HSCO506 Liberty University Implications for Theory & Practice Article Review


Liberty University

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HSCO 506 JOURNAL ARTICLE REVIEWS INSTRUCTIONS You will write 2 Journal Article Reviews (Modules/Weeks 1 and 5), which will be based upon your choice of articles from the professional, peer-reviewed journal articles provided in Blackboard. No outside articles will be accepted. Each Journal Article Summary must be 3–5 double-spaced pages (not including the title and reference pages) and created in a Microsoft Word document. Use the following guidelines to create your paper: 1. Start your paper with a title page, correctly formatted per current APA. Use the provided template and the basic current APA components will be in place. Divide your paper into sections with the following Level One headings: Summary, Reflection, and Application as described on the template. 2. Develop a summary (35 points) of the main concepts from the article. Do not duplicate the article’s abstract. If the article describes a research study, include brief statements about the hypotheses, methods, results, discussion, and implications. If any test measures or statistical methods used are given in the article, do not provide detailed descriptions of these. Short direct quotations from the article are acceptable, but avoid long quotes in a paper this size. This section is the foundation of your Journal Article Review (at least a third of your paper). Make sure you include the core points from the article, even if it means a longer section. Do not reference any additional articles in your summary. 3. In approximately 1 page, reflect (10 points) on the article using your own words. Appropriate comments for this part of the paper could include, but are not limited to, your initial response to the article, comments regarding the study's design or methodology (if any), insights you gained from reading the article, your reasons for being interested in this particular article, any other readings that you may plan to do based upon having read the article, and other thoughts you have that might further enhance the discussion of your article. Your subjective comments in this section must be clearly tied to main points from the article, not peripheral ideas. Again, do not reference any other article. 4. In your final section, in approximately 1 page, write how you would apply (25 points) the information you have learned from this article to a particular counseling setting. Make this setting one that would typically be seen in human services counseling—community services agencies, adoption agencies, volunteer counseling settings such as in churches, etc. Develop this section as if you are a pastor or clinician and your parishioner or client has come to you with a problem—grief, depression, substance abuse, relationships problems, etc.— needing your help. Adequately describe the counseling scenario including the presenting problem. Draw out concepts from the article and apply them to the scenario as if you were guided only by the content of the article. Show the reader how you expressly drew from the journal article in this application section and cite correctly, per APA. HSCO 506 5. Use the provided current APA template and personalize the template for your particular article. Point values for each section as well as for writing can be found on the grading rubric. Remember that all papers in the program must be written to professional (graduate level) standards and writing/APA can contribute 30 points to your score. Submit both Journal Article Reviews in Blackboard through the assignment submission links in Modules/Weeks 1 and 5. Journal Article Review 1 is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 1. Journal Article Review 2 is due by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Sunday of Module/Week 5. Journal of Psychology and Christianity Copyright 2009 Christian Association for Psychological Studies 2009, Vol. 28, No. 2,141-148 ISSN 0733-4273 A Holistic Psychology of Persons: Implications for Theory and Practice David N. Entwistle Malone University A Christian worldview that takes seriously the idea of personhood as a holistic unity presents an ideal perspective from which to explore human behavior as an expression of biological, psychological, and social influences (the “biopsychosocial” perspective now common in psychology) as well as an expression of spiritual realities that, while often expressed through biopsychosocial media, are not simply ‘explained away’ by them. A Christian worldview that holds that human beings are a unity of biological, psychological, social, and spiritual realities creates an opportunity for theoretical integration and holistic practice, but it also creates practical tensions regarding how to discern the root causes of behavior (e.g., biological, psychological, social, or spiritual etiology) and attempting to discover the best way to intervene when impairment of functioning is noted (e.g., whether biological therapy, psychotherapy, social intervention, or religiously-based interventions are called for). Additionally, there are ethical and legal issues that must be taken into consideration by Christians who are licensed mental health practitioners, especially when hypothesized causes or proposed interventions stand somewhere between recognized secular interventions and specifically religious interventions. In this article, these topics are addressed both as theoretical issues about how best to conceptualize human behavior and the causes of impairment, as well as practically in regard to how to proceed in evaluating and using religiously-based interventions. metaphysical extremism. Naturalistic metaphysical extremism assumes that human nature— indeed all of nature—is a purely naturalistic system and that any reliance on religious systems is likely to be damaging psychologically. While many psychologists adopt naturalistic assumptions, it is probably fair to say that few of them occupy the extreme position that sees religion and mental health as incompatible. For the purpose of the present discussion, it is the assumption that religious belief is pathological that is being labeled extremism rather than the quest for naturalistic explanations per se. An opposing extreme casts suspicion on natural explanations and interventions because of what might be called spiritualistic metaphysical extremism. The perspective that views mental and physical health as having only religious cures is sadly illustrated by the death of 15-month-old Ava Worthington, whose parents were members of a small sect called the Followers of Christ. Ava, who had pneumonia and a secondary blood infection, was treated solely with prayer in accordance with her parents’ religious beliefs; she would almost certainly have been saved with a course of antibiotics (Faith Healing, 2008). This was not an isolated incident; a decade earlier, a newspaper reporter investigated the deaths of 78 minors that occurred during the previous 30 years among the small Followers of Christ sect, and concluded that over a quarter of the deceased children would have survived with Many perspectives about what role spirituality may play in mental and physical health and illness have been offered throughout history, ranging from the view that religious belief inevitably leads to mental illness, on one extreme, to the view which claims that there are only religious solutions for psychological or medical problems on the opposite extreme. The perspective that sees religion and psychological health as incompatible was common in psychology several decades ago, as illustrated by the following quotations from Albert Ellis, one from early in his career and one shortly before his death: In most respects religion seriously sabotages mental health. (Ellis, 1980, p. 5) Try to avoid a doctrinal system through which you are dogmatically convinced that you absolutely must devote yourself to the one, only, right, and unerring deity…. Otherwise, in my view as a psychotherapist, you most probably are headed for emotional trouble. (Ellis, 2002, p. 365) Although Ellis modified his perspective somewhat in later years, his comments are prototypical of what might be called naturalistic Please address correspondence regarding this article to Dr. David N. Entwistle, Dept. of Psychology, Malone University, 2600 Cleveland Ave., NW, Canton, OH 44709. Email dentwistle@malone.edu 141 142 A HOLISTIC PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONS simple medical treatment (Von Biema, 1998). Cases such as the death of Ava Worthington garner intense media attention because they are both rare and tragic. To a lesser degree, most medical doctors have experienced cases in which individuals rejected medical care in favor of spiritual remedies. Likewise, most mental health practitioners can recount stories of individuals who refused medication or psychotherapy because of religious beliefs, sometimes with tragic consequences. Most people—including most psychologists, one would suspect—do not follow the extremes of Ellis or the Followers of Christ, but these two prototypes illustrate what Entwistle (2004a) called an Enemies Paradigm in which the “adherents of these models see each other as enemies, and either reject or neglect one of the two books of God: His word or His works” (p. 203). Adherents of the secular version of this paradigm view religious beliefs as inherently illogical and dangerous. Adherents of the sacred version of this paradigm view personal belief or practice that is based on science or logic as a dangerous departure from religious fidelity. As psychology emerged from philosophy in the late nineteenth century, it sought to establish itself as a science. In doing so it adopted methodological naturalism, that is, “it seeks natural explanations for the phenomena it investigates” and it embraced the scientific method as the means by which those explanations are sought (Entwistle, 2004a, p. 135). Gradually this became codified as the biopsychosocial approach, meaning that psychology seeks to understand behavior as it is mediated by biological, psychological, and social forces. The biopsychosocial approach has been enormously successful, leading to medications for mental illness, interventions based on intrapsychic phenomena (from cognitive behaviorism to psychoanalysis), and awareness of how membership in groups or the presence of others influences behavior (social psychology). Psychology, as a science, is constrained to study religious and spiritual matters as biological, psychological, and social processes. Notice, however, that even if this approach is adopted, it does not mean that spiritual beliefs are necessarily illogical or pathological, nor does not mean that there are not spiritual realities; it just means that psychology—as a science—cannot study spiritual realities directly. While psychology as a science adopted methodological naturalism, many psychologists took a further step by embracing metaphysical naturalism, the belief that there is nothing other than the physical world. From this perspective, human behavior can only be seen as a product of material forces and as bounded by physical life: death is the end of existence. Individuals who subscribe to metaphysical naturalism typically view belief in supernatural phenomena as an impediment to science and as an expression of primitive, illogical beliefs. It is from this perspective that individuals like Ellis condemn religious belief. Against this backdrop, a dominant strand of orthodox Christian theology views personhood as a holistic unity.1 An orthodox Christian worldview affirms that there are spiritual realities (e.g., the existence of God and the activity of God within the created realm) and that we inhabit a physical, created world which we share with other created beings. Thus Christian theology affirms the existence of spiritual, psychological, physical, and social realities. Christian theology does not give us an explicit theory about how these realities operate, but it affirms the essential unity of personhood. Furthermore, it affirms that creation is “very good” (Gen. 1:31) and that we owe our existence to God. The natural realm of creation operates by fixed, discernible rules made by God, which make scientific and rational inquiry possible (Lewis, 1947/1996). A holistic view of human personhood that emerges from a Christian worldview has important implications for how best to conceptualize psychological phenomena. Implications of a Holistic View of Personhood for Psychological Theory A Christian conceptualization of human personhood as a holistic unity allows us to respect biopsychosocial and spiritual realities, and moreover, to see them as unified rather than bifurcated. The most important implications of this perspective are that it recognizes the legitimacy and boundaries of naturalistic science while simultaneously affirming the fundamentally spiritual nature of human beings and the truths that God proclaims about human beings. This being the case, theology and psychology can work together to inform our understanding of human nature and functioning. A holistic view of human personhood also allows us to see how spiritual realities might be mediated through biopsychosocial media. For instance, imagine that a woman is feeling lonely, depressed, and isolated. Her prayer for divine DAVID N. ENTWISTLE help might well be answered through the social connections that she has with others in her church family. In fact, a host of research on religious coping suggests that meaning, purpose, social connection, and other tangible benefits may be directly attributable to the religious beliefs and practices of religiously committed individuals (e.g., Koenig, 2004). The belief that spiritual realities may be expressed through natural media does not explain away their supernatural origins or reduce them to physical phenomena. Affirming both natural and spiritual realities allows us to avoid a dualistic split between the sacred and the secular and to provide holistic care. A holistic view of personhood will thus have implications for clinical practice from a Christian perspective. Implications for Psychological Practice For Christians who work in the mental health field, this conceptualization of the relationship of the supernatural and the natural opens a door into a patient’s religious life beyond merely seeing it as an expression of biological, psychological, and social factors. However, this conceptualization brings with it ethical issues about how to work with patients when their religious beliefs could be a matter of clinical concern or psychological beneficence. Religious and non-religious people can agree that religious beliefs may help or hinder physical or psychological health. However, Christians are committed to the belief that there are spiritual realities; they are not content with pragmatically using faith as a utilitarian coping mechanism. Furthermore, religious belief can be accurate or inaccurate, helpful or—as in the case of Ava Worthington—harmful. This being the case, theology cannot be seen as unimportant to well-being. In recent decades, clinical psychology has retreated from the perspective that religion is bound to contribute to psychopathology. In large part, this movement has resulted from empirical data that clearly show benefits of religious belief and practice (see Koenig, 2004, for an overview). As a result of this shift, many psychologists now consider how spirituality should be addressed in therapy, whether through taking a spiritual history, through incorporating isolated spiritual practices into therapy, or by offering exclusively, religiously-based therapies. How to address religious beliefs in therapy ethically is a significant matter. 143 Ethical Boundaries of Practice Psychologists—and other mental health professionals—are licensed or certified to provide psychotherapy and other services that fall within the “boundaries of their competence, based on their education, training, supervised experience, consultation, study, or professional experience” (APA Code of Ethics, Section 2.01). In normal usage, the boundaries of competence apply to “recognized techniques and procedures,” and special guidelines are called for if a psychologist provides services that employ techniques or procedures that are beyond the scope of the “generally recognized techniques and procedures” of the profession (APA Code of Ethics, Section 10.01-b). In summary, these guidelines are quite clear—a psychologist is licensed to provide “generally recognized techniques” of psychotherapy that she is competent to provide based on “education, training, and supervised experience.” A secular materialist may deal with the spiritual as a mere expression of biological, psychological, and sociological phenomena, but the Christian sees spiritual phenomena as reflecting more than material reality. The secular materialist and the Christian may agree that it is important to take spirituality into account in psychotherapy, especially as it regards the client’s phenomenological perspective. While it may be important to understand the client’s spiritual framework, to go beyond this and make use of spirituality therapeutically must be done with great caution. A psychologist who considers using religiouslybased interventions needs to consider several issues: how to use religiously-based interventions ethically; how to be sensitive to the client’s belief system; the inherent vulnerability of the client due to the inequality of the therapeutic power structure; and the dangers of reducing religious belief to a therapeutic enterprise. Using religiously-based interventions ethically A myriad of therapeutic techniques based on spiritual or religious beliefs and practices have been developed by Christians who believe that these techniques offer therapeutic benefits for patients who have mental health problems (e.g., Anderson, Zuehlke, & Zuehlke, 2000). Religiously-based interventions may include common religious practices such as prayer, meditation, or scripture reading; many of these interventions are used adjunctively to standard forms of psychotherapy. Other religiously-based interventions may combine elements of a standard form of 144 A HOLISTIC PSYCHOLOGY OF PERSONS psychotherapy with spirituality, such as exploring dysfunctional religious beliefs from a cognitivebehavioral framework. Some religiously-based interventions may involve systematic techniques derived from a particular theological perspective. Religiously-based interventions that are adjunctive in nature may pose few ethical issues when the primary treatment modality is a recognized form of psychotherapy, although informed consent and other issues must be addressed. However, religiously-based interventions that are used as the primary treatment modality, because they fall outside of the realm of “generally recognized techniques and procedures,” must be used with caution, especially if they are portrayed to clients as “psychological” interventions.2 Religiously-based interventions that are utilized as a primary treatment modality and billed for as psychological services raise several ethical concerns (see also Hunter & Yarhouse, 2009). First, religiously-based interventions should not be used unless the psychologist has demonstrated competence in the use of the technique (APA Ethical Principles, 2.01 - a & e). Second, they should not be used without first obtaining explicit informed consent from the client. In cases where the proposed technique is not “generally recognized,” it is incumbent upon the psychologist to inform the client “of the developing nature of the treatment, the potential risks involved, alternative treatments that may be available, and the voluntary nature of their participation” (APA Ethical Principles, 10.01 – b). The following scenario illustrates how these principles are sometimes violated. In 2002 I rec ...
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