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HSCO 506
You will write 2 Journal Article Reviews (Modules/Weeks 1 and 5), which will be based upon
your choice of articles from the professional, peer-reviewed journal articles provided in
Blackboard. No outside articles will be accepted. Each Journal Article Summary must be 3–5
double-spaced pages (not including the title and reference pages) and created in a Microsoft
Word document. Use the following guidelines to create your paper:
1. Start your paper with a title page, correctly formatted per current APA. Use the provided
template and the basic current APA components will be in place. Divide your paper into
sections with the following Level One headings: Summary, Reflection, and Application as
described on the template.
2. Develop a summary (35 points) of the main concepts from the article. Do not duplicate the
article’s abstract. If the article describes a research study, include brief statements about the
hypotheses, methods, results, discussion, and implications. If any test measures or statistical
methods used are given in the article, do not provide detailed descriptions of these. Short
direct quotations from the article are acceptable, but avoid long quotes in a paper this size.
This section is the foundation of your Journal Article Review (at least a third of your paper).
Make sure you include the core points from the article, even if it means a longer section. Do
not reference any additional articles in your summary.
3. In approximately 1 page, reflect (10 points) on the article using your own words.
Appropriate comments for this part of the paper could include, but are not limited to, your
initial response to the article, comments regarding the study’s design or methodology (if any),
insights you gained from reading the article, your reasons for being interested in this
particular article, any other readings that you may plan to do based upon having read the
article, and other thoughts you have that might further enhance the discussion of your article.
Your subjective comments in this section must be clearly tied to main points from the article,
not peripheral ideas. Again, do not reference any other article.
4. In your final section, in approximately 1 page, write how you would apply (25 points) the
information you have learned from this article to a particular counseling setting. Make this
setting one that would typically be seen in human services counseling—community services
agencies, adoption agencies, volunteer counseling settings such as in churches, etc. Develop
this section as if you are a pastor or clinician and your parishioner or client has come to you
with a problem—grief, depression, substance abuse, relationships problems, etc.— needing
your help. Adequately describe the counseling scenario including the presenting problem.
Draw out concepts from the article and apply them to the scenario as if you were guided only
by the content of the article. Show the reader how you expressly drew from the journal article
in this application section and cite correctly, per APA.
HSCO 506
5. Use the provided current APA template and personalize the template for your particular
Point values for each section as well as for writing can be found on the grading rubric.
Remember that all papers in the program must be written to professional (graduate level)
standards and writing/APA can contribute 30 points to your score.
Submit both Journal Article Reviews in Blackboard through the assignment submission links in
Modules/Weeks 1 and 5.
Journal Article Review 1 is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 1.
Journal Article Review 2 is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 5.
Journal of Psychology and Christianity
Copyright 2009 Christian Association for Psychological Studies
2009, Vol. 28, No. 2,141-148
ISSN 0733-4273
A Holistic Psychology of Persons:
Implications for Theory and Practice
David N. Entwistle
Malone University
A Christian worldview that takes seriously the idea of personhood as a holistic unity presents an ideal
perspective from which to explore human behavior as an expression of biological, psychological, and
social influences (the “biopsychosocial” perspective now common in psychology) as well as an expression
of spiritual realities that, while often expressed through biopsychosocial media, are not simply ‘explained
away’ by them. A Christian worldview that holds that human beings are a unity of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual realities creates an opportunity for theoretical integration and holistic practice, but
it also creates practical tensions regarding how to discern the root causes of behavior (e.g., biological, psychological, social, or spiritual etiology) and attempting to discover the best way to intervene when impairment of functioning is noted (e.g., whether biological therapy, psychotherapy, social intervention, or
religiously-based interventions are called for). Additionally, there are ethical and legal issues that must be
taken into consideration by Christians who are licensed mental health practitioners, especially when
hypothesized causes or proposed interventions stand somewhere between recognized secular interventions and specifically religious interventions. In this article, these topics are addressed both as theoretical
issues about how best to conceptualize human behavior and the causes of impairment, as well as practically in regard to how to proceed in evaluating and using religiously-based interventions.
metaphysical extremism. Naturalistic metaphysical extremism assumes that human nature—
indeed all of nature—is a purely naturalistic system and that any reliance on religious systems is
likely to be damaging psychologically. While
many psychologists adopt naturalistic assumptions, it is probably fair to say that few of them
occupy the extreme position that sees religion
and mental health as incompatible. For the purpose of the present discussion, it is the assumption that religious belief is pathological that is
being labeled extremism rather than the quest
for naturalistic explanations per se. An opposing
extreme casts suspicion on natural explanations
and interventions because of what might be
called spiritualistic metaphysical extremism.
The perspective that views mental and physical health as having only religious cures is sadly
illustrated by the death of 15-month-old Ava
Worthington, whose parents were members of a
small sect called the Followers of Christ. Ava,
who had pneumonia and a secondary blood
infection, was treated solely with prayer in
accordance with her parents’ religious beliefs;
she would almost certainly have been saved
with a course of antibiotics (Faith Healing, 2008).
This was not an isolated incident; a decade earlier, a newspaper reporter investigated the deaths
of 78 minors that occurred during the previous
30 years among the small Followers of Christ
sect, and concluded that over a quarter of the
deceased children would have survived with
Many perspectives about what role spirituality
may play in mental and physical health and illness have been offered throughout history, ranging from the view that religious belief inevitably
leads to mental illness, on one extreme, to the
view which claims that there are only religious
solutions for psychological or medical problems
on the opposite extreme. The perspective that
sees religion and psychological health as incompatible was common in psychology several
decades ago, as illustrated by the following quotations from Albert Ellis, one from early in his
career and one shortly before his death:
In most respects religion seriously
sabotages mental health. (Ellis,
1980, p. 5) Try to avoid a doctrinal
system through which you are dogmatically convinced that you absolutely must devote yourself to the
one, only, right, and unerring
deity…. Otherwise, in my view as a
psychotherapist, you most probably
are headed for emotional trouble.
(Ellis, 2002, p. 365)
Although Ellis modified his perspective somewhat in later years, his comments are prototypical of what might be called naturalistic
Please address correspondence regarding this article to
Dr. David N. Entwistle, Dept. of Psychology, Malone
University, 2600 Cleveland Ave., NW, Canton, OH
44709. Email
simple medical treatment (Von Biema, 1998).
Cases such as the death of Ava Worthington garner intense media attention because they are
both rare and tragic. To a lesser degree, most
medical doctors have experienced cases in
which individuals rejected medical care in favor
of spiritual remedies. Likewise, most mental
health practitioners can recount stories of individuals who refused medication or psychotherapy because of religious beliefs, sometimes with
tragic consequences.
Most people—including most psychologists,
one would suspect—do not follow the extremes
of Ellis or the Followers of Christ, but these two
prototypes illustrate what Entwistle (2004a)
called an Enemies Paradigm in which the “adherents of these models see each other as enemies,
and either reject or neglect one of the two books
of God: His word or His works” (p. 203). Adherents of the secular version of this paradigm view
religious beliefs as inherently illogical and dangerous. Adherents of the sacred version of this
paradigm view personal belief or practice that is
based on science or logic as a dangerous departure from religious fidelity.
As psychology emerged from philosophy in the
late nineteenth century, it sought to establish
itself as a science. In doing so it adopted methodological naturalism, that is, “it seeks natural
explanations for the phenomena it investigates”
and it embraced the scientific method as the
means by which those explanations are sought
(Entwistle, 2004a, p. 135). Gradually this became
codified as the biopsychosocial approach, meaning that psychology seeks to understand behavior
as it is mediated by biological, psychological, and
social forces. The biopsychosocial approach has
been enormously successful, leading to medications for mental illness, interventions based on
intrapsychic phenomena (from cognitive behaviorism to psychoanalysis), and awareness of how
membership in groups or the presence of others
influences behavior (social psychology). Psychology, as a science, is constrained to study religious
and spiritual matters as biological, psychological,
and social processes. Notice, however, that even
if this approach is adopted, it does not mean that
spiritual beliefs are necessarily illogical or pathological, nor does not mean that there are not spiritual realities; it just means that psychology—as a
science—cannot study spiritual realities directly.
While psychology as a science adopted
methodological naturalism, many psychologists
took a further step by embracing metaphysical
naturalism, the belief that there is nothing other
than the physical world. From this perspective,
human behavior can only be seen as a product
of material forces and as bounded by physical
life: death is the end of existence. Individuals
who subscribe to metaphysical naturalism typically view belief in supernatural phenomena as
an impediment to science and as an expression
of primitive, illogical beliefs. It is from this perspective that individuals like Ellis condemn religious belief.
Against this backdrop, a dominant strand of
orthodox Christian theology views personhood as
a holistic unity.1 An orthodox Christian worldview
affirms that there are spiritual realities (e.g., the
existence of God and the activity of God within
the created realm) and that we inhabit a physical,
created world which we share with other created
beings. Thus Christian theology affirms the existence of spiritual, psychological, physical, and
social realities. Christian theology does not give
us an explicit theory about how these realities
operate, but it affirms the essential unity of personhood. Furthermore, it affirms that creation is
“very good” (Gen. 1:31) and that we owe our
existence to God. The natural realm of creation
operates by fixed, discernible rules made by God,
which make scientific and rational inquiry possible (Lewis, 1947/1996). A holistic view of human
personhood that emerges from a Christian worldview has important implications for how best to
conceptualize psychological phenomena.
Implications of a Holistic View of
Personhood for Psychological Theory
A Christian conceptualization of human personhood as a holistic unity allows us to respect
biopsychosocial and spiritual realities, and moreover, to see them as unified rather than bifurcated. The most important implications of this
perspective are that it recognizes the legitimacy
and boundaries of naturalistic science while
simultaneously affirming the fundamentally spiritual nature of human beings and the truths that
God proclaims about human beings. This being
the case, theology and psychology can work
together to inform our understanding of human
nature and functioning.
A holistic view of human personhood also
allows us to see how spiritual realities might be
mediated through biopsychosocial media. For
instance, imagine that a woman is feeling lonely,
depressed, and isolated. Her prayer for divine
help might well be answered through the social
connections that she has with others in her
church family. In fact, a host of research on religious coping suggests that meaning, purpose,
social connection, and other tangible benefits
may be directly attributable to the religious
beliefs and practices of religiously committed
individuals (e.g., Koenig, 2004). The belief that
spiritual realities may be expressed through natural media does not explain away their supernatural origins or reduce them to physical
phenomena. Affirming both natural and spiritual
realities allows us to avoid a dualistic split
between the sacred and the secular and to provide holistic care. A holistic view of personhood
will thus have implications for clinical practice
from a Christian perspective.
Implications for Psychological Practice
For Christians who work in the mental health
field, this conceptualization of the relationship of
the supernatural and the natural opens a door
into a patient’s religious life beyond merely seeing
it as an expression of biological, psychological,
and social factors. However, this conceptualization brings with it ethical issues about how to
work with patients when their religious beliefs
could be a matter of clinical concern or psychological beneficence. Religious and non-religious
people can agree that religious beliefs may help
or hinder physical or psychological health. However, Christians are committed to the belief that
there are spiritual realities; they are not content
with pragmatically using faith as a utilitarian coping mechanism. Furthermore, religious belief can
be accurate or inaccurate, helpful or—as in the
case of Ava Worthington—harmful. This being the
case, theology cannot be seen as unimportant to
In recent decades, clinical psychology has
retreated from the perspective that religion is
bound to contribute to psychopathology. In
large part, this movement has resulted from
empirical data that clearly show benefits of religious belief and practice (see Koenig, 2004, for
an overview). As a result of this shift, many psychologists now consider how spirituality should
be addressed in therapy, whether through taking
a spiritual history, through incorporating isolated
spiritual practices into therapy, or by offering
exclusively, religiously-based therapies. How to
address religious beliefs in therapy ethically is a
significant matter.
Ethical Boundaries of Practice
Psychologists—and other mental health professionals—are licensed or certified to provide psychotherapy and other services that fall within the
“boundaries of their competence, based on their
education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience”
(APA Code of Ethics, Section 2.01). In normal
usage, the boundaries of competence apply to
“recognized techniques and procedures,” and
special guidelines are called for if a psychologist
provides services that employ techniques or procedures that are beyond the scope of the “generally recognized techniques and procedures” of
the profession (APA Code of Ethics, Section
10.01-b). In summary, these guidelines are quite
clear—a psychologist is licensed to provide
“generally recognized techniques” of psychotherapy that she is competent to provide based on
“education, training, and supervised experience.”
A secular materialist may deal with the spiritual
as a mere expression of biological, psychological,
and sociological phenomena, but the Christian
sees spiritual phenomena as reflecting more than
material reality. The secular materialist and the
Christian may agree that it is important to take
spirituality into account in psychotherapy, especially as it regards the client’s phenomenological
perspective. While it may be important to understand the client’s spiritual framework, to go
beyond this and make use of spirituality therapeutically must be done with great caution. A
psychologist who considers using religiouslybased interventions needs to consider several
issues: how to use religiously-based interventions
ethically; how to be sensitive to the client’s belief
system; the inherent vulnerability of the client
due to the inequality of the therapeutic power
structure; and the dangers of reducing religious
belief to a therapeutic enterprise.
Using religiously-based interventions ethically
A myriad of therapeutic techniques based on
spiritual or religious beliefs and practices have
been developed by Christians who believe that
these techniques offer therapeutic benefits for
patients who have mental health problems (e.g.,
Anderson, Zuehlke, & Zuehlke, 2000). Religiously-based interventions may include common religious practices such as prayer, meditation, or
scripture reading; many of these interventions
are used adjunctively to standard forms of psychotherapy. Other religiously-based interventions
may combine elements of a standard form of
psychotherapy with spirituality, such as exploring
dysfunctional religious beliefs from a cognitivebehavioral framework. Some religiously-based
interventions may involve systematic techniques
derived from a particular theological perspective.
Religiously-based interventions that are adjunctive in nature may pose few ethical issues when
the primary treatment modality is a recognized
form of psychotherapy, although informed consent and other issues must be addressed. However, religiously-based interventions that are used as
the primary treatment modality, because they fall
outside of the realm of “generally recognized
techniques and procedures,” must be used with
caution, especially if they are portrayed to clients
as “psychological” interventions.2
Religiously-based interventions that are utilized
as a primary treatment modality and billed for as
psychological services raise several ethical concerns (see also Hunter & Yarhouse, 2009). First,
religiously-based interventions should not be used
unless the psychologist has demonstrated competence in the use of the technique (APA Ethical
Principles, 2.01 – a & e). Second, they should not
be used without first obtaining explicit informed
consent from the client. In cases where the proposed technique is not “generally recognized,” it
is incumbent upon the psychologist to inform the
client “of the developing nature of the treatment,
the potential risks involved, alternative treatments
that may be available, and the voluntary nature of
their participation” (APA Ethical Principles, 10.01 –
b). The following scenario illustrates how these
principles are sometimes violated.
In 2002 I rec …
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