Metaphysics, behavior change models, and a place for Christian counseling in the public arena

Here’s a juicy quote from a new book, Psychiatry: A Very Short Introduction (OUP, 2006) that James Skillen brought to my attention in a recent presentation on principled pluralism.

“Few issues polarize us as much as how changeable we believe human behavior to be. The disagreements are not just calm, academic ones but fuel (and are fueled by) political and social beliefs reflecting fundamentally different worldviews.” (p. 86) The development of change models are then, “dependent on the values and structures of the societies that [foster them].” (p. x).

Well said.  

While most of us bemoan the devaluing of Christian principles and talk of us vs. them (christian vs. world), Skillen argues for our vigorous participation in “principled pluralism.” “…We should be exercising both our citizenship and our nongovernment responsibilities in appropriate, publicaly open, Christian ways, working to shape public laws and uphold justice for all in keeping iwht confessional and structural pluralism.” (from p. 6 of a paper he delivered at the latest Society for Christian Psychology conference)

Skillen is passionate about Christians being in the public sphere, not just to argue for their own rights but for the rights of all citizens.


Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, church and culture

2 responses to “Metaphysics, behavior change models, and a place for Christian counseling in the public arena

  1. Phil,

    Recently , on the Issues, Etc. radio show Dr. Stanton Jones was interviewed about his new book Ex-gays?: A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Mediated Change in Sexual Orientation.

    He mentioned that the counseling industry no longer sees homosexuality as a mental illness, but they do see a Christian who wants to change their sexual orientation as a mental illness. Do you know what he is talking about? It’s in the first 15 or so minutes of the show. I may have heard him wrong or just not understood.


  2. Mark, what he is talking about is that homosexuality used to be in the DSM (diagnostic manual for psychiatric disorders) as a disorder. Now it is not. But, those who might wish to try to change their orientation are seen as only wanting to do so because of unhealthy social/religious pressures. Sounds like you heard them right.

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