Saturday, July 7, 2012

Counseling and Christianity

I recently read a book, Psychobabble: The Failure of Modern Psychology and the Biblical Alternative, and it cause me to reconsider my plans on applying to a doctorate program at a Christian University. The author, Richard Ganz, was a clinical psychologist working at a psychiatric hospital. One of his patients barely spoke and when he did, he claimed he was Jesus. Dr. Ganz had recently become a follower of Christ and when this Jesus imposter was in his office one day, Dr. Ganz showed him a verse in the Bible which caused the Jesus imposter to stop claiming he was Jesus; furthermore, this man asked Dr. Ganz how to become a Christian. Dr. Ganz prayed for him and the man went around the hospital telling everyone about Jesus. He reccommended that if anyone wanted to know more about becoming a Christian, talk to Dr. Ganz. Long story short, Dr. Ganz's supervisor gave him the choice to either stop discussing his Christian convictions with others or leave his job; Dr. Ganz chose the latter.

I admire this man because he stayed true to his convictions even though it cost him a good job with probably a well-paying salary. After this incident, Dr. Ganz enrolled at Westminster Theological Seminary and studied under Jay Adams, leader of the Biblical Counseling movement. Dr. Ganz became a pastor and began speaking out against the secular philosophy which pervades secular psychology.

I don't believe secular psychology is completely useless and neither does Dr. Ganz. Psychology has done a lot of good work in helping us understand the brain and human behavior. However, for quite a long time psychology has adopted philosophies which run contrary to a biblical worldview. For example, a biblical worldview requires one to understand what mankind's fundamental issue is and that is sin. Mankind is in rebellion against God. Man is fallen in his nature and needs to be reconciled to his creator. This is very different from what some secular psychologists think. It's popular in our culture to believe that mankind is good but just needs to look deeper within himself to find that good. The secular psychologist might attempt to bring that good out of an individual which he believes is lying deep down within. This example illustrates how different mankind is viewed. A biblical view sees mankind as deeply corrupted. Some secular philosophies view mankind as basically good. These two disparate starting points will greatly influence how one counsels others.