I follow Dr. Albert Mohler on Twitter. He has a keen eye seeing things clearly, especially when it comes to culture and its effects. One of his tweets was about a young woman in a graduate counseling program at Augusta State University being challenged to silence her views on homosexuality and gender identity. Here is the story Dr. Mohler linked to his tweet.
I dropped out of college as a young and foolish woman. I pursued a career in public safety and since I did not want to be a cop, (I don't have the temperament. I figured if you run from a cop you're guilty of something awful and shooting you to stop you is probably going to keep you from hurting someone. I have mellowed with age. ) I didn't think there was a major I could use to help me in my pursuit. Like I said, I was young, foolish and without good counselors. I had a great career that paid well but when I was no longer able to work due to injury, I had thousands of dollars of specialized training and no formal degree. I returned to college to finish my degree when I was 40. My major was psychology.
I attended a Christian University because I wanted to be a Christian counselor. I thought that there would be a difference in what I learned, meaning that Christian counseling would be different from secular counseling and therefore the curriculum would be different. The only difference I saw from my secular college psychology classes and my experience at the Christian university is that we prayed before each class. Well, that and we had to take a class called Integration. This class was where we explored how our faith and our psychology training could be integrated. My assessment was that it cannot be integrated, it can only be compromised.
As a Christian, my God has made Himself known to me through the Scriptures. I either believe the entirety of the Word or I am just making up things to suit my whims. I am not talking about taking random verses out of context and without study, I am talking about careful, contextual study of the Word of God- the entire Word- as my authority. As a counselor, in order to be licensed by the state in which you practice, there are rules that are in direct opposition to the Word of God. Although when I first returned to my studies my goal was to be called, Dr. Rosemarie, I realized to do so meant a compromise of either my faith by ignoring the Word or by lying to the state in order to obtain licensure. It was a dilemma of massive proportions. A few weeks from graduating magna cum laude, (if not for the mandatory statistics class it would have been summa cum laude, oh but I hate math!) I nearly dropped out once again. This time I had good and biblical counsel so I finished my classes. Forgive me for bragging a bit about graduating with honors, I do so mostly to let you know I was a serious student and understood what I was learning in order to ward off those who would like to dismiss me as ignorant.
I am grateful for the Integration class because it brought several problems to my attention. Here are a few:
The bible speaks of church discipline for unrepentant sinful behavior. Counselors licensed by the state must agree to patient confidentiality that can only be broken when a patient is a danger to either himself or others. Let us say I was counseling a church deacon having an affair with the church secretary and suffering panic attacks from the guilt. He and the secretary could not be held accountable by their church if I adhered to state law. If I broke confidentiality, I could be sanctioned. Which authority should I choose?
As a Christian I know that prayer is a first line tool in our help arsenal and I would encourage the counselee to pray with me there in the office. Most states frown on such behavior unless the counselee initiates or requests it.
The bible says we are to exhort and encourage and admonish one another. The state says I have to be impartial and keep a professional relationship, no social contact for a year or more after the counselor/counselee relationship has terminated.
I could go on but just one of these things was enough to stop me from wanting to be licensed by the state or continue pursuing a Psy.D. Still, I am a little surprised in this tolerance driven world that the university would issue a challenge for a student to silence her beliefs. I am more surprised by Christians who are so willing to compromise their faith by blindly believing what the secular world says about psychology and counseling. I am not anti-psychology. Social and experimental psychology can be enormously helpful. Secular clinical counseling I am very skeptical over and may elaborate upon that in another post. I strongly believe that counseling believers belongs to the church and the non-believers greatest need is to be evangelized.
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Ephesians 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.
Psalm 73:24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.
Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.