Trichotomous therapy : a proposed pastoral paradigm
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The relationship between Psychology and Theology has become an issue of increasing concern in recent years for the Christian community. With the growing complexities of cultural differences, the moral decline of society and its drift away from a Christian worldview, the pastoral ministry seems to be as challenging as ever. The problem about the relationship between theology and psychology is that there is growing confusion in today's Christian community about the best way to help people overcome their personal problems of living. In this regard some scholars believe that Christians should only submit to Biblical counselling, while others support psychotherapy, as long as it is integrated with Biblical principles and has a firm Scriptural foundation. In researching the literature on the subject, it was found that various theoretical models have been defined and described as attempts to scientifically justify the union of the above mentioned two points of view. In this thesis the viewpoints of four prominent groups of scholars about the subject are described and analysed in order to determine to what extent will it be possible to identify common denominators amongst their different models and to eventually establish if it is possible to formulate a synthesis about the commonalities so defined. The integration models of the following four prominent groups of authors about the subject were analysed: (1) Larry Crabb (1977); (2) William T. Kirwan (1993), (3) John D. 2 Carter & Bruce Narramore (1979) and (4) Eric L. Johnson & Stanton L. Jones, eds., (2000). These scholar's contributions were chosen for analysis because, from the research about the subject, it was found that these 4 groups of authors made some of the most significant scientific contributions about the integration of theology with psychology. Before attempting to formulate a pastoral paradigm out of a synthesis of the contributions of the aforementioned scholars, it was fundamentally important to distinguish between the 3 prominent views of man. Some scholars argue that man is a monistic being, while others defend a dichotomous view of man as consisting of a body and a soul. A third significant view describes man as consisting of three significant parts, namely a body, a soul and a spirit. In this thesis it was argued that the trichotomous view of man was the most correct way of defining the fundamental composition of man. According to the researcher an understanding of the trichotomous nature of man is important as it serves as a theological basis for pastoral counselling in order to clearly communicate the precise truths of the believer's union with Christ. In the last part of the thesis a practical pastoral paradigm was proposed based on the trichotomous view of man in which psychology and theology can be harmoniously integrated by means of a meta-systemic approach. The first phase of the paradigm focused on a model within which Psychotherapy can be applied while the second phase described Spirituotherapy as a model within which pastoral counselling can be applied.
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