Christian Counselling and the Way of the Cross
Dr. David Field
May 16 - May 20
Pentecost Term

The life of our triune God, the shape of redemptive history, the saving work of Christ, and the pattern of Christian discipleship all take the form of self-donating death leading to glory-enhancing resurrection. Christian counselling or psychotherapy, then, must be thus formed too.  

Poverty of spirit is the key to the kingdom; the ego-relinquishment of daily saying ‘no’ to and crucifying the false self is the call of Christ to all his followers; and psychological defense mechanisms, religious idolatry, and spiritual blindness are all perspectives on the way we avoid reality in order to avoid discomfort. Christian counselling or psychotherapy, then, recognises that the way of the cross is the path to human healing and maturity.  

Taking counselling as complementary to discipleship and spirituality, this intensive course, oriented to the Theopolis vision of “Bible | Liturgy | Culture” will enrich course members’ understanding and practice of Christian counselling, attending to issues such as:

  • the true and false self, i.e. Christ and Adam, person and persona;
  • Scriptural angles on the power of unconscious drives, deficits, and conflicts;
  • Satan and the punitive superego;
  • the relationship between the body and emotions, including biblical reflections on tears, anger, and compassion;
  • unconscious phantasy, passions, and the logismoi of the desert fathers;
  • ‘attachment theory’ and the crucial importance of infancy: relating to the Mother! relating to the Father! in the growth of the person;
  • the predisposition to the feeling of rejection inherited from Adam;
  • acceptance in liturgy, life, and the counselling room;
  • the biblical discipline of psycho-archaeology;
  • silence, slow-ness and waiting on the Lord;
  • counselling as meditation à deux;
  • the relationship between counselling and the church;
  • worked examples of case formulation and of approaches to presenting issues such as anxiety, porn, OCD, and regressive anger;
  • practice workshops for the pastor-as-counsellor. 

David Field has lectured in seminaries in Nigeria and England, served as minister of a local church south of London, and worked in business as an executive search consultant for leading international universities. He studied at Oxford, completed his PhD on Puritan theology at Cambridge, and has published books on the Puritan John Howe and on Obadiah. David is now a Christian counsellor in private practice and lives in Oxford with his wife Sue.

Theopolis Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies or scholarship programs.

*This requirement was added in July 2016. For those who entered the Certificate Program earlier than that date, the oral examination is voluntary.

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