Family Therapies Book Now Available

Many readers know that Jim Sells and I have been working on a book for the last year. It is now available from InterVarsity Press. The title of the book is Family Therapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. I received my copy the other day. It is casebound and a little over 500 pages long. It is divided into four sections. The first section deals with foundational issues, including a Christian perspective on the family and historical roots of family therapy. The second section reviews first-generation models of family therapy (e.g., structural, bowenian, etc.) and offers a Christian critique and engagement. The first section addresses specific topics addressed in family therapy, such as marital conflict, trauma, divorce and remarriage, and substance abuse. The final section is a brief chapter looking at the future of family therapy from a Christian worldview.


The book received some nice endorsements on the back cover: 


“Mark Yarhouse and James Sells have written a very helpful book that is comprehensive, biblically based and well-written. I highly recommend it as an excellent text for those interested in a Christian approach to family therapy.”


—Siang-Yang Tan, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary, and senior pastor, First Evangelical Church of Glendale, California


“Yarhouse and Sells have created a masterpiece work analyzing approaches to family therapies. This is going to be a new classic, matching the accomplishment of Jones and Butman’s analysis of psychotherapies in their book, Modern Psychotherapies.


—Everett L. Worthington Jr., professor of psychology, Virginia Commonwealth University


“Yarhouse and Sells have written a practical, concise, invaluable, one- of-a-kind resource that integrates biblical, theological, psychological, theoretical, clinical and practical resources in ways that help the reader look at the family and family therapy through different lenses and better understand the individual in the context of their broader family system. This book will be read and reread by a broad audience.”


—Gary J. Oliver, Th.M., Ph.D., professor of psychology and practical theology, John Brown University


“In Family Therapies, Yarhouse and Sells provide an important resource for Christian scholars and therapists. The first two sections provide a thoughtful foundation and Christian critique of existing therapy models, reminiscent of what Stanton L. Jones and Richard E. Butman accomplished in their classic book, Modern Psychotherapies, but with a focus on models of family therapy. The third section, which could have been a book on its own, looks at contemporary issues in relation to a Christian perspective on family therapy. The final section casts a vision for an integrative model of family therapy. This is a significant book that will help shape the training and practice of Christian therapists.”


—Mark R. McMinn, Ph.D., ABPP, professor of psychology, George Fox University, and coauthor of Integrative Psychotherapy 



Integrative Approaches – 4

Chapter 4 of David Entwistle’s book Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity is titled “Windows on the World: Assumptions and Worldviews.” A worldview is defined by James Sire (1997) as “a set of presuppositions (assumption with may be tru, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) abouit the basic make-up of the world” (p. 16). Entwistle briefly reviews several common worldviews, including polytheism, pantheism, monotheism, modernism, atheistic materialism, and postmodernism. Probably the two most dominant worldviews in contemporary Western psychology are atheistic materialism and postmodernism. As an aside, Evangelicalism came into its own in the 19th and early 20th centuries when modernism held sway and many evangelicals have absorbed some of the assumptions of modernism (e.g., an emphasis on individualism) that have placed them at odds with postmodernism. (To read more on this, check out the chapter “Evangelicalism” in the book, The Psychologies of Religion: Working with the Religious Client, edited by E. Thomas Dowd and Stevan Lars Nielsen.)

Entwistle discusses several implications of worldviews, including the tendency for those who hold competing worldviews to speak past one another. I have certainly found this to be the case among psychologists who come at controversial topics out of rival worldviews. Another implication is that we are able to reflect on our worldviews, at least to some extent. This is difficult to do, of course, as social psychology has provided us with evidence that we do not tend to critique our own assumption but rather look for evidence to confirm what we already hold to be true. Entwistle then hangs a Christian worldview on the pegs of Creation, Fall, Redemption and Consummation – what are commonly referred to as the four “acts” of the biblical “drama.”

ETS Conference

The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) is hosting its conference on Counseling, Psychology and Pastoral Care. The 2008 Section Theme is Biblical Text, Relevant Texts, and Context: Taking Creative Counseling Conversations Forward. The section is Wednesday, November 19th, and speakers include Philip Monroe (Biblical Theological Seminary), David Powlison (Westminster Theological Seminary), and John Franke (Biblical Theological Seminary).

Off Topic: Hoops for the Homeless

Jay Jump, a friend of mine here in Virginia Beach, organized Hoops for the Homeless, a 3 on 3 tournament to benefit People In Need (P.i.N.), a ministry that focuses on meeting the needs of the homeless in the community. He put together a video of the event. There was a nice turnout for a first time event, and the participants were a good group of guys who essentially played much of the day for a good cause. If you are in the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area, you might want to keep it in mind for next year. He intends to make it an annual fund raiser.

Off Topic: On Voting

From Chuck Colson and in our local church bulletin:

How do we go about choosing the best candidate on November 4th? Not by pulling a partisan lever – that’s knee-jerk ideology. Christians live by revealed truth, never captive to any party. The best place to go for wisdom is not the candidates’ website, but the Bible.

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, for example, advised Moses to appoint as rulers “able men” who “fear God men who are trustworthy and who hate a bribe.” The standard of competence and integrity. Later, God ordered Samuel to pick Saul, who “shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines.” This passage reminds us of Paul’s teaching in Romans: Government’s role is to wield the sword to preserve order and restrain evil.

Today, God no longer chooses our leaders directly. Since we live in a democracy, God entrusts us with the job of choosing leaders He will then anoint. Instead of a prophet, we are to commission leaders of competence, virtue, and character. That’s why not voting, or rejecting candidates because they’re not perfect on some biblical score sheet, is a deriliction of our trust.

Ultimately, in casting a vote, our judgment should be guided by what we perceive to be the common good. Our Founders understood this, which is why they used the term commonweal, or commonwealth, for the state. God has a deep and abiding interest in all people being treated fairly. If God favors any “special interest,” it is the poor, the hungry, the prisoner – those with the least access to political power.

So on Election Day we should be the best of citizens, voting for the candidate best for all the people. And then, the next day, after indulging in your celebration (or pity party), get busy working to advance God’s Kingdom in this earthly society.