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The Counseling Models of Ron Hawkins and Larry Crabb

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In “Effective Biblical Counseling,” Dr. Larry Crabb attempts to provide a concrete biblically based view of counseling and how it can best be applied. Dr. Crabb gives his interpretation on the different styles of integration in regards to Christianity and psychology. He also discussed his goal of biblical counseling which “is to promote Christian maturity to help people enter into a richer experience of worship and a more effective life of service.” (1977) he attempts to guide the reader through the pitfalls of the integration of Christianity and psychology. Crabb does this through exploring several frameworks beginning with Separate but Equal, Tossed Salad, Nothing Buttery, and Spoiling the Egyptians. Throughout the explanations of each framework Crabb is able to incorporate diagrams to enhance his viewpoints and pitfalls of each framework. In Separate But Equal, Dr. Crabb states there is a wall between psychology and Scripture however, each component deals with different aspects of the problem, but it “must be rejected firmly as an inaccurate reflection of biblical content.” (1977) While Crabb elucidates on Tossed Salad, Nothing Buttery his most recommended was Spoiling the Egyptians.

By carefully instructing the reader, Crabb advocates how human behavior is often captured in Scripture, thus allowing secular psychology to have its place. However, he does warn that any psychology that disagrees with Scriptures must be refuted by the Christian counselor and not implemented with the client. Dr. Crabb concludes his book with various levels of counseling which included encouragement, exhortation and enlightenment. In level one Crabb explains how the counselor can gain an understanding in regards to the client’s problem. By showing that the Christian counselor cares, and is genuinely interested in the client this can automatically relief a burden. “The majority of people who are experiencing personal anguish can be tremendously helped by the warm, genuine interest of people who care.” (1977) He goes on to give a definite requirement for level two as well as the definition. Level two transitions into a plan of Scriptures that can handle and apply to the situation that the counselor is planning a strategy for. He further warns that at level two “counseling requires knowledge of the Bible. Without a working knowledge of biblical principles of living a person simply cannot counsel at level two.” (1977)

By giving this information he informs the reader that there is more training and knowledge involved with this level. Level three, requires the most training and ability to understand the cognitive behaviors of the client. Crabb states this takes more time in training and the counselor should be well equipped before attempting this level. Through comprehending the client’s flawed cognitive thoughts the counselor can assist the client in capturing each thought. By understanding thought disorders counseling can proceed to address the behaviors. “I am transformed by the renewing of my mind. As I grasp with my mind that my needs are fully met in Christ, then I am enable to better conform my behavior patterns to Christ’s example and to enjoy the deep peace of a growing maturity.” (1977)

Crabb contends that the Christian counselor’s position is to act as a vehicle for the Holy Spirit who then in turns enlightens the minds of the clients. Dr. Crabbs’ book although written in 1977, it still holds valuable truths to the counselors of the world today. All of his information is biblically based with explanations for each intervention, step, and level of counseling. His concrete theories allows the reader to explore them and chose what may be the best method for that particular Christian counselor along with the pro’s and con’s of each theory. It is a must have for every Christian counselor. The Hawkins’ Model

Dr. Hawkins’ model is centered on the concentric circles demonstrating how the person is at the center of the circle while family, relatives, friends, neighbors and acquaintances circles the person. By showing this circle Dr. Hawkins attempts to enlighten the reader as to how the client interacts with the world around them and where Christ may be in this circle. He further expounds that the Christian counselor needs a firm theology base in order to discriminate between truths and untruths. “Our hope is that Christian counselors will learn and impart to their clients living and experiencing theology that reveals the truth of the personhood of God and of his desire for relationship with us.” (2001) By imparting the knowledge how God wishes to have a relationship with the client, the counselor is better able to instill hope. Hawkins additionally explores the need for Christian counselors to be able to provide care to God’s people in such a way that also shows the love of Christ. “And if you consistently deliver this comfort and care with integrity, you are a trustworthy servant in whom God delights and blesses in all that you do.” (Clinton & Hawkins, 2009)

By demonstrating this care and comfort the Christian counselor can begin to aid the client in their journey of maturity in Christ. The Bible says, “Many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand.” (Proverbs 19:21) (“The Contemporary English Version,” 2006) Hawkins believes that counselors who are grounded in biblical and theological truths do not have the problems associated with defending, or mixing secular psychology in their practice. “They are also less likely to borrow uncritically from a variety of psychological theories that are often at odds with one another and are a times opposed to the fundamental tenets of our faith.” (2001) This shows how possessing a strong biblical base can aid the Christian counselor in making wise decisions when integrating Christianity and psychology. Crabb and Hawkins’ models both agree on the counselor aiding the client in reaching maturity within Christ, providing support in a caring way which reflects the love of Christ.

Hawkins’ model did build more on the counselor’s view on theology and their worldview, while Crabb was able to give several examples of integration of Christianity and psychology. Each model demonstrated how it could best suit the Christian counselor as according to their view. As a Christian counselor in training, I found myself more aligned with Dr. Crabb. He was able to walk through his model while giving the warnings of theories and its weakness. I felt there were functional means to utilize in my counseling practice. Although both Crabb and Hawkins were both biblically based, Crabb was able to engage this reader in a more practical sense of counseling. Hawkins on the other hand did not fully engage this reader with helpful insights into strategies in counseling. Perhaps with a different approach Hawkins model could be utilized in future counseling sessions.


Crabb, L. (1977). Effective Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. Retrieved from http://www.zondervan.com Hawkins, R. (2001). Theological Roots: Synthesizing and Systematizing a Biblical Theology of Helping. Clinton, T., & Hawkins, R. (2009). The Quick Reference Guide To Biblical Counseling. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. Retrieved from http://www.bakerbooks.com (2006). The Contemporary English Version. New York, NY: G.P Putman’s Son. Thompson, W. O., Jr. (1999). Concentric Circles of Concern. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers. Clinton, T., Hart, A., & Ohlschlager, G. (2005). Caring for People God’s Way. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers. In Caring for People God’s Way. Cook, M., & Cook-Volkhardt, S. (2006). Kitchen Table Counseling. Colorado Springs, Co: Navpress. Retrieved from http://www.navpress.com

COUN 507/PACO 600 Theology and Spirituality in Counseling
The following represents an additive template for grading. Instead of beginning with 100 and losing points for errors, you begin with a 0 and earn points for your work in determining your grade, three questions will be asked. QUESTION VALUES TOTAL 100 POINTS

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