Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Counseling and Personnel

First Advisor

Dr. Thelma Urbick

Second Advisor

Dr. L. Dale Faunce

Third Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Fourth Advisor

Dr. James Lowe


The Christian counseling field as known today is a relatively new professional practice. Little evaluative research has been undertaken on the various counseling approaches which corporately make up the Christian counseling movement. This research studied one of these new Christian approaches, "Spirituotherapy" (Christ-centered counseling).

Spirituotherapy's thrust and teachings are directed towards individuals who are seeking biblical answers for the problems for which they are seeking psychological help. This study sought to identify what effect Spirituotherapy had on past clients of Grace Fellowship International (GFI), the organization pioneering Spirituotherapy. The clients' perceptions of the effect of counseling at GFI was the means of determining if any effect actually had been realized.

The Spirituotherapy Questionnaire (STQ), which was designed to provide these answers explored various areas related to clients' presenting problems, clients' freedom from their symptoms, benefit of counseling at GFI in bringing about the desired change, continuation of treatment, and a comparison of psychotherapy and Spirituotherapy.

A descriptive research model was used to test the twenty hypotheses tested in this study. A random sample design was used to select the nearly 500 past clients of GFI who received the first mailing of the STQ. The nature of the study allowed for a straightforward analysis of the acquired data. Frequency distribution counts, percentage tables and graphic figures were utilized in presenting the findings.

An analysis of the STQ findings provided the following significant results: (1) The most common age group, 36-45 years old, accounted for 39 percent of the past clients under study. (2) Seventy percent of those from previous treatment models revealed that Spirituotherapy was more effective than the other counseling approaches utilized in their treatment. (3) Sixty-one percent of the clients were free from symptoms after leaving counseling at GFI. (4) Spirituotherapy was determined to be to some degree beneficial in 69 percent of the cases where the client was free from his/her presenting problem(s). (5) Seventy percent of the clients studied were female. (6) After termination of counseling at GFI 42 percent of the clients went somewhere else to resume counseling. (7) Marriage relations and separation-divorce accounted for 48 percent of the reasons for seeking counseling at GFI. (8) Eighty-one percent of the clients believed "identification" (Christ-centered life) had become a reality to them, and 53 percent indicated this identification had occurred "before counseling began".

As a result of the findings several recommendations are presented in an effort to provide GFI and others interested in Christ-centered counseling with possible areas to expand or initiate research. The recommendations are related to the principle of identification, clients' perception of the counseling process, pre-intake screening, termination procedures, counseling relationship and organizational philosophy.

Finally, this research revealed that Spirituotherapy, as a treatment model, was most successful in the areas of depression, anxiety and sexual problems, but least effective in marriage relations and separation-divorce. It does appear that the principle of identification is a substantial factor in the lives of those who stated they were free from their presenting problems.

The basic theological assumptions which underlie this approach to Christian counseling have their roots in the evangelical branch of Christianity. The terms and definition of terms used in reporting the findings of this study should be interpreted from this school of thought. This study was not designed to review, in any way, the theological assumptions adhered to by Grace Fellowship International and used in the implementation of their counseling approach, "Spirituotherapy".

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access