The evangelical therapist, God and their clients
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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The objective of this research was to gain an understanding of the experience of evangelical Christians who practise counselling and psychotherapy. The study is an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of their experience to determine how they view their practise from the perspective of their faith. The study addressed the question, “How do evangelical psychotherapists understand and experience their therapeutic practise in the context of their Christian faith?” Three therapists were interviewed and all were members of counselling professional bodies and evangelical churches. The study paid attention to their experiences both as therapists and evangelicals. The study findings were principally in line with existing literature and studies. In general all three participants conformed to the Christian Counselling Integrationist model of therapeutic practise, integrating typical psychotherapeutic theories with an Evangelical Christian faith. The results demonstrated many similarities between their practises with some differences in emphasis. All participants practised therapy that would be recognised by secular or non evangelical practitioners. They tended to perform from an integrative perspective with all three participants integrating, Person-centred, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy into their practise. In general their evangelical faith informed their own processes but, with some exceptions, were not specifically included in therapy and then only when explicitly requested by and agreed with the client. All participants worked with clients of different faiths (or none). There was some evidence of differing views and misunderstandings on psychotherapy both from within the evangelical community and the therapeutic profession. Author keywords: Evangelical psychotherapist experience, IPA