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Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling by Mark McMinn Reflective Essay- by EduBirdie

Table of Contents

Summary of the book

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Concrete Responses with personal experience

Reflections from the book

Actions with regard to reflections from the book


Essay on ‘Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling’ by Mark McMinn

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Summary of the book

The book Psychology, Theology and Spirituality in Christian Counseling by Mark McMinn has been written with the sole purpose of guiding Christian counselors on how they can marry the aspect of psychology in their work with Christian teachings and values that they uphold. McMinn advises that Christian counselors should be up to date with the latest psychological methods as well as theological concepts during their work, which should be complimented with spiritual maturity.

These are enabling tools that will enable counselors to address the issues of prayer, sin, redemption, scripture, and forgiveness. In McMinn’s view, a model that can be used for healing starts with a sense of self. It proceeds into brokenness and ends with a healthy relationship between the person and God as well as with others. McMinn encourages the act of praying with the concerned parties during or outside psychotherapy because it does not expose them to any jeopardy.

However, an open prayer with the client has a positive as well as a negative side. The positive side teaches the clients how to pray and thus getting closer to God while the negative side may disenfranchise the client’s ability to pray by making him or her feel contented with the prayers during the counseling sessions and failing to pray when on their own. McMinn (1996) states, “those who pray often tend to experience more purpose in life, greater marital satisfaction, religious satisfaction, and a general sense of wellbeing” (p. 66).

Scriptures are not a tool for counseling though they have healing potential. Psychologists’ work is to guide people into unraveling the reality of life by pushing them to discover the self in a bid to get to the bottom of their own troubles. Christians rely on God and His word for guidance. They must therefore find a proper mix of this when dealing with clients depending on the client’s mental situation and spirituality.

The matter of sin has seen people blame others for their sins while others take responsibility for the same. In instances where clients blame themselves, they can be given hope through the concept, which states that people were all born in sin and hence their redemption through Jesus Christ. Acknowledgment of the evils done drives the victim towards a transformed connection with God.

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Confession though is not so comfortable for those who think poorly of themselves by resisting it. It is also not so comfortable for those with pride and who are not ready to sacrifice their pride. Psychologists rely on the declaration of sins to usher clients into a relieve zone while Christian faithful apply it to facilitate the victim in the right path with his or her creator.

Amnesty is applied by psychologists to enable victims to attain some level of closure in their lives by liberating them from troubles and reminiscences, which tend to pull them away from God. To a Christian, forgiveness is a duty, which should be encouraged by counselors and it comes about when Christians become aware of their own deficiencies, which will enable them accept other deficiencies in wronging them thus being able to forgive them (McMinn, 1996, p. 24).

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Redemption comes from God when He forgives sins. Thus, counselors can come in at the point where they offer reassurance to the client by making them see God’s forgiveness.

Concrete Responses with personal experience

My personal experience that I can relate to this book is based on forgiveness and how I learnt to forgive at some point in my life. During my adolescent life, I had a child hood friend called Paul whom we shared our secrets for a long time. I trusted him so much that I believed all I told him was in safe hands and that there was nothing I could hide from him.

This trust was one day thrown into an abyss that I was hurt for a long time by the events that followed. The problem was brought about one day when I came to realize from some of my friends that all the confidential matters that I trusted and shared with Paul were in the public domain and were no longer a secret.

I was deeply hurt by this form of betrayal to the extent that I felt I could not forgive my friend Paul. One day, I happened to leak some information a cousin had entrusted me about her. She was so mad at me that she refused to talk me. My efforts to get her to forgive me were futile.

When I gave it a gigantic thought, I realized that the same way I could not forgive my friend is the same way she was feeling. Thus, I had to accept to forgive my friend because we all wrong others and expect them to forgive and let go of us as expected from others who do us wrong.

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Psychology helps us unravel things that are with us, disturbing us internally as hidden from others. Therefore, a good way to unburden ourselves is by forgiveness. When combined with Christian values, it tends to guide us further closer to God by giving us a multipronged approach to solutions that are all round.

Reflections from the book

What bothers me about this book is the way the author is trying to integrate Christian belief and psychology. On one hand, Christian belief is the religion, which is based on beliefs in the supernatural. On the other hand, psychology is wholly scientific as it delves into the human body and the way it functions as a way of finding the source of the problem and a possible solution.

Therefore, the question of how a psychologist can deal with a matter that has no religious bearing triggers my mind because not all matters have religious connotations that one will be made to see by the psychologists. It is also challenging for me to understand how a Christian psychologist will be able to mix religion with matters that are purely medical and whose solution lies in the medical field because, to some point, offering a prayer in place of medicine does not add up.

Therefore, I find it unnecessary to a large extend mixing the two. The book though is a good guide for those who wish to pursue their Christian faith and their careers in psychology at the same time. It enables them to marry the two fields in an attempt to apply them to clients who share the same beliefs as them.

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It guides them to the extent that it shows them where and when to engage the gears of faith and science so that the two are able to move in one direction. The book offers a different approach to counseling, which is an approach that enables one to offer scientific, psychological, and a spiritual help that enables man to understand the three aspects from God’s point of view.

The guides in the book should therefore be used mostly when one is dealing with a client professing the same faith as it would enable the counselor and the client to get better solutions.

Actions with regard to reflections from the book

My question to the counselor will be how best I can forgive someone who wrongs me. This question follows my realization that being unable to forgive is a burden to me that is costing me many relationships. The changes I wish,25.htm to make in my life will be ones that will allow me to accommodate others with their faults that will in turn accommodate me too with my faults.

My realization of forgiveness is that it takes away a lot of baggage that tends to bog me down. Hence, the ability to acquire a forgiving spirit is a way to acquiring freedom (McMinn, 1996, p. 47). At the same time, forgiveness is a sign of humility, which will open me up for advice that can help me.

In counseling, most people with pride tend to be resistant to confession, which at the end of the day becomes an inhibiting factor to solutions to their problems. With the heart to forgive, I am able to be humble enough to make a confession. At the end of the day, the confession is a form of ventilation that is being made to someone who is professional and trustworthy. To sum up, McMinn’s book is an informative piece of masterwork.


McMinn, M. (1996). Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling. Illinois: Tyndale House.

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