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Running head: INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE

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Interventions that Apply Scripture in Psychotherapy


Giles Sieburg
Liberty University

INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

Summary
The article to be reviewed is entrenched in the topic of the blend of values that are
foundational in Christian beliefs and that of psychotherapy. The idea is that counselors who
espouse the Christian belief system find themselves in a struggle to understand the appropriate
balance of enmeshing their theological beliefs and principles into their therapeutic treatment of a
client. These counselors find themselves trying to find ways to be authentic to their beliefs, and
to the ethics of blending their beliefs and practice.
The structure of the article is based around a desire to educate the reader on the variety of
interventions strategies that can be used with a biblical vantage point and to encourage
practitioners to think up and create new interventions with the biblical view point. This article
sets out to communicate the aforementioned invention strategies that are already developed by
taking the reader through a fictitious case study analyzing the effectiveness and validity of the
utilization of these approaches.
Garzon (2005) does well to develop some context for the scripturally based interventions
by discussing whether or not it is ethical to conduct these interventions. There are a number of
general dispositions to the idea of scripturally based interventions such as whether or not it is
appropriate to push ones beliefs on their clientele. It also brings into question the existence of
developing multiple relationships with ones clients such as the pastoral and the therapeutic. One
thing that Garzon (2005) highlights is that a benefit to developing a strong therapeutic alliance
with ones clients is should develop an understanding for a clients religious beliefs through
assessment and also making sure that appropriate consents are obtained before proceeding with
scriptural based therapeutic techniques.

INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

After Garzon (2005) sets the stage by helping the reader develop a strong sense of ethics
being the primary focus of a practitioner, he then develops an overview of various scripture
based interventions that would aid in the case study outlined in the article. The therapeutic
elements of scripture based interventions rely heavily on incorporating themes, values, and truths
espoused in the Bible, and the counselors goal is to help the client to identify these and
internalize them. There is a basic theme of the approaches and this is psychoeducational focus
and how it relates to the biblical truths.
Reflection
As I read Garzons (2005) article I had many thoughts into its value in the
psychotherapeutic setting. The reason is that these techniques first and foremost should only be
used in the context of Christian clients. My initial reaction to the amount of importance that
Garzon places on scripture as an intervention. A counselors job is to enable a client to develop
self-awareness about their narrative, maladaptive behaviors or thought processes, and then
enable the client to develop action steps to get there. The problem with the scriptural intervention
approach is that the therapist has developed a modality they have in mind that can inform the
development of an appropriate treatment plan for the client.
Counselors must act impartial biased parties to enable their clients to work through
whatever part of their lives is causing distress or concern. Out of the development of the clients
story and struggles the counselor can develop an appropriate treatment plan. When a therapist
has a preconceived therapeutic approach is can be unethical, which is not necessarily what
Garzon (2005) is advocating for due to his insistence of performing these approaches with clients
who are Christians. The article was helpful on the other hands with developing a working

INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

knowledge in the reader concerning therapeutic techniques that are available in the case that the
client asks for, or wants to work within the therapeutic framework of the Christian faith.
I do believe that Garzons (2005) insistence that scriptural techniques have a basis in
psychoeducation through Christian values is spot on. This lends to progressing in the therapeutic
treatment plan by enabling the client to work through dysfunction in relation to values that they
reportedly ascribe to, and therefore the counselor must help the client identify these truths in
scripture. It is important when analyzing therapeutic practice is helpful to glean applicable traits
into ones practice.
Application
The interventions that Garzon (2005) highlighted are extremely important when
developing a therapeutic treatment plan for a Christian client who wants to go through
counseling that has a Christian foundation. I found that psychoeducation through means of
scripture can be very helpful in enabling a client to progress in therapy. In a hypothetical
scenario where a client is faced with a constant struggle with self-care due to overproduction I
would help the client work through the biblical narrative to identify and analyze how self-care
should look. This would come through discussions on implicit values of human beings, and how
sacrificial love, and personal self-care are in an intrinsic balance. I would help the client identify
how key figures in the Bible modeled these values of self-care such has Jesus who took time to
themselves away from others to prayer and center themselves.
This approach to psychoeducation through scripture would allow the client to
contextualize their struggles within the narrative that they identify and ascribe to. It helps them to
work through solutions and disciplines that are values and modeled in the biblical narrative, and
would also provide a model for what disciplines that the client can apply to their own lives.

INTERVENTIONS THAT APPLY SCRIPTURE IN PSYCHOTHERAPY

References
Garzon, F. (2005). Interventions that apply scripture in psychotherapy. Journal of Psychology &
Theology, 33(2), 113-121.