Book Review: Integrative Approach to Psychology and Christianity

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Integrative Approach to Psychology and Christianity - Book Review

MAT Review: Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity

The book Integrative approaches to psychology and Christianity: An introduction to worldview issues, philosophical foundations, and models of integration (2010), by David N. Entwhisle delves into the issue of how psychology and Christianity have traditionally been at odds with one another. Christianity is seen as being too focused on God and not focused enough on the self, while psychology is often thought to be godless (Entwhistle, 2010). Because psychology places human experience at the very core of understanding, it differs greatly from Christianity, which places emphasis not on humanity for understanding but on God and what He has offered to the world through Jesus Christ (McMinn, 1996). Psychology also does not leave room for belief (or faith) in the supernatural - a basic tenet on which Christianity is based (Johnson & Jones, 2000). Whether the two can blend from a counseling perspective and how that would take place in a world where there is so much division of opinion is the basis of the text (Entwhistle, 2010).

The worldview held by a person encompasses and to some extent controls how a person feels about everything in his or her world (Entwhistle, 2010). The significance of this, of course, is that a person's worldview is generally taught to him or her by parents and others, as opposed to being chosen by the person. People filter their worldviews through their culture, education, and family, and most do not realize that they are doing so - so they do not have any reason to question it or make an effort to change the way they are looking at things to a way that would be more acceptable for their ultimate belief system. Finding balance, however, is crucial when it comes to accepting God into one's life and also accepting what psychology can offer (Dineen, 2000; Jones & Butman, 1991). When both Christianity and psychology are viewed as areas of life that come from and belong to God, it is easier for believers to find psychology acceptable (Entwhistle, 2010).

At the end of the book, Entwhistle (2010) comes full circle and returns to the discussion of how a person's worldview and everything that he or she has experienced up to a given point in time, affects and alters the way that person interprets any data that he or she is given. That includes not only data that is given to him directly through verbal or written information, but also data that is provided through what that person sees, hears, and feels. How he or she handles life and how others react to him or her are very important aspects that relate to the understanding and processing of data. In the search for truth, Entwhistle (2010) ends the book with this: "we will sometimes have to live with ambiguity and uncertainty, be we affirm that God is the author of all truth…" (p. 275). This shows the strength of Entwhistle's (2010) argument, but also the understanding that there is really no way to have a complete understanding of the issue, based on a lack of shared worldview and other factors.

Concrete Response

This book reminded me of several life experiences. The most vivid one was in a doctor's office, where I overheard a medical professional advise a person with anxiety problems to get counseling in addition to the medication that was being dispensed. It was suggested that the person visit Lutheran Services in order to receive counseling that was inexpensive. This fascinated me, because it was the first and only time that I had ever heard a doctor suggest anything that related to both psychology and religion at the same time. Why not just suggest counseling in general? Why Lutheran Services? Was the doctor Lutheran, or any religion or faith at all? I have no idea about the doctor's faith or lack thereof, but I often wonder what happened to the person who was advised in that way.

Did that scared, frightened, anxious person seek out help with the Lutherans? Did he… [END OF PREVIEW]

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