Christian approaches to mental health, psychology, counseling – ON SALE FROM HEARTS & MINDS

We’re glad folks enjoyed our big review of Charles Marsh’s stunning memoir Evangelical Anxiety that appeared in our previous BookNotes. The book is a fabulously written and entertaining rendering of his evolving faith as he copes with the repressive (and too often anti-world, anti-body) conservative evangelicalism of his Baptist youth, and, more interestingly, a story of his coming to terms with an anxiety disorder including panic attacks and the like. It’s a great read that will make you think.

Since that memoir explored the author’s psyche and a bit about his work in psychotherapy, I reviewed another book or two about coping with emotional difficulties and contemporary experiences of anxiety: It’s Not You, It’s Everything (by Eric Minton, a former evangelical pastor who is now a therapist and important social critic) and the soon to be released The Lord is My Courage by K.J. Ramsey, a trauma-informed certified counselor who has written beautifully about chronic pain and, in this brand new one, about toxic church leadership and spiritual abuse. Thank God for her insights drawn from Psalms 23.

And then I reviewed a study of five exceptionally detailed counseling cases by Catherine Gildiner (Good Morning Monster) and then added a description of The Emotional Life of Our Lord, a handsome pocket sized reprint of a little known essay by B. B. Warfield, the Princeton Seminary giant of the early 20th century. I hope you didn’t miss my brief comments about that thoughtful gem.

These books are not about developing a distinctively Christian perspective on mental health issues or a faithful theoretical approach to the academic discipline of psychology or the nature of what we might call Christian counseling; that’s just not their project. An annoying line in the otherwise brilliant Marsh memoir, though, got me thinking that there isn’t enough awareness of the many good books that are taking up the project of integrating faith and psychological scholarship. 

So without too much comment, I’ll list just some of the titles we have in this section of our Dallastown shop, starting with some books about a Christian view of psychology, then some books about mental health issues, especially in the church, and then some books about counseling. Naturally, we have others here on the shelf, but this is a good start, I hope.

By the way,  a mail-order customer who is a professional in this field recently wrote a note encouraging me in our book-recommending work and suggested that many colleagues of different sorts should seek to, “engage (hopefully wisely and charitably) with the psychologies using the lens of Scripture, rather than simply dismiss (as some of our neighbors to the right tend to) or uncritically embrace (some of our neighbors to the left tend to.)” He closed his email saying we all need to grow in this.  Nice, eh?

Maybe you have a church library or a fellowship group resource center or a ministry booktable… some of these might be helpful to share. I hope the listing is useful. Let us know how we can help. 


Understanding People: Why We Long for Relationships Larry Crabb (Zondervan) $16.99     OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

This is a really basic, easy-to-appreciate guide for those starting off this sort of study. A nice read for almost anyone. If you want to help people, we must first understand them. Here is how the publisher descibes this award-winning paperback:

“Exploring the inseparable link between spiritual and psychological realities, Understanding People offers a vital lens on how we’re put together–who we really are and what makes us tick in our relationships with other people, with God, and with ourselves. In three parts, this book first points us to the Bible as our source of insight into perplexing heart issues. Then it helps us come to grips with our brokenness as God’s image-bearers, and it shows how we can reclaim our ability to reflect him in our growth toward maturity and healed relationships.

Beautiful People Don’t Just Happen: How God Redeems Regret, Hurt, and Fear in the Making of Better Humans Scott Sauls (Zondervan) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

Again, this isn’t exactly about developing a coherent Christian philosophy of psychology but it is brand new and Sauls is a great writer (and some have said this is his best yet!) It is certainly a good read for those stepping carefully into this field. He is an astute pastor, a caring person, a fine thinker and writer. The title really does show that this could setting the stage nicely for deeper studies of psychology and counseling, so consider starting here. From clarity about God’s great grace and help about practicing emotional health and how to “quiet shaming, wearying thoughts with God’s divine countervoice” this stuff about contentment and being more fully alive in our human experience is beautiful stuff.  It’s not every Reformed pastor who opens his book with a quote from Kubler-Ross and thanks Bob Dylan and Brandi Carlisle and calls the first chapter “tears on my shirt.”  This is going to be good.

I Guess I Haven’t Learned That Yet: Discovering New Ways of Living When the Old Ways Stop Working Shauna Niequist (Zondervan) $26.00       OUR SALE PRICE = $20.80

Another in what I might call the “prelude” category here, getting us warmed up for more academic studies of the discipline of psychology and mental health and counseling and the like. This, though, is a beautifully done, self-helpy kind of book that could motivate anyone to see God’s help in figuring out a healthy way to believe and life; Annie Down’s called it “a masterpiece” and Kate Bowler describes it as “Gentle. Loving.” and says, “This tender book asks us to listen to our pain, lean into our discomfort, and trust that we can be lifted back on our feet by God and each other.”

I like Niequist’s vivid, earnest writing (including her last one about stress brought on by perfectionism, called Present Over Perfect.) To understand the approach of this, consider that the endorsement on the back is by the honest, elegant, eloquent Episcopal priest and writer Barbara Brown Taylor. The good reverend says this:

There are so many ways you can lose the only life you know how to live. When that happens—as it will for all of us sooner or later—the number of people willing to walk through it with us can fall into the low single digits. With this book, Shauna Niequist becomes one you can count on, no matter what. She won’t lie to you about anything. She won’t offer you a spiritual bypass. Instead, she will keep reminding you that what you don’t know about where you’re going is what oils the hinge to new life. — Barbara Brown Taylor, author, Learning to Walk in the Dark

Why Do I Feel Like This?: Understand Your Difficult Emotions and Find Grace to Move Through  Dr. Peace Amadi (IVP) $18.00                 OUR SALE PRICE = $14.40

Dr. Peace Amadi is an energetic and dynamic counselor, public speaker, and advocate for folks who need a bit of help learning to understand and manage their conflicted and sometimes painful emotions. Her emphasis on God’s great grace and learnilng to accept God’s love as a basis for our own self-worth and dignity is beautiful, but that becomes the generative foundation for teaching several helpful psychological theories and helping readers know what to do next. As one reader put it, this explains what therapists mean when they say you must “do the work.” She helps. This is a nice introduction to Chrisitan self-care written by a Godly woman and effective professional counselor.

Being Human: Bodies, Minds, Persons Rowan Williams (Eerdmans) $12.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $9.60

A slim book by one of our great Christian public intellectuals, this invites us to consider the nature of consciousness, how the mind works, the relationship of our body to our interior lives. Again, this isn’t exactly a Christian view of psychology but a fine rumination on foundational stuff that will influence how we think about the social and healing sciences. I list it as a thoughtful but brief guide to start of our thinking about the topic. His insight about the role of silence, by the way, in helping us realize human flourishing is lovely and wise.


Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices Curt Thompson (Tyndale) $17.99                           OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

One of our great contemporary Christian writers, Curt is an MD who is a psychiatrist who really knows much about neurology and faith and healthy flourishing. Read his other books, too, (such as the splendid, even healing, Soul of Shame) but this is his most basic one.There are a lot of books these days on Christian faith and neuroscience and this one is very accesible. Highly recommended — would be great for a book club or small group study, too.


Preserving the Person: A Look at the Human Sciences C. Stephen Evans (Regent College Press) $19.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.96

I suspect this classic book may be a bit outdated but it is such a foundational book that we are delighted that Regent College (in Vancouver, BC) released it anew. Evans was a philosopher at Calvin College (with a Phil and PhD from Yale and a scholar of Kierkegaard) and here he assesses the pioneering thinkers in the social sciences, from August Comte to Sigmund Freud, from B.F. Skinner to Emile Durkheim, and he “shows how the attack on personhood has created tensions for Christian scholars in the human sciences.” His guidelines for recovering a robust and lasting concept of the person is needed now as ever.


Psychology: A Student’s Guide Stanton K. Jones (Crossway) $11.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $9.59

A small book designed for college students, introducing the lay of the land of this field, from a traditional Christian orientation. This is part of a good series of short but intellectually oriented books called “Reclaiming the Christian Intellectual Tradition.” Know any students going off to college to major in Psychology?

While we’re at it, see also the first one in the series, The Great Tradition of Christian Thinking: A Student’s Guide, not to mention the good one on philosophy (by the late David Naugle), the one on history, the one on media/journalism, and certainly the one on education which I liked a lot.

Psychology in Christian Perspective: An Analysis of Key Issues Harold W. Faw (Baker Academic) $22.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.60

We often suggest this for a solid starting study for psych majors or those new to the genre as it offers Biblical insight in a way that follows pretty much the standard flow of an intro psych text.  Nicely done.




Exploring Psychology and Christian Faith: An Introductory Guide Paul Moesv & Donald J. Tellinghuisen (Baker Academic) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

What a great text!  Solid and engaging prose, drawn from the authors many years teaching as beloved college profs at Calvin College. The authors are also scholars in the field — Moes is a neuropsychologist and Tillinghuisen is an experimental psychologist. Excellent.



Psychology and Christianity: Five Views edited by Eric L. Johnson (IVP) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

This is so good and is very highly recommended. Five different psychologists who all agree that there should be a principled Christian approach, but they disagree about how that “integration” works and what it looks like. Wow. Every field should have a book like this to compare and contrast various models and paradigm for faithful and fruitful Christian thinking. It’s simply a must-read book.


edited by Glendon Moriarty (IVP)  $27.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60

Here are the fascinating testimonies of twelve different scholars or practitioners  about how they live out their faith in their vocation. What a great and encouraging collection of insights. I love this. Every career area needs a book like this.




Coming to Peace with Psychology: What Christians Can Learn from Psychological Science Everett L.Worthington Jr. (IVP Academic) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

First published in 2010, it is considered by some to be a wonderful classic. Listen to Malcolm Jeeves, Emeritus Professor of Psychology, St. Andrews University, former editor-in-chief, Neuropsychologia and past president, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Scotland’s National Academy. The esteemed Dr. Jeeves says:

Past discussions of how psychology and theology are related have tended to be written either from the perspective of psychotherapists and counselors or from that of psychological scientists. In a remarkably well-informed, wide-ranging review of the literature, Everett Worthington argues that ‘we are wise to look at all sources of information and wisdom we have at our disposal–and this includes both Scripture and psychological science.’ This outstanding book is an invaluable, up-to-date reference source on issues at the interface of psychology and Christian belief.

Theology for Psychology and Counseling: An Invitation to Holistic Christian Practice Kutter Callaway & William Whitney (Baker Academic) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

I like this recent lively one as it is both foundational and framing the topic but with a trajectory towards practical application in contemporary culture. It is winsome and interesting by scholars trained in both theology and psychology. It shines in ways that make it exceptional — in what Sarah Schnitker of Baylor says is “a long-awaited addition to the conversation!”


The Integration of Psychology and Christianity: A Domain-Based Approach  William L. Hathaway & Mark Yarhouse (IVP Academic) $28.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40

This is a recent book and I think an essential resource, the fruit of many years of working out this integrated Christian perspective. No one serious about this ongoing discussion should miss this.

The authors’ attention encompasses five domains, by the way, are what they call

worldview integration, theoretical integration, applied integration, role integration and personal integration. This really is a comprehensive approach that yields plenty of fresh insights relevant for non-clinical areas of psychological science as well as for counseling, social work, and other related mental health fields. I’m grateful for publishers doing this kind of very impressive work. I hope Christians in the field take notice.

Integrative Approaches to Psychology and Christianity, Fourth Edition: An Introduction to Worldview Issues, Philosophical Foundations, and Models of Integration David Entwistle (Cascade Books) $48.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $38.40

Earlier editions of this were considered groundbreaking and in this, a recently released 4th edition the respected author (professor at Malone University) adds even more to this classic big-picture survey of various approaches.  I like this (of many) lovely recommendations:

“Entwistle well represents the multifaceted nature of creation by graciously interweaving history, philosophy, science, and religion. His emphasis on the need for both intellectual caution and courage reinforces the integral role of intellectual humility as we seek to better understand the human condition. This book is a great asset for all who are interested in the integration of psychology and Christianity.” —Angela Sabates, Associate Professor of Psychology, Bethel University

The Person in Psychology and Christianity: A Faith-Based Critique of Five Theories of Social Development Majorie Lindner Guano (IVP Academic) $30.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $24.00

This book is fabulous — just great for anyone interested in how our deepest understandings of the human person influences our theories about society and psychology. This is a brilliant framework and fascinating project, by a fine professor at Calvin University. If you in the field, or aspire to think well about this, even if you find the cover off-putting (as I sure do) you should still buy this book. Listen to the respected pioneer and scholar in this field, David Myers, professor of psychology at Hope College and co-author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith

“Kudos to Marjorie Lindner Gunnoe for building a new bridge between psychological science and Christian belief. By viewing famed theories of human development through the lens of theology, she illuminates who we are―as embodied, purposeful, moral, accountable children of God. With her lucid prose, informative storytelling, and blend of curiosity and conviction, Gunnoe enlarges our human understanding and informs our faith.”

Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal  Stanton L. Jones & Richard Butman (IVP Academic) $50.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $40.00

I wish this amazing volume was not so expensive as I would recommend it to anyone working professionally in any scholarly field as a model for how to graciously summarize, evaluate, affirm and critique most of the main schools of thought and their subsequent practices in a discipline. For instance, this shows how various views of what wrong shape various views of what treatment modality to use. Assumptions about what’s going on, what’s wrong and what the answer may be are evident in each school of thought and wise Christians must be somewhat discerning about these presuppositions, postures, and proposals — not to be overly skittish or judgmental, but to be wise and faithful and truly helpful. I would say that if you are a professional in their field (or a leader, like a pastor, who shares opinions about these things sometimes) and you haven’t grappled with some of this content, you haven’t adequately pursued all that you should in developing your own view of these things. This extraordinary volume examines and appraises — and ends up with a view they call “responsible eclecticism” — therapies such as classical psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapies, behavioral and cognitive therapies, family systems approaches, and more…

Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal Mark Yarhouse, Richard Butman & Barrett McRay (IVP Academic) $60.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $48.00

This book is another in the style of the previous one but explores pathologies.  Again, they are attentive to the reality that disorders are seen and treated within various schools of thought. Assumptions about what’s going on, what’s wrong and what the answer are evident in each school of thought and wise Christians must be somewhat discerning about these presuppositions, postures, and proposals — not to be overly skittish or judgmental, but to be wise and faithful and truly helpful.  This looks at all kinds of issues from anxiety and mood disorders to psychosis to personality pathologies and sexuality stuff offering keen insights about faithful ways to help.  Agree or not with their apparels, it is a fabulous project. 

Psychology in the Spirit: Contours of a Transformational Psychology John H.Coe & Todd W. Hall (IVP Academic) $38.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $30.40

We stock all the books in the The Christian Worldview Integration Series (edited by J. P. Moreland and Francis J. Beckwith) which seeks to promote a robust personal and conceptual integration of Christian faith and learning, with textbooks focused on disciplines such as education, psychology, literature, politics, science, communications, biology, philosophy, and history. (For what it is worth, I really, really like the business one!)

John H. Coe and Todd W. Hall tackle provocative questions in this volume of the series which offers what some might find a helful approach to psychology that seeks to integrate psychology and spiritual formation. This model “represents a spiritual formation and relational approach to psychology for the sake of servicing the spiritual needs of the church.” Their goal is to provide a unique model of doing psychology and science in the Spirit. As the publisher puts it,  “Here you will find an introduction to the foundations, methodology, content and praxis for this new approach to soulcare.” Wow.

To go deeper into this particular sort of integration of psychology and spirituality, see the magisterial, 720-page work by Eric Johnson called God & Soul Care: The Therapeutic Resources of the Christian Faith (IVP Academic; $60.00 – OUR SALE PRICE = $48.00.)

Bearing the Unbearable: Trauma, Gospel, and Pastoral Care Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger (Eerdmans) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

We have several excellent books on what we might call trauma-informed theology.  This serious author from Princeton Theological Seminary writes with mutli-disciplinary insight and much grace. It is in the genre of “pastoral care”  but anyone interested in the psychological sciences should consider it — it is that good. Dr. Katherine Sonderegger, the respected professor and systematic theologian at Virginia Theological Seminary says it is, “Lovely, powerful, and rich. Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger brings to this book an analyst’s skill, a theologian’s wisdom, and a pastor’s heart, each in turn providing the language, the tools, and the hope needed in the face of great suffering. . . . This book is a treasure in our broken world.”

Thriving with Stone Age Minds: Evolutionary Psychology, Christian Faith, and the Quest for Human Flourishing  Justin Barrett & Pamela Ebstyne King (IVP Academic) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

Co-produced with the faith/science organization BioLogos (in their books on science and Christianity series), this positively explores evolutionary psychology  This may be a bit above my own pay grade –it’s not the first on this smart list — but people I trust have told me this is nothing short of brilliant.  I love Debra Haarsma’s endorsement:

“This book is a model of Christian discernment, considering the latest scientific research in the light of Christian faith to address challenging questions of our day. Barrett and King explain the established findings of evolutionary psychology (EP) while shedding the pop psychology and anti-God baggage that is often added to it. Yet their goal is not merely showing the intellectual compatibility of EP with Christianity but ‘placing evolutionary psychology in the service of Christian theology’ to address larger questions. By better understanding human nature and the traits that make us unique from animals, we can better fulfill our purpose as God’s image bearers and work more effectively to build communities that thrive in the ways God intended. The book’s readable style, vivid examples, and helpful study guide make it a great book for students, book clubs, science fans, and pastors.”

Positive Psychology in Christian Perspective: Foundations, Concepts, and Applications Charles Hackney (IVP Academic) $45.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $36.00

A recent text co-produced by the Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) this is the definitive study about what is called “positive psychology” showing what is both healthy and good about it and yes a Biblically-informed constructive critique. This is a readable and yet sophisticated bit of Christian scholarship. 


Neuroscience and the Soul: The Human Person in Philosophy, Science, and Theology  edited by Thomas M. Crisp, Steven Porter, Gregg A. Ten Elshof  (Eerdmans) $39.50  OUR SALE PRICE = $31.60

As I noted when I mentioned Dr. Curt Thompson’s first book that there are many books coming out on faith and neuroscience and Christian views of the mind, warranting a whole section in any good bookstore. This is a fairly early one that continues to be important and respected. Professor Dr. Charles Taliaferro of St. Olaf College called it a “superb collection of outstanding essays” and “an exceptionally important work.”  


Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses & Medications Michael Emlet (New Growth Press) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

I so respect this author and appreciate this little handbook that reminds us that there are times when pastoral care and deeper discipleship is needed to help with the foibles of wounded sinners and saints, and there are other times when medication is called for and that there is no shame in that. Emlet offered this little guide book for anyone helping others, clear and balanced.


Troubled Minds: Mental Illness and the Church’s Mission Amy Simpson (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

I’m sure you’ve seen us mention this before, a vivid story by Amy, a pastor’s daughter, whose mother became seriously ill with schizophrenia and left the family in paranoid delusions. She shares how this touched their family, how the church responded (both for better and for worse) and offers good insight about how we all might be more aware and faithful. A well written, moving story that is an excellent introduction.


Making SPACE at the Well: Mental Health and the Church Jessica Young Brown (Judson Press) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

Dr. Brown serves as a Professor of Counseling and Practical Theology at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Her model uses the acronym of ”SPACE” to examine Silencing the Stigma, Presence & Persistence, Application & Action, Cautions & Crisis, and Expressions & Exhortation. Young Brown is a clinical psychologist and vibrant woman of God working especially in the historic Black church. 


Hiding in the Pews: Shining Light on Mental Illness in the Church Steve Austin (Fortress Press) $23.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $18.40

This is a remarkable, honest, raw book by a church leader who struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. The foreword is by Robert W. Lee who is also a person with bi-polar disorder. After the book was printed but before it shipped out a year ago the author took his own life.  Rave reviews on the back about the author’s courage and candor are from Aundi Kolber (of Try Softer), worship leader Paul Baloche, K.J. Ramsey, and Marc Alan Schelske.


Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith Monica Coleman (Fortress) $19.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.99

We have promoted this before not only for those wondering about mental health issues among the faithful, but also as a literary memoir. It’s a good read, powerful, energetic, vivid. (We even keep it it in a $26.99 hardback, if that is helpful for you.)   Rachel Held Evans, before she passed, said it was “a stunning, unforgettable read.”  Blurbs on the back include endorsement by Cornel West, Joshua DuBois, and Bishop Vashti McKenzie. 


Not Quite Fine: Mental Health, Faith, and Showing Up for One Another Carlene Hill Byron (Herald Press) $16.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $13.59

This is very well written and clear as can be, but is mostly a practical guide about his best to care. She has had years of experience as a patient and a mental health advocate and researcher. We raved about this when it first came out in a  previous BookNotes column and highly recommend it here, again. You know, there really is a great need for resources like — has there been a time that you recall when so many people know themselves to be hurting? Please consider this.

Carlene Hill Byron wants the church to know there are a whole lot of us sitting in the pews dealing with mental health challenges. Her warmth, insight, and call to mature faithfulness will encourage every one of us to be more fully present in community, just as we are, even when we’re not quite fine.  — Michelle Van Loon, author of Translating Your Past: Finding Meaning in Family Ancestry, Genetic Clues, and Generational Trauma

All Who Are Weary: Easing the Burden on the Walk with Mental Illness Emmy Kegler (Broadleaf Books) $18.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.19

This is recent book by the fiesty, queer author of the study of Scripture called One Coin Found: How God’s Love Stretches to the Margins. I am sure it is thoughtfully written, deeply moving by all accounts, and one that we’re happy to suggest.

All Who Are Weary is a beautifully and gently written companion to those who journey with mental illness and a guide to help us all love one another better. No matter who you are or where you are on the journey, I hope you’ll get this book and allow Emmy Kegler’s powerful words to come alongside you. — Kaitlin Curtice, author of Native: Identity, Belonging & Rediscovering God

Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Illness Kathryn Greene-McCreight (Brazos Press) $21.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $17.59

We have long suggested that this one is one of the very best basic guides to depression and a thoughtful Christian understanding and response. The author, an Episcopal priest, finds some solace in the Psalms, but this is still a raw and moving book. The foreword is by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Highly recommended.


Grace for the Afflicted: A Clinical and Biblical Perspective on Mental Illness Matthew Stanford (IVP) $25.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

As both a church leader and a professor of psychology and behavioral sciences, Crawford “has seen too many mentally ill brothers and sisters damaged by well-meaning believers who respond to them out of fear or misinformation.” Grace for the Afflicted really is designed to help educate Christians about mental illness from both Biblical and scientific perspectives. Solid, helpful stuff that we very highly recommend. 


Christ on the Psych Ward David Finnegan-Hosey (Church Publishing) $17.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.36

The author is the College Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministries at Barton College in Wilson, NC. In 2011, David was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a series of psychiatric hospitalizations. He now speaks and writes about the intersections among mental illness, mental health, and faith. David lives in Wilson with his wife, Leigh, and their dog, Penny Lane.

In Christ on the Psych Ward, David Finnegan-Hosey does something the Church has had difficulty doing regarding mental illness; he opens up the blinds and he lets the light in. David’s story is compelling, his voice clear, his insight profound, and his subject matter critical. A book like this is long overdue, both in and outside the Church. It will save lives. — John Pavolvitz, author of A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community and If God Is Love, Don’t Be a Jerk

Grace Is a Pre-Existing Condition: Faith, Systems, and Mental Healthcare David Finnegan-Hosey (Church Publishing) $18.95  OUR SALE PRICE = $15.16

My, my what a fiesty read —honest and prophetic and snarky and real. And theological. And important. It is not only about mental health, per se, but is about the personal experience of living with this “pre-existing condition”, which is to say it is also about insurance and health care providers and a whole lot of messed up systems that need to improve if we are going to serve well our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.


Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church Sarah Griffith Lund (Chalice Press) $ 17.99   OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Lund serves the UCC denomination as a Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice; she holds degrees from Trinity University, Princeton Theological Seminary, Rutgers University, and McCormick Theological Seminary. Here writes about her own family experiences (her father was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder) and how the church often responds. It’s an important, small book from her UCC context and many have found it helpful. 

Blessed Union: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness and Marriage Sarah Griffith Lund (Chalice Press) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Lund serves the UCC denomination as a Minister for Disabilities and Mental Health Justice (and wrote the moving Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church.) This is a one-of-a-kind resource that offers stories and honest theological reflection and, as one reviewer put it, writing that is both “heartwarming and heart-wrenching.” 



Grace for the Children: Finding Hope in the Midst of Child and Adolescent Mental Illness  Matthew S. Stanford (IVP) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

This is a rare and well written guide for those wanting to think through how the church can respond to mental health issues among children and youth. Based on DSM-5 diagnoses, it looks at all sorts of various topics and issues. Every church should have this good book as a handy resource! 



To Loose the Bonds of Injustice: The Plight the Mentally Ill and What the Church Can Do Marcia A. Murphy (Resource Publications) $20.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $16.00

This book offers an overview of the lives of those struggling with mental illness through the lens of Christian social justice and how the church can be more appropriate in providing care, inclusion, and advocacy for the dignity of the afflicted. It offers insight about policy and treatment standards and how this can cause even more distress. Drawing on resources of faith and the church, she offers a model that can remind us to do better and find real solutions. 

Dutiful Love: Empowering Individuals & Families Affected by Mental Illness Elizabeth L.Hinson-Hasty (Fortress) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

Here are two great endorsements that convinced us to stock this important resource:

“Every so often a scholar writes a book that has the potential to reshape an academic discipline or at least establish an important new research area or subfield. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty has done that with this breakthrough Christian ethical engagement with the neglected issue of mental illness. This work . . . tackles a serious human problem involving profound suffering and injustice, attends to the voices of those most affected, diagnoses societal shortfalls that worsen the problem unnecessarily, brings serious biblical and theological reflection to bear in order to change our moral vision, and offers examples of a path forward for Christian communities.” — David P. Gushee, Mercer University,  Introducing Christian Ethics: Core Convictions for Christians Today

“Hinson-Hasty gifts us with a groundbreaking liberation theology for mental health disabilities that speaks the unspeakable: how serious mental illness impacts all of us, including those living with serious mental illness and their loved ones. This book empowers us to create communities of belonging and to advocate for social change for disabilities and mental health justice.” — Sarah Lund, MSW, author of Blessed Are the Crazy

Resurrecting the Person: Friendship and the Care of People with Mental Health Problems John Swinton (Abingdon Press) $25.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.79

Swinton is a serious scholar of pastoral care and in recent years has been writing profound books which offer Christian insights into those with disabilities and special needs. This is an earlier one and still a classic that we recommend.  Stanley Hauerwas says he “sets a new standard for work in pastoral theology by… rediscovering the practice of friendship.” And, yes, this human practice can offer dignity and community and bear witness to the resurrection. 


Saints, Sufferers & Sinners: Loving Others as God Loves Us Michael Emlet (New Growth Press) $17.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $14.39

Michael is a friend who we respect greatly; he was trained operates out of what we might called an electric (or even progressive) sort of “Biblical counseling” model as advanced by the CCEF. I will list this book first in this section because, as I said in a longer BookNotes review when it came out last year, it is really for anyone who wants to treat well and care for those going through hard times. It is clear that all of us are “all of the above” — saints, sufferers and sinners — and it is in that realization that a healthy approach to psychology and counseling emerges. Anyway, this is a fine book, a real treasure. As CCEF faculty and counselor Ed Welch put it, it is, like Mike himself, “clear, helpful, gentle, and wise.” 

Speaking Code: Unraveling Past Bonds to Redeem Broken Conversations Diana DiPasquale (Square Halo Books) $33.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $27.19

Although not written only for counselors, we think this certainly would be useful for anyone doing even informal, friendship or pastoral counseling.  We reviewed this in somewhat greater detail in a previous BookNotes, noting that it is a remarkable book, almost unlike anything I’ve read, an oversized volume (with room for notes) which serves as a  guide to faithfully discerning what people are really communicating. This notion of speaking code is shorthand — well not so short as she explores in from many angles, quite extensively — for the obvious idea that people say things with lots of baggage carried along between the lines. From unspoken cues to emotional hints to literally code words used to signify something special to that person, we really can learn to honor each other by attending to not only the simple words spoken but the code language that, as she explains, are laden with past stuff and sometimes other less obvious motivations and desires.  Diana is a exceptionally well-rounded person, learned in art, history, science, theology, urban life, and more. She is a working therapist and knows well how “we long for relationships where truth is spoken in love.”

Who doesn’t desire to be really heard and deeply understood? As it says on the back cover, “this book helps decipher cryptic conversations, allows us to see where God’s specific goodness enters our lives.” Call this a redemptive, gospel-centered vision for communication and a discernment guide, at least, for therapists and counselors, and, frankly, for anyone wanting to put in the time working through her lively case studies, exercises, and assessment tools.

Counseling and Christianity: Five Approaches edited by Stephen Greg & Timothy Sisemore (IVP Academic) $28.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40

I hope you saw the above listed title called Psychology and Christianity: Five Views. This one is like that one, building upon it, standing in the great tradition of comparing and contrasting different perspectives with each author not only presenting his or her view, but then replying to the others. If you do anything that you would like to consider a Christian approach to counseling, I beg you to read this remarkable, fascinating, compelling conversation among thoughtful Christian scholars and counselors There are contributions from Thomas Plante, Mark McMin, Diane Langberg, Gary Moon and Stuart Scott, each making their case that a certain model or paradigm is the most faithful to Scripture and theology and a sensible way to integrate Christian frame of reference and teaching with the actually way they do counseling. 

The perspectives are, as they put it, a Levels-of-Explanation Approach, the Integration Approach, the Christian Psychology Approach, the Transformational Approach and the Biblical Counseling approach. Very highly recommended.

A Theology of Biblical Counseling: The Doctrinal Foundations of Counseling Ministry Heath Lambert (Zondervan) $27.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.39

I am not persuaded that so-called “Biblical counseling” is the right model (and most of the books listed below are not of that particular movement.) But this is a foundational volume in that school of thought, showing the history of this counseling tradition (especially as it has developed in the the years after Jay Adams) and the Biblical and theological basis for their considered rejection of many commonly assumed views of secular schools of thought. Many will not agree with this particular use of the Bible and some many not think that theological doctine, as such, should be applied to counseling methodologies in this manner but it is, in my view, a live and good question. Agree or not, this is an important volume for anyone who takes Scripture and conventional theology seriously as a light for our path in this area and it is a volume from which we all can learn.

A Biblical Counseling Process: Guidance for the Beginning, Middle, and End Lauren Whitman (New Growth Press) $15.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $12.79

Obviously I am no therapist or counselor and yet found skimming this small book to be quite interesting. It is rooted in the gospel-centered “Biblical Counseling” movement and offers, out of that paradigm, a concise discussion of the actual strategy and process of starting, carrying out, and finalizing some sort of redemptive therapeutic relationship.  Of course it doesn’t purport to be a recipe or formula but it is, as Jonathan Holmes notes, “brief but packed” with key notions. From “doable foci” to “clear benchmarks” this is fascinating. 

Embodying Integration: A Fresh Look at Christianity in the Therapy Room Began Anna Neff & Mark McMinn (IVP Academic) $28.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $22.40

This is another of these recent CAPS Books that we are happy to promote which illustrates why it is ludicrous to suggest there isn’t a healthy and robust movement of those working out an integration of theology, Christian psychological perspective, counseling methodology, and caregiving practices. This book is rich, wise, humble, and a great example of a readable scholarly work. It is made particularly interesting in that it is a dialogue between two generations of intentional scholars — itself an instructive discussion — bit between a father and daughter, making it that much more fun, even tender. Highly recommended.

Skills for Effective Counseling: A Faith-Based Integration  Elisabeth A. Nesbit Sbanotto, Heather Davediuk Gingrich, and Fred C. Gingrich (IVP Academic) $50.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $40.00

We are grateful that CAPS (Christian Association for Psychological Studies) does theoretical and intellectually stimulating books about the integration of faith and psychology and the ways in which even counseling methodologies can be shaped by and resonate with the gospel. This one shows the fruit of those carefully developed theories, offering skills and practices that make for effective skills in the counseling office.  This could be a text for training counselors or used by anyone that wants to be a people-helper.  I like the recommendations by Gary Moon:

Skills for Effective Counseling is a comprehensive yet accessible textbook written from decades of professional practice by the authors. It is for people helpers across a variety of roles—professional counselors, pastoral care providers, spiritual directors, and life coaches—and features a wealth of training activities, exercises, and transcript analysis. This is a welcome addition to the counselor education fields. — Gary W. Moon, executive director, Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center, Westmont College, author of Apprenticeship with Jesus

The Soul of Desire: Discovering the Neuroscience of Longing, Beauty, and Community. Curt Thompson (IVP) $27.00             OUR SALE PRICE = $21.60

We are not the only ones who named this extraordinary, thoughtful, beautiful book one of the Best Books of 2021 and we continue to recommend this, and his other two The Anatomy a Soul and The Soul of Shame. This isn’t exactly about how to do counseling, but he tells stories of his psychiatric practice, drawing on his understanding of neuroscience and our deepest longings for beauty and connection. Renowned visual artist Mako Fujimura wrote a wonderful foreword. Highly recommended for anyone, and certainly for those looking for some profound ruminations that could revolutionizer view of flourishing through therapy. 

Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling: An Integrative Paradigm Mark McMinn (IVP Academic)  $25.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $20.00

As one Christian leader who has done supervision of counselors put it, “Christians in counseling work tend towards being informed theologically but naive clinically ,or income d clinically but naive theologically.” McMinn, per usual, breaks out of this either-or model and offers an approach that is theologically informed and clinically sound. What a pleasure to know about these kinds of faithful, winsome, deeply integrated perspectives. 


Addiction and Pastoral Care Sonia Waters (Eerdmans) $26.50  OUR SALE PRICE = $21.20  

Rev. Dr. Waters is an assistant professor of pastoral theology at Princeton Theological Seminary and an Episcopal priest. I have heard from several well-informed scholars and practitioners that there is no better book on the market for thoughtful pastors wanting to help congregations help members in recovery. We do have a whole section of books on addictions and the recovery movement, but for professionals seeking a faithful perspective, this may be a life-line. 


Treatment of Childhood Disorders: Evidence-Based Practice in Christian Perspective Sarah E. Hall and Kelly S. Flanagam (IVP Academic) $55.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $44.00

Here is how the publisher describes this: “Caring for the mental health of children and their families is complex and challenging—and meaningful. Considering a variety of disorders commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents, this unique textbook presents a research-based Christian integration perspective for treating these disorders that combines biblical, theological, and psychological understanding.”

Restoring the Shattered Shelf: A Christian Counselor’s Guide to Complex Trauma (2nd edition) Heather Davediuk Gingrich (IVP Academic) $32.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $25.60

Forgive me for once again naming a CAPS Book from IVP but these are so reputable and so important and look so interesting. Too few religious bookstores carry this sort of stuff and even fewer mainstream bookstores know or care. Gingrich is a professor of counseling at Denver Seminary and has a private practice working with complex trauma survivors. I’m told this is very, very useful so we really want to suggest it.  By the way, see also the 500-page, edited volume called Treating Trauma in Christian Counseling edited by Heather Davediuk Gingrich and Fred C. Gingrich, also done in cooperation with CAPS, published by IVP Academic ($60.00 – at 20% off = $48.00.)

Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective (2nd edition) Siang-Yang Tan (Baker Academic) $49.99                               OUR SALE PRICE = $39.99

Psychotherapy is a complex and serious sub-field in itself — read just a little bit about it in Charles Marsh’s memoir Evangelical Anxiety or the stories in Good Morning Monster by Catherine Gildiner that I reviewed last time —so there cannot be a simplistic Christian reply. This substantive text was years the making and was just re-issued in a considerably expanded edition this Spring. As the publisher notes “a leading scholar provides a comprehensive survey of major approaches to counseling and psychotherapy, offering a Christian critique and perspective.” But listen to this:

An already great textbook has been made better! In addition to updated original chapters, the second edition has new chapters on cognitive-behavioral therapies, constructivist therapies, and integrative therapies, including coverage of narrative and positive psychotherapy. All in all, the comprehensiveness, erudition, and Christian convictions and practices evidenced throughout make this book one of the most impressive examples of integrative scholarship in this or any contemporary discipline.    — Eric L. Johnson, Houston Baptist University, author, Foundations for Soul Care: A Christian Psychology Proposal

Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice: A Four Step Model and Workbook for Therapist and Clients Joshua Knabb (IVP) $40.00            OUR SALE PRICE = $32.00

I’ll admit I don’t know much about all this — meditation or therapy — but it makes sense and resonates with those looking for deep spiritual practices alongside more conventional talk therapy. The respected Siang-Yang Tan of Fuller Theological Seminary calls it a “substantial book on a distinctively Christian approach to mindful meditation” and, in perhaps an unexpected manner, these beautiful practices are discussed with attention to science and research, drawing on empirical studies the author has conducted. With endorsements from scholars as diverse as Regent University and Harvard Medical School, Christian Meditation in Clinical Practice looks very reliable for therapists and clearly useful.

Contemplation & Counseling: An Integrated Model for Practitioners  P. Gregg Blanton (IVP Academic) $24.00  OUR SALE PRICE = $19.20

Perhaps there is some overlap with the Knob title, above, but this one offers less empirical data and useful suggestions as a bigger picture approach to this kind of integration of psychology and spirituality, counseling and contemplation. This paradigm builds on useful aspects of the contemplative movement to “balance various dimensions of the human person: emotion, cognition, and action.”

Dr. Blanton is a professor of psychology and human services at Montreat College in Black Mountain, NC, and founder of the Center for Contemplation and Marriage in Asheville, and has written an Orbis Press book on centering prayer.

Trauma-Informed Yoga: A Toolbox for Therapists – 47 Practices to Calm, Balance, and Restore the Nervous System  Joanne Spence (PESI Publishing) $29.99  OUR SALE PRICE = $23.99

We have written about this before at BookNotes and wanted to add it in here since it is not really for the casual yoga fan, but for therapist who use yoga practices in ways that help their traumatized patients and clients. Joanne is a friend from Pittsburgh, active in her Anglican church, a spiritually aware leader and good trainer.  We’re delighted to recommend it and, as with all of these, offer our Hearts & Minds BookNotes discount. 



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