Jay E. Adams

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Jay E. Adams is a Reformed theologian known for his work on the development of counseling that is a Biblical and Reformed alternative[1] to that of "standard", liberal psychology. His work was inspired mostly by Reformed theology and partly by Thomas Szasz and O.H. Mowrer[2].

One of his most representative books is Competent to Counsel, which discusses how the Holy Spirit can bring about positive change in Biblically-centered counseling

A good seminary education rather than medical school or a degree in clinical psychology, is the most fitting background for a counselor.[3]


Nouthetic counseling

Adams began to publish and speak about his psychological theories in 1970, giving them the name nouthetic counseling. The need for Nouthetic counseling was based on 3 points: (1) modern psychological theories were bad theology, (2) psychotherapeutic professions were a false pastorate, (3) the Bible already instructed pastors in the ways needed to counsel.[2]

Selection of Works

  • Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, Jay E. Adams, Zondervan, 1986, ISBN 0310511402, 320 pages (1st published in 1970)
  • The Big Umbrella: And Other Essays on Christian Counseling, Jay E. Adams, Baker Book House, 1972, ISBN 0801000580, 265 pages
  • The Christian counselor's New Testament : a new translation in everyday English, with notations, marginal references, and supplemental helps (Six editions exist spanning 1977-2000)


  1. worldcat identity
  2. 2.0 2.1 Competent to Counsel?: The History of A conservative Protestant Anti-psychiatry movement, written by Ph.D. candidate David A. Powlison, Charles Rosenberg (thesis adviser), 1996 University of Pennsylvania Doctor Thesis
  3. Competent to Counsel, Jay E. Adams, 1970, 1986

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