Christian Faith and Clinical Supervision


Terri S. Watson
Building Clinicians of Character – A Christian Integrative Strategy to Clinical Supervision
IVP Academic, Downer’s Grove, Illinois, 2018.
Out there at

By Stuart Adamson

There is an implicit entreaty on just about each and every web page of the book Building Clinicians of Character. This entreaty becomes explicit as Watson draws her argument to a close in the final pages. She yearns for clinical supervisors who recognize as followers of Jesus to be folks “of character recognized by their faithfulness, hopefulness and adore [who] engage in their clinical function with wisdom, justice, temperance and courage”.

Serving as Associate Dean of Psychology at Wheaton College in the US, Watson writes from a Catholic point of view and liberally references the Catechism of the Catholic Church and Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. Her objective is to exhort these who recognize as followers of Jesus and who serve as clinical supervisors of counsellors, psychologists and marriage and loved ones therapists to integrate Christian virtues with ideal clinical practice.

She commends an integrative framework with 4 elements: theological and moral virtues specialist ethics supervision models and person and corporate faith practices. One particular of the strongest elements of the book is the breadth of reading across all elements. In regard to the theological and moral element for instance, we see apposite references to seminal performs by Hauerwas, Volf, Moltmann and Sandage in addition to the anticipated Nouwen, Merton and Aquinas.

3 separate chapters on how to integrate faith, hope and adore respectively into clinical supervision had been believed-provoking, although at occasions a substantial level of dissonance rose inside me about the integrative approach Watson recommended. Biblical content material was relevant, although the chapter on adore was lacking in that there was only passing reference to the atoning sacrifice of Christ and not at all as a definition of the adore of God. Watson’s omission of 1 John four:10 in this section was noteworthy and a paucity of any created writing on the dilemma of sin left her comments on forgiveness look strangely disconnected.

Having said that, her writing on faith and trust in supervision contained fantastic insights and her commendation of intercessory prayer and expectant silence, amongst other points, created me feel of a variety of possibilities for my personal practice.

When there may possibly be substantial variations of opinion across a broad theological spectrum about how the believer in Jesus may well obtain the virtues pointed out in Scripture – a great deal much less integrate ideal supervisory practice in 4 categories – Watson has carried out each the physique of Christ and the clinical supervision profession a wonderful service in writing this book.

She is not a theologian, rather a very gifted educator and supervisory practitioner who is passionate about discipleship and is laser-like in her writing concentrate. Watson is concerned for a thriving, God-honouring witness in clinical supervision –  a discipline that is only just starting to be understood in substantial sections of the Christian church in Australia.

In addition to generating the explicit entreaty referred to earlier, Watson, by authoring this book, also concerns an implicit invitation to supervisors, clinical and pastoral alike. She desires these males and ladies who care about their service of Jesus to contribute to the physique of literature on integration so that, in God’s grace, it will be an ever-escalating blessing to His folks.

Stuart Adamson is going to lecturer in Chaplaincy Abilities at Ridley and guest lecturer at St. Mark’s Theological College in pastoral supervision.


Latest posts