Integration: Helping Develop Counseling Students for Callings

August 25, 2014

Sioux Falls Seminary’s recently updated Master of Arts in Counseling program is helping develop students for their unique callings by focusing on the integration of psychology and theology in all aspects of the program.

What is Integration?
How is the integration of psychology and theology defined?  Definitions vary somewhat, but a common theme does seem to emerge.  All writers on the subject seem to recognize that God has revealed God’s self through both Special Revelation (Jesus, miracles, scripture) and General Revelation (creation, moral awareness).  They also agree that both the book of God’s Word and the book of God’s Works must be studied, interpreted, and applied in the work of a counselor.

As one writer puts it, our integrative task is to “pursue the mind of the King.”  We are able to do this with determination and courage because we know that all truth is God’s truth.  Naturally, at times, we run into conflicts between conclusions drawn from psychological data and conclusions drawn from biblical content.  This shouldn’t surprise us in our human condition.  Rather, this causes us to reflect on what we do not yet understand, because we know that a God’s eye view would make clear to us that there is only one truth, and that ultimately God is the source of that truth.

How Does Integration Impact Students?
Students who come to Sioux Falls Seminary to pursue God’s call as professional counselors or marriage and family therapists, learn to speak two languages: the language of theology and the language of psychology.  There are many great theorists and therapists in this world, but an individual’s primary understanding of how to go about the work of psychotherapy emerges from his or her understanding of who Christ is and how he functioned in addition to the fundamental recognition that humans were made to be in relationship with each other and with God.  Students at Sioux Falls Seminary are equipped to carry with them into their work as professional counselors and therapists—two languages, one truth, recognition of Christ as their counselor exemplar, and the notion of relationship as a foundational principle.

During their time at Sioux Falls Seminary, students develop academically, professionally, and personally through supervised clinical experiences with the team of professional therapists at Sioux Falls Psychological Services, the seminary’s full service counseling ministry.  In addition, internships and the counseling program’s robust course offerings allow students to pursue areas of expertise including, but not limited to marriage and family therapy, child and adolescent behavior, and mental health counseling.

The desire of Sioux Falls Seminary and Sioux Falls Psychological Services is to develop competent counselors who love God and pursue the mind of the King by immersing themselves in both the book of God’s Word and the book of God’s Works.

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