Theology for Better Counseling: Trinitarian Reflections for Healing and Formation, By Virginia Todd Holeman

Theology for Better Counseling

Trinitarian Reflections for Healing and Formation

Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books

by Virginia Todd Holeman

Theology for Better Counseling
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: October 25, 2012
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 3972
  • ISBN: 9780830839728

*affiliate partner

At one time, Virginia Todd Holeman "Toddy" thought being biblically literate was all she needed and had little interest in what real theologians talked about. But in her counseling she found that clients pressed her for more.

They didn't just want what she had gained through training in the best theories and practices available for counseling. They asked hard theological questions often related to their suffering. As she describes it, they experienced a kind of "theological disequilibrium . . . which left them discouraged, disoriented and often distraught."

Holeman shows how deep and clear theological reflection can make a major difference in counseling practice. Not only can it shape who we are, it can also bring into greater alignment our theological commitments, our therapeutic practices and our professional ethics. All the while it can have the most practical effect on our counseling sessions.

In this volume Holeman guides counseling students, pastoral counselors and licensed mental health professionals into becoming as well-formed theologically as they are trained clinically.

Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) Books explore how Christianity relates to mental health and behavioral sciences including psychology, counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy in order to equip Christian clinicians to support the well-being of their clients.

"The great risk of twenty-first-century Christian counseling is becoming uprooted, neglecting the theological essence of our work. Dr. Holeman's book Theology for Better Counseling is an important corrective. She weaves theological insight and clinical wisdom together in this readable and practical book. I commend it to you."

Mark R. McMinn, author, Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling and coauthor, Integrative Psychotherapy

"Going well beyond the questions of when and how to make use of explicit spiritual resources in counseling, Holeman's model of theologically reflective counseling provides a practical, user-friendly, integration tool for use by Christian counselors with both Christian and non-Christian clients--that is, not dependent upon particular theological or theoretical persuasions."

Heather Gingrich, associate professor of counseling, Denver Seminary

"In Theology for Better Counseling, Holeman provides a bridge linking the languages of theology and psychology, demonstrating a theologically reflective model to integrate faith and counseling. Through case examples, jargon-free explanations and clear applications, this book provides a valuable tool for all who consider themselves Christian counselors."

Judith A. Schwanz, Ph.D., professor of pastoral care and counseling, Nazarene Theological Seminary

"In Theology for Better Counseling, Virginia Todd Holeman artfully weaves together theological depth and practical counseling wisdom in ways I can immediately use as a therapist. Her mature integrative model emerges from her own personal and professional journey of spiritual growth and disciplined reflection, which is exactly the kind of integration needed for Christian counseling practice."

Steven Sandage, associate professor, Bethel Seminary

"Virginia Holeman has done a beautiful job in vividly illustrating practical and useful guides for everyday Christian counseling. She is able to translate difficult theological concepts into everyday language for her clients and students. Clearly a labor of love, her work should be made compulsory reading for all counseling students."

Jenny Pak, Ph.D., associate professor, Rosemead School of Psychology, Biola University

"While I am an active professional counselor and not a theologian, I find Dr. Holeman's book challenges me to see the links between my counseling practice and my own personal Christian theology. She weaves the two together by both concept and case study, so when applied, I grow into a more competent, theologically reflective counselor. This can be beneficial to both myself and my client(s), plus it surely must please the heart of God."

Bonnie Crandall, M.A., L.P.C.C.

"Many--both laypeople and those who consider themselves theologians--flaunt the word theology. Yet, as Dr. Holeman demonstrates in her work, that does not mean that these people can articulate their theology and how it affects (for good or bad) their work with people. Holeman challenges us to 'think deeply from theological wells' and to know how our theology drives our counseling. She calls it 'theologically reflective counseling'! Her Wesleyan voice profoundly enhances the ongoing discourse about the integration of theology and psychology in counseling practice. It speaks to the distinction between a Christian who counsels and one who intentionally perceives the client, defines the problem and strategizes a plan of intervention specifically from a reflective, theologically based worldview. If you have been searching for a book that clearly highlights God's therapeutic presence and work in the lives of people, hence making theology practical in the discipline of counseling, you have found it! I would be so bold as to say that Holeman's insights in this work are not limited to the counseling but all intervention professions and ministries with people."

Anne Kiome Gatobu, dean of the School of Practical Theology, associate professor of pastoral counseling, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Theology for Better Counseling provides a thoughtful integration of theological themes into counseling practice that is judiciously informed by the author's Wesleyan roots. Dr. Holeman effectively weaves together prominent theological themes with research that describes the common factors that account for success in counseling practice. Her book advances the discussion of what constitutes Christian counseling and should be read by practicing professionals and counselors in training as they grapple with the challenges of explicit faith integration into counseling practice. I wish this book had been available during my graduate training."

Chuck Romig, Ph.D., Graduate Counseling Program, John Brown University

"For current or aspiring counselors who want a clear look into what it means to integrate theology into their counseling practice--this book is a must-read. Dr. Holeman does a masterful job unfolding her own journey of faith integration, allowing the reader to walk alongside her while asking and answering questions of what it means to be a counselor who is a Christian."

Todd Frye, professor of counseling, MidAmerica Nazarene University

"Holeman has written a unique book in the integration literature. Her theologically reflective practice model is neither treatment-model-specific nor is it generically thin Christianity. It is not psychology with a 'side of Jesus' but is a genuine and successful attempt to allow theology (specific, thick and strong) to have a real impact. This book will be very useful for Christian clinical graduate training as well as pastoral care and counseling."

Brad D. Strawn, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, March 2014


1. Is All This Fuss about Theology Really Necessary?
2. A Metamodel of Theologically Reflective Counseling
3. A Theologically Reflective Counseling Relationship: The Triune God and Therapeutic Common Factors
4. Responsible Living: Personal Holiness and Theologically Reflective Counseling
5. Out of the Office and Into the Streets: Social Holiness, Social Justice, and Theologically Reflective Counseling
6. Just Forgive? The Atonement and Theologically Reflective Counseling
7. Seeing Now in Light of the Not Yet: Eschatology and Theologically Reflective Counseling
Post Script


You May Also Like

Virginia Todd Holeman

Virginia Todd Holeman is professor of counseling at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. She previously taught at Ashland Theological Seminary and Kent State University and worked at New Life Family Ministries in Akron, Ohio. Holeman is a licensed psychologist in Ohio and a licensed marriage and family therapist in Kentucky. As a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, she leads workshops and seminars around the country. She contributes to professional journals and speaks at churches, conferences, and universities on the topics of forgiveness and family.