Friday, April 2, 2010

PSYCHOLOGY IS . . . . . . . . . .

In the modern Christian culture I am still very much aware that the role of a psychologist is seen, by some, as as equal to or worse than the roles of false prophets, sorcerers, spiritists, mediums, necromancers, etc. And we are aware of how God views those types of practices:

Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds. Jeremiah 14:14

"I will set my face against the person who turns to meduims and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people." Leviticus 20:6

I understand that the field of psychology had humanistic beginnings that excluded the things of God. However, when the Lord chooses to enter into an entity by His Holy Spirit it is changed and becomes useful for the Master.

The psychology that I practice, like many of my collegues, would not be recognizable to the fathers of psychology nor to people of today who still hang on to the idea that psychology is "of the devil."

In my bios, that explains my areas of expertise and practice, I am listed as a Christian Psychologist and a Psychologist the takes a Biblical and Christian approach to mental and emotional healing.

I cannot begin to count the times, on a daily basis, that the Lord opens opportunities by the Holy Spirit to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ and lead people to the Lord. I actually have patients who bring their Bibles and we study the Word of God together and pray about the issues that are of concern to them. There have been countless times when the Holy Spirit just took over and the patient would say, "God is here." Many times my days work is more like spending the day in fellowship with His people who are wounded and need encouragment and like being in His presence because He cares about people who are hurting.

I am humbled and blessed to be able to reach people who so desparately need to just be pointed in the direction of the Lord. To let them know He is the answer to their problem.

Being healthy includes mind, soul, body, and spirit. No one, except a few groups, think anything of visiting their Primary Care Physician with a physical malady. People have maladies of emotions and mentality as well. The mind and the spirit can become as ill as the body can.

As a psychologist, I specialize in the mind and spirit as opposed to the physician who specializes in the body.

A few years ago I was ostracized from working at my church of 10 years for volunteering to take attenance at a support group for grief recovery. I was accused of trying to bring the philosophies of Freud and other evil practices into the church. It was a very large church and these people had not even met me. They just knew I was a licensed psychologist. That's all it took. My intent was to be of service to the King of Kings. Subsequently, I volunteered for the nursery and sang hymns to infants and toddlers.

Regardless of the remaining stigma of psychology, the Lord is my basis of "orientation" and I follow Biblical principles to guide the course of treatment. I fully believe that God is the God of the emotionally and mentally troubled as much as those who are suffering in any other way. Jesus is the great physician. I always pray for wisdom and to be merely an open vessel through which He can touch people who need Him.

I often refer to the scripture in Matthew where Jesus was seen by the Scribes and Pharisees eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners. They criticized and questioned Him for engaging in this activity, which to them, was "of the devil." Notice here, these were not lepers, lame, or blind that Jesus was with, these were people who were in need of God, whose sins were ruling their lives. Jesus calmly and confidently replied to the Scribes and Pharisees, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." (Matthew 9:12)

I am interested in knowing the opinions of others about psychologists and/or perspectives on my philosophy of what a Christian psychologist is. I've already been told on numerous occasians that my career and field of practice is of the devil, so no one is going to hurt my feelings. Feel free to speak what is on your mind. God bless you all.


Gregg Metcalf said...

You certainly have opened ourself up, haven't you? You seem able to do so because you know yourself and are confident in what God is doing through you.

Tell you the truth I set out to be a Psyscologist. I began studyig under a Rogerian. Then I began to see that there were 56 recognized disciplines in psycology and most of them clashed with one another. Secondly, I began to see biblical confrontation as the real help for people. I wanted to help people see what God had to say about their issue and how the Word provides means to resolve the issue.

I think Psalms 1 spells out the dangers in your field - "...walks not in the counsel of the ungodly." I am not saying you are ungodly, but the wisdom, the sophia, the philosophy, the world view of this world is antithetical to the word of God, God's wisdom.

I would never say your were of the devil or etc. I was surprised and deeply honored and moved that you became a follower of my blog. I figured at some point we might "clash." That is not my intention by any means.

I would think that you would feel "in-between." Not quite at home in your world of psycology because if you know the Scripture much of it clashes (if not all) with the Scriptures. You might not feel at home in the "church." (Especially if the church does not have its head screwed on right and really understands God and the Bible)

I chose to leave the field and study further but to become a preacher of the word of God.

I think psychology's greatest danger is that it undermines the confidence that we are to have in the word of God as being fully and completely sufficient for every problem, pyschosis, fear, phobia, behavior issue, and SIN.

I try to read your posts carefully, I try not read into them preconceived biases and I have enjoyed them.

I would be more interested in your "doctrinal statement" than anything else.

Is there a place for psycology in a Christian committment? I don't know, I am such limited experience, knowledge, and understanding. Would I reccomend a believer to a pyschologist? More than likely not.

I am not a fan of James Dobson or Larry Crabb or any so called Christian pyscologist.

The Scripture, the Holy Spirit, and the Sacntification process is enough if actually understood, actually applied, and actually committed to.

Where does that leave us? I hope freinds!! I hope you still read and follow my blog as I will yours.

You asked for "opinions" not acceptance or rejection. I do not reject though I have surrendered my opinion.

I have full confidence that if you are a true believer, if you are earnestly seeking God's will and mind, that He will direct you in your practice or out of your practice. God is sovereign and I only hope to be a friend, comfort, blessing, and source of biblical truth to my friend.

Lord bles you!

Gregg Metcalf said...

Just to add another thought I am not sure what came first, the DSM or the "disease." I think there are some legitimate mental illnesses that are caused by medical reasons, hormonal imbalance, certains parts of the brain's messenger center goes haywire. But I think much of what we call illness and or disease is masking the real problem. The majority of the mental hospitals, pysch wards and such could be emptied if people were properly instructed about sin. Not necessarily sins, but sin - the sin nature.

It is not alcoholism it is drunkeness and drunkards. It is not an affair, it is adultery.

It is not ADD it is simnply not being taught properly and held accountable.

We have had to create diseases or disorders to assuage the guilt and consciences of people who have made bad choices and decisions that are driven by a sin nature.

Failing to mention sin appropriately and that only the blood of Jesus can cleanse and heal a guilty conscience, people will always be directed to psychology.

I am so sorry that a "so called church" treated you as it did, reducing you to merely helping in nursery, etc.

All believers have been given gifts and all believers are a necessary part of the body. It takes all believers to make a body work properly.

I am musing on here because of your invitation not as means of condemnation or criticism.

I made my real point earlier - pyschology has the potent tendency to undermine confidence in the sufficiency of God's Word to handle or address any problem a person may have, apart from true chemical or neurological (is that the right word?) maladies.


Thank you Gregg for your candor and all your comments. I feel as you do. I respect you as a brother in Christ and I am moved by your posts. I think is is healthy to talk about the things of God and not feel like we have to agree on everything. As long as we agree that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came in the flesh to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified, and rose from the dead on the third day as an atonement for our sin. That's the important doctrine on which I base everything else. I'm not so much into blogging about doctrine as I am about having a personal relationship with Christ and maturing as a Christian. But I'm always willing to disucss doctrine if anyone wants to know where I stand on an issue. Happy Resurrection Day.

sam_sam said...

Jeremiah 29:11 (New King James Version)
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.


I am compelled to address the comment I made above about volunteering in the nursery after the incident with trying to volunteer with a support group at my church. I was in no way implying that I was taking a lower position. A nursery worker is a vital and critical part of the body of Christ. I was honored to be able to sing "Jesus Loves Me" into the ears of a little 5 month old as he lay his little head on my shoulder. The Spirit of the Lord was there, ministering to that little baby. I took that honor very seriously.

I was merely stating that because I was "rejected" in volunteering for something that in my line of work, I simply went to a totally different area and opened myself up to the Lord using me there.

I have no concept of how working in the nursery would "reduce" the power of God working through me or how it is a lesser ministry in the body of Christ. I can only direct anyone who feels it is to 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.

MrBibleHead said...

I've only been saved for 10 years. Until about 6 years ago, I thought that psychology and Christianity were on opposite ends of the spectrum. However 6 years ago I started listening to a Christian psychology/counselling radio program called New Life Live. My eyes were opened to the parallel between biblical principals and overcoming fears, addictions,compulsions,people pleasing, codependency, etc... I have been to Christian counselling since, and wouldn't think of going anywhere else. I thank God that there are Christian psychologists. I'm sure the stigma keeps some from pursuing it, but I'm glad that some such as yourself have looked past it. Keep it up and keep on singing to God's little ones.

Amrita said...

In India awareness of mental health came from missionaries who established mental hospitals.

Before that people were going to shamans , yogis, babas, etc. for cures , they still do.