Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling


Mark McMinn’s (George Fox University) new book just came out. It is Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling: An Integrative Paradigm. Mark extends a discussion he and Clark Campbell began in Integrative Psychotherapy on the functional, structural, and relational domains of the imago Dei as a basis for an integrative approach to psychology and counseling (as well as a practical/applied/clinical outworking of what he wrote in Why Sin Matters). I think it will be particularly attractive to people on both sides of the integration versus biblical counseling discussions.

5 thoughts on “Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling

  1. YAY! I thought you’d disappeared. And, might I add, your site looks beautiful, err, in a manly way.

    I’m excited to read McMinn’s book – especially after looking at the table of contents.

    I’ve been interested in how shame factors in with spirituality and counseling. Do you know of any good journal articles or books?

  2. I had disappeared momentarily, but then reappeared! It’s a longer story than the disappearance itself, so I’ll leave it at that.

  3. One of the most helpful exchanges I had on shame in recent years was a discussion we had at our program when a student was working on her dissertation, which was on shame. She and Stephen Parker later published an article titled “Toward A Theological Understanding of Shame” in Journal of Psychology and Christianity. The former student is Rebecca Thomas. (It is Vol 23, no. 2, Sum 2004. pp. 176-182.).

    Here’s the abstract:
    “The authors of this article argue that shame and guilt are often confused and that a failure to distinguish these emotions leads to ineffective care for those experiencing these emotions. The authors propose that Christian caregivers not only need to think about the psychological differences between shame and guilt, but should attend to resources from the Christian tradition that can help identify how shame and guilt differ. This article draws on the theology of St. Irenaeus to offer some theological reflections on differences between shame and guilt and reflects on the implications of these distinctions for care giving.”

  4. Just to add that in my own practice I sometimes do an exercise where I take a sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. The left column I label “Guilt” and the right column I label “Shame”. I might talk a little bit about the distinction. I might say something like, “Guilt is essentially feeling bad about something you have done (or failed to do), while shame is feeling bad about who you are.” We might then work together on experiences that elicit these different responses, as well as a basis for self worth.

  5. Awesome stuff! The article is excellent – thank you so much for reference! Also, I really like your exercise comparing guilt and shame. Not only do I want to use that with clients, I think I’ll tweak it for a class presentation I’m doing in Feb.

    I’m glad you’re back. Already I have benefited from your wisdom! Have a great week!

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