Studying psychology at a Christian college is becoming more popular amongst students, but there is still a question in the field if this is a good choice for every professional. Many professionals, as Christianity Today reports, struggle with compartmentalizing their client’s issues from their own, but with a Christ-centered education, the job can become more rewarding. From using spirituality as a factor in treatment to using a combination of secular and religious techniques, Christian colleges provide a variety of benefits to students interested in becoming psychologists.
Presenting Spirituality as a Factor in Education
Secular schools provide quality education and several different benefits, but these can also be found at Christian schools. Where Christian colleges flourish and provide the most benefit is through integrating spirituality with the more secular aspects of the field. By including Biblical teachings and educating students in a Christian worldview, these schools are demonstrating that spirituality plays a large role in the successful treatment of clients. While spirituality alone cannot treat psychological issues, it can become a support system for a client should a counselor choose to use it as part of the treatment process. Additionally, secular psychologists often struggle with including Christian principles in treatment, especially if they have not been educated on how to do this properly.
A Compassionate and Ethical Approach
Many psychologists who study at secular colleges hone an ethical approach in their education, but those who study at Christian colleges have something more to offer: compassion. That’s because the programs at these colleges imbue Biblical and Christian teachings within each course offered in the curriculum. This enables psychologists to graduate with an understanding that the field cannot solve every problem, but can be part of the solution for many of their clients. The schools are also renown for challenging students to use a Christian worldview in their work, allowing many professionals to see that spirituality is a factor in counseling and that by discussing it during sessions, clients may find a clarity that may not be offered elsewhere.
A Combination of Secular and Religious Techniques
Many students might think that secular and religious counseling techniques are mutually exclusive; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Cultural and religious upbringing is a factor in every counseling session; clients who grew up in a Christian household may not be helped by secular techniques alone. A professional must understand this inherently prior to moving forward with a treatment plan. By utilizing both secular and religious techniques, something that is generally only found in Christian colleges, professionals graduate with an understanding of how both sets of techniques can work in tandem to provide relief and treatment to clients.
One of the best benefits of studying psychology at a Christian college comes in the form of experiential options delivered by the school. Practicums, internships, and clinicals are all forms of experiential requirements that a student is expected to require prior to graduation; they are all work experiences that take place off of campus and deliver real-world work opportunities for students. While secular schools focus on private and public sector experiences, Christian colleges use non-profit and religious organizations as an option for students. This enables students the opportunity to see how a Christian workplace would feel like. These schools also offer volunteer experiences, such as missionary trips and study abroad options, that focus on presenting fellowship and Christian values as a necessary skill set moving forward in a professional’s career.
The field is still developing, with advancements and development in analysis and treatment techniques occurring annually, but what is clear is that counseling and religion are not mutually exclusive. As more people find faith and strength in Christianity, it’s becoming evident that a Christ-like approach to counseling is required. Students interested in studying psychology from a compassionate perspective would do well to research Christian colleges, who deliver a high-quality education while remaining true to the spirituality of potential patients.