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Integration of Psychology and Theology

Brad Strawn

The School of Psychology was established more than 50 years ago to provide students from around the world with the opportunity for a rigorous psychological and theological education. The integration of these two disciplines was to be and is our unique contribution. The faculty are committed to encouraging and facilitating the conversation between faith and psychological issues, and we invite you to explore and enter the conversation with us!

+ Dr. Brad Strawn, Chair of Integration

Watch Dr. Strawn's Installation Address

The 2020 Integration Symposium

This year's symposium features Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis, Associate Professor of Psychology at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology at Pepperdine University. This year’s theme, “Holistic Healing and Wellness: Mind, Body and Spirit,” will allow Bryant-Davis to share her expertise in trauma, diversity, and womanist psychology as well as her commitment to issues of religious faith.

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FOUR DISTINCTIVES OF INTEGRATION IN THE SCHOOL OF PSYCHOLOGY

1. Integrative Courses

Exploring the intersection of psychology and theology is a central task of the School of Psychology (SOP). Integration is a part of every course in SOP, and we also offer a broad range of integration-specific courses, many of which are electives that students can take according to their interests. Click here to see a list of all of our integration-specific course offerings.

Also included within each student’s plan of study is a specified number of theology courses from Fuller’s School of Theology. Masters-level psychology students take a minimum of 24 theology units, PsyD students take 44 theology units, and PhD students take 52. This interdisciplinary theological focus allows for a depth of integrative study that sets Fuller and its graduates apart as leaders and innovators in the field of integration.

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2. Formational Experiences

Another distinctive of integration in Fuller's School of Psychology is an emphasis on “intrapersonal integration.” This involves opportunities for the integrator to grow toward greater personal congruence between their personal psychology and theology. Two avenues for this growth include:

  • Professional Formation Groupswhich provide students the chance to reflect on their formation first from a theological/spiritual standpoint and then secondarily from a psychological one. These groups equip students to engage in spiritual practices and discernment that will be life-sustaining through the course of one's clinical career.
  • Consultation Groups are typically taken in the second year and provide students the opportunity to reflect on their experience as growing clinicians. Students will be challenged to consider and discuss how they are being impacted both psychologically and spiritually through their work.
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3. Research Integration & Lab Mentoring

Students at Fuller work closely with faculty members to conduct ground-breaking research on a wide range of topics. Integration occurs not only in the content of the research itself, but also in the process of mentorship that occurs as students work side-by-side with faculty committed to the work of Christian integration. We believe that an integrative mindset is “caught” more than “taught,” and research mentoring provides an ideal setting for this mindset to develop.

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4. Clinical Training

While students complete their clinical internships in a wide variety of settings—some faith-based and others not—all our clinical training here at Fuller includes elements of integration. Each of our clinical core courses is set up to emphasize integration within specific counseling domains. These core courses include: Assessment, Diversity, Family Systems, Group Therapy, Gerontology, Child & Adolescent Therapy, Humanistic Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic Therapy, and Consultation & Supervision.

Watch Videos from Past Symposiums

Relational Integration

The 2017 Integration Symposium, featuring Dr. Steven Sandage and Fuller faculty, introduced a relational model to the integration of psychology and theology and applies it to theories of spirituality, power, differentiation, and more.

+ Watch Now

Therapy as Peacemaking

At the 2018 Integration Symposium, Cameron Lee, professor of marriage and family studies, spoke on peacemaking, narrative coherence, and clinical virtues that support the work of therapy. Fuller faculty responded.

+ Watch Now

A Psychology of the Ordinary

At the 2019 conference, Peter C. Hill, professor of psychology at Biola University, presented on “A Psychology of the Ordinary: Humility, Grace, and Gratitude as Religious Inflections of the World.” Fuller faculty responded.

+ Watch Now

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