Religion and Christian Counseling Essay

Total Length: 1872 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

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Introduction



The Interdisciplinary Studies degree offers a student the opportunity to integrate disciplines to develop a broader understanding of areas that can be meaningfully applied one’s career. For example, an Interdisciplinary Studies degree that focuses on Religion and Christian counseling provides a suitable foundation for a counselor seeking to specialize in a work area that incorporates aspects of religion into the fundamentals of counseling. It is similar to a chef who has an understanding of a variety of menus and meals and how to prepare them applying for job as a opposed to a chef who has only practiced preparing one menu item over a course of four years applying for the same job. The chef who shows greater breadth within the type of cuisine that he is expected to produce will be the one who is more attractive to the employer. As McKinney (1991) shows, interdisciplinary studies open more doors for job applicants. A counselor who seeks to provide Christian counseling services and has a background in Religious studies thanks to the Interdisciplinary Studies degree offered by Liberty University will have more appeal to an employer than a counselor who has simply a degree in counseling. In a world where specialized medicine and services are the new norm, a professional who has focused his or her studies by embracing the interdisciplinary vision is more marketable than a graduate whose degree-path has a narrower scope.



Integrated Studies Make One Well-Rounded



Religion and Christian counseling are two areas of study that naturally go together and can be integrated effectively to give students of Interdisciplinary Studies a well-rounded advantage over students of traditional degree paths (Van Deusen Hunsinger, 1995). It is a fact that disciplines tend to overlap: instead of teaching them in isolation of one another, students should be invited to study integrate them into a course that fits the student’s overall aim (Repko & Szostak, 2012). Likewise, as Repko, Szostak and Buchberger (2017) note, “interdisciplinary studies is now considered basic to education, problem solving, professional practice, and innovation” (p. 4). The more integrated one’s studies of disciplines are, the more that one will be likely to obtain “a time-tested practical way to address the inherent complexity of real-world problems, including those problems arising in the workplace” (Repko et al., 2017, p. 4). For an individual intent on combining theology with counseling, the obvious solution for how to study towards an appropriate acquisition of knowledge is to adopt the interdisciplinary approach (Van Deusen Hunsinger, 1995).



In the field of counseling, there are a number of different approaches that counselors in the field can offer to clients. Counseling is a highly personalized intervention, which is why there are so many different counselors specializing in so many different techniques.
For example, there are marriage and family counselors, guidance counselors, rehabilitation counselors, mental health counselors, educational counselors, substance abuse counselors—and these are just general areas of counselor. It gets even more specific once counseling approaches are discussed. There are counselors who specialize in cognitive behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis, the humanistic approach, holistic therapy, and various others. Clients who are religious or who want a Christian approach to counseling provide a verifiable market for counselors who have specialized in religious studies—and even more so for counselors who have specialized in an interdisciplinary studies degree combining Religion with a Christian counseling focus. If one is going to provide Christian counseling, after all, it helps to understand the religion, the major themes, spiritual approaches, concepts, teachings, foundations, and history. The greater the depth of knowledge of a Christian counselor within the realm of religion, the better prepared that counselor will be to provide an adequate intervention for clients of various

Christian backgrounds.



How Individual Strengths and Education Increase One’s Professional Marketability



As Clifton, Anderson and Schreiner (2006) show, one’s inner strengths can help to boost one’s academic and business success—all that is required is the desire to recognize these strengths and tap into them. Strengths that can work to increase one’s professional marketability include: 1) communication, 2) competitiveness, 3) individualization, 4) input, and 5) intellection (Clifton et al., 2006). Communication can boost one’s professional marketability as it shows that one has the ability to speak, affirm, express, and explain; without these skills, one will have little value in the business world. The more that one’s education provides a broader and deeper understanding of a special area of study, the more information that person will have to draw upon in order to be a better communicator.



Thus, combining individual strengths with education—particularly an interdisciplinary approach to education—can increase one’s attractiveness to employers. One’s ability to compete is another strength that can help: knowing how to be better than one’s competitors—how to stand out among them—is an absolute strength and one facilitated by the interdisciplinary studies degree. A counselor who can boast a background in religion and in Christian counselor will appear as far more professional and knowledgeable than a counselor with no background in either, when it comes to marketing oneself to Christian or religious clients. Individualization is a key strength, too, as it is a person-centered quality that allows one to hone in on what makes every person unique and use this to make….....

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References

Association for Interdisciplinary Studies. (2018). Retrieved from https://oakland.edu/ais/

Clifton, D. O., Anderson, E. C., & Schreiner, L. A. (2006). StrengthsQuest: Discover and develop your strengths in academics, career, and beyond (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Gallup Press. 

McKinney, W. L. (1991). Graduates' satisfaction with bachelor of general studies degree. The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 39(1), 16-18.

Repko, A. & Szostak, R. (2012). Interdisciplinary research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Repko, A., Szostak, R. & Buchberger, M. (2017). Introduction to interdisciplinary studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Van Deusen Hunsinger, D. (1995). Theology and pastoral counseling: A new interdisciplinary approach. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing.

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