Part 1: The Biblical Counseling Movement and Timberlake Baptist Church and Counseling Center

When you catch yourself lying to your therapist, you know it’s a waste of money. Jay McInerney link


Incredible picture of Jupiter just posted by NASA

(Note: The abbreviation BCM will stand for Biblical Counseling Movement for the purposes of this post.)

Easy peasy…This is my latest favorite phrase from my favorite Stranger Things character, Bob. I binged watched most of Season 2 last night while shopping online. Netflix has a winner in this series. I even liked Season 2 better than Season 1. Without any spoilers, let me tell you about some advice Bob gave his girlfriend’s son, Will. Bob, obviously not getting what is going on at this point, attempts to help Will cope with his fear of a monster which is slowly taking control of Will.

Bob tells Will that he used to have dreams of a clown which would cause him to be afraid, even after he woke up. He told Will that the dreams stopped when he confronted the clown and yelled “Go away.” The clown disappeared and Bob never dreamed of him again. Unfortunately for Will, his monster was not a dream. Will bravely confronted the monster, yelling “Go away” with disastrous results that last until the end of Season 2.

I thought of that when I began writing today’s post. There are many in the biblical counseling movement (BCM) who are counselors like Bob. They just don’t get how serious the situation really is and think a Bible verse or two will make the bad stuff go away.

Today, I will begin a series that will look at the serious issues surrounding the Biblical counseling movement (BCM) which I believe has caused harm and pain to many Christians. Let me distinguish between two groups up front.The first group are a number of well trained counselors: psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers who happen to be Christians and effectively integrate modern psychology treatment modalities with the faith if that is a desire of their clients. I know this because I developed serious anxiety surrounding my daughter’s struggle with a serious brain tumor when she was three years old. Her tumor was rare and the prognosis was thought to be bleak. Our family lived with the possibility of that tumor taking her life for from 11/1991 until 2001 when the brain tumor team believed that she was most likely a cure.

I viewed myself as the strong Christian. Although I didn’t believe that God was going to cure her, (He doesn’t in most cases), I felt my faith in Jesus would get me through. So, I swallowed my fear, pushed through my anxiety and pretended that all was well. Finally, I sought the counsel of both a Christian psychiatrist and a Christian counselor (MSW). I was given some medication to treat the underlying anxiety that I pretended wasn’t present and began a long conversation that combined the best of modern psychological intervention with the Bible. These two men were NOT biblical counselors but they were Biblical as well as counselors. I am not talking about counselors like them.

Throughout this series, I will refer to some techniques that I found useful such as dialectical behavioral therapy and show how well this integrates with a Christian worldview. I also want to differentiate between psychological counsel and spiritual counsel. They are different and should be viewed as such.

Timberlake Baptist Church, in Lynchburg, Virginia, will be our role model for biblical counseling.

As I did some reading in preparation for this series, I developed some anxiety because I felt I was dealing with the many legged Mind Flayer monster and the Demogorgon and Demo-dogs of Stranger Things. It can be terribly confusing. However, I came up with an idea. Why not tie the whole series together by featuring an actual biblical counseling center in a church since this how many of these biblical counseling centers operate.

I looked for a church which seemed to align with today’s current Reformed Baptist movement since many in this group are amongst the leaders who are pushing this sort of counseling to the forefront in churches.

Timberlake Baptist Church is a successful, medium sized church in Lynchburg, Virginia. Their resource page is filled with books from the leaders of the Reformed movement such as 9 Marks, John Piper, The Gospel Coalition, the Founders, etc. Yet, it is not one of the leading churches in this movement. This is important. In discussions with some 9 Marks and Reformed folks on serious issues like Karen Hinkley and The Village Church, I often have heard the excuse that such and such church just “applied things wrong.”  I contend that churches do not apply these tactics in error. They are following a playbook which clearly spells out the rules. Sadly, I believe that it is the playbook that is in error and I hope to prove my point in the posts to come.

As I searched for a representative church, I looked for one that took their counseling program seriously. That is evident in this church. It appears that their Sunday evening services are actually training sessions for the members of the congregation on how to be Biblical counselors. This is quite fitting since it appears that the BCM believes that the average church member can be trained to be *competent to counsel.” We will be dealing with this in subsequent posts.

Timberlake Biblical Counseling and Training Center 

This counseling center is considered a major ministry of the church and is featured on the website. Not only does this center provide services, it also exists to train members of the church to become certified counselors with the International Association of Biblical Counselors (IABC). I will be discussing this group and others in subsequent posts. Suffice to say, they are at the heart of the BCM.

The training background of Mark Hager

This center is headed by (Dr) Mark Hager. However, his doctorate is not what you might expect.

His Undergraduate and Masters degrees do not appear to be from an accredited college. If I am wrong, please let me know. His DPT is also from an unaccredited school which describes his Doctorate of Practical Theology as not requiring a traditional dissertation or major writing project. An amusing aside, the school actually links to Wikipedia to prove the value of such a degree…


Use this link.

Also, his current school in which he is completing a PhD in Biblical Counseling,Trinity Theological Seminary, appears to have similar problems with the rest of his degrees. Hint: whenever an institution of higher learning needs a page to explain why it does not have the appropriate accreditation, you may have a problem. You might find list of well known recipients of this sort of PhD to  be interesting. Note, in particular, Elyse Fitzpatrick who is pushed by The Gospel Coalition, John Piper’s Desiring God, etc. as a counselor of women and families.

If I am correct about his training, I find his use of the *Doctor* in front of his name a bit misleading.

However, be that as it may, it doesn’t really matter because those who are involved in the BCM do not believe that excellent education is required in order to be an effective counselor. Compare that to a psychiatrist that must not only complete a 4 year undergraduate degree but must be accepted into an accredited, 4 year medical school and then do a 3-4 years of residency and fellowship training after that.

Now, to the good stuff.

What you should learn about Timberlake’s counseling program before you step foot in front of their counselors.

Timberlake has graciously outlined the ins and outs of the counseling program on their website. I have downloaded the contents in case they disappear down the road. However, if they suddenly disappear, I would wonder why since they seem to be the poster kids for the BCM as it is lived out in churches all over the country.

Always read this types of documents carefully!! They hint about things that you might find disconcerting when you are already in a counseling situation.

I will be referring back to these documents in future posts. So, for today, I am going to point out a few things things under each header that I think might be considered red flags for many people. At least they are red flags for me. Feel free to point out others since they are certainly present!

What to expect from Biblical counseling at Timberlake.

  • The Word of God is a therapeutic tool as well as a theological one, thus it can be used to address emotional problems, as well as psychological and spiritual ones.There is an assumption here that must be considered. Is the Bible meant to be a therapeutic tool for all emotions? Emotions are tied up in the brain which is an organic structure that ties into nerves, hormones and other body organs. My daughter’s pediatric neurosurgeon told me that he felt like a caveman operating on the brain because there is so much that we don’t understand. We learn more and more on a daily basis. Is the Bible a therapeutic tool for other medical issues like leprosy or diabetes? Where does it start and where does it end?
  • Christ-centered and biblically sound counseling that will assist you in solving problems biblically, grow in your faith spiritually, and realize the peace of God in a blessed relationship with Him and others.They do not define what “biblically sound” counseling looks like. They use buzz words such as “Christ centered* without defining what that is. There is a danger in assuming what they might mean. For example, some counselors might think it is Christ centered to have a wife return to an abusive husband. Always beware of undefined Christin lingo.
  • This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused.Note the absolute dismissal of an entire body of professionals and research. This all or nothing approach is dangerous and is indicative of potential zealotry as opposed to thoughtful disagreement. Many of those professionals are also believers and are God centered. Those who aren’t are still capable of of diagnosing mental illness and even applying techniques like dialectical behavioral therapy which meshes well with with Biblical thinking. In fact, my guess is that traditionally trained professionals would be less likely to recommend dangerous actions like encouraging an abused women to stay with her abuser.

Consent to Counsel

  • It is understood by the participant counselee(s) that all biblical counseling will be provided by intern counselors or certified biblical counselors who may or may not be state licensed under the State of Virginia statues.Here is where the rubber meets the road. They are telling you that they may not be state accredited counselors (I bet few, if any, are) and they are going to put newbies in to mess with your mental health.. You are a guinea pig if they want you to be. You have no choice in the matter if you sign up for their program. (However, to be precise, you can refuse a student counselor.)
  • That no representation has been made, either expressly or implied, that the biblical counseling, as conducted by the above-mentioned counselors, is accepted as customary psychological and/or psychiatric therapy within the definitional terms utilized by those professions.They are admitting to you that you are not getting customary therapy that is peer reviewed. They have no standards that are acceptable or measurable outside of their own little circles.
  • releases of the Timberlake Biblical Counseling and Training Center, its affiliates, counselors, or employees from any liability or claim arising from the undersigned’s participation in biblical counseling.They know they are providing counseling that can lead to issues and they are telling you that you cannot sue them. Dirty little secret: I bet a good lawyer could sue them if they really mess with your head and cause injury or death…

Instructions for New Counselees

  • Don’t trust your feelings about the success that biblical counseling is making in your counseling process or progress.In other words, they are competent to counsel you because they read a few questionable books (we will deal with this soon) but you are not competent to trust you feelings if you think something is wrong with the counseling. If you are uncomfortable with the counseling or counselor, get the heck out of there and go find a professional and discuss your concerns with him/her. You could have been abused or harmed by that counseling relationships. Never forget. Your counselors are sinners as well and they can do some pretty bad things.
  • Make the proper investments in your counseling.They are talking about money here. They want to keep you coming to see them for as long as they think it takes and they want you to spend your money. They claim it is a vital as *chemotherapy is for cancer.* Good night! Be careful here. Make sure you investigate what are usual and customary costs. Also, if you go to a real psychiatrist or psychologist, there is a chance that some of your sessions will be covered by insurance. That is not the case for this type of counseling.
  • We will not be using secular therapy or unbiblical terminology. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE!That means that labels such as narcissism, pedophilia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. might not be used. Why?

Personal Data Inventory

  • Be careful. You are giving a lot of personal information to the counselor. Once that is given, it cannot be taken back. Who might see that information?
  • Most of the counselors will possess a biblical certification from various certifying agencies, and some may possess additional higher education in counseling.Make sure you understand that these supposed *certifying agencies* are outside of the mainstream of professional counseling. Do not be fooled. Note the *may possess additional education in counseling.” Do not forget that some institutions of higher learning may not be accredited or even worthy of that name.

How do counseling staff view confidentiality?

We plan to take a good hard look at the guarantee of confidentiality for clients by those who engage in the BCM. Before you enter into any agreement with a counselor, especially one associated with a particular church, ask exactly what they mean by confidentiality. In fact, make sure they guarantee it. Many will not.

I found the confidentiality agreement at Timberlake to be confusing and would admonish (a good biblical term) anyone considering such a relationship to explore it further. Here are two different statements from the Personal Data Inventory on the matter.

  • 1. The first statement appears to ask the client’s permission to consult with their pastor. I am assuming that this is a client who is not a member of Timberlake Baptist Church as you will see by the second statement.

Here is the second statement.

  • 2. Read this carefully. The counseling staff is mentioned but so are the elders and the pastoral staff of         Timberlake Baptist Church. As far as I can tell, there is no clear statement of who/what such confidentiality entails.

It is possible that the counseling staff at Timberlake are very strict when it comes to confidentiality. However, there appears to be some in the BCM who believe that there should be no confidentiality from a pastor of the client who is a member of a church.

This is the beginning of a look at the BCM. I would be interested in hearing from any folks who have undergone counseling at Timberlake. I would also love to see any confidentiality agreements, counseling descriptors, etc. from counseling centers which are part of the BCM.  Such correspondence will be held in strict confidentiality. Only my co-editor and the Guy Behind the Curtain know about such correspondence and we have tight lips.

Counseling another person is not easy peasy. It is a deadly serious business which can have life altering consequences. I plan to open a few windows and shed some light into the problems in this movement. I have already hinted at a few today.


Comments

Part 1: The Biblical Counseling Movement and Timberlake Baptist Church and Counseling Center — 316 Comments

  1. Biblical counseling boils down to offering two solutions to make all one’s troubles go away:

    1-Repent of the sin or sins that are causing them. If you don’t know what they could be you haven’t looked hard enough.

    2-Pray harder.

    I think this is the prayer they’re supposed to use: “Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”

  2. How does one repent of Developmental Disabilities, Depression, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, Autism, etc? Yes, I have heard Christians tell me on and offline people need to repent of these and other challenges. Two things were made very clear to me when I was in the faith community, they need to just stop it and get over it and they need to stop getting any kind of government support at all. The money thing was way at the top of the list, as well it should be.

    That is like being told that people who are victims of suicide are selfish and most likely in perdition for destroying the image of God in their soul which was the ultimate blasphemy. Once in while then vaccines would come up about how they cause the real “autism” as opposed to the fake one liberals came up with to take control of children and feed them into government schools where they will be indoctrinated into Free Mason or Luciferian practices. That is the mild version of some of these conversations.

  3. After briefly being counseled in a “Biblical counseling” church many years ago I went with a aecular Psychologist and it was the best decision I made. Diagnosed with clinical depression, put on medication and undergoing a period of counseling gave me my life back, where I only got condemnation under the counseling by the church. When you’re already down, you don’t need additional condemnation.

  4. This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused

    Isn’t the point to help someone overcome their problems? Maybe I am oversimplifying. Instead, do they sweep problems under the Biblical™ rug?

  5. Niteowlalways wrote:

    After briefly being counseled in a “Biblical counseling” church many years ago I went with a aecular Psychologist and it was the best decision I made. Diagnosed with clinical depression, put on medication and undergoing a period of counseling gave me my life back, where I only got condemnation under the counseling by the church. When you’re already down, you don’t need additional condemnation.

    Yeah, this is my worry with so called “Biblical counselors,” in that they might overlook real signs of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other brain illnesses which are better handled by a psychiatrist. Let me be clear: I’m not saying that a psychologist or LCSW can’t be helpful as well in counseling, but if a person comes for counseling and sits on your couch the entire hour and weeps, well, then there’s something more that might possibly could be addressed by a psychiatrist. It’s hard to make suggestions to someone who is so consumed in her own anxiety and depression on ways to look at life, approaches to take in dealing with life situations and the like if they’re sitting on your couch and crying. Trust me, I know about this. And the whole notion of “biblical counselors” trying to deal with people who have schizophrenia just gives me the willies.

    My psychiatrist is Catholic and he’s a great guy. I’ve been seeing him for well over a decade now. He’s part of the reason I am able to hold down a decent job and be a contributing member of society. I wish people weren’t so dismissive of the mental health professions.

  6. Master’s International University of Divinity is not regionally accredited nor is it accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) which means credit earned there will likely not be transferable (except to some of its fellow institutions). I wonder if some confusion could arise with McMaster Divinity College in Canada which is accredited.

    Also Doctor of Practical Theology is a UK degree and institutions there have almost certainly set standards for what it is. It is not a degree normally offered in the US except it seems by unaccredited schools like this and so there is probably no professional body setting standards.

  7. JeffT wrote:

    Biblical counseling boils down to offering two solutions to make all one’s troubles go away:
    1-Repent of the sin or sins that are causing them. If you don’t know what they could be you haven’t looked hard enough.
    2-Pray harder.
    I think this is the prayer they’re supposed to use: “Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”

    Also, since it operates on the assumption that the Bible has an answer to every problem people face, the counsellor will dig up some scriptural verse that will be twisted out of context so it can be presented as the solution to the person’s problems.

  8. “That no representation has been made, either expressly or implied, that the biblical counseling, as conducted by the above-mentioned counselors, is accepted as customary psychological and/or psychiatric therapy within the definitional terms utilized by those professions.”

    I think this statement is simply legal boilerplate directed primarily to the secular world to prevent claims from the secular world that the counselors participating in this program are practicing clinical psychology without being licensed. It’s also possible that some participants in this program may have already seen a psychologist, are not satisfied and need assurance they won’t receive more of the same.

  9. The ‘Praise Factory’ Seriously??? I cant help rememering the association i made earlier with a church that has to copy the fruits of the Spirit- ‘we need to appoint someone to exhibit wisdom, another someone that has love, we need someone to fill the joy vacancy we have, we already have our virtue signaller, what about praise- oh we will make a factory and put in the kids dept- God has perfected praise in kids- make them do it right away!’ Alright back to reading, sorry could not help it..

  10. “That no representation has been made, either expressly or implied, that the biblical counseling, as conducted by the above-mentioned counselors, is accepted as customary psychological and/or psychiatric therapy within the definitional terms utilized by those professions.”

    To me this reads as ‘nothing we do here would be customary practices that are used by psycholigists or psychologists’

    or ‘ we are putting this legal disclaimer in because by law we have to disclose that while we are using language that would make it seem that we are using proven theraputic methods as approved by the American Psychiatric Association, we in fact are using methods that no psychologist or Psychiatrist would accept.’

  11. Thersites wrote:

    This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused

    Isn’t the point to help someone overcome their problems? Maybe I am oversimplifying. Instead, do they sweep problems under the Biblical™ rug?

    I thought the same thing! If its not going to be about my problems why would i go????

  12. sandy c wrote:

    I have to wonder what would happen if churches started having pseudo medical Dr programs…

    Some churches do act as doctors telling their parishioners to stop taking prescribed medications – either in faith of healing or, especially in the case of drugs for mental health issues, that they are evil.

  13. Niteowlalways wrote:

    Some churches do act as doctors telling their parishioners to stop taking prescribed medications – either in faith of healing or, especially in the case of drugs for mental health issues, that they are evil.

    There are many that do that but to actually set up pseudo clinics and train fake drs and use medical technology in their advertising? Reminds me of sort of a mix of christian science practicioners and a fake cancer specialist in this area that is now in a prison cell!

  14. I was raised in a home that did not think psychiatry was worth a thing. And with a christian scientist grandmother that insisted that saying good thoughts and old testament bible verses was the only medicine anyone should dare use. When i was older i went to a penticostal church that taught that Psychiatry was worldly and Evil, and that if i had any problems it was because i wasn’t submitting to my husband enough. After 12 yrs of domestic violence we got divorced and i got into trouble with the law for threatening him after he abused my daughter. I was sentenced to probation and community service and (since my husband said i was crazy) therapy. I went to a public mental health place and this lady councelor said i had to take a class in diabolical behaviour therapy. Thats what i called it and she laughed! Well i had to go because i was on probation even though i believed all those things that everyone had told me all my life about therapests. It saved my life- and my kids! Oh and shock of all- my councelor at that low budget bottom of the barrel public mental health facility that i could actually afford was a christian. I have no idea what denomination and she never preached. What she did do after i told her i was a christian is that occassionally when i felt so guilty as if the domestic violence was my fault, she said things like do you really think God would treat someone like that? After several years of therapy i came to an astounding conclusion- Jesus is not a Pimp! God did not send Jesus to earth to get women to follow Him so that He could give them to men to treat anyway they wanted to.

  15. sandy c wrote:

    After several years of therapy i came to an astounding conclusion- Jesus is not a Pimp! God did not send Jesus to earth to get women to follow Him so that He could give them to men to treat anyway they wanted to.

    I think this is a very profound statement!

  16. Well, it’s obvious to me that the trouble with all of you is that you’re looking for the perfect church.

    What I would say is, if you ever find the perfect church, don’t join it – you’ll spoil it.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Arnold Smartarse

  17. GMFS

    Sport 1 of 2: Cricket

    Cricket: Following a big ton from Steve Smith and the early loss of Alastair Cook and James Vince in England’s second innings, Australia look almost certain to win the first Test by at least six wickets.

    Sport 2 of 2: Climbing

    I flashed the new 6b+ on the rounded-but-positive pink holds on Route 2 at the climbing wall last night, which was quite chuffing, but the 6c+ on the desperate butterscotch-coloured slopers on Route 10 remains a project.

    IHTIH

  18. Erp wrote:

    . I wonder if some confusion could arise with McMaster Divinity College in Canada which is accredited.

    Also Doctor of Practical Theology is a UK degree and institutions there have almost certainly set standards for what it is. It is not a degree normally offered in the US except it seems by unaccredited schools like this and so there is probably no professional body setting standards

    I wonder if it might be intentional confusion on both regards, kinda like the new products gloogle and microsloft recently on sale in another country….

  19. brian wrote:

    These people do not have a clue to the massive pain they cause.

    Yes! It took me 3 years of real counseling to get over the self condemnation and guilt and depression. Its one thing when you buy into a scam in the world but when they have a bible and twist minds into believing its Gods will and your fault its devestating. My friend and i joked one time that we should get bumper stickers that said “God, save me from Your children!”

  20. I just want to add a personal note here as well. For the last two years of high school my daughter struggled with depression, anxiety and migraines. Last fall, it got to the point where she had an episode that was overwhelming her I had to drive her to the emergency room, stopping on the way so she could get out and throw up. At that point, we decided that she needed expert mental illness care and had her transported by ambulance to an in-patient treatment facility at a hospital. After a one week stay with wonderful doctors and care team, she learned more about her illness, met others her age that were dealing with similar issues, while the care team determined the best medication and other therapy needed to treat her condition. She’s now in college, loving life and already has a group of friends with whom she’s going to rent a house with next year. Thank God for caring medical professionals in the mental illness field!

    If you wouldn’t take your child to church to treat broken bones or cancer,why the he!! would you take them there to treat mental illness? I shudder to think where my daughter would be now if we had given her over to those charlatan quacks who call themselves ‘biblical counselors’. The purpose of the church is to be there to support people as they go through medical issues the purpose should NEVER be to treat them. I’d have sooner taken my daughter to a witch doctor before any of these so-called ‘biblical counselors’.(use of the lowercase “B” is intentional.)

    I apologize for the rant, but this ‘biblical counseling’ BS is a disease that going to kill people.

  21. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    GMFS

    Sport 1 of 2: Cricket

    Cricket: Following a big ton from Steve Smith and the early loss of Alastair Cook and James Vince in England’s second innings, Australia look almost certain to win the first Test by at least six wickets.

    Sport 2 of 2: Climbing

    I flashed the new 6b+ on the rounded-but-positive pink holds on Route 2 at the climbing wall last night, which was quite chuffing, but the 6c+ on the desperate butterscotch-coloured slopers on Route 10 remains a project.

    IHTIH

    I would say “Yes. Quite. Indeed.” If I knew what your acronyms meant.

    Plus, I think English vs. American climbing slang is probably different. I think you mean to say you “aced the new 5.12b crimpers on Route 2 (insert Hipster Band Name / Celebrity / Nonsense), which was brutal, but dude, that 5.12d with the gnarly beige slopers on Route 10 (insert Hipster Band Name / Celebrity / Nonsense), though…”

    I’m not impressed till I see a double dyno. Off rope. On an underhang. With only one hand. On sandstone. In the rain. With NO CHALK.

    (…On second thought, don’t do that. It might hinder your ability to Wartburg…)

  22. “We will not be using secular therapy or unbiblical terminology. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE!That means that labels such as narcissism, pedophilia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. might not be used. Why?”

    Let’s be fair here. They do explain why there is no secular labeling. Here is their explanation,

    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE! You can expect that if we call your problems what God calls them, by faith, we can expect to receive from God what He promises – all of the time!”

  23. Please hear me. I know whereof I speak. And I have the degrees and the requisite bible verse to back it up.

    First of all see your primary care provider. Repeat X3.

    There are medical conditions which can have symptoms which are similar to mental/emotional conditions and which can be treated-but only by your physician, not your mental health counselor.

    But, do not think that your PCPs initial impression is the Word of the Lord. If s/he blows you off, get a second opinion. If s/he wants you to see a specialist-do it. If s/he says that some med that you are taking and prescribed by your XYZ specialist is causing side effects, listen to them both and they will decide it between them, but make sure you do-one of them will back off when they have to deal with each other.

    But First See Your PCP! before anybody with limited qualifications slaps some mental health diagnosis or religious label on you. Never listen to and never trust some ‘counselor’ who even remotely gives the impression that they and only they have all the answers. They are deceived and are deceivers.

    And know this, that one ‘diagnosis’ does not prevent all other diagnoses. It may, for instance, be both your thyroid and your marriage and your dumb-a church teaching that is the bulk of the problem.

    Hear me now. We practitioners and pseudo practitioners and wanna be practitioners and former practitioners and wish-we-had-been practitioners and just generally degree-laden know it alls truly wish you well, but we are not Jesus. We tend to forget that. Don’t you forget that, for your own good.

    Drum roll. Thus says scripture.

    Proverbs 11:14King James Version (KJV)
    14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
    King James Version (KJV)
    Public Domain

  24. sandy c wrote:

    After several years of therapy i came to an astounding conclusion- Jesus is not a Pimp! God did not send Jesus to earth to get women to follow Him so that He could give them to men to treat anyway they wanted to.

    Pulling this out because it’s worth a second read!

  25. American pulpits started getting weird when Christian psychologists hit the pulpit, rather than preachers of the Gospel. There is too much emphasis on controlling the flesh, rather than being “transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12). Only the Holy Spirit can enable spiritual renewal, not psychological techniques. “Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes” (Ephesians 4:23). There is something liberating about a relationship with Jesus; we need to focus more on Him and the resources available to us through prayer. Don’t get me wrong – there is certainly a place for trained counselors who are Christians, but the pulpit needs to leave that area in their hands and preach the Gospel to bring folks to Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their lives and conform believers to Jesus.

  26. Ken G wrote:

    You can expect that if we call your problems what God calls them, by faith, we can expect to receive from God what He promises – all of the time!”

    That is absolutely true, but if and only if they say all that God says about ‘problems’. I think I heard God say “stand up and walk’ and ‘neither do I condemn you’ and ‘stretch forth thy hand (and just look there-it was whole, even it they thought it broke the sabbath laws). I think I heard God tell people to go show themselves to the priests at the temple, but God said that only after they were healed.

    If these alleged healers of mankind leave out how God healed and only see how God also said repent and get your priorities right, then they are deliberately editing and distorting God’s own self manifestation, and are distorting the person and work of Christ, choosing what the want to see and deliberately blind to what they do not want to see.

    This is one situation where I take comfort that what you sow you reap, later and more abundantly and without exception and of the same sort of seed which you have sown. And if they say that they know better than God In The Flesh, then they will reap the inevitable consequences of their own self adulation. If they do not know Him any better than they seem to then by what presumption do they think that He knows them?

    So, yes, and do not forget that they can expect that if they call your problems what God does not call them…they can expect to receive from God what He promises to people who do that also– all of the time!

  27. @ okrapod:

    The Personal Data Inventory does request information about your primary care physician, medications, date of medical exam, etc. I assume if an individual applied for counseling and did not have a medical exam they would be told to get a medical exam or if they were on medication to discuss the side effects before they would be admitted into the program. Otherwise, why are they asking for this information?

  28. Ken G wrote (quoting some Biblicalcounsellists):

    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what GOD’S WORD says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures.”

    I’d like, if I may, to pick apart a subset of the above claim:

    … what God’s Word says about them in the Holy Scriptures

    Notice what they do NOT say:

    … what God says about them…

    Under the Biblianist religion, God is either dead, or mute, or an odd combination of both. He doesn’t speak in real time; he was silenced by a series of councils back in the third century and now, just like the puppet Emperor in The Last Samurai, he – conveniently – only says what the Biblianists want him to say.

    I can’t fully complete this in one comment, as it’s getting dark here in Scotland and I have to go and rake some leaves up. There may, for instance, be some decent folk sucked into the “Biblical Counselling” gravity well who are not Biblianistic deists. I’ll be back later.

    Until then, Wartburgers should attempt to contain their excitement as best they can.

  29. Ken G wrote:

    Otherwise, why are they asking for this information?

    CYA. Patients can always refuse medical care. That is their right. Bogus practitioners of religious remedies can always advise against listening to what that infidel physician said. And if the client is on meds you need to know that before you advise against meds because withdrawal can be a huge issue. Some people even end up in the morgue when that happens. One really does not want that kind of publicity for this ‘ministry’. And there just may be (and I would be inclined to put money on the possibility) that there is some MD who is adjunct to and in agreement with this ‘ministry’ to whom they want to refer patients. There may even be kickbacks of some sort involved, even if it is only referrals. And for sure they would not want the details of this ‘ministry’ filtering back to some local physician which they may know already is in opposition to what they are doing.

    People can rationalize an awful lot of things once they convince themselves that their cause is pure and holy.

    Either you, in a willingness to believe some worthy motive, or I in my willingness to believe some unworthy motive may be mistaken. But for almost sure I am thinking that somewhere along the line some lawyer(s) told them to do this; perhaps lawyers with some insurance company.

  30. JeffT wrote:

    Pray harder.
    I think this is the prayer they’re supposed to use: “Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”

    Thank you for making me laugh. The formula includes admitting that you are a sinner because you are depressed or being abused. Then the whole darn thing is your fault-easy peasy!

  31. brian wrote:

    Two things were made very clear to me when I was in the faith community, they need to just stop it and get over it and they need to stop getting any kind of government support at all. The money thing was way at the top of the list, as well it should be.

    The money thing is important. They want you to stop giving it to real doctors and instead give it to them because your problem is as serious as cancer and they’ve got the cure.

    The education of those involved is becoming a concern of mine. I will be discussing this down the road. I think it is ridiculous that Hager calls himself a *DR.* Even more ridiculous when a church allows him to do so. They should be a bit smarter than that.

  32. Niteowlalways wrote:

    After briefly being counseled in a “Biblical counseling” church many years ago I went with a aecular Psychologist and it was the best decision I made. Diagnosed with clinical depression, put on medication and undergoing a period of counseling gave me my life back, where I only got condemnation under the counseling by the church. When you’re already down, you don’t need additional condemnation.

    This is an excellent comment. Would you be interested in expanding on your comment so it can be included in a future post? Shoot me an email.

  33. Thersites wrote:

    Instead, do they sweep problems under the Biblical™ rug?

    The problem is simple. They do not believe that the brain, hormones, and other biology have anything to do with emotions. They believe that if you just listen to Scripture, you can make yourself *stop it.*

    Here is what happened to me. My anxiety was stuffed for years. It began to affect other areas of my body. Believe it or not, it final broke through once my daughter’s condition had greatly improved. Although I was told that she was most likely a cure (they always couch what they say) I became more anxious.

    My body was so used to revving along that it couldn’t just “stop.” I could run rings around these guys when it comes to the claims of Scripture. What I needed was a medication to calm down my systems overload and then I needed to look at how I was really coping with things.

    To answer another question: I was on my meds for about 2 years (with a slight break.) I am no longer on any psychotropic meds. However, that does not mean someone else may need to be on meds for a lifetime. Everyone’s story and body is different.

  34. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    I’m not saying that a psychologist or LCSW can’t be helpful as well in counseling, but if a person comes for counseling and sits on your couch the entire hour and weeps, well, then there’s something more that might possibly could be addressed by a psychiatrist.

    Great point. Any good MSW or psychologist would consult a psychiatrist and can work in tandem if the person needed meds and counseling.

    I am glad you found a good psychiatrist. There are a lot of good ones out there.

  35. Erp wrote:

    Master’s International University of Divinity is not regionally accredited nor is it accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) which means credit earned there will likely not be transferable (except to some of its fellow institutions). I wonder if some confusion could arise with McMaster Divinity College in Canada which is accredited.
    Also Doctor of Practical Theology is a UK degree and institutions there have almost certainly set standards for what it is. It is not a degree normally offered in the US except it seems by unaccredited schools like this and so there is probably no professional body setting standards

    Thank you for the info. I had a feeling I was correct. Usually accredited institutions put their accreditation front and center. I am waiting for the inevitable comment by some guy who is going to prove to me that accreditation is not only not necessary but it is preferable because it keeps the *world* out of Gods business. They guys who usually write stuff like that have an agenda which is to promote substandard, non rigorous education.

  36. Paul D. wrote:

    he counsellor will dig up some scriptural verse that will be twisted out of context so it can be presented as the solution to the person’s problems.

    This is precisely why I get irritated when people ask me if I believe in the authority of Scriptures. I do! Emphatically. What I don’t believe in is proof texting and drawing out more from Scriptures than was intended.

    I never know how to answer that question, “Do you believe in the authority of the Bible?” because I don’t know from whence the question originates. I often ask “In what way?” which tends to irritate some folks who then attempt to accuse me on not *believing the Bible.* It is agenda driven and is usually used in discussions like: creation time frames, counseling, Calvinism, eschatology, etc. It means I must believe precisely as they believe on those issues in order to be a *real Christian who believes the authority of the Bible as they believe it.*

  37. Ken G wrote:

    It’s also possible that some participants in this program may have already seen a psychologist, are not satisfied and need assurance they won’t receive more of the same.

    Possible but not probable. The opposite is usually true. This is a way to prevent some sort of action against their center. But, as I said, if they are foolish in their approach, a good lawyer could still sue them if harm occurs.

  38. JeffT wrote:

    After a one week stay with wonderful doctors and care team, she learned more about her illness, met others her age that were dealing with similar issues, while the care team determined the best medication and other therapy needed to treat her condition. She’s now in college, loving life and already has a group of friends with whom she’s going to rent a house with next year. Thank God for caring medical professionals in the mental illness field!

    What a story! I am so glad that she is doing well!

  39. Ken G wrote:

    Let’s be fair here. They do explain why there is no secular labeling. Here is their explanation,
    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE!

    Oh, I didn’t know the Bible had words for all of the psychiatric disorders out there. Well, actually it doesn’t and it is dangerous to think that it does. Let me give you some examples: schizophrenia. psychoses, obsessive compulsive disorder, manic depression, post partum depression, sociopath, etc. If you need more, tell me.

    The Bible doesn’t have all the necessary labels for psychiatric disorders just like it doesn’t describe my daughter’s brain tumor. That is not the intent of Scripture.

  40. okrapod wrote:

    First of all see your primary care provider. Repeat X3.

    I love this. Your primary care person is equipped to diagnose and treat something simple. They are also equipped to tell you to seek psychiatric care.

  41. Ken G wrote:

    I assume if an individual applied for counseling and did not have a medical exam they would be told to get a medical exam or if they were on medication to discuss the side effects before they would be admitted into the program. Otherwise, why are they asking for this information?

    Actually, I am not sure they require a medical examination. They are doing this to protect themselves from liability. My guess is that they do not want the person to be on psychotropic medications. But, if the person is on them coming into the program, they have to be careful about telling them to stop or they could get sued if the person quits a med and commits suicide.

    You do understand that the person running this program does not appear to have an education from any accredited institution. This means that he is at risk for making non-standardized decisions when it comes to the treatment of vulnerable individuals.

  42. Dee is so nice and gentle about the way she says things. Understanding. Willing to see the good if there is any to see and willing to point out the areas of failure in some system or some line of thinking when necessary. My hat is so off to Dee on this. Deb is the same way; this post just happens to be Dee.

    I. however, am not gentle about this. There are times to do an analogous thing to what surgeons do when they open a abscess. It is not pretty or gentle and it does not smell good. But it facilitates healing. I am more than glad to be one of those who will relieve the gracious Dee of needing to jump up and down and foam at the mouth about this.

    We have made some progress. The stuff that people sold off the back of the medicine wagon back in the day was mostly alcohol and opium. That is no longer legal. Now there are laws by which people can be prosecuted if they fail to get medical attention for their kid who had a high fever for days and then went to see Jesus. That is all heading in the right direction.

    At the same time, however, we have passed laws that turn the seriously and chronically psychotic out to be homeless on our streets. We have laws by which the innocent unborn can be terminated for any or no reason even while we offer inadequate help for pregnant women who do not want to do that. We let pharmaceutical companies charge so much for some meds that some people just have to do without. We let people get by with almost anything in the area of mental health-without good credentials, without adequate supervision, without being part of a co-operting therapeutic team, without institutional privileges and without state licensure.

    But be of good cheer, rejoice, a remedy has been found. Now we can label those who suffer as ‘sinners’ and walk away feeling righteous, with their money in our pockets, money they have paid to be shamed and labeled a sinner and which they have spent for remedies off the back of the mental health medicine wagon. All in the name of God, of course.

    These things which some would pass off as righteousnesses are clearly filthy rags.

    How is it that the cup of our transgressions has not overflowed already?

  43. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Under the Biblianist religion, God is either dead, or mute, or an odd combination of both. He doesn’t speak in real time; he was silenced by a series of councils back in the third century and now, just like the puppet Emperor in The Last Samurai, he – conveniently – only says what the Biblianists want him to say.

    This is an excellent comment, Nick! My daughter was diagnosed with her tumor after she had a prolonged seizure during dinner. If I were to take the biblical approach, she had a seizure because she had a demon which needed to be exorcised. Why go looking for a diagnosis that is NOT in the Bible?

    Now, I expect that someone who is in the BCM movement to say that there is a difference between emotions and organic medical problems. Once again, I say they are wrong. The body is complex and to say that something is merely emotional is naive and can be dangerous.

  44. okrapod wrote:

    Either you, in a willingness to believe some worthy motive, or I in my willingness to believe some unworthy motive may be mistaken. But for almost sure I am thinking that somewhere along the line some lawyer(s) told them to do this; perhaps lawyers with some insurance company.

    You and I are tracking with one another. There is no question that lawyers were involved.

    I remember when my son was little and I took him on a big roller coaster. (I am somewhat of an aficionado of coasters) He said he was scared as we approached the top. I then assured him that there are these people who are called *lawyers.* These lawyers check out all roller coasters for safety so their clients will not have to pay out huge sums of money to the people who got hurt. About 6 months later I heard him convincing his friend to get on a roller coaster because the lawyers said it was safe.

  45. I am still working my way down reading the Original Post.

    I wonder, how many of these biblical counselors have themselves ever actually suffered from on-going depression, anxiety, or some other mental health malady?

    My guess is that most of them, and pastors who preach this “Just pray the mental health problem away” types have never actually been afflicted themselves.

    It’s very easy to preach at people to ‘read the Bible, pray, and think about their own sin’ at people with mental health problems, and it’s another thing to live with it yourself.

    As someone who had depression and anxiety for over two decades (and who still struggles with it to a smaller degree now), years and years of Bible reading, faith, repenting of personal sin, and so on, did nothing to make it vanish.

    (My two plus decades spent in secular therapy and on medications didn’t do wonders either. I had to figure out, on my own, a third way.

    BTW. There are some crabby cranks out there who don’t like it when I point out on this blog or on my Daisy blog that secular therapy doesn’t always work for everyone, either.
    Those cranks are just as dogmatic as Christians who promote ineffective ‘Christian-only’ solutions.)

    I wrote a post or two on my blog about how the Christian method of dealing with mental health problems doesn’t really work for everyone:
    Part 1
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2017/07/25/for-most-jesus-and-the-gospels-are-not-the-answer-for-depression-suicide-and-other-mental-health-maladies-part-1/

  46. The OP:

    Bob tells Will that he used to have dreams of a clown which would cause him to be afraid, even after he woke up. He told Will that the dreams stopped when he confronted the clown and yelled “Go away.” The clown disappeared and Bob never dreamed of him again. Unfortunately for Will, his monster was not a dream.

    Bob Newhart, Mo Collins Hilarious Skit “Stop It!”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAlWBhohDp4

  47. OP, quoting the biblical counselor page:

    Christ-centered and biblically sound counseling that will assist you in solving problems biblically

    One other problem with this is that Christians cannot and do not interpret the Bible the same way.

    On many topics, Christians look at the same Bible and arrive at 56 different opinions about what some Bible passage or another is saying, and/or how it should be applied.

    I don’t see why this particular church has their interpretation of the Bible down any better than any other church. Why should I trust their interpretation of Bible verses than anyone else’s?

  48. Quoting the church:

    This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused.

    I agree with Dee’s criticism of this comment, so maybe I’m just saying the same thing here but differently?

    I remember linking to this blog over a year ago a FAQs page by a biblical counseling group.
    They actually stated on their FAQs that they are not concerned with helping you overcome or solve whatever your problem is.

    They were up-front that their biggest concern was sin: your sin.

    They wanted you to dwell on your sin, reflect on why it was supposedly harming you, wanting you to repent of it. There was an assumption from the out-set by them that the reason you may have anxiety, PTSD, depression (or whatever) is due to your personal sin.

    They won’t even consider that some people’s mental health issues may be caused by stuff not having to do with their own personal sin.

    But they flat out said on their FAQs page (and I’ve seen other biblical counseling materials on other sites say much the same thing), that they are NOT about curing you or helping you over some problem.

    Answer me why anyone who is deeply hurting would want to waste their time with a method that promises not to help them, to cure them?

    I spent over two decades trying the faith, trust Jesus, type solutions these Biblical Counselor guys promote, and I remained stuck in depression for 20+ years.

    Around the 18 to 20 year mark, I was so fed up and tired with having depression, I quickly dropped my Christian idealistic view of things.

    I was hurting emotionally so badly, I was willing to look to anything that would promote or promise belief, even if that meant seeing an Atheist counselor who would prescribe jumping up and down on one leg every other Thursday while gargling with rancid, sour milk.

    There comes a point in time when even the most devout Christian (and I used to be quite devout) is willing to chuck aside “Biblical” or “God honoring” methods that aren’t working for even the most secular treatments or teachings if they seem to promise a glimmer of hope.

  49. @ Daisy:
    An off shoot of what I was saying in that post:

    As far as the, ‘we don’t care about healing you, we prefer you to search out and dwell on your personal sin’ method these guys promote:

    It doesn’t apply across the board to every person of situation, but they behave as though it does, and as such, it becomes disgustingly victim-blaming.

    I remember reading a book by one of these “blame your personal sin for every thing” type authors, and he wrote about a 30 year old woman patient he had who had been raped by her father (or some family member) when she was about eight years old.

    Years later, she was still suffering ramifications of that abuse, which is part of the reason she was seeing this counselor.

    The counselor guy was wanting to ‘pin blame’ on the woman patient.

    He was acting as though she was equally at fault for having been raped as a child, and/or saying she was in sin for how she was reacting to the rape.

    That’s another big failing of these counselors.

    They will criticize someone who is understandably hurting or traumatized due to having been raped or abused, then BLAME THEM for their normal reactions to the abuse.

    It’s perfectly normal and acceptable for an abuse victim to have PTSD and/or depression, anger, anxiety when they think about the abuse.

    But the counselors will quote Bible verses at these patients about forgiving other people.

    This completely overlooks the fact that for many people, healing from abuse can take months or years.

    It’s not an instant process, but these Biblical Counselors behave as though a victim should decide on the spot to Forgive their attacker, and presto!, they will be healed and over the abuse.

    That’s not how people or real life works.

    As I saw quoted somewhere, ‘Sometimes, people are more sinned against than sinner.’

    That is, if a woman patient sees you about trauma from having been sexually abused as a kid, you validate her pain and anger. You don’t “blame” her for being in pain or angry at her attacker. That woman was sinned against, she is not or was not “sinning.”

  50. Daisy wrote:

    Quoting the church:

    This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused.

    It’s a good thing that Jesus’ incarnation was man[kind]-centered and problem-focused. I guess these guys are better than Jesus…

  51. @ dee:

    Thanks for your response. I think a lot of valid questions have been raised which deserve an answer. I’m all for transparency. I’m wondering if you plan on contacting the Timberlake Baptist Church and Counseling Center to get their responses to the questions and concerns that have been raised so far?

  52. brian wrote:

    How does one repent of Developmental Disabilities, Depression, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, Autism, etc?

    I used to (and still kind of have) depression and anxiety, and during my years of digging around Christian books and forums for answers, I can tell you how they go about that.

    As far as anxiety and depression are concerned, it’s how Biblical Counselors or certain pastors frame the issue.

    They tend to twist depression as being a form of self-centered-ness, and they depict having anxiety as being sin.

    Because (they assume or argue), if you have anxiety you are obviously, “doubting God’s promises. If only you’d trust in God, you’d not have anxiety.”

    Anxiety to them cannot have any other possible causes, it MUST be spiritual, and it must be due to lack of faith on your part.

  53. brian wrote:

    That is like being told that people who are victims of suicide are selfish and most likely in perdition for destroying the image of God in their soul which was the ultimate blasphemy.

    I heard a TV sermon or two about suicide by a famous Baptist preacher who has wrong ideas about suicide, like what you’re discussing.

    One of his biggest arguments to any Christian person watching his show who was suicidal was to ask them, if they committed suicide, don’t they realize what an awful ‘witness’ that would make to Non-Christians?

    He was saying, if you, a Christian, commit suicide, you’re sending a message to atheists that all this Jesus stuff really doesn’t work.

    Part of my own struggle with depression involves suicidal ideation, and when I heard that TV preacher say that sort of thing, I was rather shocked.
    He obviously has no understanding what to say or what not to say to people who have felt suicidal.

    Also, believing in Jesus or having faith is not a cure-all for suicidal thoughts, any more than it is a guarantee for things such as-

    You’re not going to get paper cuts on your finger, get cavities and have to see a dentist, that you won’t get cancer and die from it, etc.

    I have mad respect for Jesus. He’s great, seriously I mean that. I think Jesus is the answer to the after-life, but for absolutely anything and everything down here on planet Earth we have to face?, no.

    Also, that TV preacher’s remarks would only cause more shame in a person contemplating suicide.

    Often, suicidal people already feel like a failure (that may be one reason of several they are contemplating suicide).

    So they sure don’t need a preacher piling on, telling them,
    “And if you go through with it, you’re failing God and other people and sending a horrible message to atheists!”

  54. Niteowlalways wrote:

    …where I only got condemnation under the counseling by the church. When you’re already down, you don’t need additional condemnation.

    Yep. Absolutely. I went through a lot of that myself when I had severe depression and anxiety.

    I notice a lot of Christians want to make you feel worse than you already do.

    Rather than trying to help you out of the pit you’re in, they want to shovel more dirt on top of you – and insult to injury, tell you it’s all your fault.

    Some Christians do tend to condemn you rather than give you empathy or help that actually works if you approach them for help.

    They prefer to point out sin, harp, and judge and criticize, rather than roll up their sleeves and help you out.

  55. Okrapod, I hear you for sure.

    My cousin was one of the most Godly teens you could ask for. Until she wasn’t anymore, that is. Total meltdown including dropping out of school, promiscuity, etc.

    Years later her Army physician (she did finish hs through night school finally)discovered a pituitary tumor. Her brain would swell tremendously during her cycle, causing massive personality changes. Got that taken care of, only to discover when those symptoms went away that she was severely bipolar. Thankfully she was one of the lucky ones for whom lithium was a God send and all that was needed.

    Her Army shrink was a very strong Christian. Only after the physical illness and mental illness were under control did he do talk therapy with her, helping her come to terms with the fact she had indeed committed sins while ill. He helped her both understand that God knew full well when she was capable of doing differently and when she wasn’t, AND that there was blessed healing for what she could not help and forgiveness for what she could have helped. And that she would need meds the rest of her life, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit for fighting her particular “sin battles.”

    Through that doc she learned that not every bad deed could be blamed on her diseases, and for those she had to take responsibility, confess, and change her behavior just like the rest of us. She also learned it would always be more of a struggle for her and to give herself some grace if say stomach flu meant poor absorption of her med which led to a temporary relapse.

    Became an excellent wife and mother, strong Christian once again, and one of the most upright, kind hearted, Godly women I ever knew.

  56. Thersites wrote:

    Isn’t the point to help someone overcome their problems? Maybe I am oversimplifying. Instead, do they sweep problems under the Biblical™ rug?

    I’m sorry to be a broken record here, but this just kills me. I discussed it in a post above.

    I’ve actually seen biblical counseling FAQ pages where they totally admit they don’t give a rat about helping you, or getting you over your problem, no, they want you to dwell on your sin.

    I linked to one such FAQs here a year or more ago. I can’t remember now what site it was on.

    But yeah, some of these guys will admit that helping you solve your problem is NOT a concern for them at all.

    Given that, why would anyone want to waste their time visiting someone for a problem, if they’re saying up front solving your problem is NOT on their agenda?

  57. Paul D. wrote:

    Also, since it operates on the assumption that the Bible has an answer to every problem people face, the counsellor will dig up some scriptural verse that will be twisted out of context so it can be presented as the solution to the person’s problems.

    I read a blog post by a young lady who discussed seeing a Christian therapist or counselor. The woman had PTSD and other problems she could not conquer.

    Every time she tried discussing her problems with the Christian counselor, the counselor lady would draw the cartoon form of the Gospel message, with a cross drawn on a black board, and a stick figure on one side on a ledge, with “God” being on the other side.

    The counselor kept pointing this trouble woman back to Jesus and the Gospel. No matter how often the woman patient told her, “No, I got it, really, I accept Jesus as my Savior X years ago. But knowing Jesus has not rid me of PTSD, anxiety, depression…”

    Then the lady counselor would go back to the chalk board in her office and draw the same “Gospel” stick figure cartoon.

    As if to keep suggesting that if only this woman patient would really, truly accept Jesus, she’d not have PTSD or depression.

    I wanted to bang my head against the wall just reading her post. I ran in to that same attitude from other Christians for many years during the lowest points of depression too.

  58. brian wrote:

    These people do not have a clue to the massive pain they cause.

    Yep. Not only are they ineffective for most people in helping them heal, but they add on a whole other layer of pain and problems by victim-blaming them and suggesting they are spiritual failures who “aren’t doing Christianity right.”

  59. These people are partly protected by the very fact that they are not licensed professionals. They answer to nothing and nobody except ‘the bible’ and they do not pretend otherwise. They have broken themselves up being sure that everybody understands that. Why? For their own safety. Under what laws could they be prosecuted or under what regulations could they be held accountable since they make no pretenses whatever and rely strictly on religions freedom to do what they do? They are not practicing anything without a license since they do not claim to be practicing anything except religion, and religion does not require a license. Think about it, they are selling religion for money. This is a racket, pure and simple.

    There has been the idea for ages that teachers in private fundamentalist church schools should not get state certification, for example, for their own protection. They could not be required to meet state standards for teachers that way. The schools also had some way to avoid some state school requirements, but i am not up to date on how that was done. This mess of biblical counseling looks somewhat similar. The difference being that these schools and teachers were selling education for money, a particular kind of education but education none the less-reading, writing and arithmetic and what goes with it.

    And besides, whoever owns the operation can pay their teachers and their counselors less because what employment options do the uncertified and unlicensed have? Burgers at the golden arches?

    Of course, Jesus placed himself under the law voluntarily even paying the temple tax to which he objected. But what did He know? Compromiser! Not living the separated life! And naive about money. He even let somebody else carry the purse; and a poor choice at that. Loser! Sure hope that sort of thing does not happen at the biblical counseling center.

  60. OP:

    [Church comment]:
    Make the proper investments in your counseling.

    [Dee’s reply to that]:
    They are talking about money here. They want to keep you coming to see them for as long as they think it takes and they want you to spend your money.

    They claim it is a vital as *chemotherapy is for cancer.* Good night! Be careful here. Make sure you investigate what are usual and customary costs.

    Also, if you go to a real psychiatrist or psychologist, there is a chance that some of your sessions will be covered by insurance. That is not the case for this type of counseling.

    At one point, I was not on insurance, had to pay out of pocket, and one secular therapist lady would not cut her prices for me, so I had to stop seeing her.

    I would advise any hurting person to see a secular psychologist or psychiatrist before seeing a “biblical counselor,” but I’d just add that you shop around.

    Not all secular mental health professionals are qualified or good at what they do, as even other secular mental health professionals will say.

    After some lady on my Daisy blog got irate with me for writing a handful of posts that are critical of secular mental health approaches,

    I wrote this (quoting content by actual qualified mental health pros):

    Discerning Incompetent or Greedy Mental Health Professionals
    https://missdaisyflower.wordpress.com/2017/11/10/discerning-incompetent-or-greedy-mental-health-professionals/

    Even people in the field itself will tell you to “Shop Around” and do not trust every psychiatrist or psychologist you visit.

  61. OP quote:

    [Biblical Counselors said]
    We will not be using secular therapy or unbiblical terminology. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE!

    [Dee’s reply to that]:
    That means that labels such as narcissism, pedophilia, obsessive compulsive disorder, etc. might not be used. Why?

    I think you already know why, but I’ll comment anyhow.

    They think a lot of secular psychology amounts to absolving people of their personal responsibility or from admitting that they are sinners who sometimes sin.

    I do see a lot of that in our culture. There is a grain of truth to that.

    There are a lot of people who will act as though all their sins, mistakes, or faults are due to a sickness or disease, rather than take personal responsibility for their actions.

    For example, movie producer Harvey Weinstein, the news articles say, sexually harassed and raped several women over 3 decades.

    But, after having been caught, Weinstein refers to himself now as a “sex addict” so he went in to “sex addiction” treatment.

    Weinstein is wanting to avoid taking personal responsibility for his behavior by saying that his tendency of preying on women is a sickness that, shucky darn, he just cannot help, so everyone, please feel sorry for him.

    So, there is that element in our culture, but, I think the Biblical counselors go too far in the other direction and victim-blame people for issues that are not their fault or responsibility.

  62. Ken G wrote:

    I’m wondering if you plan on contacting the Timberlake Baptist Church and Counseling Center to get their responses to the questions and concerns that have been raised so far?

    I will do so for a future post. My guess is that they will not respond to me.I’ve been to this rodeo before and can tell by the website that I have little expectation of a response.

    This is going to be an ongoing series. I am going to quote from certified™ biblical counselors and certified™biblical counseling groups which will validate my expressed concerns. I also plan to quote from some accredited experts in the area which I bet you will find interesting.

    Also, it is most difficult to communicate with people who do not believe they need to attend accredited training programs. They already have their excuses and defenses lined up.

  63. dee wrote:

    They already have their excuses and defenses lined up.

    They are going to need them. Maybe ‘but Lord, we even cast out demons in Your Name’ might be something they would identify with.

  64. JeffT wrote:

    Biblical counseling boils down to offering two solutions to make all one’s troubles go away:
    1-Repent of the sin or sins that are causing them. If you don’t know what they could be you haven’t looked hard enough.
    2-Pray harder.
    I think this is the prayer they’re supposed to use: “Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”

    …….
    I knew a pastor who sincerely believed Alzheimer’s disease was an emotional/ spiritual disease of the elderly. Was a believer all Christians could live a sanctified life, and Alzheimer’s with it’s outburst of anger, confusion, lying, wasn’t living a sanctified life.
    Can you imagine some poor early Alzheimer patient hearing that? Then again, hopefully they forgot the guilt induced counseling, quickly.
    There is downright quackery out there in Biblical Counseling land.

  65. sandy c wrote:

    I have to wonder what would happen if churches started having pseudo medical Dr programs…

    There are already some Christians who preach as “wealth and health Gospel,” so they would probably say you don’t need to see a doctor for physical ailments, just pray your sickness away, or “speak faith over it.”

  66. sandy c wrote:

    Its one thing when you buy into a scam in the world but when they have a bible and twist minds into believing its Gods will and your fault its devestating.

    I agree. It seems more odious when people who profess Jesus Christ treat people even worse under the guise of being “biblical” than non-Christians who are just run of the mill dishonest or scam artists.

    Doing bad things in God’s name or from a distorted understanding of the Bible seems even more damaging, IMO.

  67. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Under the Biblianist religion, God is either dead, or mute, or an odd combination of both. He doesn’t speak in real time; he was silenced by a series of councils back in the third century and now, just like the puppet Emperor in The Last Samurai, he – conveniently – only says what the Biblianists want him to say.

    That touches on something I was saying above. This comes down to interpretation. Christians cannot always agree on everything the Bible says on every topic.

    But these biblical counselors probably believe that their interpretation of the Bible (on how to treat things like depression) is the only possible, correct interpretation.

    They assume their interpretation (which may be flawed, but they won’t admit that or even consider it) is what God really thinks or believe on whatever topic.

  68. Ken G wrote:

    Otherwise, why are they asking for this information?

    Exactly. Why would a non licensed not accredited pseudo psych counseling service need your medical information?

  69. okrapod wrote:

    These people are partly protected by the very fact that they are not licensed professionals. They answer to nothing and nobody except ‘the bible’ and they do not pretend otherwise.

    The Bible has been around for approximately 2,000 years now.

    Their proposition is that reading the Bible is enough – to get someone over depression or what not –

    And yet, during all these 2,000 years, people, including Christians, still get things such as depression.

    If the Bible/ faith/ Jesus could and does instantly heal or help someone get over things such as PTSD, bipolar disorder, NPD, depression, and whatever else, why do so many people in the world still get these conditions?

    And then you have people like me who tried the faith alone, Jesus only, read the Bible approach, and it did not work.

    If the biblical counselor approach worked, I would assume it would bring a Final, End Cure to all mental health problems, but it has not worked.

    People still get depression and other mental health problems. But the Biblical Counselors keep trying to sell their view as the one and only real solution.

  70. dee wrote:

    This is going to be an ongoing series. I am going to quote from certified™ biblical counselors and certified™biblical counseling groups which will validate my expressed concerns.

    I am glad you’re doing this series.

    A lot of Christians have mental health problems that aren’t being dealt with effectively or compassionately by a lot of churches or Christian teaching, so I think this topic deserves some attention.

  71. Mae wrote:

    I knew a pastor who sincerely believed Alzheimer’s disease was an emotional/ spiritual disease of the elderly. Was a believer all Christians could live a sanctified life, and Alzheimer’s with it’s outburst of anger, confusion, lying, wasn’t living a sanctified life

    That is so messed up.

  72. dee wrote:

    Wow-that is an incredible story. Thank you for sharing it.

    Its really sad that nothing short of being required by court would have made me go to a licensed Psychiatrist and Therapist so that i could learn the truth about the Living God and what love really is…

  73. Do they give no thought to these things running through families? There’s issues going back at least three generations (possibly more) on my mother’s side. Thankfully, modern medications and counseling are available these days. And virtually all of said people were/are Christians of varying types/degrees, including me.

    Genetic predispositions are no joke.

  74. Rachel wrote:

    Genetic predispositions are no joke.

    I first read this as “genetic predestinations.” I suppose that is another theory…

  75. Ken G wrote:

    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE! You can expect that if we call your problems what God calls them, by faith, we can expect to receive from God what He promises – all of the time!”

    The problem with this is several things. Us against them mentality. It implies that every secular thing is anti-christ anti-church and of the devil. Alot of denominations use it in different ways, some would say that God’s word shows that seizures are only the result of demons and the person only needs deliverance and should ignore medical treatment and that medications are of no use. Or that when Jesus cast demons out of the naked crazy man in the tombs, he was then in his right mind so all schizophrenics therefore should not be labled as the secular world labels them but should be only called what they are called in the bible and treated the way the bibles similar example shows…by faith of course. That would be great if the particular councilor was wise enough to know what Jesus is doing in every specific situation and also if they could cast out demons and deliver people as Jesus did. Instead the very scriptures that God gave to free us are used to take away any other options and to guilt people even farther away from the Lord. “If you had faith you would be healed” the frequent murmers in churches of this type are horrible,”she isnt quoting enough scriptures, she is depressed because she is unthankful and ungrateful.” There is sin in his life or he wouldnt be ill, praise God more and build up your faith and you would be healed, its because God is trying to teach you something and you’re not getting it, if you had listened to us you wouldnt be sick, it’s the sin of blaming God…its your own fault Job.

  76. dee wrote:

    My body was so used to revving along that it couldn’t just “stop.” I could run rings around these guys when it comes to the claims of Scripture. What I needed was a medication to calm down my systems overload and then I needed to look at how I was really coping with things.

    I cleaned house a few years ago for a very sweet retired 90 year old medical Dr. He said he was perplexed and frustrated that so many people, including those in his proffession were calling nervous breakdowns “all in the persons head.” He told me that medical research had proven with certainty that extreme or continuous stress causes the actual nerves to break down and that it needed to be treated with both something to calm the persons nervous system and counciling to help the patient deal with stress! And that if patients didnt have proper care, of course they would end up in sanitariums- for physical and mental reasons. Eye opening!

  77. okrapod wrote:

    Please hear me. I know whereof I speak. And I have the degrees and the requisite bible verse to back it up.
    First of all see your primary care provider. Repeat X3.
    There are medical conditions which can have symptoms which are similar to mental/emotional conditions and which can be treated-but only by your physician, not your mental health counselor.
    But, do not think that your PCPs initial impression is the Word of the Lord. If s/he blows you off, get a second opinion. If s/he wants you to see a specialist-do it. If s/he says that some med that you are taking and prescribed by your XYZ specialist is causing side effects, listen to them both and they will decide it between them, but make sure you do-one of them will back off when they have to deal with each other.
    But First See Your PCP! before anybody with limited qualifications slaps some mental health diagnosis or religious label on you. Never listen to and never trust some ‘counselor’ who even remotely gives the impression that they and only they have all the answers. They are deceived and are deceivers.
    And know this, that one ‘diagnosis’ does not prevent all other diagnoses. It may, for instance, be both your thyroid and your marriage and your dumb-a church teaching that is the bulk of the problem.
    Hear me now. We practitioners and pseudo practitioners and wanna be practitioners and former practitioners and wish-we-had-been practitioners and just generally degree-laden know it alls truly wish you well, but we are not Jesus. We tend to forget that. Don’t you forget that, for your own good.
    Drum roll. Thus says scripture.
    Proverbs 11:14King James Version (KJV)
    14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
    King James Version (KJV)
    Public Domain

    …..

    Yes, so very vital for good health, physical/emotional.
    See PCP before, pastor, priest, counseling center.

  78. Daisy wrote:

    Mae wrote:
    I knew a pastor who sincerely believed Alzheimer’s disease was an emotional/ spiritual disease of the elderly. Was a believer all Christians could live a sanctified life, and Alzheimer’s with it’s outburst of anger, confusion, lying, wasn’t living a sanctified life
    That is so messed up.

    ……
    Indeed! He was of the Pentecostal/holiness church. Thing is now he’s getting older, we’ll see what happens to his beliefs.

  79. Daisy wrote:

    But these biblical counselors probably believe that their interpretation of the Bible (on how to treat things like depression) is the only possible, correct interpretation.

    They assume their interpretation (which may be flawed, but they won’t admit that or even consider it) is what God really thinks or believe on whatever topic.

    This!

  80. @ linda:

    This is a really heartening story, showing as it does that it’s not all either/or – you DO meet Christians who’ve studied properly, and made a sustained effort to understand spiritual, mental and physiological problems.

    I know on paper that it would have been possible for God to heal your cousin an a single miraculous moment. The psychologist in question, not being able to deliver this, made no claims he couldn’t back up and got on with the job he could do. By your account, it looks like he did it pretty well, too. For which, respect.

  81. sandy c wrote:

    The problem with this is several things. Us against them mentality. It implies that every secular thing is anti-christ anti-church and of the devil.

    It also implies that Jesus has no authority over, or access to, anybody who doesn’t profess a certain kind of faith.

    By contrast, the Bible has no lack of examples of God being honoured, in name or nature, by those not known as his people. Neither does it lack examples of God empowering them to teach his titular people truth.

  82. Hooray! I am so glad TWW is focusing on this issue of Biblical Counseling. I would find it quite interesting to sit in on those counseling classes at Timberlake Baptist Church.

    Something that caught my eye with regard to confidentiality. Since BCM believes that the average church member can be trained to be “competent to counsel” that would mean any member could sign up for the classes and voila, begin counseling. So, on the second statement of the permission form that the counselee must sign, this means the intern (who can be any Joe or Jennifer Schmoe) plus the counseling director, plus anyone on staff – elders and pastor/s – can all be made privy to private information. THAT FOLKS, IS A LOT OF PEOPLE!!!! Then consider if this church follows the 9Marks playbook for church discipline. We know how much these kinds of churches enjoy disciplining all sorts of things that have no (I’ll use one of their words) biblical basis for being subject to discipline. That confidentiality form that the counselee signed just went out the window! The whole church can know about your counseling sessions. Think about that for a moment. Is there really any confidentiality when it comes right down to it?

  83. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    Ken G wrote (quoting some Biblicalcounsellists):
    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what GOD’S WORD says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures.”
    I’d like, if I may, to pick apart a subset of the above claim:
    … what God’s Word says about them in the Holy Scriptures

    Notice what they do NOT say:
    … what God says about them…

    I’m inclined to think that what these Biblical Practitioners of Counseling would say is this:
    God’s Word says NOTHING about
    *mental illness
    *clinical depression
    *schizophrenia
    *autism
    *bipolar disorder
    *narcissism
    *pyschopathy
    *sociopath
    *PTSD
    *anorexia
    *bolemia
    *virtually any disorder, disease in the DSM

    Therefore, these things don’t exist!!! Any persons claiming to be diagnosed with such have only one problem: a SIN problem. Biblical Counseling 101

  84. I am wondering if anyone has encountered theophostic counseling in the biblical counseling world? This tends to more show up in the charismatic leaning biblical counseling circles, but can show up in different, more subtle forms in any circle in the church.

    Google search would do a better job of explaining the practice and history and all its dangers (false memories, brainwashing, etc) than me trying to fit a good summary of it here.

    But think: memory recall of repressed (supposedly), suppressed, difficult memories in prayer. The counselor leads you into prayer and you discuss out loud “in prayer” – trying to call up past memories and then envisioning Jesus being present and healing those memories and thus the root of the person’s issue.

    I had a bad experience with a therapist who used this practice (licensed, not “biblical” counselor) but who also was Christian and would do Christian counseling with you if that was your faith.

    He started doing theophostic counseling with me (which I didn’t realize that’s what it was called or that it had a history until I left him and started researching what had happened to me.) He presented and did it and explained the practice in a more subtle way at first.

    I started to feel uncomfortable with it during sessions – so I questioned him on it and told him that it felt manipulative and confusing and not right. It felt spiritually abusive but I didn’t use that term when I disagreed with him. He then became more overtly spiritually abusive toward me during the conversation and a lot of other red flags about him came to the surface after I left and stopped seeing him.

  85. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Daisy wrote:
    Quoting the church:
    This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused.
    It’s a good thing that Jesus’ incarnation was man[kind]-centered and problem-focused. I guess these guys are better than Jesus…

    “Man-centered” is a buzz word in these Christian circles. What does it even mean? When you think about it, this Timberlake Church shouldn’t even be offering counseling because their encouraging people to come to….here it is….THEM. Are they not people? So, they’re man-centered as well. What they really should do as BIBLICAL counselors is just tell people: READ YOUR BIBLE. End of discussion. No counseling from them is necessary!

  86. dee wrote:

    The problem is simple. They do not believe that the brain, hormones, and other biology have anything to do with emotions.

    In this they share the same position as the social constructionist loonies that believe every unjust act is a result of an unjust society. Maybe we can put them all in a room together.

    Whether we believe we were created by God, evolved, or created by evolution it should be past obvious that we are heavily influenced by our biology.

  87. Darlene wrote:

    What they really should do as BIBLICAL counselors is just tell people: READ YOUR BIBLE. End of discussion. No counseling from them is necessary!

    That would be more consistent with the five solas.

  88. Daisy wrote:

    They were up-front that their biggest concern was sin: your sin.

    Do they have the same concern if you suffer from heart disease? How about a broken leg? If not why? Why does a mental issue require dealing with sin when any other ailment does not? I’m not arguing that our biology is completely determinant but it is a huge factor.

    There is a woman in my extended family that suffers from periodic deep depression, yet she won’t even consider getting help with it, she says “I’m not crazy”. There are always are exceptions but very few would make the same error about another ailment. I wish we could strip away the religiosity surrounding what makes us tick and start getting a better understanding.

  89. This whole issue Is perplexing. Does anyone want to claim that psychiatry and psychology is always effective? Anyone like to say it has not been greatly oversold? Yet all I know of Biblical Counseling is so very disappointing. People who I have seen go through SBTS degrees in this are predominately so uncaring and lack compassion.

  90. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Rachel wrote:
    Genetic predispositions are no joke.
    I first read this as “genetic predestinations.” I suppose that is another theory…

    Well…*looks at self and relatives*…you might have a point. 🙂

    I’d like to think if anybody told me my anxiety is sin I’d laugh in their face, but then my depression would probably try to loom up and tell me, “Maybe they’re right…” because depression is a jerk. To put it shortly, I’d be all kinds of messed up.

    This is why when I seek counseling it’s from properly trained and licensed people.

  91. Darlene wrote:

    The whole church can know about your counseling sessions. Think about that for a moment. Is there really any confidentiality when it comes right down to it?

    Mars Hill had people write down past sins they had confessed before becoming members and Mars Hill kept the papers. Any elder, pastor, secretary, assistant pastor, or really anyone they thought should know about the persons sins could be given info about them…so they could pray for them. That is horrible enough but to also have access to their Medical history and Psychiatric details…

  92. sandy c wrote:

    I have to wonder what would happen if churches started having pseudo medical Dr programs…

    A former pastor, who was also of the biblical counseling persuation, who wrote an email to everyone on his email list warning them about the danger of chemo therapy. Seems he had just lost a dear friend and he was convinced it was the chemo and not the cancer that killed him. A better diet would have cured him. We left his church in part because of their push for biblical counseling. Later I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer.
    Just bumped into this pastor at Whole Foods yesterday. He clearly had lost a lot of weight but looked healthy. I asked him how he was doing and he said “pretty good”. The CHEMOTHERAPY and radiation had shrunk the tumor and greatly reduced his pain. But he still ate very carefully. No apple pie that his son made at Thanksgiving!
    Despite really disagreeing with him on just about everything, I do like the guy appreciate his dedication and pray for his health.

  93. emily honey wrote:

    I am wondering if anyone has encountered theophostic counseling in the biblical counseling world? This tends to more show up in the charismatic leaning biblical counseling circles, but can show up in different, more subtle forms in any circle in the church.
    Google search would do a better job of explaining the practice and history and all its dangers (false memories, brainwashing, etc) than me trying to fit a good summary of it here.
    But think: memory recall of repressed (supposedly), suppressed, difficult memories in prayer. The counselor leads you into prayer and you discuss out loud “in prayer” – trying to call up past memories and then envisioning Jesus being present and healing those memories and thus the root of the person’s issue.
    I had a bad experience with a therapist who used this practice (licensed, not “biblical” counselor) but who also was Christian and would do Christian counseling with you if that was your faith.
    He started doing theophostic counseling with me (which I didn’t realize that’s what it was called or that it had a history until I left him and started researching what had happened to me.) He presented and did it and explained the practice in a more subtle way at first.
    I started to feel uncomfortable with it during sessions – so I questioned him on it and told him that it felt manipulative and confusing and not right. It felt spiritually abusive but I didn’t use that term when I disagreed with him. He then became more overtly spiritually abusive toward me during the conversation and a lot of other red flags about him came to the surface after I left and stopped seeing him.

    Yes, had this done – caused a total psychotic break in someone (me) with no previous history of any mental issues at all and lasting depression and anxiety as aftereffects.

  94. Loren Haas wrote:

    I asked him how he was doing and he said “pretty good”. The CHEMOTHERAPY and radiation had shrunk the tumor and greatly reduced his pain.

    Not the first person who found their ideology/religion was insufficient to the real world.

  95. “Consent to council” (from op link above)
    The counseling center is supported primarily through suggested donations and book fees for
    services rendered, and personal donations from people like you. In order to continue to offer
    quality biblical counseling to the community, suggested donations are required at the beginning
    of each session. Please make your checks out to Timberlake Baptist Church. If you are unable to
    pay the suggested amount, please discuss this in advance with your counselor. Credit or Debit
    Cards cannot be used with these services.
    All independent donations TBC&TC are tax deductible and will be used to further the
    counseling services to our community. Please be generous.

  96. More from “consent to councel” Counselors at TBC&TC are equipped with a variety of education and spiritual qualifications
    and experience, but all are biblically certified by IABC and qualified to assist you with your
    problems biblically. We are not psychologists and are not licensed as such.
    Your counselor will not be available for telephone conversations due to their schedules. It you
    have an emergency, please call the counseling number (434.237.6464) to talk with a counseling
    representative or leave a message for a returned call at the soonest possible time.
    Due to the increasing demands for our counseling services, we ask that you cancel your
    appointment at least two days in advance in order that we can offer the time to someone on the
    waiting list. Three cancelations without prior notice will forfeit the privilege of future
    counseling sessions, or a required cash deposit may be requested prior to resuming the
    counseling relationship.
    I have fully read and understand the policies of TBC&TC as written above: (Please sign and
    date in space below)
    _______________________________

  97. More!
    “TBC&TC Counseling Procedures:
    1. We begin and end sessions on time. Please be prompt
    2. Everyone stays for the entire session and faces all the issues brought up. Nobody leaves
    during the session just because the topic is uncomfortable.”

  98. More from “Consent to council”
    10. We will address issues at hand and not get bogged down with blame shifting and “rabbit
    trails” of discussion that will not be helpful.
    11. We will confront and deal with each other as honestly and objectively as we possibly can.
    Please let love rule.
    12. There will be no retribution or retaliation over what is said in the session. Bring divisive
    issues to the counselor’s attention for mediation.
    13. All counseling will be under the authority umbrella of Ephesians 5:10, “Find out what
    pleases the Lord” and the Elders/Pastoral Staff of TBC or your own church leadership.

  99. Instructions for new counselees-

    Memorize your first Scripture passages for counseling. Ephesians 5:10; 1 Corinthians 10:13

    This is 1Cor 10:13 :
    (“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”)

    Welcome my new friend!
    I understand that because you are reading this instruction form, life’s challenges may be very difficult for you because of the various trials and tribulations you face. We genuinely care about your pain and
    want to help you through this! In saying that, please remember that God is faithful in helping you as He uses us to sort out the details of your situation in a way that brings you the most freedom and Him the most glory. The list below will help you stay on track in getting the most out of your counseling
    relationship at Timberlake Biblical Counseling & Training Center.
    1) Don’t trust your feelings about the success that biblical counseling is making in your counseling
    process or progress. In many cases, it was our feelings that we were trusting in that brought us to this
    point. Stay faithful in trusting God’s Word and the counseling process for this season of your life and
    you will soon understand what the Lord is doing in you and for you.”

  100. sandy c wrote:

    More!
    “TBC&TC Counseling Procedures:
    1. We begin and end sessions on time. Please be prompt
    2. Everyone stays for the entire session and faces all the issues brought up. Nobody leaves
    during the session just because the topic is uncomfortable.”

    Oh my, that is creepy and controlling! What are they going to do? Lock the door so you can’t leave till the end of the session?

  101. dee wrote:

    I am waiting for the inevitable comment by some guy who is going to prove to me that accreditation is not only not necessary but it is preferable because it keeps the *world* out of Gods business.

    If they want to keep their educational institutions free from worldly influence and worldly interferene, why do they insist on offering certifications and credentials that sound exactly like those offered by “worldly” institutions?

    They secretly want to eat their cake and keep it, too. And they crave the prestige given by the “worldly” titles without putting in the hard work and without putting in the willingness towrap your head around concepts that might take them out of their comfort zone.

  102. sandy c wrote:

    The counseling center is supported primarily through suggested donations and book fees for
    services rendered, and personal donations from people like you. In order to continue to offer
    quality biblical counseling to the community, suggested donations are required at the beginning
    of each session. Please make your checks out to Timberlake Baptist Church.

    Its a “donation” so they dont have to disclose or pay taxes or say they are being paid for sservices rendered. Its being treated as would an offering in church during a service to get by the 501c3 requirements!

  103. sandy c wrote:

    suggested donations are required at the beginning
    of each session.

    See what they did there? Its a ‘suggested’ donation that you cant receive counselling without giving first!

  104. @ brian:
    Yes its important and the more it goes around online i bet there will be more victims coming forward! This is inexcusable!

  105. Gus wrote:

    . And they crave the prestige given by the “worldly” titles without putting in the hard work and without putting in the willingness towrap your head around concepts that might take them out of their comfort zone.

    And they dont want that pesky thing called oversight or auditing!

  106. The thing that really really bothers me about this is the abused vulnerable people that are likely to be the ones seeking their help. Who is going to put them back together when they can’t endure the manipulation any longer and quit going?

  107. @ Dee or Deb or anyone that may know-

    Do you have a guesstimate of how many churches are using this sort of ‘biblical counseling’ and is it a predominantly Baptist thing?

    I remember when 4Square began using ‘inner healing ministry’ and I’ve heard of ‘theophostic councelling.’ i was also wondering if many of these types of ministries sprang up after the pastor of saddleback church’s son took his own life. Many churches had ridiculed mental health before that tragic incident but with the press coverage some began recommending counselling.

  108. @ dee:
    While I do not want to over generalize, at least some of the individuals that behave as Dee is describing are very smug, might I say arogant that they have all the “ true” answers, the “True way” . The longer I live, and the more I learn, about life/science/reality, the more I realize how we, as humans, do not know everything, nor will we … the old adage of we open one door only to find a room with three doors comes to mind….
    For example, look at the “controversy” over the “eternal submission of the son”, ESS, … The concept of the trinity has been debated for almost 2,000 years…. and ESS is really just a retread of an over 1,000 year old idea, heresy?

  109. One concern I would have with a church like Timberlake’s program is the judgement and condemnation somebody who refuses to be counseled might undergo, the “What do you think they have to hide?” mentality where they try to push somebody who initially refused counseling to see that that they need to be counseled just like everyone else in the room is.

    I’m also thinking about the patterns of human nature that psychiatrists and psychologists have discerned over time – they establish that certain people behave in certain ways and add it to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which they can use to diagnose and craft a care plan around what works. Does the BCM even have an equivalent to the DSM?

    Let’s face it, the BCM is at odds with professionals anyway. Emotions are sometimes treated as the enemy in Christianity, whereas professionals spend a lot of time trying to get people to accept that it’s a good thing that they have them because they’re trying to tell them something. Pros are the best people to turn to fix what the BCM messes up.

    I also don’t think that everybody is meant to be a counselor. As Deanna told Guinan – it’s more than having a shoulder to cry on, it’s getting people to talk about the things they don’t want to talk about – not just the things they want to tell you. Likewise, counseling is more than having a book quoted to you and having a prayer said over you.

  110. None of this stuff is new or really recent. I was saved/born again/became a believer (whatever term you wish to use) in 1969 (nearly 50 years ago). I clearly remember the fellowship I was in taught and used what they called “neuthetic counseling” (I think that was the term), which was essentially Bible only, no professionals, to resolve problems in people’s lives. And they expected everyone to learn and use it. So it was going on even back then. My personal view is that the Bible definitely has ALL the answers regarding sin and SOME of the answers regarding everything else. And for the gray areas where we don’t have specifics, I believe God expects us to use common sense and wisdom to seek out professional experts that deal with our areas of concern.

  111. okrapod wrote:

    And know this, that one ‘diagnosis’ does not prevent all other diagnoses. It may, for instance, be both your thyroid and your marriage and your dumb-a church teaching that is the bulk of the problem.

    A complete and accurate diagnoses may still be insufficient as stated in the quote, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Joseph Heller, Catch-22

  112. I am a former Southern Baptist Pastor of 18 years. I was in the training certification process myself and was training church members to be Biblical Counselors. I had finished all coursework for the Doctor of Ministry degree in Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville KY under Thom Rainer. I was on the 3rd chapter of my project paper. It was a project about how to start a Biblical Counseling Ministry in a local congregation as a tool for evangelism and church growth.
    I didn’t finish the DMin program for reasons that have no relevance to the discussion of this post but I did become disillusioned with the process.
    I always knew that BC was not a substitute for counseling and therapy by licensed medical personnel but I was suspect of drugs and secular counseling.
    I always encouraged people who came to me for counseling to get a physical and blood work to rule out any biological causes for any symptoms they might be having.
    I counseled under the principle that MOST problems (that weren’t biological in nature) people were having were sin problems and could be changed by repentance and the daily discipline of following scriptural admonitions (changing your behavior).
    Of course I now see that one of the difficulties that lies at the heart of BC is untrained Biblical counselors judging whether or not people’s problems are biological or spiritual. Also people have many challenges in their lives based upon their past that are extremely complicated. They have psychological issues that have caused changes in brain chemistry and they are reacting to it all in a spiritual context.
    There is a myriad of combinations of struggles that folks have that demand the attention of a licensed, trained and experienced counselor.
    My first mentor in BC was David Tyler of Gateway Biblical Counseling Center in Fairview Heights IL.

  113. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I counseled under the principle that MOST problems (that weren’t biological in nature) people were having were sin problems and could be changed by repentance and the daily discipline of following scriptural admonitions (changing your behavior).

    Thank you so much for your comment. It is so helpful to have a conversation with someone who has been trained in the area. I would be interested in hearing the reason you dropped out of your DMin program since this blog covers more than just counseling.

    I would be interested in hearing if you would consider my anxiety, which began when my daughter was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, a sin in need of repentance. The fear of her dying was part of our lives for close to 10 years (that is how long they told us to wait because brain tumors can come back later than other types of cancers.)

    I know I was supposed to trust God. I had absolute confidence that I would see my daughter again if she did pass away. I bet I could repeat all of the verses on trusting God, having faith and being at peace with the best of them. Yet, the anxiety increased later on and I found great help from the psychiatrist and counselor with whom I worked.

    Brian Fuller wrote:

    t I was suspect of drugs and secular counseling.

    Could you explain what you mean by *secular* counseling? The folks I worked with were trained in what you would deem *secular* programs but outstanding secular programs. Both of them were Christians. Both integrated the faith into our conversations. I was given a psychotropic drug for the anxiety and took it for a couple of years when I no longer found it necessary.

    Did they discuss dialectical behavioral therapy in your program? I would be curious in knowing why that form of *secular*therapy would be deemed bad in your program. It seems to me that it actually meshes quite well with a Christian world view.

    Also, did your program offer any rigorous training on pharmaceuticals by somebody who had a doctorate in Pharmacy? Physicians also have a ton of training in that area during their time in med school and residency. I am curious to see where this bias against medication comes from. I have always been suspicious that it developed due to the fact that one physicians can prescribe medication and counselors cannot.

    Brian Fuller wrote:

    Also people have many challenges in their lives based upon their past that are extremely complicated. They have psychological issues that have caused changes in brain chemistry and they are reacting to it all in a spiritual context.

    I really loved this part of your comment. It is complicated. My daughter’s pediatric neurosurgeon said that he felt like a caveman operating on the brain because it is so complicated. When someone says that they will only use”biblical” labels as opposed to “secular” labels I wonder if they know what they are saying. It seems to me that they want the answers to be *easy peasy* and there is great danger in that.

    Thank you so much for commenting here.

  114. @ Brian Fuller:
    Another quick question. It appears that Gateway Counseling is tied to the unaccredited Masters International School of Divinity. What was the relationship between SBTS and this unaccredited school? Did SBTS accept courses complete there?

    I do know that SBTS will accept *life experience* for someone does not have an undergraduate degree. I think this diminishes the value of the education of that school and I am now prepared to duck from incoming…

  115. @ dee:
    For anyone who is wondering what I mean, it is quite simple. I think that anyone who does not have an undergraduate degree should complete the course work for that degree BEFORE receiving any Masters degree. Nowadays, that is *easy peasy* with online education and a plethora or unaccredited schools that seem to be loved by certain Christian schools of higher learning.

  116. Ken G wrote:

    “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” Joseph Heller, Catch-22

    I had that poster hanging in my dorm room in college.

  117. Mister Bill wrote:

    I clearly remember the fellowship I was in taught and used what they called “neuthetic counseling” (I think that was the term), which was essentially Bible only, no professionals, to resolve problems in people’s lives.

    I plan to be discussing this during the series. Nouthetic counseling got a bad reputation, so they decided to change the name. Don’t worry-I will give both sides of this using an article from TGC that attempts, poorly, in my opinion, to differentiate. You might find this statement from the counseling center where Brian Fuller(new commenter) got some training, interesting. Notice the *and/or* in the statement.

    http://www.gatewaybiblicalcounseling.org

    Gateway Biblical Counseling And Training Center counselors are qualified, trained individuals certified by the International Association of Biblical Counselors and/or the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors.

  118. Jamie Carter wrote:

    Does the BCM even have an equivalent to the DSM?

    I highly doubt it. They do not believe in what they call *Secualr Labeling* which means they do not have to study and understand what accredited psychiatrists and psychologists must study and understand. Sadly, many people fall for this sort of stuff as being *biblical,* a word misused by many.

    Jamie Carter wrote:

    As Deanna told Guinan – it’s more than having a shoulder to cry on, it’s getting people to talk about the things they don’t want to talk about – not just the things they want to tell you. Likewise, counseling is more than having a book quoted to you and having a prayer said over you.

    You win the comment of the day! Anyone who accurately quotes Troi is a star in my book.

  119. Jeffrey J Chalmers wrote:

    The longer I live, and the more I learn, about life/science/reality, the more I realize how we, as humans, do not know everything, nor will we … the old adage of we open one door only to find a room with three doors comes to mind….

    Well said. How silly we are to think we understand everything. God has given us some answers-the answers that are necessary to our salvation and basic understanding of the universe.

    BTW-I am getting ready to unveil our new project that I mentioned to you. You said your wife would be interested in starting something similar. I am going to offer to help others who are interested in doing the same thing. I hope to announce it in a week.

  120. sandy c wrote:

    i was also wondering if many of these types of ministries sprang up after the pastor of saddleback church’s son took his own life. Many churches had ridiculed mental health before that tragic incident but with the press coverage some began recommending counselling.

    No- it has been around a long time. We will be discussing the history of this.Much of it started with Jay Adams book Competent to Counsel which I call Totally Incompetent to Counsel.

  121. sandy c wrote:

    the abused vulnerable people that are likely to be the ones seeking their help. Who is going to put them back together when they can’t endure the manipulation any longer and quit going?

    This is exactly the problem. These types of counselors have gotten such a bad rap they now downplay the *nouthetic* term- something that was pushed early on.

    I predict that there will be more and more lawsuits coming from this sort of therapy.They are trying desperately to hide it under the guise of *freedom to practice religion within my church.* The more they define their programs, the greater the risk that they will be treated like professionals who can be sued.

  122. Medical doctors can’t get easy-breezy degrees from non-accredited degree mills and then go into practice without rigorous State Board licensing procedures.
    Shouldn’t the same standards be applied to the counseling bizz?

  123. Muff Potter wrote:

    Shouldn’t the same standards be applied to the counseling bizz?

    Standards do apply in the “secular” counseling world. I’m sure that Biblical Counselors would argue that they have standards as well, however BC standards are not widely accepted by anyone in the academic world where there has been years of study and cooperation across varying fields to produce procedures and licensing qualifications to “protect the patient.”

  124. Brian Fuller wrote:

    It was a project about how to start a Biblical Counseling Ministry in a local congregation as a tool for evangelism and church growth.

    I don’t think starting or using a Biblical Counseling Ministry as a tool for church growth is appropriate. It’s not about placing the church first; its about helping people first.

  125. @ Bridget:
    from Francis Maxwell
    “Exposing America’s Biggest Hypocrites: Evangelical Christians
    It’s okay to prey as long as you pray.” Huffington Post 11/24/2017

  126. dee wrote:

    I was given a psychotropic drug for the anxiety and took it for a couple of years when I no longer found it necessary.

    Do you think taking the psychotropic drug caused the anxiety to go away or did it just make the anxiety more manageable until a natural healing process was completed?

  127. dee wrote:

    Oh, I didn’t know the Bible had words for all of the psychiatric disorders out there. Well, actually it doesn’t and it is dangerous to think that it does. Let me give you some examples: schizophrenia. psychoses, obsessive compulsive disorder, manic depression, post partum depression, sociopath, etc. If you need more, tell me.

    Also, there is NO SECULAR LABELING because to do so would mean they have made a diagnosis (which may be illegal without a license) and as you mentioned above, “the greater the risk that they will be treated like professionals who can be sued.”

  128. emily honey wrote:

    I am wondering if anyone has encountered theophostic counseling in the biblical counseling world?

    My wife benefited tremendously from it. It’s not actually counseling. Rather, it is a tool to expose the lies one believes. It can be good to use where it helps, but not as a replacement for other means such as counseling or medical care. My wife had a licenced counselor who used it very effectively with her. Her experience was the opposite of what you described (your experience sounds like malpractice). I think a key point is to recognize its strengths and weaknesses, and to not use it where it does not apply. This provides some good info: http://www.equip.org/article/theophostic-prayer-ministry-part-one/.

  129. Bridget wrote:

    brian wrote:
    http://www.marcipreheim.com/2017/11/26/do-you-hear-me/
    this is important and hopefully, it will be a tipping point.
    Dan Doe appears to be a viscous predator and should be in prison.

    I read this woman’s story and I am just so angry. I pray The Master’s University is exposed and held accountable in THIS life! Each of those men who knew about this victim’s story and did NOTHING are complicit in her abuse and in hiding a crime and allowing criminal to continue teaching at their establishment. What is wrong with these people?

  130. I am thinking through my answers for the great questions you asked above, but I want to clarify a few things.
    At the time of my degree program for the DMin, there was no connection between SBTS and biblical counseling diploma mills.
    I left the program because I came to believe that the DMin degree was a way for seminaries to get extra money and support from pastors and churches by “awarding” them with a Doctorate that in reality had neither the rigor or respect of a true Doctorate.

  131. sandy c wrote:

    pseudo medical

    – Pseudo Science cannot be measured, like real science.
    – Pseudo Therapy cannot be documented, like real therapy, i.e., case studies.
    – Pseudo Medical can neither be measured nor documented.
    – Pseudo Religion circles back to man (humans), man-created, -centered, -ruled (patriarchy), and -financed. W/o God. In the beginning, so-and-so created their church. “It’s entirely about fear. Fear the patriarchy will fall and they’ll have to take responsibility for their failings, instead of turning to Big Daddy to tell them they’re still special; still the Chosen ones.” – George Reeds

    If someone can create a church, they can create a so-called therapy.

  132. Last year I made the decision to seek counseling. I read the various profiles of counselors who were licensed professionals (usually MSW) and narrowed it down to only those who had positive reviews from former patients. After reading all the reviews, I went with a counselor that had 30 years experience in the field. She made it known up front that she was a trained professional AND a Christian. That was important to me so I decided she was the one I would opt for.

    The first session went quite well. Actually very well. I had filled out a very thorough form asking detailed questions about my mental and emotional state of mind. She diagnosed me with PTSD and spoke of a care plan that would be implemented. I left her office with high hopes that day.

    Fast forward to the second session. In the first half I spoke about the issues with which I had been struggling as a continuation from the first session. She sat quietly behind her desk and listened without saying much at all. When I was finished talking, she stood up, walked over to a small chalkboard next to the couch. She began scribbling a verse from the Bible in a most emphatic and determined way, almost as if she was irritated. After she finished writing the verse, she read it out loud and began preaching AT me. I emphasize the word AT. I was stunned. She had changed from a patient, understanding counselor into a full-blown preacher. I was frozen in my thoughts and body, not sure what to do. When I got up from sitting, she grabbed me and told me she was going to pray over me. It was a very Pentecostal styled prayer. After she finished praying the session was over. I never went back to her for counseling again.

    Turned out she was nothing like the impression I had from reading all of her credentials and reviews on line. Anyone can have a negative counseling experience, even when the counselor has degrees from accredited universities and is licensed.

  133. I would be interested in hearing if you would consider my anxiety, which began when my daughter was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, a sin in need of repentance

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

  134. dee wrote:

    Could you explain what you mean by *secular* counseling?

    In my BC training there were secular counselors and biblical counselors. I was taught that Christian counselors who used psychological methods were secular counselors who sprinkled Christian platitudes and prayers on the counselee to make it seem Christian.

  135. Ken G wrote:

    don’t think starting or using a Biblical Counseling Ministry as a tool for church growth is appropriate. It’s not about placing the church first; its about helping people first.

    Anything and everything is used as a tool for those involved in the church growth movement. It’s the ” message doesn’t change but the methods do” mantra.

  136. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I would be interested in hearing if you would consider my anxiety, which began when my daughter was diagnosed with a serious brain tumor, a sin in need of repentance

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    Brian: Your response to Dee seems vague. I’ll give you an example of a period in my life when I suffered from horrific anxiety. Unlike Dee, I didn’t know what caused it at the time. The attacks always came during the night and often I would be awakened in a state of sheer panic. My heart would be racing and I felt as though my head was in a vice. Every time I experienced these attacks, I thought I would die from the intensity of them. As time went on, I became afraid to go to sleep because of this pattern. Sometimes when the impending fear began to encroach, I would get in my car in the middle of the night and drive. This seemed to alleviate the symptoms for some reason. Other times I would pace in the hallway or living room and pray because this seemed to help. Often I would intentionally wake my husband because the panic would grab hold of me in such a way that I couldn’t do anything to assuage it. What really helped was anti-anxiety medication that I took as needed. But that would take time to kick in and in the meantime I was a literal mess. After numerous visits with my primary care physician, he suggested that I eliminate or significantly reduce my caffeine intake. Guess what? I did and the panic attacks went away!

    I’m afraid that if I had gone to one of these quack Biblical counselors, they would have tried to pin my behavior on some sin or another. And they never would have suggested I take Xanax. Heaven forbid I rely on anything but the Bible and prayer! That would be SIN, SIN, SIN!

  137. Darlene wrote:

    Turned out she was nothing like the impression I had from reading all of her credentials and reviews on line. Anyone can have a negative counseling experience, even when the counselor has degrees from accredited universities and is licensed.

    Agreed. Your story was discouraging for sure.

    I’m not crazy about either end of the spectrum regarding counseling approaches…”nouthetic” or “licensed/professional”.

    American evangelicalism puts too much stock in the bible for fixing people’s problems, and American medicine puts too much stock in accreditation/degrees. Either extreme can easily lead to a false sense of security that entraps (financially, physically, spiritually).

  138. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    Some people with terrible anxiety have done nothing more than simply eliminate a food they were unknowingly allergic to – anxiety went bye-bye. Would that be considered ‘biblical discipline’?

  139. Darlene wrote:

    Anyone can have a negative counseling experience, even when the counselor has degrees from accredited universities and is licensed

    Absolutely! Anyone getting counseling should change therapists if they are not comfortable.

  140. brian wrote:

    How does one repent of Developmental Disabilities, Depression, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, Autism, etc? Yes, I have heard Christians tell me on and offline people need to repent of these and other challenges. Two things were made very clear to me when I was in the faith community, they need to just stop it and get over it and they need to stop getting any kind of government support at all. The money thing was way at the top of the list, as well it should be.

    And what happens when a person seeks counselling after years of emotional and psychological abuse in their family? Often, these people don’t know what is a sin or what isn’t. It’s incredibly traumatic for them to read the Bible because they have a habit of self-doubt, second-guessing, self-hate, inability to comprehend emotions and self-accusation. It’s interesting that Dee started off her post with that quote about lying to your psychologist. However, for one of these people, they can’t even tell the difference between a lie and the truth. They’ll immediately assume they are sinning/lying/being evil, when they aren’t!

    For example, for one of these individuals, figuring out what jay of mayonnaise to buy is a moral crisis. Or, what tv show to watch on television. When a person thinks that reading a Harry Potter book is on the same level of sinning as watching pornography, they would only be made worse by this kind of Biblical(TM!) non-counselling.

    In addition, if you have an adult who was abused as a child for things like: telling the truth, voicing their needs (ex: I’m hungry, I’m tired…), being immature -y’know, that thing that makes them a child in the first place-, reporting sexual abuse to their parents, being different (ex: race, ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality), things brings up a whole host of issues that quite frankly, most churches/pastors/theologians don’t know how to deal with.

  141. Darlene wrote:

    After numerous visits with my primary care physician, he suggested that I eliminate or significantly reduce my caffeine intake. Guess what? I did and the panic attacks went away!

    (*Warning sarcasm ahead*) Hmph, sounds like something a no-good sinner would say! (*Once again, I’m joking and I don’t actually believe that*.)

  142. kin wrote:

    Some people with terrible anxiety have done nothing more than simply eliminate a food they were unknowingly allergic to – anxiety went bye-bye. Would that be considered ‘biblical discipline’?

    Anxiety can also be caused by Celiac Disease. Do those with Celiac Disease also require severe biblical discipline? (*Sarcasm alert* In that case, please excuse me while I go submit myself to some hardcore biblical discipline – Calvanista style! – to repent for a medical condition that is beyond my mortal control, and which was no doubt predestined for God’s glory *sarcasm ended*).

  143. Sam wrote:

    Anxiety can also be caused by Celiac Disease.

    Funny you mention that, I don’t have celiac disease, but my migraine headaches and head funk have been eradicated by eliminating gluten.

    On a more serious note, if I would have listened to the first 11 docs and their diagnosis (MS, Parkinsons, ALS, yada yada) I would have most likely been severely crippled or dead in 10 years. Thank God for docs 12-14 who could think outside the box. Is a crying shame two of them subsequently lost their licenses.

  144. dee wrote:

    sandy c wrote:

    i was also wondering if many of these types of ministries sprang up after the pastor of saddleback church’s son took his own life. Many churches had ridiculed mental health before that tragic incident but with the press coverage some began recommending counselling.

    No- it has been around a long time. We will be discussing the history of this.Much of it started with Jay Adams book Competent to Counsel which I call Totally Incompetent to Counsel.

    Yes, Jay Adams, the fellowship I mentioned in my original post put great stock in Jay Adams. Me personally, I did not.

  145. stranger things…bob… just have to interrupt to say how much i love sean astin. and stranger things.

    now back to reading what this is all about.

  146. kin wrote:

    Brian Fuller wrote:
    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    Some people with terrible anxiety have done nothing more than simply eliminate a food they were unknowingly allergic to – anxiety went bye-bye. Would that be considered ‘biblical discipline’?

    What I consider troubling in Brian’s response to Dee is his blanket statement that he would consider her behavior “HOWEVER THAT WAS MANIFESTED to be sinful actions that need Biblical discipline.”

    So, was my behavior sinful when I was experiencing those dreadful panic attacks? How should I have been “disciplined?” What does Brian even mean by “sinful actions?” It is so cryptic as to mean just about anything. A Biblical counselor could have told me that my actions were “sinful” because I was waking my husband in the middle of the night, depriving him of needful sleep. Or the Biblical counselor could say I was sinning because I took Xanax instead of relying completely on God. Or that I was sinning because I allowed anxiety to overcome me by pacing the floor. Or…or…or…So many ways the Biblical counselor could tell me my behavior was unacceptable and sinful.

  147. Sam wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    After numerous visits with my primary care physician, he suggested that I eliminate or significantly reduce my caffeine intake. Guess what? I did and the panic attacks went away!

    (*Warning sarcasm ahead*) Hmph, sounds like something a no-good sinner would say! (*Once again, I’m joking and I don’t actually believe that*.)

    Sam: Well, I did to discipline myself by cutting my caffeine intake from 7-8 cups daily down to 1 cup per day. I wonder if a Biblical counselor would have told me to REPENT of my caffeine addiction. 🙂

  148. @ Darlene:
    Gets confusing rather quickly.

    I think I agree with others that point out we have something like 85k different environmental chemicals in our clothing, food, etc…no wonder we have an epidemic of mental illness in all ages of society.

  149. Rachel wrote:

    Do they give no thought to these things running through families? There’s issues going back at least three generations (possibly more) on my mother’s side. Thankfully, modern medications and counseling are available these days. And virtually all of said people were/are Christians of varying types/degrees, including me.
    Genetic predispositions are no joke.

    Amen to that! As a practicing primary care doc for > 20 yrs, I can’t tell you how frequently a patient with depression or anxiety, when probed, does have a family history of the same, or family members who committed suicide, had Alcohol or drug abuse problems (often an indication of self-treatment of the disorders). Some people need reassurance that their brain chemistry is predisposed to react a certain way because they want (or have been taught) to think that with more effort, they “should” be able to control those bad feelings.

  150. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    Wow! Thank you for your answer. It helps me to see why this series is needed.

    Why don’t you tell me what my sinful actions were? I think you would have observed me to be the perfect little Christian woman getting progressively sanctified throughout the process, serving her church, her family, etc. I bet you would have even asked me to speak to the ladies at a tea about how to *overcome the fear of your little girl dying of cancer.” I know how to fake it really well like lots in the gospel™ crowd.

    Thankfully, I was surrounded by the love of lots of people who were not looking for the first opportunity to beat me over the head with my sinful desire of wishing my daughter did not have cancer because I loved her so much.

  151. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I was taught that Christian counselors who used psychological methods were secular counselors who sprinkled Christian platitudes and prayers on the counselee to make it seem Christian.

    I kind of guess this would be your answer. Isn’t it odd how many religious people buy into this nonsense?

  152. Darlene wrote:

    Heaven forbid I rely on anything but the Bible and prayer! That would be SIN, SIN, SIN!

    It is interesting how the sin only goes one way. The counselor tells the client that they are sinning. Meanwhile the counselor is involved in sinning just as much as the client but just looks a little better on the outside.

  153. kin wrote:

    American medicine puts too much stock in accreditation/degrees

    Could you explain this? Wouldn’t you want your neurosurgeon to have attended an excellent accredited neurosurgical program before picking at your brain? Why is it that doctor’s families who have serious diseases seek out the best accredited surgeons on the planet? However, if it doesn’t really matter, I know some cowboys in different countries who can do it for cut rate. They would agree with you that accreditation is not necessary… and they do not go through the training that is so gosh darn expensive and so meticulous.

    Have you seen some of those botched plastic surgery jobs on the stars? Read about the cowboys who performed those operations.

  154. Darlene wrote:

    “Man-centered” is a buzz word in these Christian circles. What does it even mean? When you think about it, this Timberlake Church shouldn’t even be offering counseling because their encouraging people to come to….here it is….THEM. Are they not people?

    I think this buzz-word “Man-Centered” is used as a tool to get people to do what the pastor/church wants them to do. It can be used to guilt people i.e. if you are talking about an issue you have with us running rough-shod over people with needs- that is selfish (man centered), ‘we are being “God-centered” and what we are doing is more important’.
    Also it can be used to dismiss any criticism against them i.e. “we are not going to deal with the pedo in our church in the ‘man-centered’ way (the secular way-call police) we only deal with issues in a ‘God centered’ way- we told him to repent and his victim to forgive him, he did, case closed”
    By having that fear of being like the secular wicked world you can manipulate people to do almost anything. And it is backed by biblical authority and when the victim realises they have been revictimized they often feel so foolish for falling for it that they say nothing.

    I used to wonder why churches didnt just hire qualified counsellors to be available to their parishoners if they were so concerned that some might need councelling. Especially since there are licensed councellors that are christians. Brian Fullers comment on ‘christian secular councelors’ is particularly telling.
    Luke of the famous ‘book of Luke’ is referred to as ‘the beloved physician’ in Colossians.
    I think the reason they dont want licensed mental health counselors around is that those counselors might bring to light things that are sinful in the church. Things like: abuse victims deserve compassion and care, that guilt tripping people that have anxiety is sinful-Jesus wasnt angry or upset at people that were anxious, he never rubuked them, he rebuked pharisitical teachers instead, things like reporting offenders, things like- if one is teaching truthfully it doesnt have to be cloaked in secrecy in the church for fear of ruining the reputation of the gospel/church/Jesus but can be proclaimed openly in front of all the world, like Jesus did, and his disciples. Many many churches hide sins that occur in their midst and fear bringing them to the open this furthers the cultish atmosphere. Professional counsellors protect the privacy of victims but will expose the abusers, and that means creepy elder/youth pastor isnt abusing for 20+ yrs.

  155. dee wrote:

    Wow! Thank you for your answer. It helps me to see why this series is needed.
    Why don’t you tell me what my sinful actions were? I think you would have observed me to be the perfect little Christian woman getting progressively sanctified throughout the process, serving her church, her family, etc. I bet you would have even asked me to speak to the ladies at a tea about how to *overcome the fear of your little girl dying of cancer.” I know how to fake it really well like lots in the gospel™ crowd.
    Thankfully, I was surrounded by the love of lots of people who were not looking for the first opportunity to beat me over the head with my sinful desire of wishing my daughter did not have cancer because I loved her so much.

    You tell ’em, Dee!

  156. sandy c wrote:

    I think the reason they dont want licensed mental health counselors around is that those counselors might bring to light things that are sinful in the church. Things like: abuse victims deserve compassion and care, that guilt tripping people that have anxiety is sinful-Jesus wasnt angry or upset at people that were anxious, he never rubuked them, he rebuked pharisitical teachers instead, things like reporting offenders, things like- if one is teaching truthfully it doesnt have to be cloaked in secrecy in the church for fear of ruining the reputation of the gospel/church/Jesus but can be proclaimed openly in front of all the world, like Jesus did, and his disciples. Many many churches hide sins that occur in their midst and fear bringing them to the open this furthers the cultish atmosphere. Professional counsellors protect the privacy of victims but will expose the abusers, and that means creepy elder/youth pastor isnt abusing for 20+ yrs.

    Can you just imagine a licensed counselor or social worker at Mars Hill or another abuse-ridden church? Considering how much spiritual abuse is out there, a person with qualifications to observe and aid mental health issues is THE LAST PERSON that church would let in their doors.

  157. kin wrote:

    Is a crying shame two of them subsequently lost their licenses.

    I wonder why? My guess is they broke the standard of care and didn’t take the time to submit their theories and treatments to a board of their peers who could provide oversight for the safety of all patients.

    I believe in using the scientific method. Rigorous randomized double blind studies provide the proof of the safety and efficacy of treatment that simple anecdotal experience cannot provide.

  158. dee wrote:

    Thankfully, I was surrounded by the love of lots of people who were not looking for the first opportunity to beat me over the head with my sinful desire of wishing my daughter did not have cancer because I loved her so much.

    It’s good that you had that. But there are scores of, if not hundreds of others who languish in a weirdly sick and twisted religion (Fundagelical Christianity) that values Medieval superstition over reason and sound medical treatment.

  159. dee wrote:

    Could you explain this?

    Sure.

    dee wrote:

    However, if it doesn’t really matter, I know some cowboys in different countries who can do it for cut rate. They would agree with you that accreditation is not necessary… and they do not go through the training that is so gosh darn expensive and so meticulous.

    Putting too much stock isn’t the same as saying it’s useless or it doesn’t matter as you have taken it to mean. One of the 11 docs I mentioned above was a John Hopkins doc that was degreed/certified to the hilt, but her diagnosis ended up being a waste of my time. She was obviously too influenced by the insurance companies.

    I could give you hundreds (literally) of examples of people I have met or spoken with that have gone through similar circumstances as mine, but will pass.

  160. dee wrote:

    I wonder why? My guess is they broke the standard of care and didn’t take the time to submit their theories and treatments to a board of their peers who could provide oversight for the safety of all patients.

    They were the measly family practitioners (without all of those pieces of papers on the wall) that were forced into treating (outside the box) an epidemic of people with similar symptoms. People were dying. They got results. Insurance companies didn’t like it. CDC didn’t like it. The State didn’t like it, but the community did.

    Sometimes you had to wait six hrs. to see the doc. People traveled that many hrs. to see them. This was almost twenty yrs ago. Still is happening today.

  161. Sam wrote:

    Can you just imagine a licensed counselor or social worker at Mars Hill or another abuse-ridden church? Considering how much spiritual abuse is out there, a person with qualifications to observe and aid mental health issues is THE LAST PERSON that church would let in their doors.

    Exactly! And Mars Hill aside, i can imagine the great benefit many churches would receive if they had a congregant that was qualified to observe these issues right away and the curch was openminded enough to heed them before it was allowed to grow and cause the church to become withdrawn and closed and cultish!

  162. @ Brian Fuller:
    I am a professor at a “secular” state University, and you are correct, I do not respect most of these “doctorates”…. I reutinely supervise/examine my own students, and other colleagues PhD programs, and most of these “doctorates” from these seminaries are not at all comparable…

  163. @ sandy c:

    I am not saying that there are no secular beliefs or secular treatments that the church should keep out, but even those things should be dealt with in open discussion among more than just the “leadership”. The whole idea that the pastor and his handpicked elders/staff are the only source of knowing God’s will is wrong. I wonder what the inner departmental discussion might have been like when the original disciples were discussing how a man like Saul of Tarsus that started preaching Jesus should be dealt with. What if Saul/Paul dared to correct them in some thing? “He didnt go to the same seminary we did! He didnt even meet Jesus! He was a dangerous sinner, why should we listen to anything he says now? His doctrine is probably riddled with pharisee stuff and he’s just putting christian sayings in as a cover to subvert us” So very glad it didnt go that way…

  164. I look forward to reading your series! A couple of things I noticed:

    1. A job well done for correlating Bob’s “easy peasy” with how we bury stress, emotions, or experiences. That is a great example!

    2. If I saw the form and had to sign that I gave permission for the counseling staff to consult with the pastor or elders of the church I would have high-tailed it out of there! An intern consulting a supervisor regarding an issue is standard procedure. During my MSW internships I reviewed cases with my supervisor and discussed how sessions were going and asked advice on how to address issues. However, if you sign the form that you do not want pastors or elders consulted, that intern better not be going to them for assistance. Although, given that none of these counselors are licensed, and the client understands that, there is no governing licensing board to protect the client.

    3. The fact that this organization states that the client must solely trust the therapist is concerning. In order for counseling to be effective, the client must be able to trust the therapist and the counseling process. The relationship between client and therapist is important. If a client is ever uneasy about a therapist or feels that the process is not working, then the client should feel free to move on to another therapist. There should be no blame or shame in making a change.

  165. @ Darlene:
    This is the reason I chose a secular counselor. We did discuss my faith, but I got none of the condemnation preaching. I got a wonderful therapist who was aware of my diagnosis, my issues, who accepted my faith, was very compassionate and assisted me in finding better ways to manage the issues in my life.

  166. Kathi wrote:

    If I saw the form and had to sign that I gave permission for the counseling staff to consult with the pastor or elders of the church I would have high-tailed it out of there!

    The last page of the Consent to Council lists the Procedures. The list reads like the counseling sessions are a group activity and not one-on-one between the counselee and counselor. If that is true then there is no confidentiality because everyone in the group knows each others problems. Am I reading that correctly?

  167. Darlene wrote:

    After numerous visits with my primary care physician, he suggested that I eliminate or significantly reduce my caffeine intake. Guess what? I did and the panic attacks went away!

    My initial reaction to the above was that your primary care physician was clueless and had a lucky guess. Otherwise, why did it take numerous visits to finally suggest reducing caffeine intake?

  168. This is yet another discouraging article written by this blog site. It is as if these writers have been abused in the church and are doing whatever y’all can to dismantle anything good that the church does by signalling yo the reader that organized churches are bad…and we have your answer: “e-church”.

    Also, its plainly obvious that this author has never read anything that a real biblical counselor like Jay Adams or David Powlison has ever written.

    Next, it’s not abnormal for people that are married and can’t afford a traditional sanity education to go with an unaccredited academy of higher learning. These degrees are not just handed out without serious work from the student. My old pastor is one that held two post graduate doctoral degrees. The man spent 20 years of his life being trained and developing his skills. Your ignorance of education is screaming making implications that these degrees are not worth the ink of the paper that shows their pedigree.

    Many biblical coubselors, legitimate counselors with graduate degrees, referring members/counselees to psychiatrists or psychologists, it even their family physicians to receive medication for issues such as anxiety and depression. Biblical counseling Schools have very good programs that hell the counselor with psychological issues. Anxiety and depression is very minor psychological issues, as grand as they can be for the people that are diagnosed with these issues, in comparison to Bipolarism or schizophrenia. The latter two are NOT falling under the category for any certified biblical counselor to take on for case.

    There are biblical answers to the issues that MOST people walking through the doors of biblical counseling centers face. This what you, as the author of the blog post, are not taking seriously.

    CCEF and ANC offer great resources, hell and training to lay people to help the body of Christ.

    My local assembly, a local Presbyterian Church in America body, has absolutely no clue as to counseling many of the people inside the congregation…especially marriages. CCEF, for example, could provide the session the training to help them to learn how to counseling people with just this one particular area, as well as many other areas. It doesn’t take a masters degree from an accredited seminary or graduate school to show a married couple’s issues are based on pride and selfishness. Every issue revolving around their unhealthy marriage: pride and selfishness.

    You are a naysayer and so is this site!

  169. @ sandy c:
    Elders typically aren’t handpicked, as you suggest. Most aren’t cronies of the pastor. Many are trained, exhaustively questioned, and the body votes on receiving that person as elder…but in Presbyterianism, even the larger presbytery has to approve before election.

  170. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):

    There are people who use it as their actual full counseling ministry – as in that is all they do in their counseling sessions. This tends to be in the biblical counseling realm and where there is no counseling/ethical board overseeing the practice.

    When it is used as part of a larger counseling plan, licensed or not, it’s still the same thing and practice. Even if it is just a “tool”. The tool itself is dangerous, in my opinion. It can be referred to as theophostic counseling or theophostic prayer. When it is used as merely a tool alongside other counseling, I believe it is then usually referred to as “theophostic prayer”.

    It is not a peer reviewed practice or technique and has done a lot of serious damage to many people. Positive experiences can be outliers (in this case I believe they are). Logically, their existence does not automatically negate the inherent problems with the practice, especially when the majority of its effects are so negative and have caused – at times – unspeakable damage. I have researched and read the positive testimonies from it.

    One way to healthily implement a similar idea would be to use CBT or narrative type therapy (just a few examples of peer reviewed and researched techniques) in regard to how a client sees themselves and sees God through past memories. Revisiting memories with no suggestive language or possibility of brainwashing from the counselor, with eyes open, processing out loud, and the counselor guiding and asking questions to view how God might have wanted that horrible or root experience to happen differently. The client has full freedom of thought and control over the direction, and only deals with memories they alone choose to bring up, dictating the pace on their own terms, and memories they know have actually happened.

    To keep this with the overall discussion, power differentials in therapy are huge – a person receiving counseling needs to be upheld in dignity and freedom and have the direction of therapy and its outcome in their hand and control at all times. Any possibility of manipulation or enmeshment or suggestion, or the client not being in control of their mind or thoughts – is a problem. And most biblical counseling I have seen, alongside some faith based, non-peer reviewed tactics used inside the licensed world, can often take advantage of those power differentials.

  171. Per my comment above, I actually believe God can speak through visions/pictures or dreams, and sometimes while you are praying. I have experienced God in this way. (lol – a completely different topic of discussion). I just think theophostic is a manipulation and distortion of that.

    People can do it if they want on their own or with friends, though I still think that it’s inherently dangerous. Mainly because it revolves largely around memories and false memories and distorted reality is often a negative side effect of the practice.

    Humans don’t always remember things correctly, and our brains are open to suggestion, biologically, particularly in altered states – and psych-socially – in situations where we are vulnerable (maybe merely by being in the place of client instead of counselor).

    We don’t get to supersede or own humanity just because we are Christians. We are still susceptible to our bodies and environments like everyone else. As I agree with what so many are saying here, I think a lot of counseling (and theology) in the Christian world believes we are disembodied or dissociated from our bodies, or we somehow are elevated above common human experiences and patterns.

    Theology and counseling practices, theophostic or not, can sometimes ironically move a person further away from reality or fragment reality, instead of helping them fully engage it.

  172. sandy c wrote:

    sandy c wrote:

    suggested donations are required at the beginning
    of each session.

    See what they did there? Its a ‘suggested’ donation that you cant receive counselling without giving first!

    Well spotted, Sandy.

  173. emily honey wrote:

    I actually believe God can speak through visions/pictures or dreams…

    Agreed!

    …and sometimes while you are praying…

    Yup.

    I have experienced God in this way.

    I, too.

    (lol – a completely different topic of discussion).

    ROFL – you’re not wrong there.

    I just think theophostic is a manipulation and distortion of that.

    At this point I may as well shut up with the agreeing and let your comment speak for itself..!

  174. dee wrote:

    sandy c wrote:

    i was also wondering if many of these types of ministries sprang up after the pastor of saddleback church’s son took his own life. Many churches had ridiculed mental health before that tragic incident but with the press coverage some began recommending counselling.

    No- it has been around a long time. We will be discussing the history of this.Much of it started with Jay Adams book Competent to Counsel which I call Totally Incompetent to Counsel.

    Yes, Jay Adams is responsible for a lot of damage to victims.

  175. Brian Fuller wrote:

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    And therein lies the problem, Brian.

  176. Dallas wrote:

    , its plainly obvious that this author has never read anything that a real biblical counselor like Jay Adams or David Powlison has ever written.

    So much for observation. I most certainly have read them. I have an original copy of Competent to Counsel. You are hardly a prophet and this start to your comment shows exactly what is to come.

    Dallas wrote:

    it’s not abnormal for people that are married and can’t afford a traditional sanity education to go with an unaccredited academy of higher learning. These degrees are not just handed out without serious work from the student

    I know lots of married people who go back for degrees and do so in accredited institutions. They do so because those degrees are more respected and they can be assured of a basic quality to their education and hard earned money. I was one of those. After prancing nursing, I went back for my MBA from the University of Rochester. Check it out. And what in the world is a *sanity* education?

    Dallas wrote:

    There are biblical answers to the issues that MOST people walking through the doors of biblical counseling centers face. This what you, as the author of the blog post, are not taking seriously.

    Then a pastor should be able to deal with those issues if they are spiritual/biblical.
    Dallas wrote:

    My local assembly, a local Presbyterian Church in America body, has absolutely no clue as to counseling many of the people inside the congregation…especially marriages. CCEF, for example, could provide the session the training to help them to learn how to counseling people with just this one particular area, as well as many other areas

    You are exactly why these unaccredited training programs continue.You have showed little respect for the problems of poor training. Did you know that even the nouthetic institute says they have no statistics and will not have statistics on how they help people? Sounds like a good place for you to send your money.

    Dallas wrote:

    You are a naysayer and so is this site!

    Wow! Your educated comment and stellar ending have totally convinced me of the merits of your argument…meaning, not at all.

  177. Forrest wrote:

    Brian Fuller wrote:

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    And therein lies the problem, Brian.

    I should have said, your problem.

  178. @ Forrest:
    I was hoping that Brian would say something to prove my point and he did. I shall be using this comment in further posts.

  179. Kathi wrote:

    If I saw the form and had to sign that I gave permission for the counseling staff to consult with the pastor or elders of the church I would have high-tailed it out of there!

    That is why you are healthy today!

  180. Many years ago, I watched a BBC Horizon* documentary on hypnosis. In it, they showed very thought-provoking footage of a hypnotist implanting a false memory in a volunteer test subject.

    It being a test involving a volunteer, some careful controls were put in place. So, the “memory” in question concerned a trivial event a few days previously. The noteworthy thing was that the hypnotist did not, at any point, tell the subject to remember the event. Instead, he asked a series of subtly leading questions that moved from asking her whether she remembered the event, to asking her to describe the event. (This process was deliberate.) She began to make up answers that created the event a bit at a time.

    By itself, this doesn’t prove that every memory apparently activated/recovered under hypnosis is false. But it does show that memories can be fabricated under hypnosis. Moreover, it provides a strong indication that, where the putative “therapist” has a certain bias, that bias can influence the nature of the memories that are fabricated. Now: if a “theophostic” “therapist” has got it into their head that most people’s problems stem from a certain kind of hurt or trauma, they’re bound to go looking for it, creating the proverbial self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Trouble is, that’s NOT a very big “if”. Single-issue healing movements are all too common in christendom, because the most stable configuration of a group of Christians (actually, a group of human beings) is to gather around a simple defining premise.

    * Background if required: “Horizon” is the title of a long-running documentary series made by the BBC; they’ve covered a vast range of topics in 1200 episodes over the years and I don’t think I can ever remember seeing a bad one.

  181. Kathi wrote:

    , given that none of these counselors are licensed, and the client understands that, there is no governing licensing board to protect the client.

    This is the problem. There is no appeal except to some rinky dink board of uneducated *elders* who will side with the church.

  182. dee wrote:

    Brian Fuller wrote:

    I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    Wow! Thank you for your answer. It helps me to see why this series is needed.

    Why don’t you tell me what my sinful actions were? I think you would have observed me to be the perfect little Christian woman getting progressively sanctified throughout the process, serving her church, her family, etc. I bet you would have even asked me to speak to the ladies at a tea about how to *overcome the fear of your little girl dying of cancer.” I know how to fake it really well like lots in the gospel™ crowd.

    Thankfully, I was surrounded by the love of lots of people who were not looking for the first opportunity to beat me over the head with my sinful desire of wishing my daughter did not have cancer because I loved her so much.

    *like*
    @dee Is it possible to add a ‘like’ button for posts?

  183. Ken G wrote:

    The last page of the Consent to Council lists the Procedures. The list reads like the counseling sessions are a group activity and not one-on-one between the counselee and counselor. If that is true then there is no confidentiality because everyone in the group knows each others problems. Am I reading that correctly?

    I am familiar with this process and can assure you that counseling is one on one, but you are asked to give permission for all these other people to have access to your information by way of the counselor. As Kathi said, run out the door unless you want to subject yourself to this nonsense.

  184. Dallas wrote:

    This is yet another discouraging article written by this blog site. It is as if these writers have been abused in the church and are doing whatever y’all can to dismantle anything good that the church does by signalling yo the reader that organized churches are bad…and we have your answer: “e-church”.

    Also, its plainly obvious that this author has never read anything that a real biblical counselor like Jay Adams or David Powlison has ever written.

    Next, it’s not abnormal for people that are married and can’t afford a traditional sanity education to go with an unaccredited academy of higher learning. These degrees are not just handed out without serious work from the student. My old pastor is one that held two post graduate doctoral degrees. The man spent 20 years of his life being trained and developing his skills. Your ignorance of education is screaming making implications that these degrees are not worth the ink of the paper that shows their pedigree.

    Many biblical coubselors, legitimate counselors with graduate degrees, referring members/counselees to psychiatrists or psychologists, it even their family physicians to receive medication for issues such as anxiety and depression. Biblical counseling Schools have very good programs that hell the counselor with psychological issues. Anxiety and depression is very minor psychological issues, as grand as they can be for the people that are diagnosed with these issues, in comparison to Bipolarism or schizophrenia. The latter two are NOT falling under the category for any certified biblical counselor to take on for case.

    There are biblical answers to the issues that MOST people walking through the doors of biblical counseling centers face. This what you, as the author of the blog post, are not taking seriously.

    CCEF and ANC offer great resources, hell and training to lay people to help the body of Christ.

    My local assembly, a local Presbyterian Church in America body, has absolutely no clue as to counseling many of the people inside the congregation…especially marriages. CCEF, for example, could provide the session the training to help them to learn how to counseling people with just this one particular area, as well as many other areas. It doesn’t take a masters degree from an accredited seminary or graduate school to show a married couple’s issues are based on pride and selfishness. Every issue revolving around their unhealthy marriage: pride and selfishness.

    You are a naysayer and so is this site!

    Just for the record, I have read Jay Adams’ books and agree with the article.

  185. kin wrote:

    hey were the measly family practitioners (without all of those pieces of papers on the wall)

    Family practitioners are not measly. My dad was one. They should have had papers on the wall.

    kin wrote:

    People were dying. They got results. Insurance companies didn’t like it. CDC didn’t like it. The State didn’t like it, but the community did.

    OK. I understand. You believe in a conspiracy that the CDC, insurance companies and *The State* (capital letters) are colluding in order to bring death to clients because they do not want to pay the money. I cannot fight a conspiracy theory but I know that medicine does not work that way.

    Never forget, some of your brothers and sisters of Christ work at the CDC, The State, and insurance companies. You are saying all of them are doing this as well. And only a few people like you know about this? I am sorry but I totally disagree.

  186. brian wrote:

    These people do not have a clue to the massive pain they cause.

    Remember the Invincible Arrogance of The Righteous.

    “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOORD, THAT *I* AM NOTHING LIKE THAT…”

  187. dee wrote:

    OK. I understand. You believe in a conspiracy that the CDC, insurance companies and *The State* (capital letters) are colluding in order to bring death to clients because they do not want to pay the money. I cannot fight a conspiracy theory but I know that medicine does not work that way.

    Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory about The Medical Establishment is a standard part of quackery, whether it comes in Bible Verses or Magick Crystals. And if it Ducks like a Quack…

  188. emily honey wrote:

    The client has full freedom of thought and control over the direction, and only deals with memories they alone choose to bring up, dictating the pace on their own terms, and memories they know have actually happened.

    I’m not quite sure how to respond because what you describe as the alternative to “theophostic” is how theophostic is supposed to be done and it is how it was done with my wife. And what you describe as theophostic is exactly how it is not supposed to be done. It’s been more than 10 years since my wife’s experience, so maybe things have changed. I read this to her and she is wondering if the biblical counseling people are misusing the term. Maybe they have done to it what Spurgeon did to the word “gospel” when he claimed “Calvinism is the gospel.”

    The point of theophostic is not to recover memories for the sake of memory recovery. Rather, the purpose is to find the lies we believe about ourselves because of our history, and then ask God what we are supposed to know about it. The accuracy of the memories are not as important as the beliefs we develop because of those memories. That should be the focus.

    My wife’s counselor was extremely careful not to pressure her, violate her boundaries, or suggest/lead memories. My wife felt very respected and empowered throughout the process.

    You bring up a very good point about human frailty. If the ego/pride of the counselor gets in the way it could be a disaster. Maybe her experience went well because her counselor was formally educated in secular counseling, was licensed, had many years of experience with various counseling techniques, and worked in a licensed practice of counselers that had no church or denominational affiliation.

  189. sandy c wrote:

    By having that fear of being like the secular wicked world you can manipulate people to do almost anything.

    AND seal yourself off behind an Event Horizon from any possible Reality Check.
    (Feature, not Bug.)

    P.S. This weekend I spent far too much time on YouTube listening to “Weird Story” videos. One by a “Mr (or Dr) Scarekrow” channel was a series of four “Hell Trip” Near-Death Experience stories; naturally none of them matched the others. Except in ONE commonality: Any other humans encountered on the Hell Trip NDEs were so wrapped up in themselves that they did not respond to anyone else, as if anything outside themselves did not exist.

  190. dee wrote:

    Have you seen some of those botched plastic surgery jobs on the stars? Read about the cowboys who performed those operations.

    Just go to YouTube and start searching on “worst plastic surgery fails”.
    Michael Jackson was far from the worst fail.

  191. Sam wrote:

    (*Sarcasm alert* In that case, please excuse me while I go submit myself to some hardcore biblical discipline – Calvanista style! – to repent for a medical condition that is beyond my mortal control, and which was no doubt predestined for God’s glory *sarcasm ended*).

    “Biblical Discipline Calvinista Style” like getting chained atop the pyre alongside Servetus?

  192. Dallas wrote:

    You are a naysayer and so is this site!

    And the Defenders of the Nouthetic FAITH start coming out of the woodwork…

    (Either that or the Dead Agent Decree LRH against the Suppressive Squirrels came dowm from Flag…)

  193. Come to think of it, isn’t Scientology also dead-set against mainstream psychology and counseling?

    Except for the One True Way being Dianetic Auditing instead of Biblical Counseling.
    I wonder if we’re going to see an Enemy-of-My-Enemy-Is-My-Friend marriage of convenience between Biblical Counseling and Scientology? (Stranger alliances have happened — Big Tobacco joining Anti-Smoking Activists against vape shops, Drug Cartels joining DEA against legalized pot…)

  194. Dallas wrote:

    in comparison to Bipolarism or schizophrenia. The latter two are NOT falling under the category for any certified biblical counselor to take on for case.

    It’s reassuring that certified biblical counselors acknowledge their limitations. Unless a prospective counselee tells the counselor they have been definitively diagnosed being schizophrenic or bipolar, how would the biblical counselor know? But if the prospective counselee hasn’t seen any other mental health professional who could make such a diagnosis or even suspect the likelihood of those conditions, then it would be up to the biblical counselor’s judgment which may be beyond his ability. Therefore, I think it is appropriate before undertaking biblical counseling for the biblical counselor to require a prospective counselee to seek professional help to rule out the possibility of such conditions.

  195. dee wrote:

    Darlene wrote:
    Heaven forbid I rely on anything but the Bible and prayer! That would be SIN, SIN, SIN!

    It is interesting how the sin only goes one way. The counselor tells the client that they are sinning. Meanwhile the counselor is involved in sinning just as much as the client but just looks a little better on the outside.

    “I THANK THEE, LOOOOOOOOOORD, THAT *I* AM NOTHING LIKE THAT FILTHY SINNER OVER THERE!!!!!!”

  196. Ken G wrote:

    Therefore, I think it is appropriate before undertaking biblical counseling for the biblical counselor to require a prospective counselee to seek professional help to rule out the possibility of such conditions.

    Just like the RCC’s protocol regarding possession and exorcism.

  197. I worked as a psychiatric nursing assistant in a mental health facility for 8 years. I’ve seen the outcome of irresponsible religion applied to mental health.

    I can tell you that the bible alone does not hold all the answers.

    Responsible churches support those who need counselling by working with, not against, the medical profession.

    Depending on the issue, a poorly trained – I would say based on this article, untrained – counselor could do immeasurable harm.

    My mom was a devout christian, she was also an RN, my dad was a believer as well and a registered psychiatric nurse with many years working with young adults in addiction. Even with all of that knowledge they realized they could not do it alone when it came to dealing with my brothers addictions.

    Prayer can support but not supplant medical support.

    A church that does not recognize that should be avoided at all costs!

  198. It’s no surprise that the Biblical Counseling Movement and New Calvinism run in parallel tracks. The new reformers have all the answers, you know … a one-stop shop.

  199. I’m quite late on this thread but I have a question about this point:

    This methodology is in contrast to typical professional counseling that is man-centered and problem-focused.

    How crazy is it that focusing on a ‘problem’ is supposed to be evil somehow?

  200. Muslin, fka Dee Holmes wrote:

    Yeah, this is my worry with so called “Biblical counselors,” in that they might overlook real signs of depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or other brain illnesses which are better handled by a psychiatrist.

    Even if they have the BEST of intentions, they have not been *trained* to diagnose any of these things. How could they do anything but fail?

  201. Ken G wrote:

    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE! You can expect that if we call your problems what God calls them, by faith, we can expect to receive from God what He promises – all of the time!”

    Wow. That reasoning is…dumb.

  202. emily honey wrote:

    We don’t get to supersede or own humanity just because we are Christians. We are still susceptible to our bodies and environments like everyone else. As I agree with what so many are saying here, I think a lot of counseling (and theology) in the Christian world believes we are disembodied or dissociated from our bodies, or we somehow are elevated above common human experiences and patterns.

    Christian theology (in general terms) teaches that there is a constant war between ‘the flesh’ and ‘the spirit’. It suffers from the Greek ideal of perfectionism embodied (pun intended) in the spirit realm, versus everything that’s bad centered on the material world and its appeal to the ‘flesh’.

    Ironically, and despite the occasional anti-Catholic sentiment I’ve seen here at TWW, it’s the RCC which has taken the first steps toward an armistice in this senseless war, a conflict of unbalanced extremes (my opinion).

  203. @ Ken F (aka Tweed):

    I am not disagreeing or denying your wife’s positive experience, and am glad she had a good one.

    From my perspective, and the following isn’t directed at you, but now just sharing my general thought process. Hopefully this translates to a major theme in the thread:

    I think Ed Smith claiming he received the idea for it by divine revelation – and there being no oversight or peer review, governing research and testing over the process – is what bothers me about its history and foundation and the way it has manifested.

    Some of his theology behind emotional roots and its relations to mental health or personality disorders to me is problematic, though some of it is partly true what he says, but that would take too long to address here.

    There are also a lot of offshoot ministries and approaches that claim theophostic as a label or influence (see Sozo at Bethel, for example), and this has further confused the movement. Ed Smith began to alter or make disclaimers about theophostic as a result of false memory recovery accusations in the 90’s and into its initial growth, with people coming forward with horror stories. His response was that people were merely misappropriating or misapplying it. Its is commendable that he was open to criticism and tried to add disclaimers and make amends for damage that was being done.

    But it begs the question: is it just simple misuse, or is there possibly something inherent in the practice, especially from a biological brain or pscyho-social reason, that may be producing the negative results. And why is it so easy to misuse? You do not see the same kind of damage or misuse from other peer-reviewed counseling techniques. And how do you hold people accountable or measure the effects, exactly?

    One of my closest friends runs her own counseling practice, and just went through extensive training on EMDR. There is a ton of peer reviewing backing and research on the brain and so on behind this technique that validates it as a viable discussion of practice in the mental health field.

    When you are dealing with people’s mental health and the complexities of the brain, using non-peer reviewed or researched techniques in a formal setting where so much is going on and there is a power differential despite how good character the counselor may be, gives me pause.

    I have seen someone’s personality get altered in a negative way through the process of theophostic. There are many people like GreekEpigraph, though they can speak for their own story as I have no idea what their experience is.

    I myself had a “new” memory come up without the prodding of my counselor, that if true, would have put serious discord between me and someone else because it was a negative vision. How do I know if it was made up or not? I could have been receiving divine revelation, or my brain could have made it up from who knows what different processes and a collection of random memories and making up a false image, my brain “knowing” that I was sitting there and needing a memory or vision or issue to deal with. Again, the counselor did not actually manipulate me in this moment. This was just me.

    If what I described above as a healthy way of taking the same idea – is what Ken G’s wife experienced as theophostic – to me, that’s merely CBT being used alongside faith. So why the need to make it something else and new and label it “theophostic”?

    I understand theophostic with the essential element of Jesus in human form appearing in the vision or memory, or experiencing God in general, literally encountering the person during the memory or vision and offering healing to it.

  204. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Rather, the purpose is to find the lies we believe about ourselves because of our history, and then ask God what we are supposed to know about it. The accuracy of the memories are not as important as the beliefs we develop because of those memories. That should be the focus.

    This sound good, but what happens if the individual refuses to acknowledge or is not convinced what he believes about himself is a lie? Or the individual thinks what he believes is true and the theophostic practitioner has lied? Or the individual has family or friends who continually reinforce the beliefs so the beliefs must be true? Or the individual is rewarded by having such beliefs even if such beliefs are detrimental to their well being? How are these situations handled?

  205. Darlene wrote:

    Turned out she was nothing like the impression I had from reading all of her credentials and reviews on line. Anyone can have a negative counseling experience, even when the counselor has degrees from accredited universities and is licensed.

    Reminds me of the story I told above about a young lady with PTSD, depression, who went to a Christian therapist who kept drawing a stick figure presentation of the Gospel, as if to suggest, if only the woman patient really and truly believed in Jesus, all her PTSD etc, would vanish instantly.

    I too saw professional degreed mental health professionals (at least one was a Christian, not sure of the rest) over a 20 year period for my problems (including depression), and they didn’t help me at all.

    I still think that when comparing the two (secular mental health help) vs. “Jesus only” counselors, I’d encourage people to by-pass the Jesus Only types and see an honest to goodness mental health professional, but just make sure you get a competent, qualified one.

    There are quack, dishonest, or inept secular mental health professionals out there, just as there are quack, inept, or dishonest people in any profession, whether it’s auto mechanics, or whatever else.

  206. @ Nick Bulbeck:

    We are on the same page as John MacArthur, I think.

    Disclaimers with what would be called charismatic experiences: I often don’t really know, if it’s God or not. And the experiences don’t happen often. And usually not when I ask or want it to.

    I asked if others have had theophostic counseling experience because it happened to me 5-6 years ago, but it has been coming up again alongside other issues which have been painful. Just curious what other’s experiences were. I thought – maybe I should try to side track the discussion further to another side subject, by indirectly and quickly referencing the non-controversial argument of cessationism vs the continuation of the gifts of the Spirit in the church. 🙂

  207. *I meant that sarcastically about John MacArthur agreeing with our view on charismatic experiences with God, if that wasn’t clear.

    -Also, speaking of which, I read the latest horrific blog testimony posted here relating to Master’s University. I hope it leads to needed change, justice, and healing with so much damage that has been done in that circle.

  208. emily honey wrote:

    *I meant that sarcastically about John MacArthur agreeing with our view on charismatic experiences with God, if that wasn’t clear.

    I’m awfully glad you said that. I’m not even sure he and I pray to the same God. But that’s not because he’s a cessationist (he seems more like a biblianist to me) and, as you quite rightly pointed out, there’s nothing controversial about cessationism vs continuationness and no-one has ever argued about it in a bad way at all.

  209. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    there’s nothing controversial about cessationism vs continuationness and no-one has ever argued about it in a bad way at all.

    Bah. I have. And a good thing too, otherwise all you haters and rebellious losers would keep on getting it as stupidly wrong as you always do.

    You’re all rubbish.

    Up Yours,

    Roger Bombast

  210. Paul D. wrote:

    JeffT wrote:

    Biblical counseling boils down to offering two solutions to make all one’s troubles go away:
    1-Repent of the sin or sins that are causing them. If you don’t know what they could be you haven’t looked hard enough.
    2-Pray harder.
    I think this is the prayer they’re supposed to use: “Oo ee oo ah ah ting tang walla walla bing bang”

    Also, since it operates on the assumption that the Bible has an answer to every problem people face, the counsellor will dig up some scriptural verse that will be twisted out of context so it can be presented as the solution to the person’s problems.

    I kind of think the Bible does have an answer for every problem and situation we face, but not in the way they mean it. I’m currently going through a situation of domestic violence, and to give an example: “Lord I don’t know what to do.” The Scripture says ask the Lord for wisdom. So I do that. And He doesn’t give me a verse to uphold me, He gives me physical feelings and emotions, and He helps me understand that my body was designed to respond to fear in a certain way. He shows me various different passages of Scripture which show that He hates injustice, and many times He intervened or spoke to protect vulnerable people. I realise that I am vulnerable. He reminds me that I am supposed to protect my children. Circumstances come together so that there is no option but to leave my husband. So even though there isn’t a proof text which says, “When you are being abused you can leave”, God has shown me what to do through His word, combined with the wisdom and love of others, and the understanding that I answer to Him and no-one else.

    Hope that makes sense!

  211. ishy wrote:

    sandy c wrote:

    After several years of therapy i came to an astounding conclusion- Jesus is not a Pimp! God did not send Jesus to earth to get women to follow Him so that He could give them to men to treat anyway they wanted to.

    I think this is a very profound statement!

    I love this! And I may have occasion to use it in the near future, so thank you.

  212. Daisy wrote:

    Reminds me of the story I told above about a young lady with PTSD, depression, who went to a Christian therapist who kept drawing a stick figure presentation of the Gospel, as if to suggest, if only the woman patient really and truly believed in Jesus, all her PTSD etc, would vanish instantly.

    When all you have is an Altar Call magic hammer…

    (And when she Really Truly Believed and still had PTSD, well, she has to Truly Really Truly Believe; then Really Truly Really Truly Believe; then…)

  213. Daisy wrote:

    I still think that when comparing the two (secular mental health help) vs. “Jesus only” counselors, I’d encourage people to by-pass the Jesus Only types and see an honest to goodness mental health professional, but just make sure you get a competent, qualified one.

    Reminds me of an atheist snark I came across recently:
    “Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for one day; teach a man to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime; give a man religion and he’ll starve to death praying for a fish.”

    (Though that’s more a snark against Over-Spiritualized religion with little or no link to reality.)

  214. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    @ linda:

    This is a really heartening story, showing as it does that it’s not all either/or – you DO meet Christians who’ve studied properly, and made a sustained effort to understand spiritual, mental and physiological problems.

    I know on paper that it would have been possible for God to heal your cousin an a single miraculous moment. The psychologist in question, not being able to deliver this, made no claims he couldn’t back up and got on with the job he could do. By your account, it looks like he did it pretty well, too. For which, respect.

    I’ve been listening to some amazing talks lately by a lady named Dr Diane Langberg. She is both a highly qualified and experienced psychologist, and a Christian. She has a beautiful way of drawing those two things together, with so much understanding of trauma and how it affects people, and also the fact that Jesus came down into our darkness to help us. She speaks without condemnation and with so much hope. One thing it has made me realise is that a person with anxiety (for example) may need to “cast their cares upon Jesus”, but simply telling them that verse won’t help. It’s like you’re speaking a foreign language, and what is needed is to reach into and understand that trauma or mental illness or whatever, so that you can speak about God in a way they will understand.

    She tells a story about a woman she worked with who had been sexually abused by her father for many years. How could that woman possibly understand God as a loving father, when her only experience of fatherhood was so awful? They had spoken briefly about it, but the woman wasn’t that interested, so Dr Langberg didn’t push it. This woman had been going to church and one week she saw a man with his two little girls. She watched him throughout the service, and she saw him being gentle and respectful, even when the girls were misbehaving. And that week she went to her counselling session and said, “I think I get what you were saying now.” That woman didn’t need to repent of not honouring her father, she didn’t need to repent of not trusting or believing God. She needed someone to show her what a loving father actually was, and then she could get her head round it.

  215. emily honey wrote:

    We don’t get to supersede or own humanity just because we are Christians. We are still susceptible to our bodies and environments like everyone else. As I agree with what so many are saying here, I think a lot of counseling (and theology) in the Christian world believes we are disembodied or dissociated from our bodies, or we somehow are elevated above common human experiences and patterns.

    JMJ at Christian Monist has posted many times about how such “Platonic Dualism” (Spritual Good! Physical Baaaaaaad!) has messed up the church in the past.

    P.S. When I saw “theophostic”, I misread it as “Theosophic”…
    Are they channeling Madame Blavatsky (or her Ascended Masters) nowadays?

  216. Looked at Timberlake’s “Personal Data Inventory”. The fact that they ask for medical history gives a false pretense that they are qualified to understand that information.

    Lot’s of red flags.

  217. Sam wrote:

    brian wrote:

    How does one repent of Developmental Disabilities, Depression, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, Autism, etc? Yes, I have heard Christians tell me on and offline people need to repent of these and other challenges. Two things were made very clear to me when I was in the faith community, they need to just stop it and get over it and they need to stop getting any kind of government support at all. The money thing was way at the top of the list, as well it should be.

    And what happens when a person seeks counselling after years of emotional and psychological abuse in their family? Often, these people don’t know what is a sin or what isn’t. It’s incredibly traumatic for them to read the Bible because they have a habit of self-doubt, second-guessing, self-hate, inability to comprehend emotions and self-accusation. It’s interesting that Dee started off her post with that quote about lying to your psychologist. However, for one of these people, they can’t even tell the difference between a lie and the truth. They’ll immediately assume they are sinning/lying/being evil, when they aren’t!

    For example, for one of these individuals, figuring out what jay of mayonnaise to buy is a moral crisis. Or, what tv show to watch on television. When a person thinks that reading a Harry Potter book is on the same level of sinning as watching pornography, they would only be made worse by this kind of Biblical(TM!) non-counselling.

    In addition, if you have an adult who was abused as a child for things like: telling the truth, voicing their needs (ex: I’m hungry, I’m tired…), being immature -y’know, that thing that makes them a child in the first place-, reporting sexual abuse to their parents, being different (ex: race, ethnicity, language, religion, sexuality), things brings up a whole host of issues that quite frankly, most churches/pastors/theologians don’t know how to deal with.

    Yes, this. There is so much twisting an manipulation in abuse, and the Bible can be difficult to read because you’re constantly second guessing yourself about what it actually means.

  218. Conspiracy theory on the propogation of BC: There are so many influential NPD’s in the Evangelical bubble that they rallied around a system (BC) that would allow them to go undiagnosed.

  219. Several of you posting on this topic have been transparent about your struggles. Praying that you will be blessed. May the peace of Christ be with you.

  220. FW Rez wrote:

    Praying that you will be blessed. May the peace of Christ be with you.

    Thank you for your kind wishes. My own struggles have been the basis for my gut empathy towards those who struggle as well.

    The pain of the suffering of my daughter and her subsequent surprise full life, the struggles of my other two children and my husband along with my own pain have served to mold me into a person who feels deeply for others. I far prefer to be with other people who are vulnerable and admit their struggles then those who pretend to have it all together and hurt others when they do so,

    You, too, have that empathy!

  221. FW Rez wrote:

    There are so many influential NPD’s in the Evangelical bubble that they rallied around a system (BC) that would allow them to go undiagnosed.

    I think you have something here. Watch the response of BCM people to criticism. Are they people who know how to control their own responses and are loving or do they emphasize sin and discipline? I am looking forward to exploring this in the weeks to come.

  222. Liz wrote:

    I’ve been listening to some amazing talks lately by a lady named Dr Diane Langberg. She is both a highly qualified and experienced psychologist, and a Christian.

    I highly recommend Dr Langberg. She is involved with Boz Tchividjian and GRACE. You picked a good person to enjoy!

  223. @ dee:

    Looking forward to taking this journey with you. Choosing to pursue a case study rather than dealing with generalities is a great idea.

  224. @ George:
    Ken G wrote:

    How are these situations handled?

    Good questions. I would think these questions should apply to any kind of counseling. If a person does not want to change then I suppose no type of counseling will work. The lies TPM helps expose are lies such as “it was my fault” or “no one could love me” or “I’m nothing but trash.” I suppose there might be people who don’t want to give up lies like this. If that is the case then they probably won’t be asking for help. I am not a TPM expert, but I know that it is not supposed to be enforced. Everything is supposed to be done with the person’s permission. So if they want to hold onto lies I guess that is their choice.

  225. emily honey wrote:

    So why the need to make it something else and new and label it “theophostic”?

    I don’t know why he called it this and why it is being called new. Coming alongside people in prayer and helping them find God’s perspective is a very old practice within Christianity. Some people call it listening prayer.

  226. dee wrote:

    My own struggles have been the basis for my gut empathy towards those who struggle as well.

    You set the tone in your post that this is a safe place to discuss life’s struggles. Thank you for being transparent.

    I have no first hand experience with Biblical Counseling but I do have a deep-seated skepticism that more harm than good is coming from replacing the balanced programs in seminaries that led to state licensing with the watered down “Biblical” programs we have now.

    When we needed help in our household, I was glad to find a Christian who respected Biblical principals while having the skill set to navigate through the layers of issues to diagnose certain disorders as a root cause. I can’t share more specifics because it is not my story to tell.

  227. Dallas wrote:

    Elders typically aren’t handpicked, as you suggest. Most aren’t cronies of the pastor. Many are trained, exhaustively questioned, and the body votes on receiving that person as elder…but in Presbyterianism, even the larger presbytery has to approve before election.

    I understand that you are voicing your comment based on what you have observed in your Presbyterian background however i have never commented about the pterian church because i am commenting on a site that has covered churches where abuse has come to light, horrible abuse of vulnerable people, and in almost every instance there was a “hand picked” bunch of elders. This has happened sometimes at the outset or over years by the pastor giving great credence to those that support his ideas or by disparaging those that dont enough so that they will get the parishoners vote if voting is required. The types of churches that label everything except what they have decided is the absolute truth and make broad statements of everything else in the world being “secular” and to be shunned, do not think Presbyterians are following Jesus either.

  228. Liz wrote:

    I’m currently going through a situation of domestic violence

    So heartbreaking to hear you and your kids are going through this right now. Please stay safe, and don’t let anyone say that you should do otherwise.

  229. Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:

    JMJ at Christian Monist has posted many times about how such “Platonic Dualism” (Spritual Good! Physical Baaaaaaad!) has messed up the church in the past.

    I’m optimistic that change is in the winds. The Church (generically designated with no one flavor) is learning to move past its previous stance of Greek dualism to one of balance with what it means to be responsibly human.

    The conflict is old though and had it first salvos with the writings of Luther in opposition to the writings of Erasmus the Humanist.

  230. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I’m not quite sure how to respond because what you describe as the alternative to “theophostic” is how theophostic is supposed to be done and it is how it was done with my wife. And what you describe as theophostic is exactly how it is not supposed to be done. It’s been more than 10 years since my wife’s experience, so maybe things have changed.

    I was thinking the exact same thing. Many years ago i had an experience where a particular trauma memory had me very down and i couldnt get past it to the point that i was wallowing in it almost daily. I met a theophostic counselor that also was pursuing a degree as a certified Therapist and talked about theophostic and what that counseling was like. I also did some reasearch about it. What people are describing these days sounds nothing like what it was then. I dont know if the ministry changed, people are doing other things than are reccomended or if its being put into the catagory of therapies that produces false memories. The practice in the past was for the ‘client’ to bring an issue up, not a journy thru childhood to see if they could find an issue. And if the client wanted to discuss the issue there was prayer for Jesus to show both His guidance and understanding to both client and counselelor. Eyes open, no suggestions,no ‘leading’ if the client didnt get something from the Lord the counselor didnt pursue it, end of session. If they did then they had someone that was there to help them be able to talk about it as opposed to going through the hard issues alone or with a group of people in a church setting that may not be compassionate.

  231. Liz wrote:

    I kind of think the Bible does have an answer for every problem and situation we face, but not in the way they mean it. I’m currently going through a situation of domestic violence, and to give an example: “Lord I don’t know what to do.” The Scripture says ask the Lord for wisdom. So I do that. And He doesn’t give me a verse to uphold me, He gives me physical feelings and emotions, and He helps me understand that my body was designed to respond to fear in a certain way. He shows me various different passages of Scripture which show that He hates injustice, and many times He intervened or spoke to protect vulnerable people. I realise that I am vulnerable. He reminds me that I am supposed to protect my children. Circumstances come together so that there is no option but to leave my husband. So even though there isn’t a proof text which says, “When you are being abused you can leave”, God has shown me what to do through His word, combined with the wisdom and love of others, and the understanding that I answer to Him and no-one else.

    Hope that makes sense!

    It does! It reminds me of how He led me out of domestic violence also! With great love and compassion!

  232. dee wrote:

    Family practitioners are not measly. My dad was one. They should have had papers on the wall.

    The measly part was sarcasm. Docs 12-14 had a paper or two on the wall, not plastered Hopkins style. One was a Duke Univ. grad too.

    dee wrote:

    OK. I understand. You believe in a conspiracy that the CDC, insurance companies and *The State* (capital letters) are colluding in order to bring death to clients because they do not want to pay the money. I cannot fight a conspiracy theory but I know that medicine does not work that way.

    Never forget, some of your brothers and sisters of Christ work at the CDC, The State, and insurance companies. You are saying all of them are doing this as well. And only a few people like you know about this? I am sorry but I totally disagree.

    Not sure what to tell you since you seem totally unaware of any corruption in the system.

    I’ve seen it for too long in all sorts of places (not just the medical field) that are controlled by GOV corp. There are articles all over the place that deal with this subject and they aren’t conspiracy theories. My health has been seriously negatively altered life-long because of it.

    http://owndoc.com/lyme/multiple-sclerosis-is-lyme-disease-anatomy-of-a-cover-up/

    “”I know that most men, including those at ease with
    problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept
    even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such
    as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions
    which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues,
    which they have proudly taught to others, and which they
    have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their
    lives.” -Tolstoy

    It’s a kin to asking cops what they think about the Las Vegas shooting. Most I have spoken with have the utmost confidence in what the FBI is telling us. I seriously think they are lying, so do too many others.

    lvfishbarrel.com

    Regarding folks whose loyalty lies in Jesus – I agree there are some, but I don’t know how they can be uncompromising in such systems. Some of my customers who don’t claim to love Jesus have left departments of the GOV and transferred to others due to internal corruption. It’s all over to some degree or another.

  233. Liz wrote:

    She speaks without condemnation and with so much hope. One thing it has made me realise is that a person with anxiety (for example) may need to “cast their cares upon Jesus”, but simply telling them that verse won’t help.

    The reason i get so upset with the biblical counseling as described in the church that Dee highlighted is that so many take upon themselves to ‘counsel’ vulnerable people but they have no compasion or caring, they take a formula and apply it with condemnation and instead of helping the person they say “the bible says to cast your cares on the Lord and you have anxiety which proves your not doing that, repent of this sin! And memorize the correct scriptures which we will give you for homework!” they turn the word of God into a club to beat people with. 🙁

    I am so glad you are getting wise counsel! “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

  234. FW Rez wrote:

    Looked at Timberlake’s “Personal Data Inventory”. The fact that they ask for medical history gives a false pretense that they are qualified to understand that information.

    Lot’s of red flags.

    Great point!

  235. sandy c wrote:

    Eyes open, no suggestions,no ‘leading’ if the client didnt get something from the Lord the counselor didnt pursue it, end of session.

    That was my experience. One can find many examples in different fields where bad practioners have harmed customers. I don’t readily believe that the worst examples of any particular discipline should define that discipline, otherwise we would pretty much need to avoid all services. In every disaster cited on TPM that I’ve heard of it was pretty clear that the “counselor” did not follow TPM guidance. That does not mean that TPM is absolved, but it doesn’t idict it either. I do wish there would be more study and peer review on TPM. My opinion right now is it is a good tool if applied correctly. This post has some good info: http://scottlownsdale.org/theophostic-position-statement/. He addresses the various objections.

  236. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Liz wrote:

    I’m currently going through a situation of domestic violence

    So heartbreaking to hear you and your kids are going through this right now. Please stay safe, and don’t let anyone say that you should do otherwise.

    Absolutely!! Jesus hid Himself once when people physically tried to harm Him, and the disciples let Paul down in a basket so he could escape the violence aimed at him. Leaving a violent situation for your own and your childrens saftey isnt saying you are divorcing him. You can leave the whole divorce topic for later. There is nothing in the bible that says you can’t seperate for a season. The instructions on submitting are in congunction with the man loving the wife as Christ loved the church, laying down His life…not using threats or violence against anyone.

  237. @ sandy c:

    From what I have read and understood, the false memory recovery and other problems started to be reported in the 90s shortly after it got off the ground. The negative experiences have been around for awhile.

    I would just be repeating myself on my personal concerns with it. And it does seem that the negative issues more came from offshoots – which led me to look at the origin, founder, and his beliefs and claims. To see if I could find any problems there.

    But as I briefly alluded above, I found myself questioning his claim of divine revelation from God about this new practice he was to use and now implement – which makes it hard to disagree or challenge someone when they make that kind of claim.

    But mostly I disagreed with some of his foundational philosophy and theology behind how emotions and mental health and mood or personality disorders or PTSD interact. I do see partial truth there.

    But for me to accept a counseling technique and practice, I need to be fully on board and agree with its underlying foundation and premise.

    I want to be clear that I am not dismissing positive experiences. I am glad that you experienced healing through it, very much. I relate to how much trauma memories can weigh and bog down in profound ways.

    Anyways. I am not really looking to debate, but just sharing my thoughts and you and Ken G are free to disagree.

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts lately on here, sandy c.

  238. I think the issue with almost all the movements/ministries is that Jesus did something in a persons life that was miraculous and liberating and then people copied it and wrote out a plan to follow so everyone could get healed that way. The problem is that Jesus didnt heal every blind person the same way, nor every leper. He doesnt work via formulas because that is the law of the old testament…do these things and you will be blessed, if you dont you will be cursed. We are to have a personal relationship with Jesus and follow Him and get His guidance daily. People that are doing things by formula get really upset with people that dont, especially if they step out of the cannonized box. Is it really hard to believe that God might send someone to a counselor somewhere other than in a church for compassionate help, since there seems to be such a lack of love in so many churches? The God that healed a leper by having Him dip in a river, the God that told Elisha to add meal to soup that had deadly gourds in it so they could eat it, the God that used a fig poultice to heal a king, will not allow Himself to be put in a box. Jesus came and showed this perfectly, with words, with mud, with spit.
    Formulas of dead works always lead to bondage.

  239. emily honey wrote:

    But for me to accept a counseling technique and practice, I need to be fully on board and agree with its underlying foundation and premise.

    I want to be clear that I am not dismissing positive experiences. I am glad that you experienced healing through it, very much. I relate to how much trauma memories can weigh and bog down in profound ways.

    Anyways. I am not really looking to debate, but just sharing my thoughts and you and Ken G are free to disagree.

    I have enjoyed reading your thoughts lately on here, sandy c.

    I’ve enjoyed and gotten alot out of your comments, thanks. I didnt really go to theophostic therapy, just spoke with a theo counselor for about an hr. But i have never met anyone that has had a bad experience and never heard of false memories related to it. That was me sharing my experience, i havent looked into it since.
    The false memory thing was in the news alot in the late 80’s early 90’s because of a high profile abuse case in the courts at that time but it was related to a different method than theophostic. There have been so many theraputic ministries springing up, my friend went through a ‘cleansing streams’ program.

    I think the clear issue that all of them have had is no oversight, and no accredation which lets other people use the techniques and the title whether they are following the guidlines or not. Hence the conclusion that secular therapy is at least regulated. Of course that doesnt mean all secular counselors are good, but at least they have some oversight and a client has some recourse if they are harmed or scammed. Not that licenses and degrees themselves are the important thing in themselves but those things mean a basic training is required, the therapist or dr has to prove they understand what they are going out to teach/practice and that process also weeds out candidates that are self serving narcissists that cant wait to get a doctorate so they can control people! If someone like that made it thru all the education a Psychiatrist has to go through at least his license could be revoked later. The public would know if they made an appointment with him if there were complaints in the past, or if he was licensed.

    Churches could and should have compassionate knowledgable counselling available but i havent seen any real oversight and no ministry like that has been around long enough to see if its effective or damaging. Just like our discussing theophostic- no one really knows the % of harm or help or if it is even remotely the same techniques being used today. I think the biblical counseling will go the same way. Some people will have maybe been helped, some gravely harmed. Theophostic had some actual really good, even miraculous results, as might have some of the other ministries, but they may have been limited to certain counselors at a certain time following the leading of the Lord. I dont see the potential for any of that in biblicle counselling movement.

  240. emily honey wrote:

    Thanks for the discussion!

    I very much appreciate the opportunity to have discussions like this. I suspect you and I agree on this much more than we disagree. The difference between us is probably how we experienced it. I was very skeptical at first, so I did a lot of reading and a LOT of watching to see its impact on my wife. I feel very fortunate that she found such a good counselor. I can see how it could be very damaging if not done right, or if done by someone not properly trained. It sounds like your experience was with people who did it poorly.

    Over the past couple of days I did a bit of searching to see if I could find a connection between TPM and BCM. I cannot find any. If BCM practioners use TPM they don’t seem to write about it or make it easy for anyone to see the connection.

  241. sandy c wrote:

    The problem is that Jesus didnt heal every blind person the same way, nor every leper.

    He also did not heal people against their will. Rather, he asked them what they wanted him to do. According to Calvinism, the elect are chosen against their wills (God changes their wills). Perhaps there is a connection with this theology and the overbearing practices in many Calvinist churches: if God does not respect free will, why should pastors and elders?

  242. FW Rez wrote:

    Looked at Timberlake’s “Personal Data Inventory”. The fact that they ask for medical history gives a false pretense that they are qualified to understand that information.

    Lot’s of red flags.

    I’m curious about the ramifications of HIPAA rules. I only work on the IT side to know all the details so I don’t know the limitations on who can request medical history. Once your history is requested there are all types of regulations. Do they provide notice that tells you how they may use and share your health information? Do they then follow this policy? Violations can shut them down if they are not careful and compliant.

  243. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    I do wish there would be more study and peer review on TPM. My opinion right now is it is a good tool if applied correctly. This post has some good info: http://scottlownsdale.org/theophostic-position-statement/. He addresses the various objections.

    I read the link and see a great deal of similarity between TPM procedures and those used by a medium who at a local hotel conjures spirits for the audience. The common key is that Jesus needs to make his presence known for TPM to work and the spirits need to make their presence known for the medium to have credibility. It seems that TPM is simply a Christian veneer on this age old practice. I also noticed he mentioned the biological connection which is beyond the scope of TPM, but doesn’t have any explanation why Jesus is limited or chooses to limit the healing and is not more inclusive by addressing any underlying biological issues. Needless to say, I’m not a fan.

  244. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    He also did not heal people against their will. Rather, he asked them what they wanted him to do. According to Calvinism, the elect are chosen against their wills (God changes their wills). Perhaps there is a connection with this theology and the overbearing practices in many Calvinist churches: if God does not respect free will, why should pastors and elders?

    Yes! And especially ‘pastors’ that see themselves as the annointed emissaries of God above everyone else. If they view God as not respecting free will then they would see their job as enforcing His will on people just as ‘God’ does- twisted thinking throughout! I have never know God to be remotely like that- but have known many suposedly ‘godly’ men exactly like that! Jesus said ‘feed My sheep’ not beat My sheep!

  245. Serving Kids In Japan wrote:

    Liz wrote:

    I’m currently going through a situation of domestic violence

    So heartbreaking to hear you and your kids are going through this right now. Please stay safe, and don’t let anyone say that you should do otherwise.

    Thank you. Thank God He has put people (some of them on here) in my path who have wisdom and compassion, and have been able to gently support and advise me.

  246. Ken G wrote:

    I read the link and see a great deal of similarity between TPM procedures and those used by a medium who at a local hotel conjures spirits for the audience.

    Most of the methods and benefits of Christianity can be found in other forms of spirituality. If the standard for acceptance is whether or not the practice can be found among non-Christians, then you would have to pretty much reject all of Christianity. I agree that TPM should be tested, but I don’t agree with rejecting it solely on the standard you propose. I belive there are better standards to use.

  247. Darlene wrote:

    After numerous visits with my primary care physician, he suggested that I eliminate or significantly reduce my caffeine intake. Guess what? I did and the panic attacks went away!

    Wow!

    I occasionally have moments…not of panic, but elevated heart rate and seeming need to burn off energy. I skip coffee for a few days and it goes away.

  248. dee wrote:

    I know how to fake it really well like lots in the gospel™ crowd.

    Right? Trying to regulate emotions into ‘proper’ ones just causes us to pretend. Isn’t the truth better? Even if it’s messy?

  249. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    Perhaps there is a connection with this theology and the overbearing practices in many Calvinist churches: if God does not respect free will, why should pastors and elders?

    Not just reformed doctrine. Luther also maintained that there’s no such thing as free will. The alleged (his view) human free will is in bondage to ‘sin’, and its default condition is always ‘sin’.
    He (Luther) and Erasmus went round’ and round’ on this too.

  250. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    If the standard for acceptance is whether or not the practice can be found among non-Christians, then you would have to pretty much reject all of Christianity. I agree that TPM should be tested, but I don’t agree with rejecting it solely on the standard you propose.

    It all depends on the nature of the practice that is found among non-Christians. Some practices may be benign, but I think what I explained in my earlier comment is not benign.

  251. Dallas wrote:

    Anxiety and depression is very minor psychological issues

    In the mix of all the stuff I disagree with ‘Dallas’, I wanted to highlight this because no.

    Depression has a range. People with moderate to major depression need serious help. I had a friend who had psychotic depression. No biblical counselor is competent to handle that. Furthermore, I have seen no indication that biblical counselors have been trained to differentiate between levels of depression, or to diagnose anything. (anxiety can be quite serious too).

  252. Forrest wrote:

    Brian Fuller wrote:

    I wouldn’t have considered your anxiety a sin but I would have considered your behavior, however that was manifested, as sinful actions that needed Biblical discipline to overcome

    And therein lies the problem, Brian.

    Ditto! Inherent in such thinking is the belief that emotions are of the flesh, and any kind of grieving process is unnecessary. Just pray, repent of your ungodly emotions and move on. There is no such thing as processing trauma or trying to understand its repercussions in your life when it comes to ‘biblical’ counseling. Everything is looked at as a sin to be disciplined.

  253. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    In every disaster cited on TPM that I’ve heard of it was pretty clear that the “counselor” did not follow TPM guidance. That does not mean that TPM is absolved, but it doesn’t idict it either. I do wish there would be more study and peer review on TPM.

    The anti-science viewpoint of ‘biblical’ counseling makes peer review/true study of these things difficult if not impossible.

    I am all for alternative medicines or therapies if they work, but if they are not tested you have no idea whether they are actually effective!!! That’s what peer review is for. That’s what study is for. Otherwise, if you have some examples where people got better, it could be that, it could be some other thing, or it could be a placebo. Who knows? This reminds a bit of a podcast I listened to about naturopaths, their ‘training’, etc. If something works, do a study and prove it. Then we can confidently move forward with it as treatment.

    And for therapy, if you are not licensing your practitioners and you have no mechanism for getting rid of them if they are terrible, you are making it really easy for them to do a bad job and continue doing a bad job.

  254. dee wrote:

    Ken G wrote:

    Let’s be fair here. They do explain why there is no secular labeling. Here is their explanation,
    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE!

    Oh, I didn’t know the Bible had words for all of the psychiatric disorders out there. Well, actually it doesn’t and it is dangerous to think that it does. Let me give you some examples: schizophrenia. psychoses, obsessive compulsive disorder, manic depression, post partum depression, sociopath, etc. If you need more, tell me.

    The Bible doesn’t have all the necessary labels for psychiatric disorders just like it doesn’t describe my daughter’s brain tumor. That is not the intent of Scripture.

    Bipolar.

    I have had christians tell me in all seriousness that bipolar is not real, just an excuse to hang on to some sin or other.

    “Anxiety is rebellion against god’s clear order to be not anxious.”

    “Depression is refusal to be thankful for god’s goodness.”

    “Brain chemistry? Unproven theory.”

    They are firmly convinced that you just have to try harder and that you can pray it away.

    So frustrating.

  255. dee wrote:

    Kathi wrote:

    , given that none of these counselors are licensed, and the client understands that, there is no governing licensing board to protect the client.

    This is the problem. There is no appeal except to some rinky dink board of uneducated *elders* who will side with the church.

    And if the elders deem the client’s issues as sinful and in need of church discipline, Voila – there goes confidentiality out the door!

  256. Daisy wrote:

    I am still working my way down reading the Original Post.

    I wonder, how many of these biblical counselors have themselves ever actually suffered from on-going depression, anxiety, or some other mental health malady?

    My guess is that most of them, and pastors who preach this “Just pray the mental health problem away” types have never actually been afflicted themselves.

    It’s very easy to preach at people to ‘read the Bible, pray, and think about their own sin’ at people with mental health problems, and it’s another thing to live with yourself.

    Spot on.

  257. Muff Potter wrote:

    Not just reformed doctrine. Luther also maintained that there’s no such thing as free will.

    There is an author named Sam Harris who wrote a book called ‘Free Will’ arguing that free will is an illusion. I’ve heard it discussed in other contexts (it’s not religious). Came out a few years ago.

  258. Nick Bulbeck wrote:

    emily honey wrote:

    *I meant that sarcastically about John MacArthur agreeing with our view on charismatic experiences with God, if that wasn’t clear.

    I’m awfully glad you said that. I’m not even sure he and I pray to the same God.

    I’m sure John MacArthur would agree with you and say that the God you pray to is a false one.

  259. Lea wrote:

    Ken G wrote:

    “This is biblical counseling and it means that we will be identifying the problems and issues in your situation and calling them what God’s Word says about them (emphasis added) in the Holy Scriptures. NO SECULAR LABELING HERE! You can expect that if we call your problems what God calls them, by faith, we can expect to receive from God what He promises – all of the time!”

    Wow. That reasoning is…dumb.

    Yesh, sometimes religion can make people stupid.

  260. Lea wrote:

    I am all for alternative medicines or therapies if they work, but if they are not tested you have no idea whether they are actually effective!!!

    I completely agree with this. The original question was, “has encountered theophostic counseling in the biblical counseling world?” I replied that my wife greatly benefited from it and that I investigated it as a skeptic. But in hindsight, I did not answer correctly because in my wife’s case TPM was not part of BCM (I don’t know if that makes a difference). While I believe there is value in TPM I also believe it should be tested. That said, just because something has not been tested does not mean it is bad. It just means that it has not been tested. I am not trying to convince anyone to pursue TPM. I just answered what I thought was an honest question. Now I feel a bit like the blind guy after getting healed by Jesus. I know that TPM helped my wife and I know that I did not find anything alarming in what I learned about it. But I can also see how it can be misused and I believe the stories of people who have been harmed by its misuse. I also believe the stories of those who have been helped by it.

  261. dee wrote:

    Kathi wrote:

    , given that none of these counselors are licensed, and the client understands that, there is no governing licensing board to protect the client.

    This is the problem. There is no appeal except to some rinky dink board of uneducated *elders* who will side with the church.

    And if the elders deem the client’s issues as sinful and in need of church discipline, Voila – there goes confidentiality out the door!dee wrote:

    FW Rez wrote:

    There are so many influential NPD’s in the Evangelical bubble that they rallied around a system (BC) that would allow them to go undiagnosed.

    I think you have something here. Watch the response of BCM people to criticism. Are they people who know how to control their own responses and are loving or do they emphasize sin and discipline?

    Hey, when God is on your side, how can you be wrong?

  262. Ken F (aka Tweed) wrote:

    According to Calvinism, the elect are chosen against their wills (God changes their wills). Perhaps there is a connection with this theology and the overbearing practices in many Calvinist churches: if God does not respect free will, why should pastors and elders?

    Timberlake Baptist, the church highlighted in Dee’s post is Calvinist through and through. Just look at their website and you will have no doubt. Further, a tell-tale sign that their counseling method doesn’t respect freewill is right there on one of the forms. Basically (& I don’t have the quote in front of me) it states that the counseled must remain at the counseling session for its entirety, even if they feel uneasy and want to leave.

    That, to me, is creepy. Why would you want to force a counselee to stay if they want to leave before a session is over? What about respecting the person’s agency? What about boundaries? I’m inclined to think “biblical” counselors don’t recognize or respect such things. I wonder if they believe the counseled totally gives over their will to the counselor during these sessions? I have no doubt there is a great imbalance of power in this “biblical” system of counseling.

  263. Darlene. wrote:

    Why would you want to force a counselee to stay if they want to leave before a session is over? What about respecting the person’s agency? What about boundarie

    This is sick and wrong. Jesus never forced anyone into anything. BCM is anything but biblical.

  264. sandy c wrote:

    @ Dee or Deb or anyone that may know-

    Do you have a guesstimate of how many churches are using this sort of ‘biblical counseling’ and is it a predominantly Baptist thing?

    I know at least one PCA church that hosted nouthetic counseling training (Jay Adams’ writings, and recordings, I think). So no, not just Baptists.

  265. @ Dallas:
    Or maybe a married couple’s problems are not due to “pride and selfishness” but rather toxic complementarian theology – where the counselor’s admonition to the miserable, desperate wife and daughter that all they really need to do to solve the family’s problems is submit more” and “obey more” resembles, at best, using gasoline to try to put out a fire.

    Biblical counseling’s short-sighted approach, that did not address the damage that a complementarian power differential was doing to *all* of us, male and female alike, nearly destroyed our family.

    While I know secular therapy doesn’t help some, for us, it was a godsend.

    I will never trust nouthetic counselors or anyone following Jay Adams’ teachings again.

  266. @ Refugee:
    (Forgot to mention that the biblical counselors’ advice to the husband was that what he needed to do was to be a more effective leader. Right. Double down on what’s not working, tell a man that he deserves respect and submission and if he doesn’t get it, his wife and children are “rebellious” – feeding his frustration and resentment… yeah. Right. How does this make things better?)

  267. Dallas wrote:

    @ sandy c:
    Elders typically aren’t handpicked, as you suggest. Most aren’t cronies of the pastor. Many are trained, exhaustively questioned, and the body votes on receiving that person as elder…but in Presbyterianism, even the larger presbytery has to approve before election.

    However, this is no guarantee that they will be compassionate shepherds instead of cold, judgmental hypocrites. Even your vaunted Presbyterianism is no guarantee. Been there.

  268. Darlene. wrote:

    That, to me, is creepy. Why would you want to force a counselee to stay if they want to leave before a session is over? What about respecting the person’s agency? What about boundaries? I’m inclined to think “biblical” counselors don’t recognize or respect such things. I wonder if they believe the counseled totally gives over their will to the counselor during these sessions? I have no doubt there is a great imbalance of power in this “biblical” system of counseling.

    For a victim of violence, coercion, manipulation, assault etc. This becomes re-victimization. Psychologically re-Raped by the counselor. The lack of safety that a victim felt during an assault is multiplied, no escape allowed as they force client to sit through their ‘session’

  269. Refugee wrote:

    Biblical counseling’s short-sighted approach, that did not address the damage that a complementarian power differential was doing to *all* of us, male and female alike, nearly destroyed our family.

    While I know secular therapy doesn’t help some, for us, it was a godsend.

    I will never trust nouthetic counselors or anyone following Jay Adams’ teachings again.

    So glad your family got help, and that you’re sharing about it. I remember trying to talk with someone heavily involved in a calvinist church that had complimenterian doctrine, it was very hard. They wouldnt even consider that it might be wrong and destroying their marriage. The doctrinal hooks and scriptural chains seem to be carefully and thoughtfully planted in new members. Its hard to explain that the scriptures are being used wrong when people have set in stone what they mean. It took me years to begin being able to even consider that what i had been taught might be wrong.

  270. sandy c wrote:

    @ Dee or Deb or anyone that may know-
    Do you have a guesstimate of how many churches are using this sort of ‘biblical counseling’ and is it a predominantly Baptist thing?

    You could probably count on this type of counseling being used at any high-control, hyper-complementarian church regardless of denomination. You’ll nearly always find it in churches led by pastors with their MDivs from The Master’s Seminary. I’m pretty sure that nouthetic method training (calling it biblical is, IMO, an insult to the Bible) is required for all TMS students. I know someone who teaches it there and at The Master’s University in their undergrad program.

  271. Refugee wrote:

    Bipolar.
    I have had christians tell me in all seriousness that bipolar is not real, just an excuse to hang on to some sin or other.
    “Anxiety is rebellion against god’s clear order to be not anxious.”
    “Depression is refusal to be thankful for god’s goodness.”
    “Brain chemistry? Unproven theory.”
    They are firmly convinced that you just have to try harder and that you can pray it away.
    So frustrating.

    My bet is none of the people who told you these things have medical degrees. Yeesh.

  272. Jenny wrote:

    You could probably count on this type of counseling being used at any high-control, hyper-complementarian church regardless of denomination.

    I think you got that exactly right!

  273. Refugee wrote:

    Biblical counseling’s short-sighted approach, that did not address the damage that a complementarian power differential was doing to *all* of us, male and female alike, nearly destroyed our family.

    They cannot address it without admitting that it is wrong. And that’s something they won’t do.

    Even some very nice people who want to protect women are still not able to give up on this complementarian thing. It’s baffling to me.

  274. I have a close family member who became a certified biblical counselor with a masters degree in it from a well known conservative/fundamentalist institution a number of years ago. I have seen how the adherence to this ideology and worldview has changed this person, and I can say without a doubt that it has been for the worse. The details would be too long to recount, but I have seen greed, dishonesty, acts that would qualify as theft and elder abuse if someone pursued them legally, and other misdeeds, even as they deny any wrongdoing and maintain an astonishing spiritual arrogance. I know for a fact that this person recently counseled a woman to stay in an abusive marriage.

    I would not touch this movement with a 10 foot pole. Run, do not walk, away from anyone who encourages you to be involved with it our counseled by anyone in it. Go to your primary care physician first, then to a trained marriage and family therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist if needed. These people have taken oaths to help you and have the training to do so, and the vast majority will do just that.

  275. <b
    @ John:
    Thanks for sharing that. Doctrine that makes actual abuse seem like something else.. I think that is what people see from outside that somehow people inside the churches dont see at all.

  276. John wrote:

    I would not touch this movement with a 10 foot pole. Run, do not walk, away from anyone who encourages you to be involved with it our counseled by anyone in it.

    Treat it as you would a black mamba, box jellyfish, or beaker of warm nitroglycerin.

  277. Erp wrote:

    Master’s International University of Divinity is not regionally accredited nor is it accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) which means credit earned there will likely not be transferable (except to some of its fellow institutions). I wonder if some confusion could arise with McMaster Divinity College in Canada which is accredited.
    Also Doctor of Practical Theology is a UK degree and institutions there have almost certainly set standards for what it is. It is not a degree normally offered in the US except it seems by unaccredited schools like this and so there is probably no professional body setting standards.

    A friend of mine is an instructor with Master’s International University of Divinity. I won’t mention his name; he may be a friend but I seriously disagree with his teachings regarding “Biblical” Counseling. While I was living in the Evansville, IN area briefly, I looked up the address of this school and drove to the site. This doctoral level institution? A ranch style house on 1/2 acre of land.

  278. Xray Mabel Baker wrote:

    A friend of mine is an instructor with Master’s International University of Divinity. I won’t mention his name; he may be a friend but I seriously disagree with his teachings regarding “Biblical” Counseling. While I was living in the Evansville, IN area briefly, I looked up the address of this school and drove to the site. This doctoral level institution? A ranch style house on 1/2 acre of land.

    This is a great comment. I may use it in a post that I am writing. This *educational facility* claims to be certified by this group which I wrote about last Friday and will write about again today. https://biblicalcounseling.com/training-2/certified-training-centers/

  279. @ Dallas:
    Finally, a voice of reason! My guess is that none of these people have met Paul Tripp or read his excellent book, especially Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hand. Nor have they worked with David Powlison, who is among the most humble men I have known.

  280. Why are you posters so judgmental, which incidentally is what you accuse others of? Those in the biblical counseling movement believe they are helping people too. Yes, biblical counseling has its flaws for sure, but this is not debating the facts. I don’t want to be so judgmental toward other believers.

  281. Irene wrote:

    Yes, biblical counseling has its flaws for sure, but this is not debating the facts.

    Wut? I am quoting exactly what is being said on these website. You are the one who doesn’t want to debate the facts which is a major problem with biblical™ counseling. They are proud they have NO facts to prove the efficacy of treatment. Come back with *facts* and I will listen.

  282. @ Irene:

    It doesn’t appear that you have read the article and “facts” that have been written here. If people have to know or meet Tripp or Powlison to be convinced that Biblical Counseling is appropriate, well, that would be ridiculous.

  283. Dee, first of all have you noticed or reported anywhere that Light in the Darkness, biblical counseling and abuse is the focus for the 2018 ACBC conference?

    First, there are no biblical counseling books that you can mention that I won’t be familiar with. To start with, “Christ-centered” is well defined here– find it in the Bible or forget it! They believe God speaks to us today through the Scripture alone. And it is simple, if you don’t believe that you need to get another listening ear, which in my experience defines most counselors anyway.

  284. Bridget wrote:

    If people have to know or meet Tripp or Powlison to be convinced that Biblical Counseling is appropriate, well, that would be ridiculous.

    Not to mention that they could be (theoretically) a ‘good guy’ who means well, but is still terribly, terribly wrong and hurting people.

    Iirc, something Tripp said was reported previously…Wasn’t he the one mixed up with Tullian?

  285. Mark was at my church (still a member but visiting elsewhere) in MO until quite recently and helped implement this counseling there. I will see if I can dig out the statements the church put out when adopting this and letting go the former counselor that had worked at the church. As I recall part of letting her go was because she was an actual counselor and had to keep some of her work private from church leadership. I was floored to see that name!

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