Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Competent to Counsel Hardcover – June 20, 1986
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
This classic has helped thousands of pastors, students, laypeople, and Christian counselors develop both a general approach to Christian counseling and a specific response to particular problems.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
However, there are several notable shortcomings. First, Adams adopts a simplistic approach to mental illness - one that has potential to do considerable harm if misapplied. While he rightly differentiates between faux non-organic "illnesses" and bona fide chemical brain disorders, he neglects a significant in-between region that consists of deeply troubled individuals whose cognitive make-ups or personality organizations make responding positively to simplistic and direct confrontation unlikely. The nuances of relationship-building that are an important component of therapy and discipleship appear to be lacking.
Second, to say this is a reformed perspective on counseling appears to misapply the meaning of "reformed." Reformed theology acknowledges the Lordship of Christ in all things, including psychology and psychotherapy. To exclude some theories, practices, and methods simply because they are extra-biblical (not anti-biblical, just not in the Bible) denies the Christian's ability, even the command via the Cultural Mandate, to examine the truth in God's world and apply it in faith and wisdom. It is best embodied by Kuyper's insistence that there is not a square-inch of creation over which Christ does not say "mine!" Unfortunately, Dr. Adams seems to miss this wider application of reformed theology in favor of a vehement rejection of theories that are becoming historical relics and an application of Biblical behaviorism. Adams is unable to maintain a sense of consistency in his own model: he rejects some secularists but praises the reality therapy of Glasser and Mouwer.
Whether Adams intended for this to occur or not, his book has become a rallying point around which to bash psychology and psychotherapy. There is without question some truly unbiblical stuff in historical psychology and some truly hideous stuff in contemporary pop psychology. However, the study of the workings of the human mind, human thought processes, emotions, and behaviors, is as important an endeavor as studying any other aspect of creation. We cannot simply toss the whole discipline out because those who pioneered its study rebelled against God and sought to suppress His truth in unrighteousness. This is the classic ad hominum argument. As Christians, we should do better.
I am grateful that Dr. Adams has given us a starting place to recognize the dangers of the likes of Freud and Rogers (he should have come down hard on Jung - he's both dangerous and looney), the high value of Scripture in providing counsel for wisdom, comfort, and therapy as needed, and the importance of examining psychology closely to separate truth from error. However, it is time to move on. Let's elevate the dialogue and stop knocking down the straw man. He's about out of straw.
Moreover, How can Adams blame secular psychiatry for patients unresolved problems if he believes that the patient is solely responsible for his problems. When his counselees are healed he credits himself rather than the patient for taking responsibility.
The book starts by spending a significant time attacking secular counseling methods which he criticizes for not being effective and claiming that Biblical counseling is more effective. He points out that different psychiatrists and psychologists disagree with one another [However, Adams admits that there is no evidence that Biblical/nouthetic counseling is more or even equally effective & says it is apples & oranges to compare Biblical counseling to secular counseling. It is also worth noting that various pastors and nouthetic counselors disagree too e.g. John Macarthur who is premillennial and believes in the reality of the demonic, other counselors who are postmillennial, and Jay Adams who denies demonic activity due to his eschatology (It is fair to say that Adam's model assumes partial-preterist amillenialism and one must not only be a Christian for Adam's counseling to be effective, but Reformed and also buy into his specific eschatology of amillenial, partial-preterism!] I also have to question whether Adams believes in the Calvinistic concept of noetic effects of sin which damage the human mind in regard to mental illness.
His perspective is ahistorical (does he really want us to believe that there was no good Christian counseling in the past century until he invented nouthetic counseling! or that an inexperienced part-time nouthetic counselor would be better than a well-trained, full-time, and experienced integrative counselor?); his view is non-confessional by rejecting historicism, elevating marriage over singleness, denying demonic activity & witchcraft, etc and he is selectively Biblicist (he ignores OT passages that speak of unintentional sin or NT passages that mention spiritual warfare against devils).
Adams claims that the glory of God is the only purpose of counseling and that healing is not a goal of nouthetic counseling. It is unclear why he believes that mental health issues require Biblical help but seeking help for physical problems from "integrative" or "secular" doctors is ok..
In my experience as a former biblical counseling student I would say it is good that much nouthetic counseling is free because I would not recommend paying for it.
I also have to wonder if Dr. Adams and nouthetic counselors think that corporate sin exists (since the Bible focuses mainly upon it rather than individual sins and self-help which Adams stresses so much, which sounds more like American individualism than Christianity).
Lastly, I will mention that when I was being trained to do Biblical counseling I was told to bind the conscience of counselees to things that Bible does not require e.g. tee-totalling.