Approach & Philosophy

Stepping Stones1Integrating Psychology and the Christian Faith

Psychotherapy consists of different “modalities” or “theoretical orientations” that clinicians may ascribe to.  Common orientations include Psychodynamic, Cognitive-Behavioural, Existential, and Emotionally Focused Therapy.  Although they may have been trained predominantly within one or another school of thought and can identify with a specific orientation, many psychologists in practice do not fall neatly in one camp or another.  This reflects the belief that the therapeutic approach is not a matter of “one size fits all.”  Rather, a “toolkit” philosophy may be employed, with approaches from different orientations being brought to bear on the problem at hand.

Although educated in a Psychodynamic-leaning school, I am trained and experienced in Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and employ this approach predominantly. In order to achieve specific therapeutic goals, I may integrate CBT with Psychodynamic principles and other specific modalities such as Motivational Interviewing (MI) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). My choice of “tools” is based on the fact that I believe it is ethical and responsible to use modalities that have demonstrated effectiveness through rigorous scientific research.  Approaches like CBT and ACT have considerable scientific support for their effectiveness in treating a variety of psychological conditions.

The Christian Faith and Psychology

A distinctive of my approach reflects the fact that I am an evangelical Christian. The practice of psychotherapy is never value-neutral; even the most ostensibly “objective” of counsellors must possess certain irreducible value propositions—even atheism or secular humanism are value systems that cannot be proven “right” one way or another.  As such, I believe it would be simply honest to acknowledge the fact that I am a psychologist who holds to the worldview of the Christian faith. Consequently, many Christian clients choose to work with me because they are seeking a psychologist who can help them with their problems within a faith-affirming context. At the same time, at any given time my caseload is only 60-70% Christian. The balance of my clients are referred by their family doctors, insurance companies, lawyers and other third parties because of my reputation as a psychologist. Some clients of other faiths even seek me out because they appreciate working with a psychologist with a spiritual perspective and a more “ultimate” frame of reference.

 

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