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Sin and Grace in Christian Counseling
by Mark R. McMinn, Ph.D. © 2008. [163 pages]
(InterVarsity Press: Downers Grove, IL) All rights reserved.

[Answer 14 of 20 questions correctly to receive
10 hours of continuing education credit.]

Chapter 1: Divided by Sin (p. 15-32)
1. When a client seems to be self-deceiving, what question does the author recommend that a counselor ask at that point?
a. “Are you being as honest as you can be right now?”
b. “Is there any thing I might be doing to prevent you from telling me the truth?”
c. “Who is a person you trust, maybe in your faith community, who could give you another perspective on this?”
d. “Has a close friend ever told you when you were deceiving yourself?”

2. Which is NOT true about the former slave trader, John Newton, who authored the famous hymn “Amazing Grace”?
a. Upon returning to his Christian faith, Newton immediately abandoned the slave trade.
b. John Newton’s pamphlet, “Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade,” played an important role in the political battles to end slave trade.
c. Newton spent ten years trading slaves, most of them after returning to the Christian faith.
d. At the end of his life, Newton said to his friends “My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Savior.”

Chapter 2: The Weight of Sin (p. 33-48)

3. How does understanding the weight of sin help me as a counselor empathize with a client?
a. Even though I’m not currently struggling with sinfulness, I have in the past and I will in the future.
b. My primary task as a counselor is to help my clients stop sinful behaviors, as I have tried to stop mine.
c. “There but for the grace of God go I.”
d. I struggle daily with ugly character qualities. My client struggles daily with ugly character qualities.

4. Which is TRUE about shame and guilt?
a. Counselors should not promote guilt; it decreases our self-esteem.
b. Counselors should promote shame as evidence of true remorse for one’s behavior.
c. Guilt is unhealthy because it undermines thinking positive thoughts about oneself.
d. Guilt is an appropriate response to willful acts of sin. It says, “I did something wrong, I hurt you deeply, and I feel terrible about it.”

Chapter 3: The Healing Power of Grace (p. 49-72)
5. How should a Christian counselor handle a client’s anger?
a. Anger is morally neutrally because it is just a feeling.
b. Explore anger without condoning it, to find the hurt underneath.
c. Confront anger because it is tainted with sin.
d. Jesus got angry so we can, too.

Grace is merciful kindness offered by God to those who do not and cannot ever deserve God’s kindness, and it is our only hope. -p. 58
 

6. What happens when the counselor brings grace into the counseling office?
a. Clients feel safe enough to discover their sinfulness.
b. Clients discover why they suffer so much.
c. Clients can question God any time they want to.
d. Clients don’t have to think of God as someone who punishes sin.

7. In his depression, the person who helped Parker Palmer the most was someone who
a. reminded him of all the good things in his life.
b. pointed out the ways he had helped so many others.
c. told him I know just how you feel.
d. sat in near silence with him.

Chapter 4: Holding Sin and Grace Together -- Three Perspectives (p. 73-91)
8. A Christian counselor who teaches a panic attack client the importance of breathing training is a counselor who is
a. applying a psychological technique to what is primarily a spiritual problem.
b. placing more importance on psychology than theology.
c. responsibly applying scientific research about human behavior.
d. applying a technique based more on theory than psychological research.

9. As a young adult, the author spent one year in personal therapy. His most memorable session was when he told his therapist that no one really understood him, that others didn’t love him for who he was, and that people used his goodwill for their own advantage. His therapist, who was kind and compassionate, said to him, “That sounds like a narcissistic fantasy to me.” His therapist was
a. having a bad day.
b. cutting through the author’s defenses.
c. being unempathetic.
d. training a new approach.

10. What is the best response to loneliness?
a. Use less technology and increase your personal relationships.
b. Simplify your life by becoming less busy and competitive.
c. Accept it, stop trying to fix it, long for a better world (heaven).
d. Get married and have children.

Chapter 5: Sin and Grace in Integrative Psychotherapy (p. 92-102)
11. Clark Campbell, co-author of Integrative Psychotherapy, says that almost every counseling client mentions _____ within the first moment of the first session
a. multiple problems.
b. irrelevant details.
c. an important relationship.
d. a regretful mistake.

Chapter 6: Sin and Grace in the Functional Domain (p. 103-125)
12. During counseling, a counselor learns that years ago his client sexually abused a child. Which counselor response most demonstrates a sin-grace orientation toward the client?
a. “You do realize that you broke the law and I will have to inform the authorities.”
b. “Have you ever tried to make amends to the person you harmed?”
c. “Statistically, sexual abusers were most likely abused themselves. Would you like to explore this?”
d. “Were you ever punished for what you did?”

13. Which is an effective (non-adversarial) statement to make with a client who has an inflated self-assessment of being easy to work with?
a. “You mention that you’re easy to get along with. What would others you know you well say about that?”
b. “Let’s call up a fellow worker right now and ask his or her opinion.”
c. “I don’t think you’re as easy to get along with as you think you are.”
d. “For being easy to get along with, you seem to change jobs frequently.”

14. Which of these is a result of pride?
a. The average person believes he is better than the average person.
b. We see others as the sinners they are and ourselves as the perfected saints we are not.
c. We attribute good outcomes to ourselves and bad outcomes to others.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 7: Sin and Grace in the Structural Domain (p. 126-147)
15. With Recursive Schema Activation, a person develops a new identity apart from the old dysfunctional schemes. The idea is to activate a client’s schema by focusing on an emotional-laden experience in everyday life and then help the person gain some psychological and emotional distance from the schema. This is done over and over until a person begins to develop a new identity apart from the old way of seeing the world.
Which is a non-adversarial way for a counselor to confront a client about one of the schemas of her eating disorder?
a. “Kendra, it seems to me that you have developed a problem with control. When things don’t go as you plan, you start to feel desperate and make decisions that aren’t very good.”
b. “Kendra, as I listen to your story, I hear quite a lot of fear about losing control of yourself and your life situation. It seems like a theme that weaves its way through your life.”
c. “Kendra, scientific studies show that women who struggle with an eating disorder have a tenacious stubbornness which keeps them from seeing the damage they are doing to themselves.”
d. “Kendra, even though you have a pleasant personality, a lot of friends, and academic success, you have an underlying determination to do things your own way. What do you think about this quality?”

16. When we assume that our thoughts are better reasoned, wiser and more insightful than they really are, we are suffering from
a. egotistical distortion.
b. overconfidence.
c. confirmation bias.
d. belief perseverance.

17. What’s wrong with just “listening to our hearts”?
a. Our hearts can deceive us.
b. Good feelings are not proof we are acting upon true beliefs. Sometimes false thoughts make us feel good.
c. Our values are a better guide than our moods.
d. All of the above.

Chapter 8: Sin and Grace in the Relational Domain (p. 148-163)
18. Of the following, which is the most effective way for a counselor to help clients explore painful events from the past?
a. Some fathers are good and some fathers are bad. How would you evaluate your father?
b. What would you say your father’s weaknesses are?
c. It sounds like your father was trying to be more helpful than he really was.
d. Your father seemed to be a very unreasonable man.

19. In the Twelve-Step recovery model ____ is central in steps four through ten.
a. abstinence
b. consistency
c. repentance
d. determination

20. The three facets of Christian counseling are
a. acceptance, skills, and moral guidance.
b. faith, hope, and love.
c. changing one’s thinking, feelings, and behaviors.
d. teaching, correction, and training.