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Fri Dec 28, 2007

What is a Christian psychologist?

It depends on who you talk to. First, let's take the "psychologist" part. Assuming we're talking about a clinical practitioner, in order for someone to call themselves a psychologist they must be licensed by their state as a psychologist. There are numerous steps to this which I'll address elsewhere.

Now for the "Christian." Currently, any psychologist can call himself a Christian psychologist if he wants. There is no kind of certification required. As a result, the meaning behind the term potentially varies widely. The American Association of Christian Counselors has taken important steps toward laying some groundwork and defining terms. They have even recently developed a credentialing process for Christian counselors, but again this is not a prerequisite for using the term. Their basic stance would be that a Christian psychologist can do everything a secular psychologist does, but in addition holistically integrates the Christian-based spiritual dimension into their work to some degree, which may or may not include using specific Christian-based spiritual interventions. The AACC views the "Christian" piece as an adjunctive specialty, an additional component to treatment, in the same way hypnotherapy or biofeedback imply an additional set of techniques for the standard psychologist toolbox.

posted at: 18:23 | path: /students | link


About the "For Students" Section

I'm starting this section in response to emails that I've been thrilled to receive from students asking me various questions about being a Christian psychologist. Sometimes students are doing research for school projects and other times it's for their own career planning. My hope is that this section will field the most common questions, serve as a useful resource for you, and also save me some typing. If you have any questions that you don't see listed here, please do not hesitate to email me and I will be glad to write you back as soon as I can.

My thanks to all of you who have taken time to contact me in this way; it has served as a good source of encouragement for me in my work.

posted at: 17:04 | path: /students | link