Tag Archives: Mark McMinn

Practicum Monday: Learning counseling skills from videos


Counseling education includes the usual academic exercises as well as hands-on practice. There is no substitute for the practice piece. But, videos can provide students with good illustrations of various counseling activities, styles, processes, etc.

But which videos to watch? The classics (masters in unstaged vignettes)? Training videos (usually staged with actors)? One of the first videos I ever saw was of Salvador Minuchin at the Child Guidance Clinic. There he was in a room, unashamedly smoking a cigarette, and manipulating (in the best sense of the word!) a family with an eating disordered girl. I was taken with his larger-than-life presence in the room and his ability to be irreverent. Needless to say, I could never emulate him. In fact this video that I loved made me wonder if I had what it took to be a therapist.

Last week and this week the practicum class has been viewing Mark McMinn’s christian counseling video produced by APA. One ought not expect the APA to be up on Christian counseling (and its many varieties) but this video is useful for many reasons. First, Mark illustrates a relational style of cognitive therapy and so what he does in this first session is usable in almost any method of counseling. Second, the counselee is not an actress. She is a real person with real concerns (which students relate well to!). Third, Mark doesn’t merely focus on her problems but does a great job highlighting her strengths and resources. Finally, Mark isn’t a big personality–meaning we can all see ourselves doing what he does.

We use mock vignettes as well. I participated in making some mock counseling videos at Regent in Virginia Beach. Mock sessions tend to focus on discrete skills and are better in 2-3 minute vignettes rather than full sessions, and for beginning students rather than those about to graduate.

If you ever took a counseling class that used videos, what counseling videos did you watch and were they helpful?

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Filed under christian counseling, christian psychology, counseling, counseling science, counseling skills, teaching counseling

Integrative Psychotherapy: A Review 1


Consider this your forwarning that I am about to start weekly chapter reviews of Mark McMinn and Clark Campbell’s book Integrative Psychotherapy: Toward a Comprehensive Approach(IVP, 2007). I believe this book is important because it marks an important step forward in developing a substantial theoretical model for integrationist psychotherapy. Most of what has gone on in the last several decades has been primarily theoretical and not practice oriented. Both men are professors at George Fox University in Oregon. I know Mark personally as he taught several of my classes at Wheaton and helped me publish my first book chapters in a book he edited. Mark is a gentleman, prolific writer, and pretty good basketball player (he has/had one of the quickest releases around, making it hard to block his shot).

I’m not likely to fully agree with this book, but I expect that it will provoke some thoughts among my student readers.

Introduction: What is a Christian psychotherapy? Good question. the authors say that Christian psychotherapy must be based on “a model of psychotherapy that is faithful to both Christianity and psychology.” (p. 15).

They acknowledge some problems with prior attempts. They define integration in 2 dimensions: (a) integrating a Christian view of persons with psychological literature, and (b) integrating various approaches to therapy (they do not believe in any one pure approach to therapy).

They are not trying to propose the ONE christian model for psychotherapy.

What is to come? the first 4 chapters establish their theoretical framework. For example, they use the concept of the imago dei and its functional, structural, and relational aspects to build their model of persons and therapy). The next 7 chapters consider the practice of their model referred to as IP.

Well, strap on your seatbelts and come along for the ride each Wednesday. 

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Filed under book reviews, christian counseling, christian psychology, Psychology