Category Archives: Counseling

Book review: Therapeutic Expedition: Equipping the Christian Counselor for the Journey, by John C. Thomas and Lisa Sosin

9781433672361_cvr_webIn recent decades, pastoral counseling has become one of the most solicited aspects of the pastoral ministry. Many pastors today combine both disciplines theology and counseling in their ministries. For most of them it is impossible to go back to school and enroll a counseling program, but they still want to be proficient in doing counseling or pastoral care at church. That is why we should be thankful for books addressing the topic of counseling. The book Therapeutic Expedition: Equipping the Christian Counselor for the Journey (Thomas & Sosin, 2011) is one of those books that pastors will find extremely useful.

The book is divided into three sections. Section 1 The Heart of the Helping Process addresses foundational counseling issues. This section serves as an introduction the counseling discipline and preliminary themes anyone doing counseling should be familiar with. Section 2 Basic Helping Skills focuses on the skills everyone in the helping profession needs to know and use with the counselee. Counseling skills will determine the proficiency of the counselor and the course the therapeutic relationship will take. The fact this book provides readers with information about counseling skills is of great value. Section 3 The Helping Process covers technical aspects of the counseling process such as case conceptualization or conducting assessments. That might be the most professional sections as it is devoted to aspects pertaining to the clinical or professional counseling discipline. However, anyone in ministry will benefit from this section as well.

Chapters come accompanied by activities at the end of them. These activities will help readers to reflect and analyze what has been previously read. In addition to that, the book comes with online resources that consist of videos showing negative and positive examples of counselor using counseling skills. The videos are arranged by vignettes and are included in almost every chapter. The authors write in a professional manner and, at the same time, accessible to anyone.

One of the most remarkable aspects from this book is the order and sequence it offers. Chapters are carefully arranged so readers can follow a logical sequence.

Though this book may result intimidating for the quality of the writing and the professional aspects it encloses, I would recommend this book not only to professional Christian counselor but also to those who have not been introduced to the counseling ministry and would like to start getting familiar to counseling terms and ideas. In other words, this book can be used as both an advance counseling book and an introductory counseling book.

You can buy the book here from B&H or from Amazon

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Book Review: The Rewired Brain, by Dr. Sky Chilton

CHILTON_TheRewiredBrain_CoverSpine.inddIt has been demonstrated that the human brain can be rewired. Many studies and treatments have shown positive results in rewiring the brain, especially in the treatment of addictions and trauma.  The Rewired Brain (Chilton, 2016) is a book about that, how to rewire the brain.

Chilton’s main idea is that rewiring the brain can be done thanks to the plasticity and flexibility of the human brain. It is presented as the organ where our emotions, thoughts, behavior, and everything related to these three aspects are generated.

The book is divided into three main sections. Part 1 (Reflect) deals with dual process reasoning (DPR). The author presents the concept of DPR and the importance of being aware of the implications of the DPR and how it is connected with the process of rewiring the brain. Part 2 (Reframe) focuses on how to balance our brain in order to find the equilibrium in our daily as well as in our behaviors. Part 3 (Rewire) is the practical section of the book. Through self-directed and self-explanatory exercises, the author introduces readers into a process of self-exploration in order to get to know ourselves a little bit better. Who am I?; Surrender; and Forgiveness and Freedom are the three chapters included in this final section.

Readers can have the initial idea that this book is a self-help book. I would say yes and no. Though the concepts and exercises included in this book are clear and well directed, the author recommends readers to seek for professional help if there are areas of struggle Chilton claims this book to be “a preliminary road map for the journey” (p. 213). Readers should not get the wrong idea that anyone can heal every traumatic experience or addition just by reading the book. That would be a wrong assumption.

One of the strengths this book offers is reflection questions. Both, part 1 and 2, offer reflection questions at the end of every chapter. These questions are omitted in part 3, as this section offers practical exercises.

Summarizing, this book is an excellent resource for professional counselors and those in helping professions such as pastors and church leaders, as this book can help them understand people and their behavior much better.

This book is available in both hardcover and E-book formats. You can buy it here 

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need, by Jeremy Pierre & Deepak Reju

descargaCounseling has become one of the most important disciplines in ministry. It is very common today that pastors and church leaders pursue counseling degrees in addition to theology and biblical studies. That increased the need for counseling books and resources. Frustration comes when pastors who are not prepared in counseling cannot find literature on this topic for those who are not trained in counseling.

The book The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need, by Jeremy Pierre & Deepak Reju (Crossway, 2015) is one of those books that every pastor who wants to get introduced in the counseling ministry needs to read. This volume is part of the series 9Marks published by Crossway.

This book is written in a way anybody, counseling literate or not, can understand. That is important if the purpose for writing is that people can approach to counseling ministry without previous knowledge about this discipline. In part one, the authors present counseling as a process that comprises a beginning or initial stage. Initial goals are presented at first, as goals are the basic for a successful counseling intervention. They suggest potential counselors to begin by addressing the presenting problem in order to gain information about the situation the counselee is facing. After that they recommend to introduce the relevance of the Gospel in order to help people to grow in Christlikeness.

A very important point addressed by the authors is prioritization. They provide a series of recommendations to prioritize counseling a person over others. Time required, level of exploration required, Level of urgency, available gospel/oriented relationship, are the four factors the authors present as crucial factors to be taken into account when more than one person are in need of therapy.

Details are important in counseling, and for that reason Pierre and Reju include very important recommendations for pastor who are also ministering as counselors. Office accommodations are included in this book. These tips and recommendations are a valuable resource as some counseling books omit them.

Part two of the book is devoted to the counseling process in itself. Initial meeting, counseling relationship and connection issues, the exploration of the concern, providing hope, setting expectations, are the points the authors include as the basic issues that need to be addressed during the first session. Then they move toward laboring for change points. This section includes a set of questions the authors recommend to ask during counseling sessions. The final meeting chapter is an invaluable chapter that will help pastors to bring counseling process to its end in a progressive and effective way. A sermon is incomplete without an effective conclusion, and the same happens with counseling; there must be a closing session. The authors answer the questions of when and how should counselors to close the counseling process, as well as who is the responsible for closing that process. Elements of the final session are also addressed.

My final word on this book is that this is a must have for pastors who are aware of the importance of being skilled in counseling in order to provide basic counseling responses to people in crisis. While reading this book you will feel someone is showing you the required steps in the counseling process. The purpose of this book is not to make you feel as a psychologist, but as a biblical counselor, and it accomplishes its goal in a very thorough way.

You can buy the book directly from Crossway or from Amazon

I received an electronic copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology, by Robert Weis

51Sctj-FPSL._SL240_In recent decades, mental health agencies have increased their demand for therapists to work exclusively with children and adolescents. For that reason, child and adolescents treatment has been gaining attention among psychologist and researchers. Schools and universities offer child and adolescents diagnosis and treatment classes in order to train students to work with these two particular populations. It is not difficult to find literature addressing the topic of therapy with children and adolescents.

When one decides to study or learn more about such a delicate subject, as it is diagnosing and treating children and adolescents, there is always a need for obtaining the best literature available in the market. SAGE Publications offers quality books on the subject of psychology. Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology, by Robert Weis, (SAGE, 2013), is perhaps the most complete book on the subject of therapy for children and adolescents. What makes this book unique?

First and most important, the thoroughness shown by Weis in every single sentence makes this book an excellent resource for both students and practitioners. He writes from a professional perspective (he is a licensed counselor and professor). His knowledge of the subject and expertise are evidenced from the first page to the last one. The author highlights the peculiarities and individual needs children and adolescents present, as these distinctions are crucial aspects that affect diagnosis and treatments.

Secondly, this is not just a theory and informative book. This volume includes case study sections where students and readers are introduced to stories addressing the topic under subject. That helps to integrate theory and practical issues, which is always appreciated by those who are being introduced into a particular subject.

Another remarkable point readers will find inside this book is the inclusion of changes and differences between the DSM-IV and the DSM-5. That tells readers this book will remain in good outstanding and actualized until the DSM-5 is actualized, which nobody knows when. These changes are crucial for diagnosing a client, as they determine not only the diagnosis, but also the treatment plan for a particular client.

This book is divided into five main sections:

Part I. Principles of Science and Practice

Part II. Developmental and Learning Disorders

Part II. Disruptive Disorders and substance Use Problems

Part IV. Emotions and thoughts Disorders

Part V. Health-Related Problems

This book is full of charts and graphics that support the points developed and explained in every paragraph. In addition to that, a chapter summary is included at the end of each chapter. Every chapter summary includes definitions, key terms, and critical thinking exercises, just to mention some. Students have access to electronic student resources related to this book

Summarizing, Introduction to Abnormal Child and Adolescent Psychology is a masterpiece that will not let readers uninformed concerning the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in children and adolescents. This extensive book will provide students and therapists with all the relevant information required to gain knowledge and experience to work with children and adolescents.

Technical specifications:

I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Cognitive Therapy Techniques in Christian Counseling

descargaMcMinn, M. R. (2008). Cognitive therapy techniques in christian counseling. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. 

In recent decades, cognitive therapy theoretical approaches and techniques have gained the attention of psychologists, including Christian counselors. Cognitive therapy has been proved to be effective when applied to many of the mental disorders prevalent in our days. Anxiety disorder, depression, anger control, stress management, are good examples of mental disorders that can be treated with cognitive therapy and its techniques.

Cognitive Therapy Techniques in Christian Counseling, by Mark R. McMinn (Wipf and Stock Publishers) is a one of those books every Christian counselor appreciates.  McMinn is a well know therapist and author among Christian counselor, and his works are used in many counseling training programs. In his book Cognitive Therapy Techniques in Christian Counseling McMinn provides a very insightful perspective concerning the application of cognitive therapy techniques from a Christian perspective.

The book is divided into three main parts. The first division, Concepts of Cognitive Therapy (chapters 1-3), deals with theory and concepts every cognitive Christian counselor should be familiar with. Chapter 3 is especially integrative. In this chapter, McMinn provides real examples of therapeutic interventions and biblical scriptures related to them. These three introductory chapters stablish the foundation for the rest of the book.

In the second division, The Process of Cognitive Therapy (chapters 4-9) McMinn presents the basics of cognitive techniques and interventions from a Christian perspective. He does do by using real cases and conversations between the client and the counselor. Chapter 4 is particularly important as McMinn addresses the importance of the first interview. He focuses on ways counselors can us to gather necessary information and how to stablish a healthy and helpful therapeutic relationship for the client. Then he moves to how to work with clients’ thoughts and beliefs.

The third and last division, Applying Cognitive Therapy (chapters 10-13) is devoted to the application of cognitive techniques to depression (chapter 10), anxiety (chapter 11), stress and anger (chapter 12), and other applications (chapter 13). This last chapter presents an overview of how to apply cognitive therapy to eating disorders and couples therapy. Counselors will find this section especially helpful as it presents practical issues and techniques applied to particular disorders.

This book has many remarkable points regarding practical issues. I found very useful the figures used in this book to illustrate ideas and techniques. Conversations between the client and the counselor are always appreciated as they bring theory to the real world. New counselors may find orientation and new ideas by learning from these conversations. There are two appendixes at the end of the book that might be a good resource for new counselors. The firs one (appendix A) is an example of client information form. The second one (appendix B) contains homework forms that can be used with clients from a cognitive theoretical approach.

Thought this book is written from a professional perspective, I would recommend this book to both beginners as well as to consolidated Christian counselors. Even more, I recommend this book to every pastor, as it can help you to assists people in your congregations who might be dealing with emotions, depression and other issues.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Solution Building in Couples Therapy

9780826109590Connie, E. (2013). Solution building in couples therapy. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

One of the classes that I enjoyed the most from my M.A in Clinical Counseling was marriage and family counseling class. It was in this class that I stablished my first contact with solution-focused therapy. This approach has become my preferred approach ever since in working with couples. As a pastor, time is always appreciated, and this approach is very helpful in helping couples to overcome their problems in a short period, compared to other approaches.

In this book, Elliot Connie presents the basic steps required for an effective therapeutic intervention with couples. Connie is a renowned specialist in the field of solution-focused therapy. The name of this approach says it all. Solution-focused therapy is mainly interested in building solutions and helping couples to find the tools and strengths they need to find in order to achieve the goal they set as the one they want to accomplish.

Connie writes in a very accessible way so even those who are not familiar with solution-focused therapy can understand the basic, and beyond the basic, about this fascinating approach. He first presents and overview of solution-focused therapy. Then he moves to the six steps the counselor needs to address in order to make this approach effective in behalf of the couples.

The idea beneath this approach is that the counselor does not spend much time exploring the details of the origin of the problem. It does not mean that the problem is not addressed; it would be impossible counseling couples without addressing the problem. The idea is that once the problem has been stated by the couple, the therapist focuses on questions related to the solution-building process. It can be made by asking them questions related with the hope they have for the future, what they would like to see different in their lives, or what would it take for them to go to that desired and realistic future. Then couples identify what things they need to do or change in order to accomplish the goal they have identified.

Connie also includes conversations between couples and the therapists as an example of how to ask questions, what kind of questions are effective in working with couples from a solution-focused approach, and many other useful examples that will help you integrate this approach in your work as a counselor.

This is a very short book (115 pages) and it is worth of the money. Once you become skilled in using this approach you will appreciate even more the money you invested in this book.

If you are a pastor, a family pastor, a church leader, a counselor, or any one working with couples, then you need this book.

You can buy this book here

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists

descargaPreston, J. D., O’Neal, J. H., & Talaga, M. C. (2013). Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists (7th ed.) Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

Visitation is one of the most important areas in the pastoral ministry. It is very common to receive a phone call from a family or a member of the church letting you know, pastor, that a particular member of your church is in the hospital or just sick in bed. That place you in a situation in which you may find yourself engaged in a conversation about medicines. If you are a chaplain in a hospital or hospice you know what I am talking about.

In a world where depression, anxiety, ADHD, stress, and many other psychological disorders are also prevalent among Christians we, as pastors, need to be familiar with pharmacotherapy terms and medicines. That is why I decided to include a book about psychopharmacology. Handbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for Therapists is the perfect book for those who want to get familiar with psychopharmacology terms, diagnosis, and side effects. This is an easy book to read and understand for those who have not previous knowledge about this topic, though this book is required for most of the M.A. in clinical counseling.

The authors divide the book into three sections:

Part One: Understanding Psychopharmacology: The Basic

Part Two: Clinical Syndromes: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment Implications

Part Three: Medications

The book provides an appropriate balance between syndromes, diagnosis, symptoms, and the appropriate treatment for every disorder. Authors do not engage in theoretical complex terminology. Instead, they provide basic information about mental disorders, causes, and possible treatments. The book also contains case studies that would help you to see how theory applies to real situations. You will also find plenty of tables and graphics illustrating theory. It also offers nine useful appendixes at the end of it that will help readers to deepen into different topics.

One negative note I found in this book is that differential diagnosis are based on the DSM-IV. Both, the book and the DSM-5 were published in 2013. I am assuming the DSM-5 was released after this book. Otherwise, there is no apparent reason to publish a book based on the DSM-IV knowing that the APA is about to release the DSM-5. I hope this book will be revised, updated, and published again for the sake of students, psychotherapists, and even pastors.

In conclusion, this book is a book you may want to consider if you want to get familiar with psychopharmacology treatments and terms without fearing the unknown to you. I can guarantee you that after you read this book you will feel like you have always mastered pharmacotherapy. Maybe, want to consider this book just as a reference book you can use when you need to.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

The Minirth Guide for Christian Counselors

9781433670732Minirth, Frank. The Minirth Guide for Christian Counselors. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2003.

The Minirth Guide for Christian Counselors is a rare book which combines, with a perfect balance, Bible and counseling. The book is full of biblical references and passages that the author uses to provide biblical support and to make this guide a very interesting and helpful book for Christian counselors and pastors in general.

The author’s main point in this book is that spiritual growth is a basic element in the process of recovery, and that Christians who are dealing with emotional or mental disorders would benefit from spiritual encouragement and development. Many Christian and non-Christian counselors would dispute that point while others would appeal to the many scientific researches and empirical evidences that support the benefits that holding the Christian faith has on individuals who are suffering emotional distress or any type of mental disorder.

The author begins by providing an overview about Christian counseling. He includes basic principles of Christian counseling, the parts of man and how they relate to Christian counseling, and some others introductory concept that help the reader to gain basic knowledge about Christian counseling. He continues by providing basic steps that may help the counselor in the process of reaffirming the Christian client on his or her faith. The author also presents seven pragmatic and biblical steps that he considers basic elements in Christian counseling.

The book is basically divided into two sections. The first one (pages 1-70) is devoted to practical counseling issues, while the second section (71-181) provides the counselor with tips, forms, and documents necessary for an organized counseling office. I found the second section to be very helpful since most of the resources included on that section are sometimes ignored by Master Degree programs and counseling schools.

The main weakness of this book is that it is not updated with the DSM-5. It is understandable if we consider that this book was published in 2003 and the DSM-5 was released in 2013, and many mental agencies are still in the process of integrating it into their systems. I hope this book will be revised, updated, and published again.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

In memory of Dr. Frank Minirth, an outstanding and brilliant psychotherapist, and a faithful Christian.

The Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care

descargaThe Bloomsbury Guide to Pastoral Care (2014) is a book edited by Bernadette Flanagan and Sharon Thornton and published by Bloomsbury Publishing. This book is an invaluable tool for pastors and seminary students in the area of pastoral ministry. I am saying that because this book provides an actual and accurate perspective about pastoral care and themes related to this discipline.

The book is divided into two main sections. Part 1: European Trends and Themes, presents aspects of the pastoral care ministry from and theoretical and practical European perspective. Part 2: North American Trends and Themes, is devoted to the pastoral care field and how it is viewed and applied in North America.

This book contains sixteen chapters written by different authors writing on their area of expertise. Something I really like about this book is that chapters are concise and precise at the same time. That helps readers to not feel bothered by unnecessary terminology and long chapters that do not contribute to the understanding of the issue under discussion. Instead, chapters are short and full of precise information that help readers to get the main points the authors are trying to transmit.

Chapter 1 introduces the reader to the world of pastoral care. In this chapter, the author defines the term pastoral care and its etymology. This chapter presents and overview about the relationship that exists between pastoral care and pastoral counseling, and how these two disciplines are also different in function and responsibilities. This chapter is crucial and will capture the reader’s attention in a way that will be impossible for him or her to stop reading the book. The term practical theology is also included in this chapter as the author explains how it relates to pastoral care.

Other themes that readers will find in this book are cyberbullying among adolescent girls, nurturing families, domestic violence, mental health ministry in the congregation and community, or pastoral care of the ageing. All of these themes are contemporary issues that require the intervention of those involved in pastoral care ministry.

Something I personally miss from this book is the inclusion of a more explicit biblical perspective and terminology. Biblical passages about pastoral care or biblical terminology would be appreciated by those who are in ministry, since they are most likely the potential readers to whom this book is addressed. I am not claiming this book should line up with any denomination or doctrine in particular, but that pastoral care is well supported by the Bible and this book would benefit from a more specific biblical support.

However, I highly recommend this book to those who are in ministry, those who plan to, and those who are just interested in learning more about the spellbinding world of pastoral care. This is an excellent book for both experienced pastors and beginners.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Understanding Pastoral Counseling

9780826130051_1

When I was searching for books about pastoral counseling, I decided to search books on this topic beyond Christian publishers. I have to say that I am surprised about the amount of non-Christian publishers that are publishing excellent books about pastoral counseling. That is the case of the book “Understanding Pastoral Counseling” edited by Elizabeth A. Maynard and Jill L. Snodgrass (2015), and published by Springer Publishing Company.

This book is, perhaps, one of the top five books on the subject of pastoral counseling and an outstanding book on the integration of pastoral counseling and the counseling profession. It is divided into seven major sections and 28 short chapters written by well know scholars. The first chapter is devoted to the history and development of pastoral counseling and how this term is understood today beyond the Christian religion. In fact, the book also presents perspectives on Jewish, Muslim, Baddish, Hindu, and Native American spiritual counseling. Another remarkable point of the book is the way pastoral counseling is differentiated from clinical counseling, though both disciplines have some commonalities.

I found very helpful the reflection questions included at the end of every chapter. References have been also placed at the end of each chapter, which is always helpful if one is interested in finding works used by the authors.

Summarizing, this book is an invaluable resource for scholars, pastoral counseling students, and pastors who want to deepen into their understanding of the counseling aspect of the pastoral ministry in the twenty-first century. I am sure this book will be in the desk of pastors and counselors for many decades.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Couple therapy: A new hope-focused approach

41c0ia34I5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Hello and welcome to a new edition of the blog Ayuda Ministerial/Resources for Ministry. I will continue with the series about counseling, as I consider counseling as a very important aspect of the pastoral ministry. How many of you have faced the challenge of counseling couples? I am sure most of you. Today I would like to introduce a book on couple therapy. The book “Couple therapy: A new hope-focused approach” by Jeniffer S. Ripley and Everett L. Worthington Jr. (2014) is the book you need if you want to improve your understanding of couple therapy. This is an academic book published by Inter Varsity Press. More than 50,000 copies sold in previous editions. Why so many copies sold? Well, just because this books is great. 50,000 readers, most of them from the counseling field, prove it. Ripley and Worthington base the effectiveness of the hope-focused approach on the results of many years of investigation on this approach, so this is not just another book on couple therapy.

The authors develop the idea of the effectiveness of focusing the attention on the couple’s skills and capabilities to revert the situation instead of focusing on the presenting problem. They place the emphasis on the relationship between individuals’ strengths and the hope for change. It does not mean the authors do not take into account the importance of assessing the presenting problem. The authors’ idea is to help the couple focus on their individual and collective skills in order to overcome the problem. The authors’ thesis is that if the counselor is able to get the couple focused on the hope for change, then they will be able to solve the problem even faster than focusing on the problem only. Summarizing, the idea of the hope-focused approach is to get the couple focused on the hope for change and how their strengths is the most important avenue that would lead them to resolve their problem. One thing I personally really like about this book is that the authors do not “force” readers to align with a particular therapeutic intervention. Whether you prefer existential or CBT you can still merge your theoretical orientation with the hope-focused approach.

Ripley and Worthington lead readers to the counseling process even before the intake. Chapter 5 is devoted to pre-counseling interventions. They address how social media and internet is an indispensable tool for client to stablish the first contact with you as a counselor. The authors also provide with examples of assessments paperwork, which is a never easy task. They also include very useful case studies in treatment planning. Through that section of the book (part 3), Ripley and Worthington present different cases about couples’ problems and they suggest potential interventions at the end of each chapter, which is a valuable help for counselors. They conclude with an orientation on how to conclude the treatment in an effective fashion.

The book is easy to read though it is written from an academic perspective. You will not find difficulties in navigating through it. Be aware that a basic understanding of counseling terms would be helpful for readers to better understand the concepts presented on this book. Biblical perspective and ideas are also integrated for Christian counselors.

Here is my final thought: whether you are a professional counselor or a pastor who considers counseling as a crucial aspect in your ministry, you need this book.

The price is very competitive: less than $30.00 bucks and is available also in digital format. You can directly ordain this book by clicking this link

You can buy the book here

As always, thanks for stopping by and visiting the blog. I hope you this and the rest of the entries are enriching resources for your ministry and life. God bless you all.

Acknowledgements: I would like to thanks Inter Varsity Press for providing the author of this blog with this book for reviewing purposes.

Counseling the Hard Cases

51UxinHNcRL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Hello, and welcome back. I decided to start a series on Christian counseling books. This week I would like to share with you a book that presents how to manage and counsel the hard cases. The book “Counseling the Hard Cases” edited and partially written by Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert (2015) is a book published by Broadman & Holman publishing with the main purpose of providing both biblical and psychological orientation for those who work in counseling settings. This book is also useful for pastors, but I have to say that if you are not familiar with, at least, basic counseling terms and approaches, you will have some difficulties in understanding some terms and interventions mentioned in this book. Other than that, this is a book that every pastor and counselor should read.

It comprises eleven chapters in which different Christian therapists present how they treated hard cases from real stories. The first chapter is devoted to the idea of the sufficiency of Scripture and how the Bible can be sued in every single situation no matter how difficult it is.

After the introductory chapter, the hard cases are explained by the authors. By using pseudonyms, the authors provide the clients’ background and their previous experiences with therapy in order to provide the reader with a context for every case presented in the book. The authors cover different themes such as surviving sexual abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia, or homosexuality from a Christian perspective. The authors explain and develop the intervention they used with every client. They also include the biblical passages and principles they used while working with these clients.

This book is written from a professional counseling perspective rather than from a pastoral perspective, but the Bible is present everywhere in this book.  However, pastors may find this book very useful and you will learn more about real cases, as people in our churches might be suffering similar experiences right now. This book will equip you, pastors, with a better understanding about hard cases and how reframe them for a better understanding.

The most remarkable characteristic of this book is that every chapter is written by different authors. That helps reader to have a different perspective and approach based on the authors’ personal orientation and experience. I also like that the authors provide with web site addresses where readers can find more information about a particular issue or even agencies where we can refer anyone who need professional assistance. A weakness that I found in this book is that though it has footnotes almost in every page, there is not a bibliography at the end of every chapter or at the end of the book. That would make it easier for readers to find a particular book quoted by the authors. Other than that, I highly recommend this book to you pastors and counselors, especially if you work in both fields.

Unfortunately for the Spanish speaking population this book is not available in Spanish.The price is very accessible; less than buying a soda in a daily basis. You can buy it directly by clicking here: http://www.lifeway.com/Product/counseling-the-hard-cases-P005704232

Thanks for visiting the blog. See you soon

Thanks to B&H publishing for providing the author with a copy of this book.

The Family: A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home

descargaEn una ocasión hablaba con una persona acerca del matrimonio. Yo le decía que el matrimonio era una institución establecida por Dios, a lo que esa persona me contestó: “cierto, y además miles de años antes del establecimiento de la Iglesia”. Pues bien, no hay estructura social hoy día que esté siendo tan atacada como la familia. El enemigo quiere destruir todo lo que haya sido establecido por Dios, y eso incluye las familias. El libro que presento hoy es, tal vez, uno de los mejores libros que podamos encontrar en el campo de la consejería familiar. Escrito por Jack O. Balswick (PhD, University of Iowa) y Judith K. Balswick (EdD, University of Georgia), este libro es una pieza indispensable en la biblioteca de cualquier pastor que quiera profundizar más en el campo de la conserjería. Debe de saber que este libro es usado en universidades para los programas de Master en consejería clínica o bíblica. Eso no lo hace un libro de lectura pesada y cargada de términos técnicos de difícil comprensión. Al contrario. Los autores han sabido plasmar sus años de experiencia profesional y académica en un libro pensado para estudiantes y profesionales del mundo de la consejería, así como para pastores que a diario tienen que enfrentar situaciones difíciles en las familias en medio de sus comunidades. Aún si usted no se identifica con ninguno de esos grupos, todavía puede leerlo sin miedo a no entender nada.

Los autores abordan temas como la familia desde una perspectiva teológica y social; el fundamento de la vida familiar; comunicación: el corazón de la familia, y otros temas de actualidad relacionados con la familia. 

El libro es editado por Baker Academy. Hablar de la editorial Baker es hablar de libros de calidad escritos por profesionales y eruditos de la Palabra, y otros temas de interés. Puede comprarlo directamente aquí

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