Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Term Paper


School of Unrestricted Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Grace Veach


There are a variety of differences between psychotherapy and Nouthetic counseling. These are two forms of counseling that have stemmed from various different schools of thought. In psychotherapy there are many different techniques to use, however, one of the underlying premises is the idea that a relationship between the counselee and counselor is necessary. Nouthetic, on the other hand, does not value that. Nouthetic, also known as biblical counseling, believes that the behaviors of an individual are what will directly affect actual change in a person. Psychotherapy began with Mesmer, Breuer and Freud. The basis for the psychotherapy we have today is from the original talk therapy between Breuer and Anna O. This demonstrated that an ability to simply discuss issues one is dealing with supplies relief. Without a vulnerable and trusting relationship between the two this relief cannot happen. Nouthetic counseling began with Jay Adams in 1970 when he published his book “Competent to Counsel.” The driving ideas behind this new theory were the idea that counseling should be scripture centered, and as behavior changes the thoughts and inner person change. Which one of these is superior? While the idea of Nouthetic is noble in the aspect that it attempts to be Scripture focused, it has a couple issues. It treats every patient the same and applies the same form of treatment to each individual. Along with that the belief that behavior is what is the key to change in an individual is not the best way to counsel. Ultimately, psychotherapy provides genuine counseling that provides lasting change while Nouthetic counseling can have some positive effects but doesn’t perform as consistently as psychotherapy.

Included in

Counseling Commons