Christian counselling : does it differ from secular counselling.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Psychotherapy has traditionally described religious counselling in a negative manner since it was felt such practices perpetuated rather than dealt with mental health problems. This research set out to examine if differences existed between the practices of Christian and non-Christian therapists and the consequences if they did. A uniquely constructed questionnaire was sent to a number of therapists, but a very low return rate was received from non-Christian therapists possibly reinforcing the underlying anti-religious hostility expressed by this group. From the total of twenty seven returns received, liberal and nominal Christians were combined with the non-Christians making a (renamed) non-committed group of fifteen therapists. Twelve remained in the (renamed) committed Christian group. Data obtained from the questionnaire indicated a number of differences between the two groups. Differences were found in styles of therapy, religious beliefs, and ethical practices. Following the questionnaire, two therapists from each group were interviewed to gain further insight into the results and responses obtained. Both Christian and one non-Christian therapist were supportive of the research, but for different reasons. Christian therapists felt it was needed to educate others whereas the non-Christian therapist used it to educate herself. The remaining non-Christian therapist expressed marked hostility toward the research perhaps reflecting the opinions of the majority of therapists who did not participate in this research. Six clients also returned a questionnaire, enabling some insight from a client's perspective to be gained. This indicated that what therapists stated they would do and what either actually happened or was believed to be happening, did not always match. This study may be greatly flawed, however, due to the small number of therapists being studied and its being conducted in a small geographical area. This research serves to raise more questions for future research rather than give statements of general fact.