The first chapter of the book, 'Christianity and Psychiatry today', deals with psychiatry in general in relation to Christianity. According to the author, "psychiatry, that illegitimate child of psychology which historically has made the most grandiose claims, is itself in a serious trouble." (Adams, 1986, P 1). The main subtopics of the chapter include 'Psychiatry is in Trouble', 'The Freudian Ethic', 'Freudian Theory and Therapy', 'The Revolution in Psychology', 'Freud: An Enemy, not a Friend', and 'Where Does This Leave Us'. The ideas disseminated through the various chapters of the book, especially with regard to nouthetic counseling, have a great relevance to the ministry of a pastor in developing a general approach to Christian counseling and specific response to particular problems faced by the people.
The second chapter of the book, 'The Holy Spirit and Counseling', establishes that counseling is the work of the Holy Spirit and effective counseling cannot be done apart from Him. "Counseling, to be Christian, must be carried on in harmony with the regenerating work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is called 'Holy' because of his nature and his work. All holiness stems from His activity in human lives. All of the personality traits that might be held forth to counselees as fundamental goals for growth (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) God declares to be the 'fruit' of the Spirit." (Adams, 1986, P 20). Through the main sub-topics of the chapter, 'Counseling is the Work of the Spirit', 'How does the Holy Spirit work in Counseling', 'The Holy Spirit's works through Means', 'The Holy Spirit's Work is Sovereign', and 'The Holy Spirit Works by means of His Word', the author establishes the link between counseling and the Holy Spirit.
The next chapter, "What is Wrong with the Mentally Ill", deals with the issues related with psychological problems of the individuals through the analysis of the case of Leo held. To the author, mental illness is a misnomer and he discusses other topics such as 'People with Personal Problems often use Camouflage', 'Homosexuality Fits the Pattern', and Adrenachrome or Schizophrenia'
In the fourth chapter of the book, "What is Nouthetic Counseling", Jay Adams investigates the various aspects of nouthetic counseling in relation to the works of the Church and the main points include 'Nouthetic Confrontation: By the Whole Church', 'Peculiarly the Work of the Ministry', 'Three Elements in Nouthetic Confrontation', Nouthetic and the Purpose of Scripture', 'Nouthetic Involvement', 'Love is the Goal', 'Authoritative Counseling', 'Failure in Nouthetic Confrontation', 'Some Reasons for Failure', 'Qualifications for Counseling' and 'Pastoral Applications'. As the author establishes in the chapter, Jesus Christ is at the center of all true Christian counseling and the nouthetic activity specifically characterizes the work of the ministry. "Nouthetic confrontation consists of at least three basic elements. The word is used frequently in conjunction with didasko (which means 'to teach') Nouthetic confrontation always implies a problem, and presupposes an obstacle that must be overcome; something is wrong in the life of the one who is confronted." (Adams, 1986, P 20). Therefore, the author gives convincing explanation of Nouthetic confrontation and helps us realize nouthetic counsel