I’m going to take this unashamedly from this blogger’s post without more than the blog name as I truly feel no obligation to advertise for it. The blog post is titled: “Christianity and Psychotherapy…” If you really want to read it, you can find it on WordPress.com. That said, lets get into it.
The ‘Things Believers Say’ series of posts here on this blog are all about things that I see them write or say that is clearly wrong and breathtakingly inane. All I want to do is point them out and talk briefly why they are wrong. No, this will not save us from global warming or create world peace, but it is useful to be aware of such caustic ideas which run amok in our societies.
Given the title you can guess this blogger is a Christian psychotherapist. Sounds safe enough, right? Wrong. At first, we can’t really say that anything is wrong with the blogger saying this:
Having said that, this article is mainly a warning for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ; do NOT go to a psychologist, counselor, therapist, etc… who is not a believer.
Fairly quickly this blogger shows that they are not a good therapist with this little missive: (emphasis is mine)
Any therapist worth going to will bring up your religious and spiritual beliefs in therapy, and no matter how (or if) they try to fight it, their beliefs WILL change how they choose to do therapy and how they see your faith impacting your life.
What they mean is that to be a good therapist your belief or non-belief in a god is essential to how you assist the patient AND their belief or non-belief is necessarily a part of the therapy. In other words, there is no therapy without a discussion of faith if you go to a ‘good therapist’ … hmmmm
That begs the question from the six year old in the back: “If your god answers prayers, why do you need a psychologist?”
Do they actually mean that non-believers cannot help anyone but non-believers? Yes, yes they do.
There is also little doubt that atheists or agnostic therapists, regardless of their past beliefs, will be incapable of sufficiently connecting with a believer in the therapeutic relationship.
That’s right, only the believer can assist a believer with their therapy. Conversely, a believer cannot assist a non-believer. What is being said here is that you SHOULD discriminate in which therapist you seek help from based on their religious beliefs. Sounds a bit fishy doesn’t it? This sounds very much like a therapist that would not give assistance to a non-believer and this is a form of discrimination that is on very thin ice according to news reported by the LA Times.
At best, there will simply be a disconnect, at worst the therapist would harbor a negative view of the patient’s religious beliefs, oftentimes believing any and all spiritual beliefs to be detrimental or mental defenses that need changing.
Well, lets go back to the six year old. If your beliefs are important to you and have not helped you, why is it impossible that they are the source of your problems?
The adult question is “how then do you counsel the adult victim of a paedophile priest?”
Then there is this kicker:
Take marriage for example; there is no absolute and sure grounds for trying to save an ailing marriage outside of God’s will. Meaning, an unbelieving therapist is a threat to a believer’s marriage if there is trouble in the marital relationship because outside of God, and Jesus, there are no absolute, unchanging, unwavering reasons why a marriage should be saved even if people within the marriage are having a rough time of it. Instead of offering aid and healing to the marriage itself, there is the potential that an unbelieving therapist could add more poison to a relationship, or push one party to get a divorce for their own “mental health.”
That’s right kiddos, this psychologist would insist that you stay with your abusive partner. So first your god tells you to piss off, then this psychologist is going to tell you to be a good spouse, pray harder, and buck up to save the marriage. If your getting an itch to grab some rotten tomatoes and go looking for this psychologist’s office… I wouldn’t blame you.
…God desires our mental health to be seen to, just as much as our physical health, and that mental and physical health impacts spiritual health as well.
This, remember, is the very same god that allows pastors to rape teens, priests to rape children, and the faithful to burn witches on the African continent. He is ALL about your mental and physical health. A sure sign of this is the number of ‘crimes’ he deems worthy of death.
Where does that leave an atheist or non-believer who needs help?
Atheist Revolution has a page about this which might be useful.
For the atheist who needs a mental health professional, psychologist or counselor, I offer the following recommendations:
- When first calling to schedule an appointment, inquire about the provider’s degree and the institution from where the degree was obtained.
- If the provider is an LPC, ask directly whether this person provides “Christian counseling.” If so, move on. You are not asking whether the counselor is Christian but whether they provide “Christian counseling.” This is an important difference and one which you are well advised to heed.
- View the initial appointment as an opportunity to evaluate the provider. If you do not feel comfortable for any reason, ask for a referral and move on. Reputable providers tend to encourage this sort of evaluation – they want to make sure they can be helpful to you and that you feel comfortable with them.
- Recognize that many mental health professionals will ask, on questionnaires or in person, something about your religious affiliation or the importance of spirituality in your life. They tend to do this to help understand your worldview and not to convert you. However, if the provider should make disparaging comments about your lack of religious participation, spirituality, and the like, move on. This represents a violation of the provider’s own professional ethics, and you deserve better.
- If you are seeking therapy and want to make sure that your provider will utilize scientifically-sound methods, look for someone who provides cognitive-behavioral therapy. Of all the therapeutic modalities, it has been researched the most extensively and has the most evidence supporting its efficacy.