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The Clinical Christ - by Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D.

The Clinical Christ

Scientific and Spiritual Reflections on the Transformative Psychology Called Christian Holism

Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D.

Published by: Julian’s House Birdsboro, PA

About the Author

Charles Zeiders is a Doctor of Psychology and a licensed psychologist. A Postdoctoral Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Cognitive Therapy and a Diplomate in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (NACBT), Dr. Zeiders has lectured nationally and internationally regarding the interplay of spirituality and health. Throughout his career, Dr. Zeiders has produced academic publications on the psychology of religion, taught psychology at the University level, and worked with patients in the midst of Christian spiritual transformation. In independent practice in the Philadelphia area, Dr. Zeiders chairs the Think Tank for Christian Holism.

About the Cover Art
The cover design depicts the Icon of Christian Holism. Atop the cross, the dove represents the Holy Spirit’s presence in the clinical situation, guiding and nurturing the clinical process so that therapy unfolds toward the patient’s healing in a state of grace. The cross beam depicts God creating Adam, alluding to the fact that, though fallen, human nature contains the image of God, and that the final aim of Christian Holism involves participating in the Spirit’s restoration of the Divine Image to every person who enters treatment. At the bottom of the cross, Freud represents the corpus of psychotherapeutic theory and practice—a body of knowledge that comes closest to truth and becomes authentically healing when surrendered to the power of the Holy Spirit. As a whole, the dove, creation, and Freud form the Cross of the Clinical Christ. Lord of Treatment, the Clinical Christ is the Sovereign into whose kingdom the practitioner of Christian Holism annexes all psychological theory and practice. On this cross, the Clinical Christ absorbs and destroys sin and psychopathology and radiates forth the restorative medicine of radical forgiveness and extreme sanity.

Cover Art Permissions 1. Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel; ceiling frescos after restoration. The Creation of Adam. Sistine Chapel, Vatican Palace, Vatican State Photo Credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY 2. Sigmund Freud: Freud Museum, London

Cover—Designed by King Design Group, LLC

Case Material regrading specific persons is used by permission. Identifying information is altered to protect privacy.

© 2004 by Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. All rights reserved Manufactured in the United States of America Library of Congress Control Number: 2004113443 ISBN Number: 0-9760316-0-4

Published by: Julian’s House Artistry with Words Robin Caccese, BS, MT(ASCP) 137 Proudfoot Dr., Birdsboro, PA 19508 Phone: 610-582-5571; Fax: 610-582-7112; rcaccese@talon.net www.christianhealingresources.org

Dedication to Julie Wegryn and Doug Schoeninger and the Healing Mission Team Church of the Good Shepherd Rosemont, PA

God bless you, my comrades in divine arms.

Acknowledgement to Denise Manganelli for her wonderful read through. Thanks!

Table of Contents

Barbara Shlemon Ryan, R.N. p. iii

Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. p. v

Tenets of Christian Holism for Psychotherapeutic Treatment
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D., Douglas Schoeninger, Ph.D.
Rev. Herman Riffel, Robin Caccese, B.S., M.T.(A.S.C.P.)
Julie Wegryn, M.S., M.A.T., N.C.C.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 23, #3&4,
Fall/Winter, 2001. p. 1

A Christian Depth Psychology Of Forgiveness Leading to the Resurrection Effect
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. p. 37

Meditations on Reconciliations
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. p. 69

Dreams and Christian Holism: Therapy and the Nocturnal Voice of God
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 23, #3&4,
Fall/Winter, 2001. p. 87

Psycho-Energetic Psychotherapy
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 18, #3, Fall, 1996. p. 105

A Review of the Evidence Regarding the Behavioral, Medical and Psychological Efficacy of Christian Prayer
Charles L. Zeiders, M.S. and Ronald J. Pekala, Ph.D.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 17, #3, Fall, 1995. p. 117

The Societal, Clinical, and Medical Necessity for the Church to Restore Her Healing Ministry
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. and Varuschka DeMarici, Psy.D.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 20, #3&4, Fall/Winter, 1998 p. 135

The Argument for the Inclusion of Spirituality
Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. and James L. Schaller, M.D., M.A.R.
The Journal of Christian Healing, Volume 20, #1, Spring, 1998. p. 143


Barbara Shlemon Ryan, RN Be-loved Ministry

“I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit.” -- John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Dr. Charles Zeiders’ writings stand as powerful contributions to the human spirit. In most of today’s world the practice of modern psychology is severely handicapped by steadfastly separating body, mind, and spirit. His writings lift this veil of fear and misunderstanding by presenting a viable and effective alternative. Several years ago I was employed as a psychiatric nurse in a large Veteran’s Administration hospital located in the Midwest. Group therapy sessions were scheduled each week with the intention of uncovering the underlying cause of the patients’ mental problems. The clinical staff was instructed to discourage any discussions of spirituality during these gatherings because they presented an obstacle to recovery. It saddens me that I can recall very few lasting breakthroughs for those troubled souls. Dr. Zeiders refutes this form of therapy by demonstrating the beneficial effects of healthy spiritual experiences. He cites the copious amounts of scientific data that give strong arguments for the inclusion of spirituality in treatment plans. The Clinical Christ is a radical departure from today’s demystified form of analytic psychiatry and psychology. The insights and examples gleaned from Dr. Zeiders’ professional experience are sure to bring renewed hope to all who seek to discover true wholeness. I believe his writings will open the door to a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in the mental health field.


Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D.

Psychologists can measure normalcy, define madness, develop therapeutic paradigms, and list the nuances of human nature with utmost precision. We have biofeedback, psychometrics, psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, positive psychology, behavior modification, and a host of deeply promising projects in the research and development pipeline. To be sure, our discipline has advanced accurate understanding of the soul’s essential properties and has scientifically harnessed this knowledge to clinically mitigate the deep agony of the human mind. But, despite our advances and genuine effectiveness, our discipline remains incomplete. Theoretically, scientifically, and therapeutically, we fall short of the fuller effectuality that awaits us. We need Christ.
It is through the Christian revelation that psychology will find its maturity. In our incorporation of the divine breakthrough recorded in the New Testament, our theories will become more true, because we will develop them in the light of Truth. Our therapies will become more powerful, because we will submit them to the source of Power. Our knowledge of human nature—as good but fallen, redeemed through Jesus, loved by a powerful, active triune God—will have tremendous impact on our disciplinary pursuits. Because God created humanity, all psychological science implicitly situates research data in relation to the creator. Because the sovereign God heals, we can submit our therapeutic interventions to his sovereignty and enjoy a therapy the nature of which is saturated by grace. Cognitive or dynamic interventions can become so imbued with divinity that the clinician’s technique and the patient’s receptivity uncannily unfold toward health. For psychology there are blessings afoot. And these blessings stem from our recognition that the Clinical Christ—the activity of the God of the Christian revelation throughout the realms of our discipline—desires to redeem, relate, heal, love, and empower us. The Clinical Christ seeks to bring us individually and corporately into a level of exuberant wholeness that is ultimately endless and utterly wonderful. The Clinical Christ is the Lord of the transformative psychology of Christian Holism. The chapters of this book explore different aspects of the Clinical Christ, Christian Holism, and their implications.
A group of colleagues and I have spent years experiencing the Clinical Christ in our practice of Christian Holism. From our spiritual/clinical experience, we felt an obligation to develop a theology of psychotherapy. Under the auspices of the Institute for Christian Counseling and Therapy, we formed the Think Tank for Christian Holism. The Think Tank consisted of three licensed psychologists, a minister and pastoral therapist, and an author and publisher of religious books—all practicing Christians and veterans of psychological and spiritual practice. From our efforts emerged the following tenets of Christian Holism:

The Central Tenet of Christian Holism is that the Holy Spirit is present and active during treatment.

Next: Christian Holism is centered in Jesus Christ. The entire process of psychotherapy is explicitly under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Treatment is conducted in His name. Christian Holism concerns itself with placing psychological theories and interventions at the disposal of the Holy Spirit. Christian Holism views the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, and a valid source of inspiration and guidance for psychotherapeutic treatment. Christian Holism thinks of creeds and catechisms as powerful statements of core beliefs, core convictions, which help to position the intellect in such a way that the entire person may develop openness to the presence and healing reality of God. Christian Holism is ecumenical. Christian Holism distinguishes itself as a psychological perspective in its conviction that men and women are made in the Image of God. Christian Holism facilitates reconciliation with God, with self, with those in the human community and creation. Christian Holism places social science under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Under Christ’s dominion, treatment relies on natural therapeutic processes and supernatural grace to accomplish healing. Christian Holism employs both “secular” (psychological and relational-ethical) and “sacred” (spiritual-biblical) interventions to participate in the Holy Spirit’s Ministry to the client. Christian Holism is practiced by a therapist who provides sanctuary in which the client’s healing process can unfold.

If it is God’s will, may Christian Holism inform your practice and guide your healing.

In Christian Holism, therapeutic forgiveness ranks among the most powerful clinical activities, and the Clinical Christ blesses such work with special healing favor. Jesus knows that our capacity to heal, communicate with God, and receive God’s full blessing, greatly depends upon our capacity to forgive. That is why he tells us to forgive so we will be forgiven (Lk 6:37), to forgive others their trespasses (Mt 6:12), and to forgo our retribution requirements to a seemingly absurd degree (Mt 18:21-22). Research and scientific models bear out that unforgiveness is pathogenic: chronic anger adversely affects health (Kaplan, 1992); anger plays a role in decreased immune functioning (Herbert & Cohen, 1993); and stress from chronic unforgiveness imbalances the nervous system, causing physical and psychological problems (Newberg, d’Aquili, Newberg, deMarici, 2000). Conversely, forgiveness is curative: a growing body of research evidence points with increasing conclusivity that forgiveness positively correlates with measures of physical, psychological, and social health (Worthington, Berry, & Parrot, 2001). Plus, scientific and clinical evidence supports the position that forgiveness effectively treats a wide range of psychiatric disorders (Enright & Fitzgibbons, 2000). My own work in this area is based on a psychospiritual interpretation of Jesus’ teaching in Mt 5:21-26. I find that my clients’ Will to Punish those who have trespassed against them, imprisons them in the woundedness others inflicted upon them. When, through hard clinical work, these courageous people intentionally insert a Will to Forgive their trespassers over their Will to Punish them, the healing grace of God reaches the wounded portion of their soul and restores them. Sometimes the healing that follows forgiveness is dramatic, leaving clients in a euphoric state of grace with divinely inspired optimism. This predictable outcome of implementing the teachings of Jesus Christ, I have come to call The Resurrection Effect. (See p. 37 for a greater discussion of forgiveness, The Resurrection Effect, and the activity of the Clinical Christ.)
Christian spiritual psychology knows that forgiveness is the great healing deed of the Christian religion. When, through intense therapeutic effort and faith in God, a patient forgives, she heals. Similarly, shedding the alienating, pathogenic weight of sin by repentance and acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the health of reconciliation with God can be enjoyed. In fact, clinically and as a matter of theory, forgiveness appears to be a stepping stone to all types of reconciliation: reconciliation with self, others, and God. In my practice of Christian Holism, I have come to see that reconciliation itself is both a path and destination. As a path, reconciliation is moved forward in every corner of life by the God of love. As a destination, reconciliation is the end-game of the human condition and appears to be inexpressibly wonderful: To love and to be loved by God and to enjoy him forever. (See p. 69 for meditations on reconciliations.)
Dreams are another arena in which the Clinical Christ makes himself manifest. Therapeutically, dreams offer a wonderful corrective to a problem of human nature. During our tribulations, we sometimes cannot hear the wisdom of the greater parts of our soul, nor can we listen to the voice of God. But, just as God arranges his infinite consciousness into three persons to enjoy self reflection, the human spirit is similarly constructed. In dreams, the disparate aspects of our souls convene to converse and heal the whole person. Clinically, I have come to appreciate that dream activity occurs with the Holy Spirit witnessing, understanding, and even arranging the dream. Dreams are charismatic gifts, given by the Holy Spirit to bless the individual and the Christian Community (Savary, Berne, & Williams, 1984). Interpreting a dream under the guidance of the Clinical Christ, a patient will place a hand upon his heart and—inspired by the dream’s healing message—exclaim, like Jacob (Gen 28:16), “Surely God was in this place and I did not know it.” (See p. 87 for an exploration of dreams and the Clinical Christ.)
An experience of energy sometimes accompanies prayers for Christian clients in the clinical setting. Pilgrims to holy sites like Medegordje or the Toronto Airport Church (original site of what is now known as the Toronto Blessing) often report that an energetic phenomenon accompanies their worship. Charismatics also experience divine energies moving through them and healing them. Just as God healed the hemorrhaging woman via the dynamic healing energy that flowed from Jesus (Mt 9:20-22; Mk 5:25-34; Lk 8:43-48), the Clinical Christ continues to offer his healing energy in the clinical arena at his discretion for our good. As a clinician, I find it moving how—at the concluding prayer of an intense therapeutic hour—I and my client sometimes feel the very energy of God palpably blessing, healing, and encouraging the patient forward with sensible, dancing power. (See p. 105 for an exploration of energy and the Clinical Christ.) Clinically, God’s power can be felt.
Over the years, practicing Christian Holism and experiencing the healing activity of the Clinical Christ, I have come to appreciate God both as a person and as a clinical reality. Experiencing God as a person, I find that he wants my patients to heal, and wants me to be successful in helping them. God really cares and is clinically competent and wise and powerful. That is why in Christian Holism, Jesus is Lord of therapy, the Holy Spirit is clinically present, and the Father loves the enterprise. In the context of this reality, I find that God is an activist; that is, God does things that help the therapeutic process. God might inspire me to recall a long lost bit of psychodynamic theory which perfectly illuminates how a patient might heal, or God might answer a prayer for the healing of a chronic condition with such decisiveness that both I and my client struggle to understand the Trinity’s loving use of power and gratuitous generosity. Experiencing God as a clinical reality, I have come to rely on him, as I do my cognitive-behaviorism. An empiricist, I have come to appreciate that scientific evidence exists to support the incorporation of prayer into the clinical setting. Not only that, but emerging science supports that notion that spiritual activity blesses people on a host of health-outcome indicators. Such science has import in the training of clinicians and even scientifically informs the Church, regarding how she might draw inspiration from social science to renew her own healing ministry with confidence. (Three chapters in this book examine these themes, beginning on p. 117.)
As you read this book, may God bless you with his truth and protect you from my errors. May God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be with you always—inspiring you by his dynamic presence and clinically empowering you to be an agent of his healing.

Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist Chairman, Think Tank for Christian Holism The Feast of Corpus Christi Bryn Mawr, PA 2004

Enright, R., & Fitzgibbons, R., (2000). Helping clients forgive. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Herbert, T., & Cohen, S. (1993). Stress and immunity in humans: a meta-analytic review. Psychosomatic Medicine, 50, 153-164.
Kaplan, B.H. (1992). Social health and the forgiving heart: The type B story. Journal of Behavior Medicine, 15, 3-14.
Newberg, A., d’Aquili, E., Newberg, S., & deMarici, V., (2000). The neuropsychological correlates of forgiveness. In M. McCullough, K. Paragament, & C. Thorsen (Eds), Forgiveness: Theory, research, and practice (pp. 91-110). New York: Guilford Press.
Savary, L., Berne, P., & Williams, S.K. (1984). Dreams and spiritual growth: A Judeo-Christian way of dreamwork. New York: Paulist Press.
Worthington, E., Berry, J., & Parrot, L. (2001). Unforgiveness, forgiveness, religion, and health. In Plante & A. Sherman (Eds.), Faith and health: Psychological perspectives (pp. 107-138). New York: The Guilford Press.

Tenets of Christian Holism for Psychotherapeutic Treatment

Charles L. Zeiders, Psy.D. Douglas Schoeninger, Ph.D. Rev. Herman Riffel Robin Caccese, BS, MT(ASCP) Julie Wegryn, MS, MAT, NCC

Christian Holism defines the place and work of the Holy Spirit in psychological counseling. Christian Holism is an emerging psychological perspective predicated on Christian principles. It is a transpersonal psychology that acknowledges the divinity of Christ. It strives to develop a practical way of thinking and working within psychological disciplines, while serving Christendom and its living God. Christian Holism seeks to enlist the blessings inherent in social science to the purpose of reclaiming the Imago Dei in persons. Christian Holism strives to retain flexibility to incorporate new, healthful science and theories about human nature, while keeping sturdy faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ operating in the clinical situation through the divine economy of the Holy Trinity.

Since the mid 1970’s, the Institute for Christian Counseling and Therapy has been developing a type of psychotherapy that incorporates elements of secular psychology firmly under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus Christ. By the late ‘90’s the clinicians reached consensus that the theory and practice of Christian Holism had become sufficiently mature to be developed into a set of principles or tenets for use by interested Christians, practitioners, and academics within the mental health professions. Dr. Zeiders developed prototypes of the tenets of Christian Holism and presented this list to the Think Tank for the Development of Christian Holism, comprised of members of the Institute for Christian Counseling and Therapy. For the year prior to the Fall/Winter, 2001 issue of the Journal of Christian Healing, the Think Tank convened under the Chairmanship of Dr. Zeiders to discuss the tenets, hone them, and propose more. Each Think Tank session focused on discussing a single tenet. Sessions were recorded and transcriptions were prepared. Think Tank members edited the transcripts and made additions. Dr. Schoeninger then edited the formal tenets into final form with the approval of the Think Tank. The authors listed above are the principals who share responsibility for pioneering and articulating this approach. Emerging from this labor is a Central Tenet of Christian Holism and ten additional tenets. Before adjourning, the Think Tank agreed that the tenets are far from complete. Much more needs to be done, especially in terms of developing tenets regarding how the redemptive work of Christ applies to the clinical enterprise and delineating a theory of psychopathology that is more explicitly Christian than current theories.
Listed first is the Central Tenet of Christian Holism, the most important idea for the governance of our theory and practice. Following the Central Tenet are ten additional tenets that guide our thinking regarding important areas of Christian mental health practice. Each tenet is presented in three segments: first, the formal edited tenet, second, initial commentary by Dr. Zeiders, and, third, relevant dialogue from Think Tank transcriptions.

The Central Tenet of Christian Holism
The Central Tenet of Christian Holism for psychotherapeutic treatment is that the Holy Spirit is fully present in the clinical situation, with and within the therapist and the client(s), and is actively engaged in the treatment process.
The Holy Spirit is completely present to the clinician and the client. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, present everywhere and in every time of the client’s life, without losing any particularity, and the Holy Spirit is omniscient, present to and discerning all realities—objective and subjective. The Holy Spirit works within and though the clinician and heals the client because the Holy Spirit honors the clinician and loves the client. The Holy Spirit works within the divine relatedness of the Holy Trinity, behaving toward the clinician and the client in an ongoing, person-loving way. The blessing of the Spirit’s presence and activity unfolds both immediately and over time. The Holy Spirit is the prime mover of the healing process. The Holy Spirit acts with perfect and complete clinical competence, because the Holy Spirit is God’s competence present with us.
Charles Zeiders: The Central Tenet is the most import idea that governs our therapy. The Spirit is in the midst of treatment and is therapeutically active. We know this because God loves us (Jn. 3:16). Naturally God wants us to do well—to find salvation, joy, and health. Thus, he sent Jesus. Jesus wants the good things that the Father wants for us (Jn. 8:28), so he sent the Spirit (Jn. 14:18). When clinicians and clients pray, the Spirit will gladly become present to them clinically. The Spirit of truth counsels the counseling. Then the benefits of the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God become manifest in the midst of the clinical enterprise.
God is present everywhere. Christian Holism emphasizes this profundity. In this approach, the Holy Spirit is believed to be especially present when invited by clinician and client to advance treatment in the name of Jesus Christ. The Spirit is ontologically present and helpful in the clinical situation. This is foundational.
Rev. Herman Riffel: The work of the Holy Spirit is primarily to make Jesus real to us.
Julie Wegryn: My experience in doing therapy is of the Holy Spirit directing and guiding, which is a little bit more than saying the Spirit is engaged in the process. I invite the Holy Spirit to direct and guide the process. I actively assume this and look to the Holy Spirit’s direction. An example of this is the manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s presence at times as an inner leading or an inner sense of guidance which does not fit any planned therapeutic intervention or comes at a time when the therapist has no idea of what to do. It may be guidance that the therapist would never have thought of in her usual patterns of therapeutic intervention.
Charles: And through this guidance the Holy Spirit works magnificently in terms of process. In the process people come to realize that their God is proactive, relevant, persistent and excitingly kind—always. The blessings of this process usually unfold over time. I say this because in my experience, while miracles do happen, they are statistically infrequent. I do not feel that we should make miracles the center of our focus, expecting them at every turn.
Doug Schoeninger: God’s action is always holistic. The healing work of the Holy Spirit, God’s work, is always in the context of the whole person and all the inter-relatedness within the whole person and between persons within the whole body of mankind, and most especially the immediate and generational context of the person. My experience is that most changes are developmental. They manifest gradually, as normal growth occurs. They develop over time in God’s order etched into creation and moved and inhabited by his Spirit. This is both obvious and shocking. The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Father/Creator and of Jesus, this Spirit is the very mind and power of creation. Therefore, we are working with the author of the very whole that we are attempting to heal. So, the very mind that created us is the mind that is active in healing. The Holy Spirit is the intelligence that created all things, therefore grasps all things and is able to penetrate all things (Hebrews 4:9). To circle back to your words, Charles, the Holy Spirit is completely clinically competent.
Julie: And beyond that. Beyond any competence we can conceive. The Holy Spirit is beyond what we can imagine competence to be. That is why sometimes when we are listening to and allowing ourselves to be led by the Spirit we are moved to do things with the client that we would never have thought of doing, actions outside of our ordinary mode.
Charles: This leading to perform “actions outside our usual mode” can take the form of extraordinary clinical creativity and insight into a client’s problems, such as uncanny intuition or suddenly saying exactly the right healing words. This fleshes out the concept that the Holy Spirit directs and guides the therapeutic process or weaves the process of the session.
Doug: Always, and always exceedingly exact, right, and novel at the same time. That is one of the outstanding qualities when you experience God’s action. It is just right and yet surprising. God’s action has both those aspects to it. Charles, you said it when you said, “People will realize that their God is proactive, relevant and excitingly, even, surprisingly kind.”
I had a perfect illustration today of engaging the conviction inherent in this Central Tenet. I was with a woman who, given her brokenness and the circumstances of her life, is about to become homeless. She just has no place to go and, seemingly, her wounds prevent her from gaining access to resources that could benefit and lead her somewhere. She truly feels that her grown children do not want her to stay with them very long. She is in her mid 60s. So, it comes down to the question, “Is there anyone for her.” All I could do with her was to stand for the reality that somehow her God is present and active for her. I do not have any solutions for her. God forbid, I am not even going to try to offer any. If the Holy Spirit inspires me, I will offer questions or suggestions. Her questions are, “Is there anyone to turn to? Is there anyone working on my behalf?” There is or there is not. These are very basic questions. What are we going to assume? That is the question I engaged with her. What are we going to assume?
Julie: This is right down to the bottom line.
Doug: Sometimes you are just at the bottom line with someone, with no answers except the faith that God is present for the person and actively engaged in providing for her welfare, somehow.
Charles: The therapist is a person who operates on behalf of the client with the understanding that regardless of external circumstances or degree of psychological problems, the Holy Spirit is operating on behalf of your client.
Doug: Yes, even the therapist cannot understand how the Spirit is going to act or manifest. The therapist cannot see any way out. The therapist holds the conviction that God is present and actively making provision on behalf of the client.
We might say that the Holy Spirit is complete competence, especially in situations such as these. The very same competent Spirit that brooded over the firmament (Genesis 1) broods over the therapeutic process.
Robin Caccese: I love how the Amplified version of the Bible (1987) fleshes out this kind of action of the Holy Spirit in Genesis chapter one. It takes key scriptural words and puts in other possible meanings of the Hebrew text.

In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth. [Heb. 11:3] The earth was without form and an empty waste, and darkness was upon the face of the very great deep. The Spirit of God was moving (hovering, brooding) over the face of the waters (Gen. 1:1-3).

This is the first account of creation. The second account, beginning in Gen. 2:4 is also interesting in demonstrating some actions of the Holy Spirit in the therapeutic context.

… In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens … But there went up a mist (fog, vapor) from the land and watered the whole surface of the ground … (vs. 6).

In the therapy process there are the times of darkness … the dark waste … or the formless void … or the waters of chaos …. The action of the Holy Spirit in the therapy process does lots of preparing, forming, fashioning and there are often lots of tears … mists, fogs, vapors watering the “whole surface of the ground.” I also like the translation of Ps. 51:10 in The Message (Peterson, 1995):

“God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.”

These are such good metaphors for the action of the Holy Spirit in the therapeutic process.
Charles: So, the mind that created the universe is the mind that is active, brooding over us, in restoring and healing the client. The Holy Spirit is the prime mover of treatment, the ultimate therapeutic force and completely clinically competent …
Doug: … and is the primary and ultimate healing force and intelligence.
Robin: The Holy Spirit is beyond methodologies and definitions, even our best definition of integration. God has a bigger and higher and wider and deeper and vaster definition of integration than we could possibly articulate.
Herman: And further, in the case of physical miracles, they may be perfectly real and good, but when you look at the whole picture of the person, perhaps the person has only received the physical healing. There may be much more that has not yet been healed. The physical miracle may not have encompassed all the healing the person needs.
Robin: And, looking at it the opposite way, if a physical miracle does not happen when you pray, perhaps you may have missed other subtle things that have happened and been healed. A concept of holism suggests holding the whole picture.
Charles: Yes, think also about the analogy of prayer as water. If you plant a seed and water it, it does not appear to grow immediately. Immediate apparent growth would be miraculous. Prayer is a way of watering the soul, and it causes the spiritual genetic code that God has placed in the soul to unfold its process according to God’s design.
Herman: What I’m so impressed with constantly as I meet various groups is the fact of the necessity that we need to be always open to what the Holy Spirit is doing and calling us to see. We never come to a place where we’ve got it because as soon as we think we do, we have put a limited human framework around God.

Tenets Proceeding from the Central Tenet 1. Christian Holism is centered in Jesus Christ. The entire process of psychotherapy is explicitly under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Treatment is conducted in His name.
Charles: Christian Holism is centered in Jesus Christ, because “Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p. 191). Since Christ is Lord of all things, therapy is authentically ordered when our therapeutic service is under Christ’s dominion. Clinically, we find that Christ enjoys helping patients, because he cares for them so much. Jesus of Nazareth brought good news to the afflicted, liberty to captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed, and proclaimed God’s favor (Lk. 4:18-19). Made Lord of treatment, Jesus continues to do these kind things by sending his Spirit to those treated.
Herman: To conduct therapy in Jesus’ name means to follow him. This is a response to a person (Jesus) by a person. Therefore following him does not always look the same, certainly for different persons. For example, in my youth I responded to an altar call to give my life to Jesus and nothing seemed to happen to me. Apparently there were certain other steps that I personally was to take to come to Jesus. Later, during a time my father was praying for me, I suddenly had the experience of being born again. Coming to the experience of being born again in this way, did not fit into the framework of my church’s thinking and its explicit traditions and expectations. Taking this notion further, many from my Mennonite background do not feel that Catholics are Christian, because they have not followed all the right steps. As it is, I have learned that Catholics have their own steps.
Charles: You just helped me realize something that is going to flesh out this Tenet. Under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will move within understood paradigms and the Holy Spirit will move in ways that seem outside of known paradigms, at the Lord’s pleasure for the good of the person.
Doug: According to the Lord’s love for that person.
Charles: To me working under the Lordship of Jesus means, first off, power of attorney. In Christian Holism therapists are operating on behalf of a sovereign person, utilizing powers that are given to them under the sovereign’s authority. At the same time the therapists recognize that they are not the author of the authority that they exercise. It also implies that by misusing the authority that they are given in Jesus’ name, they corrupt the entire enterprise, which is not good for the client, the therapist, or God.
Herman: Working under Jesus’ Lordship also implies exercising responsibility. We are given basic direction from Jesus, through the Spirit and through the written word, our scriptures, but we are also expected to understand and be able to interpret that which is given to us. What is given to us may be an essence, a basic principle. We then have to work out the basic principle. In that working it out, we have to learn how to relate to others in their interpretations. Working in Jesus’ name is like being an ambassador for a country. You speak for that country and you represent that country with authority even though you speak in your own words.
Doug: You are working under delegated authority.
Herman: Yes.
Robin: I think part of the working out that is involved is learning how to apply Jesus’ direction and authority in different situations.
Doug: Clarify for me, Herman, what you mean by principle because being under the Lordship of Jesus is not being under the Lordship of a principle. It’s the Lordship of a person, so I see myself as operating under the authority of a person who is active.
Herman: In the scripture we feel that God is speaking to us, but we have to learn how to apply it, as Robin said. There is going to be a difference of interpretation between people, while at the same time, both are under the Lordship of Christ.
Doug: So you are saying we take responsibility for living this out, for interpreting our own integrity in being under authority in the moment. At the same time we respect others’ interpretations, those of persons we are working with as clients or as colleagues, who are also doing their best to interpret the Lordship of Christ in the moment.
Herman: And this awareness gives us a responsibility towards others, because he is Lord, not only of me, but he is Lord for the other, and we have to respect that, and somehow discern together.
Robin: Before going further, I want to surface the fact that I do not relate very well to this phrase, “The Lordship of Jesus.” It sounds too distant. What I imagine when I am praying with somebody is that Jesus is beside me, and I imagine myself leaning toward him, kind of like with my ear to the source. I am not thinking in terms of Lordship. That sounds too cool and distant.
Doug: How, then, do you relate to Jesus’ authority? How is Jesus’ authority active in the way that you work?
Robin: The only thing I work with is an image of my ear pressed to the heart and the mouth of Jesus.
Doug: If you are interpreting Jesus through what you sense or what you see through the vehicle of your imagination, and you are in dialogue with Jesus and you follow Jesus, wouldn’t that be Jesus’ Lordship in operation.
Robin: Oh, I follow your thought.
Doug: You do not lead him.
Robin: Oh no.
Doug: He leads you. That is the point I was trying to make. What I am saying is that you experience an immediacy of Jesus’ Lordship, because - yes, you are companions—but you are not there as equals, so you do not assume an equal authority. You do not say, “Forget it. My way is better. Go back to your drawing board, Jesus.”
Robin: Oh no. I would not even attempt to do that!
Doug: So there is order to the relationship.
Robin: I never even think in those ways, Doug.
Doug: I hear that you don’t, but, on the other hand, you may operate in those ways while not using those terms. You take your lead and direction from Jesus.
Charles: I think I understand what you are saying, Robin. The way you hear the term Lordship flashes you back to negative authority figures in your experience.
Robin: Yes, especially my father, and I did not want to be under his lordship because it was abusive.
Charles: So Lordship has connotations that come out of the misuse of parental authority in your family and also, I suspect, your experience with misuses of ecclesiastical authority.
Robin: Yes, the word Lordship has a negative tone to me, more like lording over. I do not think of Jesus as lording over me.
Charles: As I think further about this reality of the Lordship of Jesus, I realize that I am also thinking about this realty in Trinitarian terms. As Christian therapy is taking place, it participates in the life of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I think that I experience the Holy Spirit as providing power and direction and healing and gifting and moving the therapy in a direction. I experience Christ as making it possible to have access to his Spirit. Clinically, I think of it sort of as a Pentecostal experience, as when the early church became empowered and developed its gifting and received its orders from Christ through the Holy Spirit. I see Jesus Christ in his Lordship giving me the assignment to operate in his name and making it possible to avail myself clinically of the power of the Holy Spirit on behalf of my patient.
I may have gotten tangential. Let’s refocus.
Robin: What was your original question about the Lordship? How did you phrase that?
Doug: “Christian Holism has a high Christology. The entire process of psychotherapy is explicitly under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Treatment is conducted in his name.” What does it mean to engage in a process that is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ?
Robin: The word that comes to me now is “direction.” Now I think, Charles, you would put that in the realm of the Holy Spirit, but I am not thinking of listening to the Holy Spirit. I am thinking of listening to Jesus and the word that works for me is “direction,” under the direction of Jesus.
Doug: So it means receiving direction and looking for direction.
Robin: And earnestly seeking it out and petitioning and interceding for direction.
Herman: But that is only part of it.
Doug: Well that is the part that Robin is relating to.
Herman: I mean not only listening and getting direction, but, then, speaking the word.
Doug: As a representative of Jesus.
Herman: As a representative. So you get your direction, and then you speak the word.
Doug: I am very cautious about that aspect. However, I can think of a number of times when I have had a sense to actually verbalize what I was perceiving Jesus saying to the person and actually standing in as Jesus voice. Most often I would turn to the person and ask them to tell me what they were hearing Jesus speak to them or seeing him doing. But there are times when I feel moved to speak as Jesus, thereby being a catalyst to the person opening up to their own listening and seeing. Sometimes my speaking seems an embodiment of Jesus’ presence speaking and it is very fruitful. It seems to open the person to an experience of the presence of Jesus.
Robin: I recently made a leap of this sort when I conducted my first Theophostic (see: www.theophostic.com) prayer ministry session. I directed this session completely out of that listening and speaking mode. It was astonishing to me how my decision to let go of my anxiety that I might do the technique wrong and flow completely with what I sensed Jesus wanted me to do and say, bore fruit in the person’s experience of deep healing.
Doug: So when we are treating in his name there is this representative piece. I am not there just as myself. I am there as myself, but I am there also as someone who is listening to, responding to, orienting to, drawing from the authority of, acting in the authority of, the one who sent me, Jesus. This is interesting in terms of the identity of the therapist. The identity of the therapist, as well as the process itself, flows from this being under and in the authority of Jesus and, therefore representing him.
Herman: I think I am hearing what you are saying. In order to choose to be a representative, a conduit of Jesus, one has to risk. In other words being a representative is a concept that one may respond to inwardly, but to actually live it out means taking a risk with what one receives.
Doug: If I am receiving direction and taking a risk with the direction that I perceive, just as one would take a risk with an intuition, I am accepting that my prayer is effective and that the senses and intuitions that are coming have some validity in the Spirit. I am risking that there is direction coming from Jesus and that I am following that direction to some degree. It is not going to be an incarnate moment, and it is not going to be in his name without the human risk of embodying the direction received in some way. Of course inward listening requires humility. It is I, imperfect, who am listening and hearing and responding. And speaking out of listening requires wisdom, attention to the whole person to whom I am speaking.
Charles: This all gets back to the point that to be a practitioner of Christian Holism is not simply a sort of craven collapse before the Lord—as a nothing—and not taking risks and that sort of thing. What it really demands of the practitioner is not simply faith, but also courage to operate in that faith, because in our lack of perfection, there is always the fear that we are doing something ridiculous and absurd rather than hearing the voice of God. So if we are really going to take the idea seriously—the idea that we are operating under the Lordship of Jesus Christ—then we have to have a level of faith that he really is our Lord and the Lord of the session and that he is going to intervene. Acting on the idea that Jesus is going to intervene requires courage as much as faith.
Robin: Another thought just came to me. We can judge our effectiveness by the measurable fruitfulness that we can see in the person that we are working with.
Doug: “By their fruit you shall know them” (Matt. 7:16). By the fruits of our action we shall know that it was authentic action. Of course, it is not that easy, always, to measure fruitfulness, because results may not appear immediately or without struggle.
Robin: My experience has been with people in brief times of prayer, about one and a half hours, and they came to peace with an area of their lives that had been in conflict for a long time. Now this peace may have been short-lived (this will take follow up to ascertain), but the end point that we reached in this short time was very, very peaceful and then laughter commenced. The process seemed fruitful.
Charles: Yes and in the special moments to which you are referring, one can already see healing occurring. There is something special that has happened in the soul, and I think that what you were witnessing there is what I would call the Resurrection Effect. I see it in the process of forgiveness, but I do not think the Resurrection Effect is limited to forgiveness. The Resurrection Effect is the outcome of a healing process happening successfully and, by successfully, I mean in a way that Jesus really likes.
Robin: At times it is simply a matter of standing there with a person as the person asks for prayer and then continuing to stand there, praying in tongues and perhaps just touching the person’s forehead or shoulder. There were moments in that Theophostic session to which I just referred where I felt that we were at a stuck point, and I just had the sense to put my hand on the person’s head as a means of giving them a sense of touch. I was doing this in the name of Jesus, and it seemed to help move the healing process.
Doug: When you said, “I’m doing this in the name of Jesus” what did you mean?
Robin: My experience was of my hand becoming Jesus’ hand. I did not say that to the person, but that is what I felt.
Doug: For me taking a risk like this, of being Jesus for the other, is balanced by a sense of fragility in taking the risk. In a moment I may feel confident or I may not feel confident, but the fact of the matter is that as human beings we must take risks to embody Jesus. On the other hand, there is always the risk that we are missing the mark, misunderstanding Jesus. You cannot take a risk knowing for sure that you are accurately representing Jesus. You take the risk and then trust the Holy Spirit to continue to work with you and the other.
Charles: Yes. Courage is required.
Doug: One of the tendencies in attempting to exercise the gift of listening to God is ego inflation. One can get too certain that what one hears or senses is God speaking. Then one begins to speak in a definite manner, “This is what God is saying,” as opposed to, “This is what I hear. Would you like to hear it?” or “Here’s what I hear. What do you hear?”
Herman: Yet there are times when the word to be spoken does require a declaration, not a qualification.
Doug: Yes. However, I am not speaking of a rule or an absolute regarding the form of speech. I am pointing to an attitude. The form may be directly stated, declared, because that is the sense of the intuition you have at the moment. For example one senses God saying, “I love you. I am embracing you,” and declares it just like that. However, inwardly one can question the source without deflating the movement. It is a matter of knowing one is human.
Charles: We have been talking about Jesus as the Lord of the therapy. We hear the voice of the Lord, and our mission is to articulate his voice as we hear it as part of the therapy. When we do this, we need to bring a character virtue into play, which is humility. I think this is worth exploring, because it is that character virtue that is going to buffer and vaccinate the therapist against the possibility of his own psychopathology being confused with the authentic voice of Jesus. Humility prevents us from getting narcissistically caught up.
Doug: When I speak in Jesus’ name, I want to be sure I have heard him, but I am not certain. Qualitatively, I will feel a warmth. I will feel a sense of the word to be spoken. I will feel something, which I experience to be in the character of Jesus. I have internalized images of Jesus that have grown from the word in scripture and the warmth and sense in me meets those criteria, and so I speak, at the time, in an authoritative tone. At the same time, there is an aspect of me that is not certain, so I am willing to yield what I have spoken at any moment if it seems to be not fruitful or destructive or ill timed.
Robin: I have learned a technique that helps me with my spiritual director. If she asks me a question, and I am having difficulty relating to the question. I ask her if she can phrase the question in another way. Doing this both activates and counts on humility in her.
Herman: I would like to mention something that has been said in a way. This matter of the Lordship of Christ is not just a doctrinal position or a theoretical thing. We can say that we believe, but it is only an intellectual assent, that is, the mind agrees to it but the heart, or the whole self, is not with it. To believe demands action. It is well illustrated in the well-known story of the man who drove his wheelbarrow on a rope over Niagara Falls. The crowds cheered and believed he could do it again. But when he asked one of the “believers” to step into the wheelbarrow, the person did not believe anymore. Faith demands action. Recently I heard a British Pentecostal preacher illustrate this point while speaking to priests at a conference. He said he was praying for a blind man who had something wrong with his eyes. As he prayed, he had the impression that the Lord was giving him the healed eyes of the blind man. The test came to put action to his faith for that is often where we get stuck. He said, “It was necessary for me to put my hands up to his eyes (believing that the eyes healed) and declare it.” If he believed what God had told him, he had to act on it.
Doug: To actually declare a reality ….
Charles: Did he do it?
Herman: Yes he did and the man had new eyes.
Doug: There are times when it is not an abstraction, aren’t there? Jesus’ authority is active. It is to be engaged.
Herman: That is right, and I think that we ought to make that clear. I think that there is a lot to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Oh yes, we believe in the Lordship of Christ, but often for many of us that belief is all theory.
Charles: Herman you came up with a good example. The Lordship of Jesus Christ may mean that when you hear Jesus within your soul telling you to tell a blind man that his eyes are going to heal, you have got to declare it!
Herman: Agnes Sanford said, “As long as you say, ‘God can help you,’ it’s all theory. It’s only when you can say, ‘I can help you,’ that it is real.” Only when I can say, “I know that I can pray the prayer of faith for you,” has true practice begun.
Doug: That comes from an inner compulsion, an inner conviction.
Herman: Yes it does, but it also comes from an inner experience with Christ so that then it does not come as something one is trying to produce.
Doug: Well you have knowledge from your own relationship with Christ. But also, in the moment, you have a particular movement of faith, don’t you? Agnes is not talking about faith as an abstraction. She is talking about faith as an active movement in the moment. “You have faith for,” means you do have faith for it.
Charles: Herman, you made me realize that I am a better theoretician than a practitioner.
Herman: Well, that is what we are working to improve.
Charles: You have also contributed to my humility.
Herman: Humility is simply honesty, just like pride is lying.
Doug: Thank you, Herman. I am hearing two facets that in his name conveys, a facet of authority, an active authority, an authority that has to be not only embraced but …
Robin: Lived.
Doug: Right, enacted, expressed. And the other word that comes to me is shape. In his name gives shape to the direction of healing or the direction of ministry in that Jesus is the shape of God. Jesus is the enfleshed character of God, the incarnate character of God.
Robin: He is the image of the unseen God.
Doug: Yes, so there is also shape, image to work from. It is like getting to know a person. You take the person within yourself, are shaped by the person, and you respond from the way in which you have internalized that person. That person has taught you. That person has given you wisdom. That person has ministered love to you. That which you have received you can give.
Charles: Here is another point about conducting treatment in Jesus’ name (or praying for that matter). Some of the times when we pray, the prayers are not effective. That is because, while we are outwardly saying “in Jesus’ name,” we are inwardly saying “in my name.” We are trying to get what we want and accidentally fall into an occultist trap. Bad faith may compromise the outcome, because Jesus really has not been Lord of treatment or my heart.
Doug: Or even if the outcome is God’s will, my intent is not for the right reasons. My prayer is not an act of love. It is an act of my own desire, an act of power or control.
Charles: Well, maybe God and I have similar goals, but I have not made God Lord of the process. God might want my patient to be healed, but I might misguidedly look for it to be instantaneous. God might say, “No, in three weeks this lonely guy you are treating is going to meet a girl, and his depression is going to go into remission. Wait until then.” So, to submit to God’s process, I think, is as important as submitting to God’s goals. If we were perfectly operating in our practices and in our lives in Jesus’ name, everything that we would do, would be reflective of our internal posture of submission and our therapeutic activity would spring from that submission to Christ.
Doug: That depth of authority, of faith, which needs to be cultivated, may not have deepened to that level, to where you can say, “Mountain, move” and it will move. That is scriptural, but who has the experience, the authority, and the level of abandonment to Jesus, to say that?
Robin: In symbolic terms we have all experienced that authority. In working with a client you may be the one who has to speak to that mountain in their life that needs to be moved.
Doug: That is right, but in our culture I have been raised to view material reality, physical “mountains,” as impenetrable to Spirit.
Robin: In the Newtonian worldview, perhaps, but the new Physics is opening up new thought, especially about the effectiveness of spirituality and prayer.
Doug: I am amazed when there is a physical healing. I am not as amazed when there is a psychological shift. Others would say that physical healing is simple. Pray, and it moves. For them, it is the psychological and the spiritual that are difficult. If the physical moves, I am surprised. If the psychological moves, I say, “Yes, I kind of know how that happened.” It is magnificent, but I have a thought process for it. I have been schooled that the material is more powerful than the Spirit. That is the world I grew up in. It is probably exactly the opposite in truth, but there are levels of authority that are not operative in me for physical healing, because of the depth of that split in my consciousness.

2. Christian Holism concerns itself with placing psychological theories and interventions at the disposal of the Holy Spirit.
Rather than ask, “How do I intellectually integrate my training in social science with Christian doctrine?” the practitioner of Christian Holism asks, “How does the Holy Spirit want to use my training to help this client?” In Christian Holism, placing social science at the disposal of the living God is the paramount concern that trumps problems of theoretical integration.
Charles: Accomplishing scholarship that integrates psychological theories with Christian theology is important, but the mission of Christian Holism calls for asking God to quicken therapeutic skills and theories to bless those called to our offices. If our secular orientations are cognitive-behav-ioral, Jungian, etc., we ask God to bless those skills and theories in a way that makes the truth in them useful in the course of God’s healing action. While religious faith cannot substitute for clinical skill, neither can clinical skill find wholeness or manifest its deeper therapeutic value without being graced by the God who wants to bless our clients utterly.
Christian Holism encourages exploring diverse approaches to healing under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Healing practices from other cultures such as yoga, meditation, Qigong, and Reiki, as well as radical emerging therapies like breath work, Therapeutic Touch, and energy medicines are seen as potentially useful and potentially revealing of ways in which God made living beings. Nothing exists to prevent the Spirit from arranging our thinking about and use of various healing systems in a way that pleases God and blesses our clients (see Fabricant & Schoeninger, 1987 and Sears, 1999). God is as sovereign over Biblical Counseling as over yoga, Therapeutic Touch, and Thought Field Therapy. Truth from any of these healing practices has a place in the Kingdom of God and in Christian Holism.
Christian Holism is more concerned with service to Christ, integration into Christ, rather than with integration of secular psychological knowledge with Christian faith and doctrine. The concept or goal of integration can be a head-trip. For example, an integration question is, “How can I marry cognitive-behaviorism to Christianity?” One can do that, but this is not the essential focus of Christian Holism. Rather, centering in the Lordship of Jesus one might ask, “How does God wish to use my cognitive-behavioral expertise for his healing purposes now?” You could just as easily ask, “How does God want to use my muscle testing? How does God want to use my understanding of Analytical psychology? How does God want to use my rich theological training for his purposes now?” So, while Christian Holism is concerned with integration of secular and revealed knowledge, what we are more concerned with is putting the things developed in the secular world, or even in other religious systems, under Jesus’ Lordship for his use.
Doug: We could say also, “What is the truth that God is revealing in this?” God is revealing all the time, so what is the truth God is revealing in this or that methodology or theory or research study, the truth for this situation and this person?
Herman: I am reminded of a young doctor in Australia who asked me, “How do you define schizophrenia?” I said, “I don’t have to define schizophrenia. That is your term. The man is sick and he needs healing.” I do not mean that it is not important to know what is understood in psychology and psychiatry about schizophrenia. However, we cannot be held to those definitions. We are listening to God regarding the healing of this person, and regarding how we understand any clinical condition.
Charles: You are saying that you are not treating a diagnosis. You are treating a child of God.
Doug: Placing knowledge under the Lordship of Jesus means that a particular conception of schizophrenia is used as God reveals it, in a way that helps us to know how to help a person or a type of person. We annex the truthfulness of health theories and techniques. God reveals God’s self and ways in secular knowledge and technique. God reveals God’s self within the created order. When we annex ideas of social science and other healing paradigms, we are not annexing something that is alien to God. We are annexing that which reveals the nature of God and the nature of God’s creation. We do not integrate knowledge in the sense of trying to put everything into Christian terms. We see the truth revealed in a piece of psychoanalytic theory or Jungian theory or whatever. And it may, of course, get re-mapped and reshaped as we allow Jesus to work it into our schema.
Robin: Because the bottom line is that, “If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)

3. Christian Holism views the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, the Old and New Testaments, as inspired by the Holy Spirit, and a valid source of inspiration and guidance for psychotherapeutic treatment.
Therefore, scripture is useful to guide case formulations and interventions. While scripture reveals truth, interpretations are, of course, colored by human imperfection. Hence, when utilizing scripture to guide treatment, the clinician must exercise theological humility. Read in humility, under the Spirit’s guidance, scripture assists the psychological enterprise by shedding light on how God improves the health of patients. In Christian Holism, scripture is used to help reveal God’s healing movements, as led by the Holy Spirit. Scripture is an anointed resource, a rich, unique medium for God’s guidance and personal address of the client and therapist.
Charles: “Sacred scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1994, p. 37-38). In terms of Christian Holism, this means that scripture is most therapeutic when the Spirit is invited to inspire textual meaning in light of the Spirit’s healing ministry to the client. Further, while scripture has both collective and individual significance, the Spirit arranges these meanings in the minds of both client and clinician in ways that offer hope and promote health. Because scripture reveals truth about God and man, scripture is revered. However, as Herman Riffel notes below, Christian Holism carefully avoids idolizing scripture, reserving worship only for the God who inspires revelation and healing through the faith’s documents.
Read in humility, under the Spirit’s guidance, scripture assists the psychological enterprise by shedding light on how God improves the lot of man and offers guidance for the specific persons in treatment. In my experience of using scripture in treatment, I find a creative dialectic between scripture and psychological theory. Reading scripture through the lens of social science and reading social science through the lens of scripture opens up treatment options and understandings.
Herman: This dialectic occurred for me when I was studying at the Jung Institute in Zurich, Switzerland. Looking at salvation and sanctification from the viewpoint of Jung’s concept of individuation opened a whole depth realm in my understanding of conversion. I began to see depths and dimensions to the deep inner self growing in Christ. I also began to see that Jesus worked out in himself the full balance in the human personality and is offering us the power of his incarnation through the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Charles: This creative interaction of psychodynamic awareness and spiritual insight occurs not only in my consciousness, but also for clients as they allow scripture to evoke self-awareness. They then experience the meaning of the scripture, enlarged through understanding how different parts of their personality react to the scriptural word. For example, reading the beatitudes in Matthew chapter five puts persons in touch with a variety of inner reactions, both believing and cynical—or even despairing. Then working therapeutically with these various reactions or parts within the personality can bring more of the client into touch with God’s transforming grace.
Herman: I want to emphasize, however, that scripture is the map and not the territory or the substance. Where is your bible? [Herman, holding up a bible] This is not the Word of God. It contains in it, written words about the Word of God.
Doug: Do you mean that scripture expresses ou

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