The Reconciled Life: A Critical Theory of Counseling

The Reconciled Life: A Critical Theory of Counseling

The Reconciled Life: A Critical Theory of Counseling

The Reconciled Life: A Critical Theory of Counseling


Using a method of critical correlation, the author recommends an interaction between clinical psychology and liberal theology which preserves their unique sources, methodologies, and content, while engaging in a mutually enriching dialogue. This work illustrates a constructive interaction between these disciplines by applying the concept of reconciliation derived from the Judeo-Christian tradition as a foundation for a normative and empirical theory of psychotherapy. Linguistic and phenomenological analyses of the cognitive, affective, behavioral, and conative dimensions provide an understanding of the experience of reconciliation compatible with the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.


The purpose of this chapter is to develop a working definition of reconciliation as the central construct of this theory and to provide reasons for commending reconciliation as the purpose of counseling. I begin by stating several conclusions drawn from an analysis of how reconciliation is used in both popular and theological contexts.

Conclusions from a linguistic analysis

I explored several common and theological denotations and connotations of the cognates of the word "reconciliation," including its use as a noun (reconciliation), personal noun (reconciler, reconciliator), as a transitive and intransitive verb (to reconcile or to be reconciled), and as an adverb or adjective (reconciling, reconciled). There are seven conclusions I draw from this functional analysis of the various uses and meanings of the word reconciliation.

The first is that reconciliation is a construct with multiple meanings. the range of its connotations commend it as a comprehensive concept, hence useful as a building block for both a theory of counseling and a Christian theology. It has both personal and interpersonal dimensions. Reconciliation is a fruitful concept for understanding human experience, a term rich with meaning.

Second, by definition reconciliation is both a process or act and also a state or condition. It is the process or act of reconciling and the state or condition of being reconciled. the former denotations suggest a process perspective: Reconciliation is an active, dynamic process.

Third, reconciliation has existential and ontological meanings. Reconciliation denotes a state of being or a way of being, a mode of existence or a way of living. It may be used as an ontological category for comprehending human experience. Accordingly, in addition to such categories as time, space, and causality, being and becoming, constructs such as alienation and reconciliation may be used to describe . . .

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