score:

DOES THE WRITING HAVE FORCE? Question Value: 40


Points
• Content clearly follows the structured outline found in the
Table of Contents with clarity and coherency?
Score:
• Adequately addressed the elements of a comprehensive theory
and the elements shaping personality and influencing its health
Score:
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• Clear, insightful, rich interaction with subject matter?


Score:
• Conclusion reveals thoughtful summarization and application? Score

Grade:

Table of Contents

Abstract.............................................................................................................

...........................2

Introduction.......................................................................................................

.........................4

Outline of Personality

Components........................................................................................4

Impetus of the

System…...........................................................................................................

An Account of Lifespan Personality

Development..............................................................7

Understanding

Individuality…...............................................................................................7

Psychological and Spiritual

Health………………………………………………………….8

Indications of

Illness................................................................................................................

..9
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Attributes of a Complete

Theory………...............................................................................11

Techniques in the Counseling

Process…..............................................................................11

Indications of

Success……......................................................................................................

12

Theory Relationship to a Comprehensive

Worldview.......................................................13

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………….1

References........................................................................................................

..........................15
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A Unified Counseling Proposal

Through multitasking, a term used by McMinn (1996) to describe the

ability to consider several ideas at once, counselors can integrate

psychology, theology, and spirituality to most effectively help their clients.

Without unification of these areas, certain domains of problems are

neglected and the client is not served well (1996). By using concepts from

various authors a comprehensive concept of how to properly counsel people

emerges. Contributions from each area provide a complete guide to

counseling once unified.

Outline of Personality Components

The functioning of the human body is illustrated in 1 Corinthians 12

(Living Bible) where it explains that each body part has its own specific

purpose. Alone each part would not function properly, but in union with other

parts the body is run flawlessly. Similarly, the three concepts of psychology,

theology, spirituality when examined solitary of each other, do not

completely explain human behavior. When combined, the concept of

personality becomes bold and gains direction. Just as body parts have their

specific purpose and maintain their individuality they can benefit from the

power of the body. Further explained, “For even as the body is one and yet

has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are

many, are one body, so also is Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12 New American

Standard) Each entity offers something unique to the concept of personality.

Hawkins (2006a) delineates five areas, the core, soul, body, temporal
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systems, and supernatural systems that make up human personality.

These forces work together to shape how a person develops, each impacting

the individual’s nature. Counselors must address all aspects of the

personality in order to effectively treat the client.

Impetus of the System

Human beings are made in the image of God. Beck (2001) says, “it is a

quality or capacity resident in their nature” (p. 173). Simultaneously, sin

nature is also present in the core of personality (Hawkins, 2006a). Along with

the human spirit all represent inherent conditions or forces within human

nature that are present from birth (Beck, 2001) and reside in the core of

human psyche. Sinful human nature is selfish and its tendency is to seek

happiness. Crabb (1977) contends that the goal of Christian counselors

should be to increase the maturity of clients by becoming more like God and

striving to please Him in every activity and thought.

Moving outward from the core, other factors including thinking, feeling

and emotions affect behavior. Counselors can work to change irrational

beliefs that may reside in the soul of their clients. The seven stages of

counseling recommended by Crabb (1977) are: “Stage 1: Identify problem

feelings; Stage 2: Identify problem behavior; Stage 3: Identify problem

thinking; Stage 4: Clarify Biblical thinking; Stage 5: Secure commitment;

Stage 6: Plan and carry out Biblical behavior; Stage 7: Identify Spirit-

controlled feelings” (p.160) This plan walks the client through the process of

change by beginning with the feelings, deals with behavior and challenges
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cognitions. Most of Crabb’s stages deal with this level of the personality.

He understands counseling as a relationship in which interactions with the

client are based upon their personality type and presenting problem. His

plan urges Christian counselors to help their clients sort out these areas in

the soul in order to get to the root of the issue.

Frequently, the feelings expressed at the soulical level are manifested

at the physical level which moves us further outward into the next of

Hawkins concentric circles, the body. Archibald Hart (1999) deals with the

somatic effects of anxiety, worry and stress on the human body. He explains

how hormones interact to cause physical changes in the body and about how

brain functions are affected. The physical aspect of this common mental

issue is the crux of Hart’s theory. Many of the interventions that Hart

recommends involve changes at the physical level. Rest, diet, exercise and

medication are all suggested in dealing with anxiety (1999).

All of the circles mentioned so far involve the self. However, people

were created for relationship. John 17:11 (King James Version) instructs us to

be “one” with others. Society, friends, family, and church are examples of

the temporal systems that must be dealt with when counseling people.

Learning who the client is responsible to and what he is responsible for is

essential to developing personal responsibility (Cloud & Townsend, 1992).

Without boundaries, systems can become enmeshed and values distorted.

Counselors must work with clients help them understand where they end and
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the temporal system components begin so that they function in healthy

ways.

The final circle of Hawkin’s model involves the supernatural systems

that people encounter. The affect of God and Satan on temperament is what

Neil Anderson (2000) discusses in his book, The Bondage Breaker. Spiritual

forces have a tremendous impact on personality development and cannot be

excluded from the growth process.

These circles represent tremendous forces that shape personality. All

of these processes must be examined through the process of counseling but

an appreciation of the whole person must be foremost. Crabb (1977) states,

“whenever we dissect an organism to examine its constituent parts, we are

in danger of losing sight of the whole functioning organism” (p. 87).

An Account of Lifespan Personality Development

In Christianity, learning how to depend on God rather than self takes

center stage as the transforming work of Christ is shown in believer’s lives.

Personality indeed changes as brokenness replaces self-sufficiency and leads

to healing relationships (McMinn, 1996). Growth in three areas can produce

personality transformation. McMinn (1996) says that human development,

spiritual growth and psychological change all contribute to development of

an accurate sense of self. Crabb (1977) describes personality transformation

in the following manner. At the core, the Holy Spirit reminds Christians of

God’s Word as related to the specific problem. The problem is then viewed in

the light of Scripture therefore, other systems such as the soul or temporal
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level will not influence the decisions of the Christian apart from what they

have learned to be Truth. Slowly, “his Christian beliefs seep down into his

basic assumption system, slowly replacing the wrong beliefs he has held

from childhood” (Crabb, p.108). The word that describes Christian

personality change is transformation and that is accomplished through the

renewing the mind (Crabb, 1977). A theory for change is presented in

equation form by Sandra Wilson (2001). It says, “new choices + consistent

practice = change” (Wilson, 2001, p.87).

Understanding Individuality

If the goal of Christian counseling is to promote maturity in Christ

(Crabb, 1977) then the level of maturity that each client has reached must

be assessed. Individuality exists in where each person is in Crabb’s (1977)

process of MOVING OVER and MOVING UP. Clients differ as to where they are

in the process of dealing with presenting problems in a manner consistent

with Scripture and developing a Christ like character (1977). Alteration of

procedures used in counseling is necessary when dealing with different types

of people. Some clients should be approached on a feeling level while others

should be led spiritually (Hawkins, 2006b). Cognitive based personalities are

best dealt with on the thinking level and those suffering from physical

disabilities are helped first with their tangible needs (2006b).

Psychological and Spiritual Health

The three factors to determining health according to McMinn (1996)

are accurate awareness of self, accurate awareness of needs, and


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involvement in healthy relationships. Basing self worth on the word of God

is the most useful tool in bringing clients to health. Sandra Wilson (2001)

directs hurt people to the Bible to find their source of certainty. Archibald

Hart (1999) says that it is helpful to practice self-talk based on truth.

Similarly, Wilson lists Biblical references in order to aid in development of a

healthy self image based on the unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Her

theory is similar to Robert McGee’s (1992) instruction in Search for

Significance, which says that God’s truths are the foundation on which to

create a self-image that reflects the love of Christ. McGee states, “changing

our beliefs from false beliefs to the truths of God’s Word will assist us in

experiencing more appropriate emotions and thereby will change the way we

respond” (p.12). Helping clients to become more Christ-like is the goal of

Christian counseling. The overarching goal as listed by Hawkins (2006b) is

the imitation of Christ as stated in Ephesians 5:1.

Indications of Illness

Many factors contribute to the beginnings of psychosis. Many theorists

put faces on illnesses such as anxiety, sin, lust, neglect or depression. They

are endless in the forms they take.

Biological Causes

The inability to react well to stress can be genetic (Hart, 1999). Hart

(1999) explains that, “Type-A people (those that are driven, ‘hot reactors,’

and always in a hurry) inherit a large part of this tendency rather than

develop it later in life” (p. 55).


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Addiction can be primarily biochemical in nature (Wilson, 2001).

Cognitive Factors

Interpretation of events rather than the events themselves is what

causes us to feel (Backus & Chapian M, 2000). This focus on the way people

think says that thoughts should be analyzed and irrational ones should be

disputed. Backus and Chapian (2000) say that misbeliefs are the cause of

most mental illness. In Wilson’s (2001) Healing Overview and Progress

Evaluation (HOPE) chart, hurting people are led through a process that

identifies the key issue, applies truth to it, makes new choices and them puts

them into practice. Becoming aware of thought processes makes change

easier. This battle does not seem easy, especially when you read Anderson’s

view of thought life. Anderson (2000) warns,

Don’t think Satan is no longer interested in manipulating your mind in

order to accomplish his purposes. Satan’s perpetual aim is to infiltrate

your thoughts with his thoughts and to promote his lie in the face of

God’s truth. He knows that if he can control you thoughts, he can

control your life (p. 61).

Emotional Causes

Sandra Wilson’s (2001) mantra of Hurt People Hurt People explains

how emotional damage begets more emotional damage. Out of wounded

emotions, people repeat the same torture to those they are closest to. It is

reported that there is “a strong and direct relationship between chronicity of

abuse experienced in childhood and adult abuse potential” (as cited in


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Wilson, 2001, p.32). Many parents are so busy dealing with their unhealed

wounds that children’s emotional needs are neglected as a result. This cycle

continues unless interventions are made. Defense mechanisms are

unhealthy emotional patterns that people use to protect themselves. Some

common ones include: denial, fantasy, emotional insulation, regression,

displacement, projection, and rationalization (Anderson, 2000). All of these

mechanisms cause dysfunctional behavior.

Sin & Choice Factors

Any Christian counselor that minimizes sin being at the root of all

human problems is doing a disservice to his client (Adams, 1986). According

to Adams there are no Biblical categories for rejection, shame or bad self-

image, so the sin underneath must be uncovered and owned by the client.

When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, the entire

human race became subject to sin (Wilson, 2001). Sin affects every area of

human life including thoughts, actions and relations. Satan is on constant

watch, waiting for Christians to slip up in areas of vulnerability. The lusts of

the flesh are areas where we are extremely susceptible to Satan’s schemes.

Some common traps are our appetites for food, comfort, sex and rest (2001).

Our choice to yield to these temptations leads us down a path of destruction.

Attributes of a Complete Theory

Acceptance, empathy and genuineness are all qualities that a

counselor must use to put the client at ease in order for them to tell their

story. Identification of problem feelings can only happen when the client
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feels accepted by the counselor (Crabb, 1977). Once trust is established

and the client feels comfortable with the therapist, irrational feelings can be

disputed. This step in the process is most effective in changing behavior.

Once clients begin to see that their cognitions are distorted and are pointed

to the Word of God to find Truth, most of the gray areas seem to fade.

Backus and Chapian (2000) say that what a person believes affects how they

behave. Depending on the level that each client allows distorted cognitions

to guide their behavior, interventions are geared to each client’s need. The

process then moves to the area of change. The most important part of

change is the understanding of eternal life which completely changes

reasons for existing. Shame, guilt and blame were washed away by the

sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. When this fact is ignored, much

healing is denied. The whole idea of healing originates in Biblical history.

Moses writes, “…for I am the Lord that healeth thee.” (Exodus 15:26 King

James Version) If one is called to be a people helper and knows the power

that can be accessed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, that aspect

cannot be ignored (Revelation 12:11 New American Standard). Helping

clients become aware of the power of the Holy Spirit that resides in their

core, teaches them the source of the power to change.

Techniques in the Counseling Process

In the helping relationship, techniques are used to help the client reach

the point of change. One approach that Christian counselors should not be

without is prayer. Craigie and Tan (as cited in McMinn, 1996) write, “Indeed,
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praying with clients that they may be liberated from resistant misbeliefs,

that they may be empowered to do the truth, and that they may come into a

deeper relationship with the truth can sometimes be a most powerful

experience”(p. 68). The use of scripture in therapy sessions is useful to

cementing God’s Truths in the clients mind. Sometimes, use of the miracle

question can help a counselee foresee a future with hope (Hinkley, 2006).

This question consists of asking the client, “Describe what your life would be

like if you had a magic wand and could change anything.” By doing this, a

counselor can get to the heart of what the clients hopes and dreams are.

Then, a difference question can be asked of the client to determine how his

life is different from the dream. Searching for exceptions includes asking the

client if there was a time that he was closer to the dream then now. Then the

agenda can be set for change. Role playing is another approach that proves

useful in allowing clients to experience a situation in the safety of the

counseling room before it actually occurs (Gladding, 2003).

Indications of Success

Counselors can gauge effectiveness of counseling by assessing the

client’s progress in the accurate awareness of self and needs and by

determining if they are participating in healing relationships (McMinn, 1996).

McMinn’s theory states, “A more careful look suggests that spiritual and

psychological health require a confident (but not inflated) sense of self, an

awareness of human need, and limitations, and confiding interpersonal

relationships with God and others” (p. 59). Being Christ like cannot be
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attained in this lifetime; therefore true success in counseling is defined by

progress not perfection. I Peter 4:13 (The Message) says, “Instead, be glad

that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual

refining process, with glory just around the corner”. The overarching goal

should be the imitation of Christ (Hawkins, 2006a).

Theory Relationship to a Comprehensive Worldview

Each participant in the counseling process possesses a worldview

whether they realize it or not. These worldviews affect the way therapy

progresses (Collins, 2001). Basis for worldviews differ from person to person

but can include, science, intuition or the Bible (2001). It is important for the

Christian counselor to have a comprehensive understanding of what his

worldview consists of. The Biblical worldview sifts all information through the

sieve of God’s Word. Since all issues are not addressed in Scripture, to sift

means to see if the issue lines up with God’s Word (2001). This

comprehensive theory covers all important aspects of a Biblical worldview.

Possessing the ability to multitask ensures that all important aspects of

worldview are included. Uniting psychology, spirituality, and theology

encompasses all the components of human behavior necessary to assess

functioning (McMinn, 1996). An example of one current popular worldview

that the Christian counselor must be aware of is the belief that one must feel

good about oneself (1996). While this view is not necessarily all bad, if not

held to the light of Scripture, it could very well leave God out of the process.

Humanism that calls for uplifting self to the exclusion of God and others is
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contrary to what the Bible teaches (1996). The theory presented here

allows the Biblical worldview to emerge as dominant in order to resolve any

conflicts between Scripture and psychology (Rice, 2006).

Conclusion

Integration of the three areas of human behavior, psychology, theology

and spirituality provide a comprehensive understanding of what makes an

individual function. The discipline of theology must be the basis from which

Christian counselors choose which theories, techniques and processes to

use. The desire to integrate begins in the heart of an evangelical Christian

who decides to combine faith with the idea of helping people. Believing that

the Word of God is the instruction book for life pours a foundation for

integration to be built on. 1 Corinthians 3:11 (New International Version)

states, “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,

which is Jesus Christ.” The solid base of belief in Christ and His Word as

guidance is worthy but also must be acceptable to the psychological

community. Since the hallmark of psychology is science, epistemic

justification must be part of the process.

Understanding all components of human personality involves the union

of the three disciplines. Through multitasking Christian counselors can

develop a comprehensive strategy for helping others change. Acceptance of

this integrated model that is firmly rooted in the Word of God, will serve as a

powerful tool in the battle against dysfunction in people’s lives.


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References
Adams, J. (1986). How to help people change. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Anderson, N. (2000). The bondage breaker. Eugene, OR: Harvest House

Publishers.

Backus, W., & Chapian M. (2000). Telling yourself the truth. Bloomington,

MN: Bethany House Publishers.

Beck, J. (2001). Introducing Christian doctrine (2nd ed.). Grand Rapids, MI:

Baker Academic.

Cloud, H. & Townsend, J. (1992). Boundaries: When to say yes when to say

no to take control of your life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Collins, G. (2001). The Biblical basis of Christian counseling for people

helpers. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress Publishing Group.

Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Gladding, S. (2003). Group work: A counseling specialty (4th ed.). Upper

Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Hart, A. (1999). The anxiety cure. Nashville, TN: Word Publishing.

Hawkins, R. (2006a). Hawkins' model for guiding the counseling process.

Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University, Counseling Department.


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Hawkins, R. E. (Producer). (2006b). Grid for tracking process [Motion

picture]. (Available from Liberty university, 1971 University Boulevard,

Lynchburg, VA 24502)

Hinkley, P. (2006). Egan Model Lecture. In , Counseling Techniques.

Symposium conducted at Counseling 505, Athens, Greece.

McGee, R. (1992). Search for significance: Build your self worth on the

forgiveness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Nashville, TN:

LifeWay Press.

McMinn, M. (1996). Psychology, theology and spirituality in Christian

counseling. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Rice, D. (Producer). (2006). Constructing a comprehensive theory of

counseling [Motion picture]. (Available from Liberty University, 1971

University Boulevard, Lynchburg, VA 24502).

Wilson, S. (2001). Hurt people hurt people: Hope and healing for yourself and

your relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Discovery House Publishers.


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