Soul Therapy: Do Evangelical Therapists Have Something to Teach Their Secular Counterparts?

By Wylie, Mary Sykes | Family Therapy Networker, January/February 2000 | Go to article overview

Soul Therapy: Do Evangelical Therapists Have Something to Teach Their Secular Counterparts?


Wylie, Mary Sykes, Family Therapy Networker


It is just before dusk on a September evening in Nashville, Tennessee, at the Opryland Hotel, a colossal antebellum theme park of a hotel--thousands of guest rooms, soaring enclosed tropical gardens, life-size indoor replicas of southern mansions. At 10 minutes before the first plenary session of this particular therapy conference, the huge Presidential Ballroom is already packed with 3,300 professionals here for the four-day meeting, and latecomers like me are climbing over rows of knees to get to the few remaining seats. While giant screens on either side of the stage list upcoming regional conferences and workshops--in Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Kansas City, Dallas, Cincinnati, Atlanta--I study the glossy 71-page program, noting the 7 plenary sessions, the 23 all-day and 84 hour-plus workshops on trauma and abuse, children and adolescence, marriage, psychopharmacology, sexuality, managed care, psychological research and new techniques, spiritual issues in therapy and multicultural populations. The standard crowd of professionals seems to be here--middle-class, young to middle-aged, mostly white with a sprinkling of blacks, Asians, Hispanics--though everyone is perhaps a bit better dressed than usual at conferences, with more women in trim skirts and jackets or suits than pants, more men in jackets and ties than jeans or khakis. Name badges refer to all parts of the country--though southern states predominate, and southern accents waft gently around my Yankee ears--and reveal the usual alphabet blizzard of credentials: mainly M.S.W.'s, M.A.'s, a scattering of Ph.D.'s and M.D.'s and M.Div.'s.

In short, this conference looks no different than any other of its type. Until, that is, the opening prayers and gospel music. Within a few moments, the whole assembly is standing, arms upraised, belting out "Oh, How I love Jesus" and "Only God Can Heal." Everybody seems to know the songs by heart and sings them with body-swaying, toe-tapping, arms-outstretched exuberance--everybody, that is, save one self-conscious family-therapy magazine journalist who has never been to a therapy conference quite like this before. "What am I doing here?" I think, and wonder if I should move my lips and pretend to sing along, too.

"We live in a time of great darkness, but you are the light of the world!" the first speaker proclaims to the audience. While we will spend the days of this meeting talking about standard therapeutic fare, he tells us--theory, technique, managed care--the real problems both our society and our clients face are in essence spiritual, and so must be the cure. "You are a distinct type of people helper. You are the image bearers of Christ. What you are doing offers the greatest platform for evangelism."

Evangelism? Isn't this word more suited to a revival meeting than a professional convention of mental health providers? In fact, this conference is both. Archibald D. Hart, the man exhorting the troops to be Christ's image bearers, is a psychology professor and former dean of the Psychology Graduate School at Fuller Theological Seminary in California, one of the leading evangelical Christian institutions of higher education in the country. And this meeting is the 1999 World Conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), an evangelical Christian organization with more than 18,000 members dedicated to the proposition that modern psychotherapy is not only compatible with conservative, Bible-based Christianity, but actually derives a critical healing edge from faith that secular approaches can't match. The title of this year's conference, "The Soul of Christian Counseling: Answering God's Call to Care," is a reminder, as is every workshop this week, that the AACC exists not only to "encourage excellence in counseling worldwide," according to its mission statement, but also to "facilitate the integration of counseling principles and biblical theology" and "bring honor to Jesus Christ. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Soul Therapy: Do Evangelical Therapists Have Something to Teach Their Secular Counterparts?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.