Psychology in the Spirit, Contours of a Transformational Psychology, published by InterVarsity Press and written especially for those doing psychology and counseling, is an excellent book. John Coe and Todd Hall do a terrific job of addressing key principles of the Christian faith as it relates to human nature and personal growth. I don’t think I have ever read such a faith-based, detailed and clinical work on human nature and personal wholeness.
Coe and Hall present a new model of psychology using their knowledge of counseling principles along with biblical truths. I especially enjoyed the section of the book that addresses the nature of the self, sin and psychopathology, and psychological health. I also enjoyed reading the material about attachment filters and the impact that our previous relationships, especially those between a child and a parent, affect our emotional health as adults.
In the chapter, The Person as Spirit, they write “existential loneliness is perhaps the core sin-condition and pathology that plagues humankind in original sin.” And of the importance of being in union with God – “Here in the light, in the love of God, in union with the Holy Spirit, having been reconciled to God through Christ’s atoning work on the cross, my identity is resolved. Here I am at shalom, wholeness, peace, well-being.”
Psychology in the Spirit will help the reader better understand “sin habits of the heart” and the impact that our earthly parents have on our ability to experience a healthy relationship with our Heavenly Father. It also gives great insight into the process of spiritual formation from a psychological health perspective.
Counselors, professional life coaches, professors and clergy will benefit from reading the book. Be prepared to read some very technical and clinical language. ( I looked up a several words in a dictionary because they are not in my everyday vocabulary.) Maybe some day the authors will write a comparable book for individuals not involved in a related profession as anyone who would like greater insight into their own psychological health could benefit by the information that Coe and Hall write about.