Integration of Psychology and Theology

Brad StrawnWelcome to the integration webpage. We hope to give you an idea of what integration means in Fuller’s School of Psychology and provide you with some resources for the integration of theology and psychology.

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!

From the Chair of Integration, Dr. Brad Strawn

Watch Dr. Strawn's Installation Address

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.

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 Groups, which 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.

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.

Click here to learn more about current research within the School of Psychology.

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.

Integration Resources

Integrative Faculty Publications


Faculty and students in the School of Psychology are engaged in ongoing research and writing projects related to the integration of psychology and theology. For an introduction to the flavor of our research, see the list of integrative faculty publications below, or click on the Sorenson and Travis Award tabs (above) for award-winning integrative papers by our students.

Recent Integrative Publications by Fuller Faculty

Alexis D. Abernethy

“Intrinsic Religiousness as a Mediator Between Fatalism and Cancer-Specific Fear: Clarifying the Role of Fear in Prostate Cancer Screening,” in Journal of Religion and Health (coauthor, 2014).

“A Spiritually Informed Approach to Group Psychotherapy,” chapter in The Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Group Psychotherapy (2012).

Worship that Changes Lives: Multidisciplinary and Congregational Perspectives on Spiritual Transformation (editor, 2008).

Jack O. Balswick

The Family: A Christian Perspective on the Contemporary Home, 4th ed. (coauthor, 2014).

The Reciprocating Self: Human Development in Theological Perspective (coauthor, 2005).

Men at the Crossroads: Beyond Traditional Roles and Modern Options (1992).

Judith K. Balswick

Authentic Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach (coauthor, 2008)

A Model for Marriage: Covenant, Grace, Empowering, and Intimacy (2006).

Relationship Empowerment Parenting: Building Formative and Fulfilling Relationships with Your Children (coauthor, 2003).

Justin L. Barrett

“Evolutionary Byproducts and Imago Dei,” chapter in The Emergence of Personhood: A Quantum Leap? (coauthor, in press).

“Should CSR Give Atheists Assurance? On Beer-Goggles, BFFs, and Skepticism Regarding Religious Beliefs,” in The Monist (coauthor, 2013).

“Longitudinal Study of Religious and Spiritual Transformation in Adolescents Attending Young Life Summer Camp: Assessing the Epistemic, Intrapsychic, and Moral Sociability Functions of Conversion,” in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (coauthor, 2014).

Jeffrey P. Bjorck

“Religious Support and Psychological Functioning in Korean American Protestant Christians,” in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (coauthor, 2014).

“The Multi-Faith Religious Support Scale: Validation with a Sample of Muslim Women,” in Journal of Muslim Mental Health (coauthor, 2011).

“The Adolescent Religious Coping Scale: Development, Validation, and Cross-Validation,” in Journal of Child and Family Studies (coauthor, 2010).

Warren S. Brown

The Physical Nature of Christian Life: Neuroscience, Psychology and the Church. (coauthor, 2012).

“Living with Evangelical Paradoxes,” in Religion, Brain, and Behavior (coauthor, 2013).

“Embodied Cognition, Character Formation, and Virtue,” in Zygon (coauthor, 2013).

Alvin Dueck

“Culture, Language, and Integration,” in Journal of Psychology and Theology (2012).

“Community, Spiritual Traditions, and Disasters in Chinese Society,” in Pastoral Psychology (coauthor, 2012).

“On Psychologizing the Other: Plato, Pith Helmets, and Pathology,” chapter in Psychology and the Other: A Dialogue at the Crossroad of an Emerging Field (in press).

Richard L. Gorsuch

“On the Limits of Scientific Investigation: Miracles and Intercessory Prayer,” chapter in Miracles: God, Science, and Psychology in the Paranormal (2008).

“The Pyramids of Sciences and of Humanities,” in American Behavioral Scientist (2002).

Integrating Psychology and Spirituality? (2002).

Pamela Ebstyne King

“Prevention and the Promotion of Thriving in Children and Adolescents,” chapter in Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology: Theory and Application for Working with Youth (coauthor, 2014).

“Adolescent Spiritual Exemplars: Exploring Adolescent Spirituality Among Diverse Youth,” in Journal of Adolescent Research (coauthor, 2014).

“Spiritually Oriented Interventions in Developmental Context,” chapter in Spiritually Oriented Interventions in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy (coauthor, 2013).

Cameron Lee

Why Psychology Needs Theology: A Radical-Reformation Perspective (coeditor, 2005).

H. Newton Malony

Toward a Christian Clinical Psychology: The Contribution of H. Newton Malony, edited by L. Hoffman (2011).

Christian Counseling: An Introduction (coauthor, 2007).

Whatever Happened to the Soul? Scientific and Theological Portraits of Human Nature (coauthor, 1998).

Sarah A. Schnitker

“Longitudinal Study of Religious and Spiritual Transformation in Adolescents Attending Young Life Summer Camp: Assessing the Epistemic, Intrapsychic, and Moral Sociability Functions of Conversion,” in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality (coauthor, 2014).

“Virtue Development Following Spiritual Transformation in Adolescents Attending Evangelistic Summer Camp,” in Journal of Psychology and Christianity (coauthor, 2014).

“Spiritual Striving and Seeking the Sacred: Religion as Meaningful Goal-Directed Behavior,” in International Journal for the Psychology of Religion (coauthor, 2013).

Brad D. Strawn

Christianity & Psychoanalysis: A New Conversation (coeditor, 2014).

The Physical Nature of Christian Life: Neuroscience, Psychology and the Church (coauthor, 2012).

Wesleyan Theology and Social Science: The Dance of Practical Divinity and Discovery, (coeditor, 2010).

Siang-Yang Tan

Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective (2011).

“Addressing Religion and Spirituality from a Cognitive Behavioral Perspective,” chapter in APA Handbooks in Psychology: APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality, Vol. 2 (2013).

“Lay Christian Counseling for General Psychological Problems,” chapter in Evidence-based practices for Christian counseling and psychotherapy (2013).

Sorenson Award


Randall Lehmann Sorenson Scholarship

This scholarship honors Fuller School of Psychology graduate, Randall Lehmann Sorenson (1954–2005) who modeled for the evangelical community creative integration of faith convictions and psychological practice. This scholarship will be awarded to the student submitting the best essay written on the integration of theology and psychology. The scholarship amount is $500.

Dr. Sorenson's Legacy

Dr. Randall Lehmann Sorenson, 51, Rosemead Professor of Psychology and licensed psychologist, died Friday morning, January 21, 2005. Randy was a brilliant scholar and clinician, a much loved colleague, teacher, and mentor, a devoted husband and father, and a faithful Christian. Randy had been an annually contracted, part-time faculty member in Rosemead for 13 years and served as a clinical supervisor in the Biola Counseling Center for 8 years prior. So Randy had been an integral partof the Rosemead graduate training program for over 20 years. Due to his part-time appointment, Randy may not be known by very many within the wider Biola community; however, he presented a very strong voice for integration of faith and field across the psychological scholarly community.

Randy held both a PhD in clinical psychology from Fuller and a PsyD in psychoanalysis from the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis. Besides his faculty position at Rosemead, Randy also taught forthe Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis and carried a thriving privatepractice through Doulos, Inc. His vita includes over 35 publications in journals such as Psychotherapy, Psychoanalytic Dialogues, Journal of Psychology and Christianity, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Journal of Psychology and Theology; about 50scholarly presentations at conferences of the American Psychological Association and the Christian Association for Psychological Studies, as well as invited speaking engagements across the country. Randy’s most recent book, Minding Spirituality, was published in 2004 by theAnalytic Press.

Randy’s instruction and mentorship were eagerly sought by Rosemead graduate students. He engaged both mind and heart and extended students’ work into the scholarly arena via co-authorship in both publications and conference presentations. Randy’s commitment to Christ and to excellent scholarship in glory to God resonated throughout his interactions with us and with many others in the psychological community. His warm and engaging personality in classes as well as within the faculty will be sorely missed. (From

Papers awarded the Sorenson Scholarship

The authors of the following papers were given the Sorenson award for excellence in integrative work. To contact the author or to see a copy of the text, follow the links below.


  • Nathaniel Strenger, "A Tale of Two Constructs: How Relational Psychoanalysis Renews Understandings of Religiousness and Spirituality"



  • Kyle Isaacson, Integrity, Imagination, and the Christian Therapist


  • Chloe Teller, Welcoming the Christian Story in Narrative Therapy with Children


  • Lisa Finlay, Death Anxiety and the Self-Transcending Drama: Considerations for Christian Therapists


  • Darcy Miller, Reformulating God the Mother: Mutual Recognition, the Divine and Therapeutic Applications



  • Martin Hsia, (Contact author for copy) Dím Sūm: “ABC” Integration of Christianity and Psychology


Travis Award


Lee Edward Travis Scholarship

This award was established in 1974 in honor of Lee Edward Travis, the founding dean of Fuller's School of Psychology. Awards are given annually to students who have written excellent integrative papers in theoretical or experimental categories, and whose writing demonstrates both psychological and theological depth. Depending on the papers submitted, the award may be given to a single winner or split between entrants. The scholarship amount is $1000.

Dr. Travis' Legacy

Lee Edward Travis (1896-1987) became the Founding Dean of the Fuller Graduate School of Psychology in 1965. In 1998, the Travis Research Institute (TRI) committed itself to his vision of fostering interdisciplinary research. Travis was a brilliant, pioneering experimental physiological psychologist, speech pathologist, and clinical psychologist, with distinguished careers at the University of Iowa (1924-1938) and University of Southern California (1938-1965) prior to his deanship at Fuller (1965-1975). His best known research was in the area of stuttering. He was also among the first researchers in the USA to use electrophysiological measures for studying the brain.

Travis was a founding member of the American Speech and Hearing Association and a past-president and was instrumental in setting up one of the first speech-pathology programs in the country located at the University of Iowa. He authored and edited two important handbooks, the Handbook of Speech Pathology (1959) and theHandbook of Speech Pathology and Audiology(1971).

At Fuller, Travis was responsible for founding and establishing the Graduate School of Psychology and training for the PhD in Clinical Psychology. Under his leadership, the program was approved by the American Psychological Association. On his retirement an auditorium was named after him and subsequently the Travis Research Institute at Fuller was named in his honor. The Travis Research Institute is the embodiment of his legacy of empirical research and scholarship in psychology.

Complete details of his honors, achievements, students, publications and history can be found in a Festschrift volume entitled, Psychologist Pro Tem: In Honor of the 80th Birthday of Lee Edward Travis, edited by D. F. Tweedie, Jr., and P. W. Clement (USC Press, 1978). (From

Papers awarded the Travis Scholarship:

The authors of the following papers were given the Travis Award for excellence in integrative work. To see a copy of the text, follow the links below.


  • Matthew Jarvinen, Purification of the Heart: Christian Character Formation Within a Wesleyan Anthropology



  • Kris Thomas, A Descent into Madness: Theoretical and Clinical Reflections on Schizophrenia and Implications for Christian Theology and Practice

2012 (poster awards)


  • Kris Thomas, Metaphor and Story in Cognitive Decline: Reflections on Israel's Narrative Self-Identity in Exile as Meaningful in the Care of Persons with Dementia


  • Christopher Keiper, Surface Integration: Current Interpretive Problems and a Suggested Hermeneutical Model for Approaching Christian Psychology



  • Joseph Barsuglia, Holy Saturday in Existential Psychology: Prolegomenary Integration of Von Balthasar’s Theology of Christ’s Descent Into Hell with Meaning Making in Logotherapy in a Christian Context
  • David Goodman, Frodo, Gyges, and The Lord of the Self


  • Jill Alonzo, Jesus’ Table Fellowship as a Model for Therapy



  • Brian Becker, Psychotherapy as Transubstantiation: A Postmodern Interpretation of the Holy Eucharist as a Subversive Image to Undermine Individualism and Reductionism in Western Culture and Modern Psychology
  • Nancy Liu, Mindfulness: A Christian Critique


  • Diane Fruchter, Religious Problem-Solving as Pragmatic Theology: Reflecting on the Religious Problem-Solving Scale
  • Gabrielle Taylor, Transformation: Facing the Anxiety of Being


  • Scott Garrels, Imitation, Mirror Neurons, & Mimetic Desire: Generative Mechanisms in Religious, Cultural, and Psychosocial Structures
  • Gabrielle Taylor, Psychoanalysis and the Church: Implications for Transformation


  • Greg Reger & Steven Rogers, Diagnostic Differences in Religious Coping Among the Persistently Mentally Ill
  • Steven Rogers, Object Relations and Job: Suffering as a Parallel Process Toward Individuation


  • Steven Rogers, The Parent-Child Relationship as an Archetype for the Relationship Between God and Humanity in Genesis
  • Daryl Schrock, Where is God: A Reflection on Trauma and Theology

Integration Symposium

Fuller Symposium on the Integration of Psychology and Theology, better known as the Integration Symposium, is an annual lectureship hosted every February by the School of Psychology, featuring a nationally recognized scholar who focuses on a single integrative issue. Topics have ranged from aging and dementia to what evangelicals can learn from Jung. The symposium is an academic gathering place in which integration can be tackled on an intellectual level, and it incorporates participants and panel respondents from all three schools of the seminary (School of Psychology, School of Theology, and School of Intercultural Studies). Students and community members alike are given the opportunity to learn from scholars in many fields concerning the various intersections of theology and psychology.

Our 2016 Symposium is scheduled for February 17-19, 2016, and will be focused on the topic "Kindling God," featuring Dr. Tanya Luhrmann from Stanford University. Registration is coming soon for this event, so stay tuned!

Recent topics at the Integration Symposium have included the following:

For more information about upcoming symposia, please contact:

Sarah Bucek, Assistant Director of Events
Phone: 626-584-2009

Dr. Brad Strawn
The Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor
of the Integration of Psychology and Theology
Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
Phone: 626-584-5330

(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182