Translating EFT into Christian Psychology? Publication notice

My friend and colleague Mike McFee (Eastern University) and I recently had an article published in the latest edition of the Journal of Psychology & Christianity (v. 30, pp 317-328). In it we tried to tackle how someone from a Christian Psychology perspective might interact with Emotion-Focused Therapy, a popular treatment protocol.

Here’s how we started our paper,

Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) is a rapidly growing treatment system offering empirically based treatment for couples and families. As with many current secular theories of psychology, EFT is embedded in humanistic assumptions which propose a few challenges to the Christian practitioner…. Using the methodology of Eric Johnson…this essay explores the practices of translating EFT into a Christian Psychology.

Next we identify a problem for counselors. We say that being christian and thinking christianly is supposed to influence all that we do. But, the truth is much of what goes on in Christian counseling doesn’t look that much different from counseling from markedly different ideologies. Both are compassionate and use similar techniques. The problem isn’t always bad integration but that we haven’t defined well the various levels of translation between two languages (i.e., humanistic founded EFT and Christian psychology).

The rest of the essay explores the two languages and 3 kinds of translation possibilities depending on the context and need, rather than is a one-size-fits-all approach. We conclude with a case example and actual dialog to show one kind of translation work.

What are the 3 kinds of translation? You’ll have to read if you want to know? There has to be SOME mystery, right?


Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling, counseling science, counseling skills, Psychology, Uncategorized

7 responses to “Translating EFT into Christian Psychology? Publication notice

  1. Penny

    no link to said article? teaser!

  2. G.K. Sexton

    I believe that EFT needs to be evaluated against the backdrop of the insights furnished by Nancy Pearcey in ” Saving Leonardo: Releasing Christianity from its Cultural Captivity,” There she traces the departure from Thinking as the controlling category of discernment to the dominance of Emotions as the main category for evaluating the landscape of our lives, vocations and atmospherics, Interesting to see that Paul the Apostle shows no need to play the mind off against the heart (cf. Romans 12:2ff.).

  3. D. Stevenson

    Gee thanks. :/ I still have access to a database, but that issue is too new. Ah well, I did find an article you co-wrote in 2009. 🙂 God as Healer: A Closer Look at Biblical Images of Inner Healing with Guiding Questions for Counselors

  4. Nancy

    wish there was an easy way to get a hold of a hard copy.

  5. Judy Hanks

    Gen4:3-7 where Cain’s offering was rejected by God and made Cain angry and his countenance fell – emotions were upset. God comes to him and says, “Why are you depressed” and pointed the way toward overcome it: “If you do right, will it (your face) not be lifted up?” Here, God sets forth the importance principle that behavior determines feelings. People feel bad because of bad behavior; feelings flow from actions which flows from the heart. This relationship between feelings and behavior is set for very clearly in Scripture and shows what is in a man’s heart.

    1Peter 3:16 speaks of the value of maintaining a good conscience. Conscience, man’s ability to evaluate his own actions, activate unpleasant visceral and other bodily warning devices when he sins. When he fails he feels it. These responses serve to alert him to the need for correction of the wrong behavior which the conscience (heart) would not tolerate. Visceral discomfort is a God structured means of telling human beings that they have violated their standards. Vernon Grounds, “psychic pain is inflicted by the Holy Spirit as He creates the conviction of sin, a conviction which testifies that God’s law has been broken.” When one repents of what they have done, the Holy Spirit begins the regeneration work and restores their feelings of JOY and peace. Psalm 19:8 The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart.

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