In his conceptual book, Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling (1996), McMinn presents a convincing presentation of a multitasking counselor who has developed a niche in the counseling world. New age Christian counselors have developed simultaneous skills that embark on the areas of psychology, theology, and spirituality. This begins our journey down the path of understanding how values and perspectives can be changed as a result of a well rounded, multitasking Christian counselor.
With life illustrations and brief counseling scenarios throughout this book, McMinn (1996) provides the reader with an excellent working model of identifying and relating life experiences to Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality. The opposition of modern psychology and theology practices is delivering different contemporary messages concerning mental health. Psychologist Albert Ellis wrote, “The emotionally healthy individual should primarily be true to himself and not masochistically sacrifice himself for others.” Versus Christian spirituality that identifies and states in scripture that as individuals we are instructed to look out for the interest of others (Phil. 2:4) and to prefer one another in honor (Rom 12:10) (McMinn, 1996).
As McMinn works through the concepts of integrating these three distinct disciplines, Christian counseling becomes more complex and multifaceted. Christian counselors set their eyes upon God with an individual’s spiritual growth and mental health in their mind. In addition to placing the pieces of a battered mental health condition focus to the forefront, their client’s eternity of life and knowledge of God is an important piece of the puzzle. A more detailed perspective of psychological and spiritual health, allows every individual to recognize their responsibility to God, to their family and friends and to themselves. As humans, we must understand and have a healthy awareness of brokenness to allow ourselves to experience grace and hope in the midst of our walk on this earth through life’s trials and tribulations with Jesus Christ.
Integrating psychology, theology, and spirituality in addition to the niche of multitasking, all three disciplines in unison takes time, energy, loyalty, and dedication of the counseling profession. In the last two thirds of this book, McMinn uses prayer, scripture, sin, confession, forgiveness, and redemption to show us a glimpse of the counseling world.
The problem with sin is that it separates us from God; the wonder of redemption is that individuals are brought back into relationship with God. (McMinn, 1996, p. 265). A redemptive Christian counselor has humility and compassion and experiences God’s grace with gratitude. Scripture yanks people out of the grips of sin as a redemptive God shines through. Those who deny sin see no need for spiritual redemption. Confession, allows us to acknowledge our sin and our desperate need for help and through the grace of God we receive forgiveness and experience redemption. Once our affections turn to God, our prayer will never be the same. Our lives will be completed changed and everlasting. “Bless the Lord, O my Soul, and do not forget all his benefits-who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s”(Ps. 103:2-5).
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” As I had struggled throughout my chaotic childhood dealing with the presence of alcohol, drugs, fighting, and uncertain living conditions in my circle of life, I developed the ability to discern which people were right for me in my life. My perception of family was skewed. At the age of 7, I lost my grandfather and life’s losses of my protectors continued until 2004 with the death of my first husband Dale. My life was over. My family was a mess. I had just started a new church and I wasn’t sure where God was in my life.
My father in law, who preached my husband’s funeral, started providing Christian guidance and support as a lay counselor. We prayed and shared scripture together. At the age of 33, I learned the true meaning of prayer. I knew how to pray and I knew how humbled I had been in my prayers for Dale. In the kindness of his God filled heart, he taught me that humility allows us to see God’s word. As I study and read my Bible, I continue to learn the importance of a Christian family for support and guidance and the necessity to share the story of Jesus Christ. My father in law stepped out in faith to help turn my life around. Through his obedience, I work to help others who are hurting find the power of prayer and scripture in their times of heartache.
As I read through Psychology, Theology, and Spirituality in Christian Counseling (McMinn, 1996), a highlighter was used to mark special passages I needed to keep in the forefront of this class. There are so many key notes to remember in the text, the book was turning a nice shade of yellow. Anyone who is starting out in the counseling field should be required to read this book. McMinn does an excellent job of showing the reader how to integrate our Christian faith and spirituality into the secular world with real life reflections. Christian counselors want to follow the will of God and McMinn provides the examples, guidance, and techniques on how to incorporate God into the counseling session. The major drawback with this work concerns the conclusion.
Throughout the reading, it is apparent McMinn is preparing the counselor to learn the skill of multi-tasking. In two pages, McMinn summarizes the whole book. The most important part of integrating the three diverse areas of studies is profound enough for him to provide a greater level of detail to the new counselor concerning the background of multitasking. Success lies in the strategy that is used in multitasking these three distinct practices and beliefs. In dealing with the secular world, this skill is a necessity to bring all three disciplines together.
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. “Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues. On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say; for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. (Matthew 10:16-20). God has given me back tenfold since the loss of my first husband. I have established myself as a praying respiratory therapist at UVA. As Jesus calls me into the counseling field, he is preparing me for the secular world. In my environment, people are at the lowest points of their lives.
I use Gods calling on my heart and spirit to reach out in Christian love to these individuals and families. God places pastors, judges, professional basketball players, the rich, the homeless, the curable, the dying, in my path for a reason and a purpose. Life is simple when you are obedient. Go where God calls you. The people I come into contact with are not by accident. I minister to their hearts through their illness and time of need. I pray for God to give me the strength and the right words of his will to deliver to the sick and their families. I pray for each individual that crosses my path to find the love of Jesus Christ and meet him in heaven to spend an everlasting life with our father.