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Compare and Contrast Clinical Psychology and Christianity

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

As a clinical psychologist (Psy.D.), and a seminary educated Christian (M.Div., Th.M.), I see my role as being a bridge to help people connect and grow in their faith and mental health. I also see myself as a gatekeeper to set healthy boundaries between the church and the field of psychology.

These are the tensions that I wrestle with:

One of the dangers for Christians when we engage with psychology, is that it can fuel a works righteousness. We can become self-absorbed, self-dependent, try to rely on our own efforts to save ourselves, and live our lives how we think we should live it. Therefore, it is important to understand the presuppositions of clinical psychology as we try to navigate our mental health as Christians.

Here, I parse out the contrast between works righteousness and righteousness by grace:

Another danger for Christians, regarding their mental health, is the over-spiritualization of their mental health. I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We can't just ignore the left "Clinical Psychology" column in the chart below. We should learn about psychology, reject what is unbiblical, and redeem what aligns with Scripture. As much as we want to live by God's grace, we also have to acknowledge our mental well being.

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