However, many areas are really a "soft science" because human beings are very complex and relationships dependent on many variables, some of which are difficult to control and to measure. Psychological data related to human beings are rarely as clear or definitive as mathematical or chemical data. The search for scientific truth has guided psychology since its infancy. What does the research say? Decisions of school psychologists and counseling and clinical psychologists are, as often as possible, based on the research findings related to the problem. Clinicians are expected to have a good grasp of research methods and data analyses.
A significant number of research questions appear on the national licensure examination. As a Christian psychologist, I find two Bible verses appropriate to this search for truth: In my study of psychology I have discovered the truth of the following statement from the pen of Ellen White in the book Education: It is by mingling with or attaching itself to truth that it gains acceptance The field of psychology presents numerous opportunities for the mingling of truth and error.
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A Christian psychologist must be constantly on the alert for this blurring of truth. I believe the Christian psychologist must have a solid foundation of biblical knowledge in order to discern the whereabouts of this fine line between truth and error. I believe that all truth originates with God. He is the source of truth about the natural world, including human beings, as well as truth about the soul and the hereafter.
Again, another statement from the book Education is instructive: Every gleam of thought, every flash of the intellect, is from the Light of the world" White, , p. As psychologists, and other scientists, discover truth about the natural world, including human beings, they are discovering rays of light from God. These rays of light—discovered truth—can be used to illuminate our knowledge of human beings. Our task is to discern which discoveries reflect the Sun of Righteousness. All discovered truth needs to be compared with revealed truth in God's Word.
Generally the scientific discoveries of psychology illuminate details about the development and functioning of human beings which are not found in God's Word, the Bible. For example, how infants become attached to their care givers, the details of how children learn, how stress affects the body, and FMRIs which track the functioning of the brain comparing how dyslexics and normal children process reading.
This information has practical application in helping people live more productive and healthful lives. The Bible does not speak to these details. Psychology gets into trouble, from a Seventh-day Adventist SDA viewpoint, when it attempts to explain why humans develop and change as they do.
Evolution undergirds the focus of mainstream psychology. The sin problem does not figure in any explanations for behavior or human development. Neither does the need for a Savior who might renew an individual's mind enter into discussions of behavior change or therapy for psychological problems. Thus, the Christian psychologist senses a need to integrate his or her knowledge from psychology and from theology. How do they fit together? Integration of Psychology and Christianity.
During the last several decades, Christian psychologists, recognizing that truth and error comingle in psychology, have wrestled with the issue of the integration of psychology and Christianity. Because of the diversity of psychological studies, it is impossible to consider a single model for the integration of faith and learning in psychology. Psychologists interested in counseling or therapy have been the most active in the integration dialogue, with a few voices emerging from other areas of psychology.
This period of integration activity can be divided into three distinct eras: Their Journal of Psychology and Christianity and the Journal of Psychology and Theology from Biola University have provided formal vehicles for this dialogue. A number of significant books on the topic of integration were published during the 80s and early 90s, such as: The Person in Psychology: An Analysis of Key Issues Faw, Some of these books are intended as readers to accompany psychology courses, such as introductory psychology, human development, and different types of therapy.
Is there agreement today on the integration of psychology and Christianity? There is not even agreement on the meaning of the term integration, let alone the process or content of such a model or models. Does that mean we give up? The Summer, , issue of the Journal of Psychology and Christianity was devoted to the topic: It provided a historical overview of the endeavor. Six Christian psychologists who have been prominent in the dialogue were asked to contribute to this special issue. Personal background and development as a Christian psychologist, the relationship between Christianity and psychology, changes in Christianity and psychology, evidence of progress in the integration dialogue, and future directions.
Their reflections accentuate the differences inherent in the dialogue. Some express optimism about what has been accomplished and about the future, while others lament slow progress. All comment about the disintegration of psychology in general, largely because the influence of postmodern thought has diluted or denigrated the search for truth.
While I would not suggest that a majority—or even a significant minority--of psychologists are actively involved in this new area, enough has been published to temper the prevailing dictum that "psychologists are not interested in religion". Some of the titles I have seen include: All except Walsh were published by the American Psychological Association. How much the Christian psychologists, in particular CAPS and the graduate programs at Fuller, Biola, and Wheaton, have contributed to this interest is difficult to assess.
I suspect that their writings over the past three decades have had some impact, but that the New Age movement and multiculturalism have probably had a greater influence on the current thinking about religion and spirituality in mainstream counseling and clinical psychology. Suffice it to say, it is no longer taboo to talk about religious and spiritual interventions in client work. While our definitions of "religious" and "spiritual" may differ, this is certainly a great step forward. During the last couple decades psychologists have also discovered some areas which sound distinctly religious—forgiveness, altruistic service instead of self-centeredness, self-respect instead of self-esteem, for example—and have altered their thinking in other areas so they are closer to a Biblical viewpoint—-a reconsideration of how to deal with anger and the role of guilt in mental health, for instance.
Not everyone agrees with the new ideas, but the good news is that the ideas are present in the literature and recognized by practicing and theoretical psychologists. The Bible and Psychology. Psychology has come a long way since Freud. Even so, mainstream psychology today is definitely not biblically based, never has been, and probably never will be. Even though some ideas may resemble biblical thought, the psychological version did not originate in the Bible nor is the Bible the source for evaluating psychological theory and practice, as it might be for the Christian psychologist.
The Bible was not written as a psychological treatise. It does, however, provide many stories and instructional materials, which illuminate God's way of dealing with human beings—God's psychology in action, if you please. Which brings us to the main question to be addressed in this paper: What can the Holy Scriptures contribute toward teaching and scholarship in the field of psychology? My thoughts on this question will be divided into four main sections: Finally, I will end with some thoughts on how the study of psychology has enriched my understanding of God and strengthened my faith in His revelation.
My comments will reflect the areas of psychology with which I am most familiar: Counseling, moral character and religious development, and lifespan human development. Each approaches the integration process with different assumptions and goes about the process differently, naturally with different end results. Eck proposed an organizing framework for a multifaceted process of integration, which could be a starting point for thinking about the issues of integration.
Table 1 is an adaptation of his chart. Note that the paradigms propose five main models for integration: In the first, Psychology and Theology reject each other, making integration impossible. In the second model, Psychology and Theology reconstruct each other, rejecting either the supernatural or the natural scientific in the process.
- Toll for the Brave.
- Malcolm Jeeves.
- Malcolm Jeeves' books.
- Lesson Plans Heretics of Dune.
- Unspeakable Truths: Transitional Justice and the Challenge of Truth Commissions.
In the remaining three models, Psychology and Theology each consider the other legitimate, but relate to each other through transformation, correlation, or unification, depending on the model. Eck also provided suggested representatives for each of these models, except for the unified process, for which he did not find a representative. Eck proposed his models after the fact. The models were developed from a study of the integration writing in existence at that time.
Some psychologists disagree with Eck's proposed models and his classification of representatives. This is part of the integration dialogue. Some well known psychologists completely reject theology as a source for truth. Among them are Freud, Skinner, Watson, and Ellis. Since their theories are so well known, many people believe that all psychologists reject the Bible. Jay Adams outspokenly rejects psychology as a source for truth. These extremists cannot be part of the integration dialogue because they have rejected one side or the other.
THE BIBLE AND PSYCHOLOGY
As I review the integration literature, I find it relatively easy to discover which model different proponents of integration seem to be following. But this might be a much more difficult mental exercise for psychology students who are novices to dissecting integration models. I believe it is a very worthwhile activity to assign readings, asking students to analyze the author and discover the integration model used.
Naturally, this assignment is preceded by a discussion of the integration issues and the proposed models for integration. My graduate students in psychology have generally been intrigued by the area of integration and have produced some very interesting models for learning theory, counseling theory, and moral character development theory. Attempting to integrate psychology and the Bible is not an easy task. The transformation and correlation models have been most popular with my students, although we have also attempted unified models. Organizing Framework for Integration Process.
Psychology rejects Theology as source for truth. Theology rejects Psychology as source for truth. Integration produces a theologically informed psychological system. Eliminates the natural scientific. Integration produces a psychologically informed theological system. Integration involves first filtering or altering world view of theological data. Psychology correlates with Theology through levels.
Psychology correlates with Theology through linkages. Integration involves creating linkages between related data from each field. Psychology unifies with Theology. Integration involves seeking unified concepts and living them out in the world. To my knowledge, no one has developed a widely accepted, completely integrated, model of psychology and the Bible. Mini-models exist, but not a major model.
Psychology is a very complex discipline. Few, if any, major models are being developed today for any area of psychology. The mini-model is the trend. A major integration model may not be possible. At least, this area deserves the attention of Adventist scholars, who have not yet contributed very much to the integration dialog among Christian psychologists.
As we attempt to look at psychology through the eyes of the Bible, our first task is to identify the presuppositions of a Christian Seventh-day Adventist world view. As Blamires so clearly stated, the Christian mind sees everything differently because of these presuppositions. Since an entire paper in this series has been devoted to the Christian worldview, I will only briefly review the Christian SDA presuppositions, which seem most important for the interface with psychology.
We need to have them fresh in our minds so we can examine the fundamental psychological principles through Christian eyes.
I am indebted to Pascoe for inspiration for this section. God is central to all truth. All truth comes from God, the Creator Gen 1: God's truth comes through revelation 2 Tim 3: God's truth is authoritative 2 Tim 3: It is truth because God is truth John 1: The Christian accepts the reality of God through faith John 1: No absolute, incontrovertible proof can be offered for the existence of God. God is, always has been, and always will be Isa The Christian believes that truth exists and it can be discovered through God's Word Ps Truth gives focus to human life; it provides an anchor in a chaotic world Ps Jesus Christ is the truth John He is the primary focus of God's revelation of truth to humankind John 5: Jesus is the answer to the sin problem John 3: He provides redemption and the power for change 2 Cor 5: Through Christ, we can better understand our present life, and we can look forward to eternal life John 6: God supernaturally intervenes in human history.
All human history must be viewed in light of the supernatural intervention of God Dan 2: He existed before the creation of the world and will always exist Ps God sustains the world Acts God will intervene to put an end to the sin problem and to restore this world to its original perfection Rev 7: Human beings were created in the image of God Gen 1: Man and woman were created with individuality, power and freedom to think and to act Gen 1: They are not machines set in motion and left to function mechanistically.
Human beings were created different from animals Gen 1: They were also created in God's image, free, with an indivisible unity of body, mind, and spirit Gen 1: Human beings were created to live in community as the body of Christ Gen 1: Three aspects of humanity—creation, fall, redemption—must be considered to achieve our complete personhood in Christ. For the Christian, all true identity comes from the person's relationship with God John Only in that relationship can we attain perfection through Christ 2 Cor 5: Without God, the self is incomplete.
Human beings chose to rebel against God. Humans were created perfect moral beings, capable of choosing between good and evil Gen 2: Adam and Eve, when tempted by Satan, chose to disbelieve and disobey God Gen 3: Human beings are involved in a constant struggle between good and evil. Because of Adam and Eve's choice, Satan dominates the world at this point in human history Gen 3: All of us are guilty of choosing evil Rom 3: We are naturally inclined that way Rom 7: Only Christ can rescue us from Satan's grasp Rom 7: The Christian's moral order centers in God, not humanity.
The knowledge of God provides purpose and meaning for life. Without a knowledge of God and His Word, life on planet earth becomes purposeless, meaningless, and disheartening John With God there is purpose and meaning to life John 8: Events are moving toward God's climactic intervention to eliminate evil 2 Cor 4: Death is only a brief interlude between now and the resurrection Eccl 9: Trials and suffering have purpose in the life of the Christian 1 Pet 4: They are a part of the process of restoring God's image in us Job 5: As part of God's great plan for the redemption of this fallen world, our lives have purpose and meaning as we share God's love with everyone in our sphere Matt These presuppositions undergird the Christian's thinking about everything in the world.
How do they affect what we think about psychology? Almost thirty years ago, Wertheimer proposed eight fundamental psychological issues which every theory must address. Each is central to understanding how a psychological theory views human beings. Each foundational issue may be viewed as a continuum or as two opposing ends, with theories aligning themselves anywhere on the continuum or ends.
As we examine the eight fundamental psychological issues in the light of the Christian presuppositions, we will better understand the task of the Christian psychologist who wishes to integrate her professional and religious knowledge. The Individual as Master or Victim of Fate. The individual is viewed as purposive and active in searching for goals and creating personal meaning in life free will OR the individual is seen as the behavioral product of accidental forces and experiences, which shape existence through chance determinism.
When approached from the Christian presuppositions, this one seems quite clear. God created human beings with free will--the ability to think, to make choices, to search for goals, and create meaning in life Gen 1: Certainly God did not intend human beings to be victims of fate. Rather He intended them to master circumstances and make wise choices.
They have little free choice and are the product of the conditioning they have experienced. More recent learning theorists Bandura, for example have attempted to bridge the gap by introducing elements of individual choice into the conditioning paradigm. Could it be that the human beings God created are both subject to being conditioned and able to exercise free will and choice? If we do not get hung up on the issue that humans are solely mechanistic, in order to accept some behavioral principles, we can accept the whole view.
Human beings were created to exercise free will and personal choice Gen 1: That is their primary mode, we might say. But present day human beings are also subject to the laws governing conditioning. We can acknowledge this without believing that they are solely mechanistic in nature. Is this conditioning effect a product of sin? Was it present before the fall? I do not know. I do know that it is present today and can be of great use in child rearing, changing habit patterns, and many other aspects of life.
Behavioral principles are the reason we tell people participating in the Breathe Free program to avoid their favorite chair where they smoked before and to go for a walk after dinner instead of sitting down to relax. It's a principle of classical conditioning. I also believe very firmly in the exercise of free will and individual choice. Interestingly, sometimes-behavioral principles can be used to make choices easier.
God is committed to choice and free will. It is His modus operandi. But He also used behavioral principles in His dealing with human beings. Can we be wise and use both to help people choose God's way? Human Nature as Good or Evil. Simply stated, psychological theories view the moral nature of human beings as inherently good, or evil, or neutral as in tabula rasa.
Those who view human beings as evil believe people are born thoroughly depraved, egocentric and inalterably evil. They constantly pursue their own selfish needs. The child has inborn antisocial impulses that adults must teach him to curb. Those holding the "good" view, believe human beings are born noble, naturally attracted to the good, creative, compassionate, and generous. Moral development occurs quite naturally, if the child is shielded from the evil in society and draws from his own inner resources of goodness.
Then there are those who use none of these words, but describe human beings as a tabula rasa , or blank slate, at birth, neither good nor evil. Each person becomes what life writes on his or her slate, or what their environment causes them to become. Psychological theories also speak of an actional nature. People are active, passive, or interactive in relationship to their world.
They perceive the environment as having an effect on humans and their moral natures. The active theorists believe that people reach out to influence their world, while the passive theorists describe people as being acted on by their world. The interactionists believe that people interact with the world—their world influences them and they in turn influence their world. The moral and actional natures combine to describe human nature.
None of the major theoretical schools of thought agree on both the moral and actional nature of human beings. Psychoanalytic theory Freud views human nature as evil and passive, while the behaviorists Skinner view it as neutral and passive. Cognitive theorists Piaget and Kohlberg view human nature as good and interactive. Social learning theorists Bandura believe human nature is neutral and active, while the humanists Maslow, Rogers view human nature as good and active. Again, we do not have an exact match between the Christian SDA presuppositions and a particular theory's view of human nature.
My graduate students in character development have generally concluded that we believe human nature is some combination of good and evil and it is probably interactive with its environment. They appear to be in good company. I quote from Seventh-day Adventists Believe When our first parents disobeyed God, they denied their dependence upon Him and fell from their high position under God.
The image of God in them was marred and they became subject to death. Their descendants share this fallen nature and its consequences. They are born with weaknesses and tendencies to evil" , p. Later in the same book, another comment appears: Although marred, the divine likeness was not completely obliterated. Though fallen, corrupt, sinful, man is still God's representative on earth" p. I am especially fond of the clarifying statement about the nature of human beings on. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart.
But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man's experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power.
That power is Christ" These statements do not agree with the descriptions of either good or evil moral nature as described by psychological theory. The perfection, fall, restoration sequence is not present in psychological theory, nor is the image of God. The humanists and the cognitive theorists seem to give the most dignity to human beings, while the psychoanalysts believe them to be totally depraved, with no hint of or desire for goodness.
No theory describes restoration in the biblical sense. This is a crucial area for the interface between the Bible and Psychology. The Christian psychologist must be very careful here, especially as he or she works with people to effect change in their lives. What the psychologist believes about the moral and actional nature of human beings vastly influences the manner in which he or she approaches therapy. I have heard Seventh-day Adventist counseling and clinical psychologists state their position thus: A prospective teacher once told me, in response to my question about his views on the integration of psychology and religion, "I don't see where they interface.
One is religion, the other is psychology. They don't have anything to do with each other.
Human Nature: Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity
Psychology and religion both describe the moral and actional nature of human beings. If we consider that the nature of human beings is a foundational issue for selecting counseling methods and for child rearing practices, then religion and psychology have a great deal to do with each other. Psychological theories tend to fall into either the parts or the whole camp. The parts, or andsummative, approaches try to understand any phenomenon by looking at the sum of its known parts. The parts do not interact or influence each other.
They are simply analyzed separately. The whole, or transsummative, approaches believe that the whole is something different from the sum of its parts.
Human nature at the millennium : reflections on the integration of psychology and Christianity
The parts interact and influence each other, creating a new whole. The parts have influenced each other to make the whole. Music provides a enlightening example. The "Moonlight Sonata" is much more than the sum of the notes on the pages. The total effect includes the way the notes are influenced by rhythm, harmony, and expression to create a whole musical experience.
A human being, created by God, is much more than the sum of its parts—eyes, ears, cells, heart, mind, etc. The parts create the whole as they influence each other and interact to make the living being, created in the image of God. The parts are understandable only as they contribute to the whole. Truth is not decided by putting together smaller pieces to make the whole. Truth is more than the smaller pieces—it is the whole. The whole actually gives meaning to its component parts. Likewise, God's view of human beings includes the totality of their experience Ps ; 1 Thess 5: An isolated experience does not define the person, in God's eyes.
Christ calls us to wholeness and unity in love 1 Cor 1: We grow in completeness in our relationship to Christ. God's Word very clearly indicates that we must bring the totality of ourselves into this relationship Deut 6: If we keep parts of ourselves outside of the relationship, we cannot experience the transsummative nature of being one with Christ. We restrict our personhood. The redemptive relationship helps us mature in wholeness 2 Cor 5: God is also interested in the small parts of his human subjects.
He knows infinite details about each person—when they were conceived Ps But the details do not define the person. God's redeeming grace brings about the transformation of the parts into the whole, a creature made in God's image. This issue is so central to psychology that theorists can be classified according to the emphasis they place on the study of the mind or the study of the body.
Is human behavior explained by the mental events inside the person or by the underlying neurophysiological events? Psychology has dealt with this issue in various ways. Materialistic views look at the body and use objective measures. Idealistic views tend to be phenomenal and use subjective methods, such as introspection. Parallelistic views hold that mental and bodily processes occur in parallel fashion, but do not necessarily influence each other, while the interactionist view believes that the body influences the mind, and the mind influences the body.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that each human being is an indivisible union of the body, soul, and spirit, which "function in close cooperation, revealing an intensely sympathetic relationship between a person's spiritual, mental and physical faculties. Deficiencies in one area will hamper the other two" Seventh-day Adventists Believe The current emphasis in psychology on the study of the brain and on cognitive psychology may eventually pose a serious threat to the Christian psychologist and the integration process.
Cognitive psychology is interdisciplinary, including neuropsychology, computational cognition, neural networks, evolutionary psychology, and contemporary approaches to consciousness. These views are based on an evolutionary axiom: The purpose of the evolution of human beings is the urge to survive, to reproduce the species.
In contrast, the Christian axiom might state that one important reason for the creation of the mind involves our relationship with God, who speaks to us through our minds. This would include conscience and moral decisions. Some psychologists study people from a subjective viewpoint using cognitive, introspective, experiential, and phenomenological methods.
Thought processes are not considered appropriate for study because they cannot be observed externally. The Holy Scriptures suggests that the internal matters more to God than the external 1 Sam Our thoughts and motives are primary, although our actions are not discounted Mark The right actions for the wrong internal reasons become wrong actions, too. The whole picture becomes wrong. Right actions for the right reasons—help the hungry because you are helping Me Matt The Christian strives to know the mind of God, to think His thoughts and to translate those thoughts into every day actions Rom How much does past experience account for present behavior?
Explaining the meaning of a psychological event can place strong emphasis on what a person has learned and how he or she was conditioned, or on ahistorical insight as an avenue to understanding the event. Present oriented views emphasize freedom of choice in the immediate situation. Past oriented views are mostly concerned with the person's history of reinforcement and learning. It seems to me that the Bible supports the present oriented view more than the past oriented one Isa 1: Grace can wipe out all the evil of the past and give the person a new beginning without the tendencies of the past, although the scars of past experiences may remain.
God looks at the person as he is now, not as he was in the past Acts 3: Although God does consider the person's past—where she was born—when deciding what would be best for her future, He also wipes away that past—"neither do I condemn you"—and focuses on the future—"go and sin no more" John 8: Contemporary psychology does not ignore the influence of either nature or nurture on the person. The debate consists in the extent to which an individual's behavior is determined by his genetic makeup or his past learning experiences.
Are people's lives determined by their genes, or do they have some say about the matter through how they deal with life's experiences? I believe God's Word stresses the importance of nurture—any tendency to evil can be overcome through the grace of Christ. Our individual genes are not an excuse for wrongdoing. Certainly we are creatures with a genetic makeup, made this way by the Creator. But we are more than pawns of genes—we have choices to make Josh Psychological theories tend to focus on simplicity or complexity--a few general laws that are easy to understand, or many complex explanations for psychological events.
The simple explanations focus on sensation, learning, perception and motivation, while the more complex explanations look at psychopathology, affect, and the unconscious. Again, we might explain God's view as a combination of simplicity and complexity. Certainly, salvation has a simple directive—believe and be saved John 3: But explaining how the person came to believe or disbelieve is certainly complex.
Overall, the Bible probably leans toward the complexity of human beings, considering their genetic makeup, life experiences, cultural background, sin tendency, and the influence of the Holy Spirit and God's grace on their ultimate choices. Our examination of the Christian presuppositions and the fundamental areas of psychology has highlighted some of the issues the Christian psychologist must face as she tries to integrate her professional training with God's Word.
How does this work out when evaluating learning theories, therapy models, parenting styles, personality theories, or moral development stages? Theory is fine, but what happens in a real-life helping situation?
How do the Bible and psychology combine in the work of the Christian psychologist? The Bible and Psychological Theory and Practice. In this section I will look at a few selected areas of psychological theory and practice and briefly discuss how the Bible might inform each area. Within the limits of this essay, it is not possible to examine any area in depth. Rather, I will briefly summarize some important issues and make suggestions for further thought and exploration. As mentioned earlier, counseling and clinical psychologists have written the most about the integration of faith and practice, so it seems appropriate to begin with this area.
I would like to suggest that the Christian psychologist must be aware of at least four different questions impinging on the practice of psychotherapy: I am greatly indebted to Jones and Butman for their insights on all four of these questions. The first responsibility of the Christian psychologist is to acquire a Biblical view of the nature of human beings and how God intervenes to help people in trouble. Having done this, the Christian psychologist must next examine each proposed psychotherapy model, comparing its philosophical assumptions and its models of personality, health, abnormality, and psychotherapy with the Christian presuppositions and God's total view of human beings.
This step requires a great deal of clear thinking and evaluating of each aspect of a therapy model. Ideally, this evaluative process would occur at the graduate school level, but most Christian psychologists are not trained in programs with a Christian world view. Those who are have a distinct advantage in this process, although some Christian schools are more intentional than others about helping their students work through this evaluative process. Most psychologists come to grips with their psychotherapy model after they have confronted the realities of practice.
Their previous experience of evaluating models could be very useful at this point.
Jones and Butman have done just such an appraisal of psychotherapy models. Each major model is carefully and thoroughly compared with the Christian presuppositions. At the end, they conclude that "none of the theories can be rejected out of hand, but none can be wholeheartedly endorsed by the Christian counselor" p. Each theory is lacking when compared with God's view of personhood, but some come closer than others to the Biblical viewpoint.
One of my graduate students Leader, summarized Jones' and Butman's pages of appraisal in a succinct and informative page chart, which is very useful for a quick, look at the most important issues. While God's Word has a great deal to say about personhood, it does not propose a specific psychology, as we speak of it today. We need the specificity of a comprehensive model of psychology in order to best help hurting people.
What would such a model include, if there were one? Jones and Butman , p. A deep appreciation of the value of being human and of individual human beings;. A vision of our need for a love relationship with our Creator, attainable only through the forgiveness offered through the death of Jesus Christ;. An understanding of the essential place of the work of the Holy Spirit in ultimate healing;.
An understanding of our fundamentally relational natures and need for love and acceptance, including the importance of family and community for us all;. A balance of emphasis on thinking, feeling and behaving, as each has a clear and important place in human life;. An appreciation of the power of sin and evil;. An understanding of the influence of a spiritual world on day-to-day human functioning;. A respect for human freedom and agency, yet one which recognizes limitations to human choice s well;. An appreciation of habit, skill and learning;.
A balanced attention to within-the-person and external-to-the person influences on human action;. A vision of life that suggests there can be meaning to suffering and that we are called to pursue something more than our personal gratification;. A respect for individuals that is grounded in God's love for each person, yet without a worshiping of the individual disconnected from others;.
A commitment to holism in understanding the person, but with a sufficiently developed set of specific postulates about molecular processes in personality to guide actual intervention and the change processes;. A respect for our intrinsically moral natures and the value of obedience to appropriate authority, pre-eminently to God and his Word;.
A respect for physical and nonphysical aspects of existence;. An appreciation but not a deification of rationality, balanced with an equally appreciative understanding of our 'transrational' aesthetic, symbolic and story-telling natures;. A recognition of our need to worship and be committed to the one who transcends all that we can know or imagine; and. A love for Christ's body, the church, and a commitment to furthering the church's work in this world. Such a model does not exist, may never exist. So the Christian psychologist is faced with the task of evaluating the existing models and constructing a working model which will include the most important imperatives of Biblical thoughts about personhood and the change process.
Psychological eclecticism holds promise for this endeavor. Eclecticism was defined in by English and English as the "selection and orderly combination of compatible features from diverse sources, sometimes from otherwise incompatible theories and systems; the effort to find elements in all doctrines and theories and to combine them into a harmonious whole" p. Until the eighties, psychologists viewed eclecticism negatively--a sloppy and undisciplined approach to therapy. However, research has not affirmed that any one theoretical approach is best for helping people change in all situations.
Some approaches have been affirmed for specific disorders, but not for all. This has been humbling to proponents of particular theories. In the process of all this emphasis on the research outcomes of different therapies, eclecticism has become much more respectable. The Christian psychologist can now pick and choose with respectability. Pragmatic eclecticism proposes to pick and choose by what is "best for the client" with no regard for theoretical orientation.
This is the approach most often endorsed by practitioners. However, it has some significant problems. It provides very little direction for the therapist. Well designed research studies which confirm the "best approach" are still relatively scarce, while very few clients present with one discrete problem, as in research studies. Most practitioners cannot be competent in all theoretical approaches. Metatheoretical or transtheoretical eclecticism seems to be the approach most often endorsed by researchers and authors. This approach tries to "get behind the theory" and looks for theories or practices common to many approaches, such as common stages in therapy or the verbal and nonverbal counseling responses which all approaches use.
Most of this work has focused on the relationship between therapist and client as an explanation for the effectiveness of various theoretical approaches. Certainly this rings true for the Christian therapist. We believe in the centrality of relationships, with God and with people. Malcolm Jeeves, former editor-in-chief of Neuropsychologia , a leading international scientific journal in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, explores the intersection of science and faith in defining what it means to be human. He reports on recent scientific research on consciousness and the link between mind, brain, and behavior.
He examines issues such as determinism by indicating the possible relevance of chaos theory to enduring concerns about freedom and responsibility. He looks at similarities and differences between human nature and animal nature. He reexamines traditional dualist views of soul and body in the light of contemporary research on mind and brain and argues for a wholistic model.
This leads to addressing questions such as: Jeeves' insightful analysis of the ways recent findings in psychology relate to certain Christian beliefs about people expands the global science religion dialogue. Malcolm Jeeves is emeritus professor at the University of St. Andrews School of Psychology, Scotland. He was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire in for his services to science and psychology.
He is a leading experimental neurophysiologist, former chairman of the International Neuropsychological Symposium, and the author of several books dealing with the integration of science and faith. This new edition, which includes a new preface and guidance to current literature, offers a balanced study of the implications of scientific developments