Intergrative Approaches To Psychology
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Can psychology and theology be integrated? Does it really need to be integrated? This is a topic of great debate in psychology at this present time. Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity present different approaches to embracing psychology and Christianity. There are many different areas of focus throughout the text but I perceive the main focus to be on integrative approaches in a well-conceived Christian worldview (Entwistle, 2010). I feel that this is an important topic within the text because having a Christian worldview is the foundation for integrating psychology and Christianity.
Entwistle examines different worldviews as they pertain to both disciplines. Worldviews are defined within the text as, “a set of presuppositions, which we hold consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently about the basic make-ups of the world” (Entwistle, 2010). Every worldview is different; it is created basically off of your life experiences along with your beliefs. Four themes were discussed in the text. The four themes, creation, fall, redemption and consummation were said to enhance the Christian worldview (Entwistle, 2010). Creation explains what it means to be humans and the world that we exist in. The fall describes the first human beings rebellion against God and the division it created. Redemption tells of our gift of forgiveness of our sins and justification from God through his son Christ. Consummation connects all three themes and is the “starting point for integration” (Entwistle, 2010).
Entwistle identifies five different models of integration, which consists of enemies, spies, colonialist, neutral parties and allies. Individuals that take the enemies model chose an either or position when dealing with psychology and theology. These people believe that the two should be separated. Individuals following the spies model tend to want to understand the psychology of the religious system. They are about seeking out information. Colonialist believes that psychology can be valuable but they tend to make it conform to their theological beliefs. Neutral parties feel that both disciplines should be kept independent of the other but some of the findings are parallel. Finally the allies’ model recognizes that God is ruler of all. This model does not focus on either psychology nor theology but is about God. Concrete Response
Reading this text made me think of being away for basic combat training. In preparing for training, I focused on getting physically ready, and did not think twice about being prepared mentally or spiritually. Reading about having a Christian worldview reminded me how much it helped me. The hardest part of basic combat training for me was being away from my two-year-old daughter at the time. I found myself not wanting to stay the course because I had not mentally prepared myself to be away from my daughter. I remember speaking to my mother on the phone and telling her that it was really hard to be away from home, and she told me to pray about. She said, “Keya Dreeme is fine, you just need to pray about it.” That is exactly what I did. I prayed that God would help me through this time. I began to attend religious service on the regular and read my Bible in my free time. Once I developed a Christian worldview I began to think clearer, be calmer and actually enjoy training. Before I began to practice my faith, it seemed like it was the hardest thing I had ever experienced. Now, I realize that it became easy to me because I kept in the back of my mind that I could do all things through Christ that strengthens me. I still keep this in mind now with all that I do. Reflection
During my reading of Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity a few questions came to mind. One question that I often think about is how to treat a client that does not believe in Christianity when it comes to integrating the disciplines. Do you change your approach and completely leave out theology/ Christianity? As a professional I would like to know how or when Christianity should be integrated into a counseling session. I liked that Entwistle helped the reader to identify his or her own feelings regarding integration. The text was easy to read and gave great details and examples. I also liked that Entwistle provided a great deal of background and history on both psychology and theology. Action
The first thing that I would like to do is examine my own worldview and be certain that I am maintaining a Christian worldview. According to the text practicing Christianity allows you to have more humanity when dealing with individuals. I feel that it is imperative to be comfortable with Christianity to even be able to integrate the two disciplines. I would learn more about Christianity and integrating the two prior to incorporating it. I will share with others the fact that psychology and Christianity can be integrated to help people and the two do not have to remain separated.
Entwistle, D. N. (2010). Intergrative Approaches To Psychology and Christianity: An Introduction To Worldview Issues, Philosophical Foundations, and Model of Intergration. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers.