Saturday, June 27, 2009

Are you a counselor or a minister? -My 100th post

A student of mine recently referred to homosexuality as abomination quoting the traditional scriptural references. Given the context, I sternly but respectfully challenged the student to address the cultural bias in his statement. The fact that it occurs in a graduate level course on multiculturalism is a “small problem” (tongue in cheek!). The fact that the program is a Mental Health Counseling program is also a “small problem” (tongue in cheek, again!).

What I would love to say to my students is that they have a choice. You can choose to be a counselor or you can choose to be a minister. If your choice is to be a counselor, you must base your practice on the science of psychology. Being a counselor means that your theology may inform your psychology, but it does not dictate your psychology.

If, in any way, your theology dictates your psychology, you are a minister. Stop the illusion of being a counselor. While I may disagree with your theology, I respect your right to choose a life as a minister. But don’t use the guise of psychology to push your theology. That is malpractice and unethical in my opinion.

The area of human sexuality is where the most damage occurs when theology is confused as psychology. The science of psychology is relatively settled when the issue of abstinence based safer-sex approaches are evaluated. They programs don’t work. In some cases, they create MORE harm.

The question of homosexuality is another area. Despite the research, too many counselors continue to subscribe to the abomination theory of homosexuality; a theory that is simply not supported. You can extend the conversation into areas of masturbation and fantasy.

Are you a counselor or a minister? Choose.

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