According to McMinn, the book is intended for Christian counselors with interest in investigating the link between theology and religion. In this regard, he defines the basic perspectives of integrating religion and psychology in counseling. Moreover, he outlines the fundamental concepts of integrating counseling in religion. He epitomizes the belief that Christian counselors should be mature spiritually. In addition, he emphasizes the fact that Christian counselors should be conversant with the latest psychological methods. Moreover, he argues that Christian counselors should be conversant with theological concepts. In essence, he brings up three perspectives that should be integrated in counseling. Moreover, he argues that the three disciplines have the capability of preparing Christian counselors to address sin, redemption, confession, scripture, forgiveness, and prayer (McMinn, 2011, p. 9).
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McMinn comes up with a healing model, which involves need, sense of self, and ones relationship with God, among others. He tries to give counselors direction on how to lead their clients to God through the healing model. In addition, he urges counselors to pray for their clients both from inside and from outside counseling sessions. Further, he argues that this is essential because it does not endanger the life of the client. However, he cautions against open prayer with the client, which he believes can sometimes be harmful to the client’s spiritual growth. In explaining this, McMinn claims that clients can ignore prayers in the belief that the counselor would do it for them. However, he also agrees that open prayer can bring clients closer to God. In addition, he encourages counselors to pray ceaselessly in order to continue in God. The author also encourages use of scripture in counseling sessions. However, he cautions that this should be done in accordance with the mental or spiritual state of the client (McMinn, 2011, p. 45).
The author goes on to explain issues relating to sins, confessions, redemption, and forgiveness, among others. In addition, he argues that some clients blame themselves entirely for sins while others blame those around them. In this case, he encourages counselors to help such clients to understand how sin got into man and to understand their roles for direction. Moreover, he notes that confession is important in bringing clients closer to God as well as in rejuvenating their spiritual lives. Again, he notes that the proud usually avoid confession because they think very highly of themselves. On the other hand, some clients usually think so poorly of themselves that they avoid confession. He also mentions that while Christians use confession to bring clients in light of God, psychologists use it to give comfort to their clients. This is similar to forgiveness in the perspective of a psychologist sense. However, Christians take forgiveness as a duty in order to be forgiven by God. In addition, he believes that even though God ultimately brings redemption, Christian counselors play a significant role in providing comfort to their clients (McMinn, 2011, p. 329).
This book brings many issues to mind. One is about the spiritual warfare in my life. I have always wondered why there is constant war between darkness and light in the spiritual world. To be exact, I remember a day when I was embroiled in a monologue about my actions. I had just listened to some music that did not glorify God. The music was full of praise for self and exaltation of humanity and their actions. Once I had settled, I realized that my soul was troubled. It kept convicting me for listening to such music. On the other hand, the other voice in my soul justified these actions. “Songs are nice, they do no harm, they entertainment us, even God loves it when we are happy,” the voice said. Another voice countered this, “God is love, he is light, and in him there is no darkness.” The voice continued, “Songs have spirits in them, either of light or darkness, what you heard was inspired by a dark spirit, you need to repent!” these conversations kept coming, I was confused, I needed help. I inquired from a spiritual leader if the spirit of darkness inspired some songs. I also inquired if he could give me an example of such songs. Unfortunately, the song I heard was among them. I was disappointed because I loved the song. I could not imagine myself stopping to listen to this song. In the end, I caved in to God. I threw away the disk containing that song.
McMinn talks about three fundamental disciplines of counseling. These include psychological methods, theological concepts, and spiritual maturity. I concur with him in this regard because a Christian counselor should know how to handle others. However, I would wish to arrange these perspectives according to priority. Firstly, I would wish that all Christian counselors be spiritually mature because this would enable them to handle all issues that offer disturbances to their client’s spiritual life. Secondly, a Christian counselor should have theological concepts, this is important in providing deep meaning and course of spiritual life. Lastly, the counselor can have psychological concepts. This is important in handling people from different backgrounds and cultures. Moreover, it helps one to handle people with different mental states or spiritual life. In essence, these perspectives are important. However, I feel that some perspectives are more important than others are although they are all needed for better counseling.
For instance, some Christian has very little knowledge in psychological perspectives. However, this has not stopped them from discharging their duties effectively, especially in areas where very little diversity exists (like in rural areas). However, counselors in highly challenging areas like towns must definitely add to their theology and maturity, psychology. Therefore, I feel that the author gives a best-case scenario of a Christian counselor. Moreover, his description of forgiveness and redemption as well as confession is concise and well meaning. He has done well to give potential Christian counselors a channel to follow in their walk with Christ.
This book has significant information counseling. I have learnt that Christian counselors have a very difficult job as compared to their psychologist counterparts. For instance, Christian counselors have to be spiritually mature, something psychologists may not regard. Moreover, Christian counselors have to pray for their clients. The amount of responsibility placed on Christian counselors is therefore big. This has given me a new perspective on counseling. Before reading this book, I thought that counseling was quite easy. Moreover, I believed that since non-believers could be counselors then it was much easier for believers. However, results from this book have shown me the complete opposite. I have therefore resolved to pursue McMinn’s three disciplines to be validated as a Christian counselor. I have also learned that Christian counselors act out of love for their clients through prayers. This has taught me to be concerned for my neighbors and pray for them earnestly. I have also learnt that Christian counseling is a calling. I say this because few people have real concerns for their neighbors; it therefore takes God’s divine call to achieve desired objectives of counseling. The book is well versed with important concepts of counseling which are derived from the three disciplines.
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McMinn, M. (2011). Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.