by Dr. Lorin Bradbury
Question: I am a Christian and I am afraid of the secular theories of counseling and psychology. How can I find a psychologist or counselor who practices Christian psychology?
First, I am not aware of any theories of Christian psychology. Anyone who is licensed by the State of Alaska to practice psychology or provide counseling services will likely have studied the various theories of counseling and psychotherapy. To my knowledge all of those theories are secular in nature. However, in most cases, a counselor borrows concepts and techniques from several theories that are consistent with his or her paradigm of change. Also, an ethical therapist will be sensitive to the values of the client.
Each mental health profession has a code of ethics by which they practice. For example, one of the principles of a psychologist’s Code of Conduct requires respect for people’s rights and dignity. It would remind a psychologist that he or she is expected as an ethical psychologist to respect your beliefs as a Christian.
In reality, no therapist is value-free, and an ethical psychologist or other mental health practitioner should attempt to be aware of personal biases. In my practice, when I see a potential conflict of values, I inform the client of my bias and if possible make a referral.
Still, it is important that you choose your therapist wisely and ask questions of the therapist before beginning counseling. As a Christian, look for a counselor who will respect your belief system and is comfortable integrating scriptural principles into psychotherapy. This is true for other values that you may want respected, such as sanctity of marriage, cultural issues, or certain child-rearing practices. The better the understanding is between you and your therapist, the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome from therapy.
Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel. For appointments, he can be reached at 543-3266. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to [email protected]