How Effective Is Christian Counseling?
When I first started teaching at Lubbock Christian University in the Fall of 1993, I had students in my psychology courses who asked me why a Christian university taught psychology. At the same time, I was working on my doctorate in counseling and had professors and other doctoral students question how I could hold Christian values and be an effective counselor.
Blessedly, times have changed opinions on both sides of the dichotomy that was created between counseling and religion. Now, Christian counseling is a recognized profession. However, the research about the effectiveness of religious and spiritual therapies is just beginning.
In January 2010, the Journal of Clinical Psychology published an article based on a meta-analysis conducted by Hook, Worthington, Jr., Davis, Jennings II, and Gartner. The article reported that statistically the meta-analysis of existing research found only limited evidence that religious therapy was more effective than secular therapy. The researchers suggested that the effectiveness of religious therapies may be related to client preferences and counselor comfort with religious therapies.
The article strongly recommended that additional research needs to be conducted on the effectiveness of religious therapies. I strongly concur. While I readily accept the wisdom of Biblical teachings, demonstrating the effectiveness in utilizing Biblical concepts in counseling through scientific research becomes one more avenue for reaching professionals who would question how Christians can be counselors.