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  • Writer's pictureDale V Wayman, PhD

The Integration of Psychology and Christianity: A Domain-Based Approach

This is a book review that I wrote. It has been edited and published: Wayman, D.V. (2022). The Integration of Psychology and Christianity: A Domain-Based Approach [Review of the book, The Integration of Psychology and Christianity: A Domain-Based Approach]. Religious Studies Review, 48(3), 386


THE INTEGRATION OF PSYCHOLOGY AND CHRISTIANITY: A DOMAIN-BASED APPROACH. By William L. Hathaway & Mark A. Yarhouse. Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 2021, Pp. 199. Paper, $28.00.

            Previous attempts at the integration of psychology and Christianity have been challenging due to the complexity (and changing landscape) of psychological theories and also due to the fact that Christianity is not monolithic. This book presents a domain-based approach noting that integration needs to occur in these five domains: 1) worldview integration, 2) theoretical integration, 3) applied integration, 4) role integration, and 5) personal integration. It appears that the domain approach holds the most promise in the area of theoretical integration. The domain-based approach to theoretical orientation seeks integration with Hans George Gadamer’s hermeneutic of a “fusion of horizons.” This approach appreciates the explosion of “mini-theories” in psychology and the fact that Christianity holds that one can never fully comprehend God. Hence, for true theoretical integration to occur, one must make attempts to understand the intent of the theorist, the worldview of the theorist, and the cultural/social milieu in which the theory emerged. Likewise, divine truth is collectively distributed among people due to the fact that humanity is created to be communal. Integrating psychology and Christianity then must be understood in the worldview and the cultural/social environment of psychology and Christianity. The proposed integration seems optimal when there is telic congruence between experience and ultimate goals noting that many people of faith (in this instance Christians) cope not just for problem resolution or for an improvement in mental health, but also for spiritual reasons like receiving a divine message or feeling closer to God.  This book’s unique domain-based approach presents a promising way of integrating psychology and Christianity that may well shift our understanding of both by merging a seemingly unnecessary boundary.

Dale V Wayman

            Capella University

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