Beyond the Clinical Hour: How Counselors Can Partner with the Church to Address the Mental Health Crisis, By James N. Sells and Amy Trout and Heather C. Sells alt

Beyond the Clinical Hour

How Counselors Can Partner with the Church to Address the Mental Health Crisis

Christian Association for Psychological Studies Books

by James N. Sells, Amy Trout, and Heather C. Sells
Foreword by Ed Stetzer

Beyond the Clinical Hour
  • Length: 264 pages
  • Published: March 19, 2024
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: A0105
  • ISBN: 9781514001059

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The global mental health crisis is growing faster than our existing mental health care system can address. To meet the scope of human need, we need new models of care. The good news is that there is an institution uniquely positioned with the resources and the heart to help: the church.

Psychologists James Sells and Amy Trout and journalist Heather Sells know firsthand the urgency of the situation—but they have also witnessed creative partnerships between churches and mental health professionals springing up across the United States. In this book, they call clinicians, students, and educators to collaborate with churches and lay leaders to envision and then create innovative solutions in their own communities.

Challenging the dominance of the traditional "clinical hour" as a one-size-has-to-fit-all model, Sells, Trout, and Sells give concrete guidance on how mental health professionals can work with churches to provide consultation, train lay leaders, and develop and evaluate programs to expand a continuum of care. They also explore the skills, theological foundations, and research-based knowledge that both Christian counselors and church leaders need to integrate their spheres of expertise.

Both a call to action and an encouraging roadmap, this book charts the way forward for combining the science of the mental health discipline with the service of Christian ministry.

Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS) Books explore how Christianity relates to mental health and behavioral sciences including psychology, counseling, social work, and marriage and family therapy in order to equip Christian clinicians to support the well-being of their clients.

"As 'roots' and 'wings' show up in famous quotes, so they do in this book. Rooted in Christian thought and the long tradition of integration, the authors demonstrate a deep understanding of Christian mental health care. At the same time, they challenge us to grow wings, to be innovative and bold as we confront the needs of our world alongside beautiful possibilities for the church. The stories are poignant, the writing is effective, the reflection questions are wise and challenging, and the authors are leaders in the field. This is a fantastic book. Be inspired to imagine the possibilities Beyond the Clinical Hour."

Mark R. McMinn, author of Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling and professor emeritus at George Fox University

"Beyond the Clinical Hour by Sells, Trout, and Sells is a comprehensive and very helpful guide to how Christian mental health professionals can partner with churches to deal with the mental health crisis before us. It includes integration of Christian approaches to mental health and a biblical theology for the foundation of Christian care. It also emphasizes and covers in detail the topics of supervision, consultation, church development and evaluation, and the ethics and economics of care. Highly recommended!"

Siang-Yang Tan, senior professor of clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary and author of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective

"This is one of the most unique, timely, and long-overdue resources for those committed to meeting the pressing needs of the men and women in today's world. The authors give us a fresh and much-needed biblically based, socially informed, clinically sound, and comprehensive model of providing meaningful Christian care. In some ways it provides an invaluable paradigm shift for understanding the essential role of the counselor and the church working together. This encouraging, empowering, and vision-casting resource is a book that you'll be reading more than once and wanting to share with your friends."

Gary J. Oliver, executive director of the Center for Healthy Relationships and professor emeritus of psychology and practical theology at John Brown University

"An insightful look into the mental health crisis, this book offers innovative solutions that emphasize the collaboration of pastors and counselors. Rather than abiding by the current default of church and mental health systems working at odds with one another, the authors present a vision for teamwork and unity of purpose. Their ideas are truly integration in action, ushering in a new era of creativity for pastors and Christian mental health professionals. Rife with examples of strategic partnership, Beyond the Clinical Hour is a must-read for pastors, counselors, and churchgoers who want to think outside the box to address the mental health challenges we face."

Kristen Kansiewicz, assistant professor at Evangel University and a licensed professional counselor

"How can a church respond to the mental health crisis? This practical book could help solve the crisis in your community! The authors guide church leaders using their unique insights into the process of mental health care within a congregation. The concepts are both theologically thick and psychologically informed. This book is innovative, clear, and full of pathways to new ideas for congregational mental health care."

Jennifer Ripley, Hughes Endowed Chair of Christian Thought in Mental Health Practice at Regent University and coauthor of Couple Therapy

"Beyond the Clinical Hour provides an important and timely call to action for pastors and mental health professionals to partner together to address the global mental health crisis. With wisdom, theological depth, and psychological sophistication, the authors lay out strategies for expanding the mission of the church to include spiritually sensitive and competent care for those suffering from mental health concerns. I look forward to introducing my students to this inspiring vision for living out our Christian integrative commitments."

Terri S. Watson, professor of psychology at Wheaton College and author of Developing Clinicians of Character

"Beyond the Clinical Hour eloquently navigates the intersection of faith and mental health, urging believers to extend compassion as a divine imperative. With profound insights, this book reveals the transformative power of a church united in understanding and support, fostering a community of care that echoes the teachings of the Bible. It is a beacon of hope, guiding believers to embrace the complexities of mental health with love, compassion, and spiritual resilience. Beyond the Clinical Hour delivers a timely and powerful message inviting the church to build bridges of understanding and healing in our communities."

Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Ed Stetzer
Introduction: A Sign Tells a Story

Part 1: Where We Are: Describing the Mental Health Crisis
1. Synthesis of Care: The Confluence of Culture, Church, and Counseling
2. The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get: Unpacking the Surge in Mental Health Concerns

Part 2: The Evolution of Integration
3. Integrating Integration: Approaches for Christians in Mental Health
4. Word and Deed: From Integration to Articulation

Part 3: Navigating the Way Forward
5. The Foundation of Christian Care: Biblical Theology in Contemporary Thought
6. Guided by Grace: Supervision in Christian Mental Health Practice
7. Bridging Perspectives: Consultation Between Clinicians and the Church
8. Fostering Sanctuary: Advancing Church Development and Evaluation
9. Integrity in Christian Mental Health: The Ethics and Economics of Care

The Last Word: Uniting Churches and Christian Mental Health Professionals
Subject Index


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