Nature of Integration
of integration as it applies to psychology and theology is understood in a
number of different ways.
light, integration may be viewed as the attempt to bring our faith confession
to bear on our chosen profession. What does theology have to say to
psychology? What difference does belief in God make in the way a
psychotherapist assists a troubled individual or family? In what way is
Christ the answer to human needs? How can the life of the church be a
context for healing? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in the healing
process? And beyond these explicitly spiritual questions, belief in the
importance of integration asserts that whether the topic is personality, family
relationships, emotionality, human development, pathology or assessment,
theological perspectives can be brought to bear.
On the other
hand, we may ask what contribution the profession of psychology can make to
theology and the ministry of the church. How can one share the Good News
without considering seriously the nature of human needs? Psychologists
have reflected carefully on the nature of human experience, the nature of
family conflict, the effects of violence, depression, anger, severe mental
illness, burnout and a range of other issues. Even in those topics which are
labeled as uniquely “spiritual,” such as church conflicts, spiritual numbness,
missionary selection, member care, or interpersonal tensions, we can ask what
psychological perspectives might be helpful.
of integration is an attempt to respond to these questions. Throughout the
history of the church, there are individuals and communities who have wrestled
with the relationship that Christianity has, might have, or ought to have, with
the larger culture. Our efforts at integration would do well to be
sensitive to the thoughts of those who have gone before us.
One idea about
integration which seems to be clear is that it is a journey. Students and
faculty alike acknowledge the ways in which their understandings and embodiments
of integration have changed and are developing over time. As such, we
continually hold our conceptualizations with humility and strive to grow and to
learn from one another.
important element of integration is its multidisciplinary nature. Although it
includes the disciplines of theology and psychology, it is by no means limited
to them. In addition to these two core disciplines, integration may draw
resources from ethics, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and other
disciplines from the natural and humans sciences.
have offered but a few reflections on the nature of integration, we invite you
to join us to on this journey, which is much more appropriately discovered and
following are integration competencies that as a faculty we have agreed will shape our
curriculum and our planning. We hope that when students have completed
their studies they will possess most of the following integration
Theoretical Integration Competencies
understanding of the religio-historical context of the profession of marriage
and family therapy or clinical psychology.
theological understanding and critique of human nature/personality,
psychobiology, pathology, social issues, family systems, and approaches to
ability to articulate relationships between religion and epistemology.
ability to apply the knowledge base of general psychology, including psychology
of religion, to religious experience.
awareness of the integrative research in religion and psychology.
awareness of how differing religious and cultural traditions influence the
approach which must be taken to both theology and psychology.
ability to take a detailed religious history and to appraise how a client’s
religious views impact healthy and unhealthy psychological functioning.
ability to create a space where a client feels the freedom to use religious
ability to develop interventions which attend to the religious experiences and
resources of a client.
relevant knowledge of religious and denominational histories/traditions as
applied to psychotherapy.
awareness of ways in which mutual assistance can occur between the mental
health professions and the religious community.
development of personal and corporate spiritual practices, personal
self–understanding, and interpersonal maturity that support the work of
scholarship and clinical practice.
possession of a deep understanding of one’s own religious tradition and its
implications for spirituality and the practice of therapy.
respect for persons with different religions, cultures, and values.
presence of a passionate commitment to bringing the reconciling power and
presence of Christ to fragmented communities and broken people.
ability to live with the tension of paradox, truth, and pain.