The Clinical Christ: Scientific and Spiritual Reflections on the Transformative Psychology Called Christian Holism
The Clinical Christ presents an overview of healing potential in apsychotherapeutic method which includes both clinical expertise, theological insight and belief in an activist God.
Forward by Barbara Shlemon Ryan, RN, Be-loved Ministry:
Dr. Charles Zeiders’ writings stand as powerful contributions to the human spirit. In most of today’s world the practice of modern psychology is severely handicapped by steadfastly separating body, mind, and spirit. His writings lift this veil of fear and misunderstanding by presenting a viable and effective alternative. Several years ago I was employed as a psychiatric nurse in a large Veteran’s Administration hospital located in the Midwest. Group therapy sessions were scheduled each week with the intention of uncovering the underlying cause of the patients’ mental problems. The clinical staff was instructed to discourage any discussions of spirituality during these gatherings because they presented an obstacle to recovery. It saddens me that I can recall very few lasting breakthroughs for those troubled souls. Dr. Zeiders refutes this form of therapy by demonstrating the beneficial effects of healthy spiritual experiences. He cites the copious amounts of scientific data that give strong arguments for the inclusion of spirituality in treatment plans. The Clinical Christ is a radical departure from today’s demystified form of analytic psychiatry and psychology. The insights and examples gleaned from Dr. Zeiders’ professional experience are sure to bring renewed hope to all who seek to discover true wholeness. I believe his writings will open the door to a fresh wind of the Holy Spirit in the mental health field.
Excerpted from the book:
Psychologists can measure normalcy, define madness, develop therapeutic paradigms, and list the nuances of human nature with utmost precision. We have biofeedback, psychometrics, psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, positive psychology, behavior modification, and a host of deeply promising projects in the research and development pipeline. To be sure, our discipline has advanced accurate understanding of the soul’s essential properties and has scientifically harnessed this knowledge to clinically mitigate the deep agony of the human mind. But, despite our advances and genuine effectiveness, our discipline remains incomplete. Theoretically, scientifically, and therapeutically, we fall short of the fuller effectuality that awaits us. We need Christ.
It is through the Christian revelation that psychology will find its maturity. In our incorporation of the divine breakthrough recorded in the New Testament, our theories will become more true, because we will develop them in the light of Truth. Our therapies will become more powerful, because we will submit them to the source of Power. Our knowledge of human nature—as good but fallen, redeemed through Jesus, loved by a powerful, active triune God—will have tremendous impact on our disciplinary pursuits. Because God created humanity, all psychological science implicitly situates research data in relation to the creator. Because the sovereign God heals, we can submit our therapeutic interventions to his sovereignty and enjoy a therapy the nature of which is saturated by grace. Cognitive or dynamic interventions can become so imbued with divinity that the clinician’s technique and the patient’s receptivity uncannily unfold toward health. For psychology there are blessings afoot. And these blessings stem from our recognition that the Clinical Christ—the activity of the God of the Christian revelation throughout the realms of our discipline—desires to redeem, relate, heal, love, and empower us. The Clinical Christ seeks to bring us individually and corporately into a level of exuberant wholeness that is ultimately endless and utterly wonderful. The Clinical Christ is the Lord of the transformative psychology of Christian Holism. The chapters of this book explore different aspects of the Clinical Christ, Christian Holism, and their implications.
A group of colleagues and I have spent years experiencing the Clinical Christ in our practice of Christian Holism. From our spiritual/clinical experience, we felt an obligation to develop a theology of psychotherapy. Under the auspices of the Institute for Christian Counseling and Therapy, we formed the Think Tank for Christian Holism. The Think Tank consisted of three licensed psychologists, a minister and pastoral therapist, and an author and publisher of religious books—all practicing Christians and veterans of psychological and spiritual practice. From our efforts emerged the following tenets of Christian Holism: