The Critique of Dr. Larry Crabb and Dr. Ron Hawkins
Two theorists, Dr. Crabb and Dr. Hawkins have different theories but the same goal in mind when discussing integrating spirituality and psychology. The ultimate goal for all theorists should be to reach the needs of the client. Dr. Crabb discusses the difference between the process of a secular counselor and those of a Christian counselor. He explains that even though their ultimate goal is the same the avenue they take is different due to a different set of rules. Dr Crabb‘s theory relies heavily on the Bible and Abraham Maslow’s classical needs hierarchy.
Dr Crabb describes the difference in how people perceive their problems, some take ownership, and other may blame the environment. According to Dr. Crabb, our reactions to our difficult life experiences take one of three forms: guilt, resentment or anxiety (Crabb, 1977). In Dr. Crabb’s book, Effective Biblical Counseling, he summarizes a three-level counseling program which can be performed by members of the church, using the concept that every Christian can minister the word of God.
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The first level is about educating the members of the church members on the basic practices and principles of biblical scripture, strategies of counseling and the tools to use to accomplish the counseling. The second level the uses scripture to persuade the client to perceive the situation and solution christianly. By using scripture to explain the situation and solution the client make the comparison to their situation. The third level is establishing a character which displays godly behavior that conforms to the standards of the church.
The counselor should represent Christian values and principles in their everyday life. Dr. Crabb also discusses his four approaches to integration of Christianity and psychology. The first approach and the most balance of Dr. Crabb’s four approaches are “Spoiling the Egyptians” (Crabb, 1977). In the teachings of this approach Dr. Crabb changes the direction of teaching away from the traditional teaching that man has three parts. Dr. Crabb suggests that man has only “two parts; physical and personal, or material and non-material” (p. 88).
The physical side belonging to the material side and the spirit and soul belonging to the immaterial side (p. 88). This approach also teaches that psychology is under God’s perfect, incapable of mistakes, brilliant revelations. According to Dr. Crabb scripture is to have precedence over non-biblical opinion in a purposeful capacity. The second approach is “Separate but equal”. This viewpoint establishes that psychology and spirituality does not mix anymore than if a person needs a serious operation they do not go to the bible for direction, they go to the hospital.
Scripture is used to help a person deal with their troubling emotions or teaching of lessons. For example inProverbs 4:23 states, “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. ” The “heart” includes the mind and all that proceeds from it. Next we have the “Tossed Salad” approach which blends theology and psychology. It can be confusing because it does not blend in with secular concepts when suggesting Biblical truth. Last approach is the “Nothing Buttery” approach which disregards psychology all together.
This approach says that all that is needed is Christ. “This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy: “… from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:15-17 (King James Version). He suggests that most patients are self centered because they seek counseling in their desire to be happy.
He navigates away from the teachings that man is a tri-part creature and suggests that man has a two part division: The material side and immaterial side (p. 88). He explains that the path to true happiness is to be like Christ. He believes the goal of counseling is spiritual and psychological maturity and concern in helping people enter into greater worship and affective life of service. Dr. Crabb explains in his book that “Maturity involves two elements: long range character growth and immediate obedience” (p. 3). He feels that by using the seven stage model a counselor will be able to identify where wrong belief was learned, encourage expression of emotions surround beliefs, support the client as they change their beliefs, helping the client decipher the true meaning of the word, securing a commitment from the client to act on these beliefs, build a plan with the client on what action needs to be taken with their new beliefs and help them identify their lack of sin related feels and the presence of “spiritual feelings”.
Dr. Hawkins (2010) utilizes a set of concentric circles to demonstrate the factors that make up an individual. He starts with the innermost self, which is the core self. He explains that a healthy psychological person has a Holy Spirit at the core, He adds more circles to show how the individual’s personality in influenced. This is similar to Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological System Theory, which describes an individual’s development within the context of the individual’s environment. Unlike Dr Crabb, Dr. Hawkins emphasizes more on working with the client to build an intervention where the client will take ownership of the strategy and process of personal change. Dr Hawkins describes the first phase of a four phase model to understand the real problem. The client talks the counselor listens. Phase two, is paraphrasing and tracking what the client is really saying. Phase three is setting up a plan of action involving the client so the client is engaged in ownership for this plan of action and responsibility for its outcome.
In the final phase the counselor supports and guides the client to take accountability in the process of change. Evaluation of Strengths and Weaknesses Both these theories are similar and the outcome will be the same but the execution is different. In both theories the strength outweigh the negative because they are letting the client learn about themselves and how to breakdown their own problems. Both men rely on God’s guidance to lead in changing hurting humanity. Each model is well put together and easy to use. Dr. Crabb’s theory is more detailed whereas Dr. Hawkins’ presented his model in a more condensed form. Dr. Crabb proposes the counselor guides the client to be godly like and use the scriptures from the Bible to help the client understand the situation in comparison of a parable in the Bible, the compare the solution to what can be done to fix the problem. Dr. Hawkins theory starts out with the core self and explains that a psychologically healthy person has the Holy Spirit at the core. As he adds circles to tailor the influences to the client’s individual environment and life events explain the client’s personality.
The Counselor listens to the client and then paraphrase to make certain of the problem. The client is involved in the plans and goals of overcoming the situation. By doing this the client can take accountability and responsibility of the outcome. Personal Reflection and Application In reflection of both these theories, I agree that the client should be guided in understanding the problem and in using the biblical parables to build a comparison to the underline problem and the best solution. As Christian children we are taught from the bible and use biblical verses to understand what’s and why’s of life.
In using Dr. Crabb’s theory we can break down what is going on in the conscious mind and what is hidden in the unconscious mind. As counselors, we can breakdown the how the problem developed and what we can do to change the situation. We can guide the client into making these changes to better their lives. Dr Hawkins’ theory makes the client be responsible for the outcome by using the demonstrating the concentric circles to demonstrate how the problem gave birth to using the client’s environment and personality to change the situation and have a better outcome.
I, personally was very interested in Dr, Crabb’s four approaches of integrating Christianity and psychology, especially the “Spoiling the Egyptians” (Crabb, 1977). As he explained that in this approach Dr. Crabb that man has only “two parts; physical and personal, or material and non-material” (p. 88). The physical side belonging to the material side and the spirit and soul belonging to the immaterial side (p. 88). When working with clients in a Christian Counseling scenario scripture is to have precedence over non-biblical opinion in a purposeful capacity.