There are hundreds of Christian counseling books available online. How do you choose one that can help your professional practice or personal life?
Before we delve into the best Christian counseling books to read this year, here’s a brief introduction on what this type of intervention is about.
What is Christian counseling? Mental health professionals have mixed opinions on Christian counseling, but it continues to be a very popular type of intervention, especially in the United States. Depending on religious affiliations and other factors, definitions of Christian counseling can vary, but a common theme among all of these interpretations is that it is a type of counseling that contextualizes psychological concerns within the framework of Biblical teachings.
Because Christian counseling is heavily religious in nature, it is not often taught in graduate school. Training for Christian counseling is also usually limited to religious universities and institutions that specialize in this type of practice. There have also been questions regarding the effectiveness of Christian counseling, especially when compared to secular interventions, although literature into its practice is slowly growing, and advocates, even among non-Christian therapists, are becoming more vocal.
If you want to learn more about Christian counseling, reading a book is your best bet. Here is Best Psych Books‘ list of best Christian counseling books.
Table of Contents
Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy
Author: Various contributors
What it’s about: If you want to delve into available literature supporting the effectiveness of Christian counseling, then Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy is the right book for you. The book is a compilation of essays from practitioners and academics, sharing their insights and research into the effectiveness of Christian counseling, how it compares to secular counseling, and how the practice can benefit clients seeking support. Aside from presenting current evidence on Christian counseling effectiveness, the book also presents guidelines for aspiring researchers on how to conduct research into this intervention.
What it’s about: If there’s any single book you should read about Christian counseling, it’s Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide. The book was written by the late Gary R. Collins, a pioneer of Christian counseling and the former leader of the American Association of Christian Counselors. Described as a “classic handbook for churches, classrooms, and the helping professionals,” Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide covers the basics of Christian counseling as well as its applications on common concerns, such as abuse, anxiety, and marriage and relationship problems. Anyone who wants to understand how Christian counseling is done will benefit from reading this book.
Skills For Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration
Author: Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred C. Gingrich
What it’s about: Counseling requires certain skills that are usually learned through practice, instead of inside the classroom. In Skills for Effective Counseling, authors Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred C. Gingrich help readers understand how anyone in the helping profession — from counselors to chaplains — can hone their counseling skills with a biblically integrated approach in mind. In this book, readers will understand how to execute microskills such as perceiving, attending, validating emotion and empathic connection in order to help their clients better.
What it’s about: The Biblical Counseling Guide For Women, written by counseling professor John D. Street and his wife, Janie Street, is for anyone who wants to help women address issues that commonly affect them. The book serves as an instruction guide for those who would like to help women overcome issues such as anxiety, eating disorders, and marital unfaithfulness through Christian counseling. If you are interested in a Christian counseling book specifically written to guide professionals in helping women, The Biblical Counseling Guide For Women is the right book for you.
What it’s about: Written by established professionals in the field of Christian counseling, The Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling is a reference book of terms relevant to the practice of Christian counseling. The book contains 300 terms by 100 professional Christian counselors, and provides definitions covering topics under the scope of this intervention. Professionals seeking to expand their knowledge base of Christian counseling should have The Popular Encyclopedia of Christian Counseling on their shelves.
Christian Counseling Ethics: A Handbook for Psychologists, Therapist and Pastors
Author: Randolph K. Sanders
What it’s about:Christian Counseling Ethics covers the fundamentals of conducting ethical Christian counseling. According to its author, Randolph K. Sanders, ethical integrity is an essential part of the practice of Christian counseling. His book is an essential guide on ethical considerations in Christian counseling, and is continuously referenced by psychologists and counselors as well as pastors and church workers. Christian Counseling Ethics weighs in on topics such as multiple relationships, teletherapy, and cross-cultural counseling.
What it’s about: Because the foundation of Christian counseling is the Bible, it’s only appropriate for its practitioners to be familiar with the underlying scriptures inspiring their practice. In Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, John G. Kruis helps professionals find scriptural guidance for the issues they commonly tackle in counseling. This is a must-have for anyone who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the Biblical bases of Christian counseling.
There are plenty of available resources on Christian counseling, but these are the most essential books an aspiring Christian counselor should have when solidifying their career in this specific type of field.
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