Issues and Answers

Psychotherapy & The Christian

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: J. D. Quinn (Host), Magna Parks


Series Code: IAA

Program Code: IAA000423

00:01 Are you familiar with the term psychotherapy. Today we're going
00:04 to be talking about psychotherapy and the Christian.
00:07 Stay tuned. We'll be right back.
00:08 Music being played
00:33 Welcome to Issues and Answers. My name is J.D. Quinn.
00:36 Today we're going to be talking about a big word called
00:39 psychotherapy and how does that relate to the Christian.
00:42 We have a special guest today and this is Dr. Magna Parks.
00:48 Not only has Magna taught many, many years, she'll explain it to
00:54 you in a little bit, but she has also written a book called
00:56 Christian's Beware: The Dangers of Secular Psychology.
01:00 It's a good read. So anyway, how are you doing today?
01:05 I'm doing great. It's good to be here.
01:06 Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you're from, are
01:09 you married? Well, I'm a licensed
01:11 psychologist from Atlanta, Georgia, married to a wonderful
01:14 man names Al Parks. We've been married for almost 13 years and
01:19 I've been in the field of psychology for over 20 years.
01:23 It's been a while. It's a long time.
01:25 Yes, and as you've mentioned, I've taught, I've even taught at
01:27 Oakwood College for five years and I was in private practice
01:31 for almost 15 years, until my husband and I started our
01:35 current ministry, Be In Good Health.
01:36 Be In Good Health. That's a good name, Be in Good Health.
01:42 We just help educate people about basic health principles
01:45 mentally, physically and spiritually.
01:47 The whole gamut. The whole gamut, yes.
01:50 Amen. It's good to be here.
01:52 Today we're going to be talking about psychotherapy and the
01:55 Christian. Psychotherapy is one of those terms that a lot of
02:00 people may not know what it even means.
02:03 So let's start off by laying the foundation.
02:05 What is psychotherapy?
02:07 Psychotherapy is a form of treatment where you use various
02:12 psychological techniques and methods to help people
02:15 emotionally and to help them behaviorally. So some of the
02:19 methods may include, I try to help you to understand who you
02:23 are, why you became the way you are. I try to help you deal with
02:27 the conflicts that are inside. Many people are dealing with
02:30 conflicts inside, conflicting feelings, conflicting thoughts.
02:34 We use these methods to draw these things out or to help
02:37 people change their behaviors or change their thoughts.
02:40 So that's a basic summary of what psychotherapy is.
02:44 Man, that covers a lot. It does, it does and it took
02:50 me five years to learn psychotherapy in my graduate
02:54 training. Did you every use it in your
02:58 private practice? I sure did; the whole 14 years I
03:01 was there, well most of the time I was there, until the Lord
03:04 showed me some different things, but I used it. I believe it
03:08 helped some people. What I found out later was it helped
03:12 them for the short term, and the reason I say that is because as
03:16 the years went on I found many people coming in who had been
03:19 to three or four other psychotherapists. That's when
03:22 the antenna started to raise for me that something is not exactly
03:26 clicking here if they're cycling in and out of therapy. They're
03:30 not really healing emotionally and mentally as we would hope
03:35 they would as a result of using these techniques.
03:37 So I guess that of course it probably comes down to each
03:40 one's ability. Different secular psychologists probably have
03:47 different techniques, but after four you would think that a
03:51 red flag would go up there; something is not working the
03:53 way it should work. Well, the bottom line is, and
03:57 I'm going to talk about this further, psychotherapy alone
04:00 can alleviate symptoms, but the true change does not occur until
04:05 you start in the heart. Psychotherapy just focuses on
04:08 behaviors, thoughts and feelings which are important. I don't
04:11 want to down play that, some people need that for the short
04:15 term, but if they really want deep-down true healing we need
04:18 to go further than that.
04:19 It seems like normally when I hear the term psychotherapy
04:23 I always think about well let's take you back to your childhood.
04:26 That's a major part of it.
04:27 Let's go back there and let's kind of start getting the big
04:29 eraser out and let's kind of start erasing this stuff, and
04:33 then if we can just follow this track and everything, well one
04:36 of these days you're going to be better. So, how does that lead
04:43 to the problems if we do not get past that as we get older?
04:48 Well, it can lead to problems. But the thing that I want to
04:53 mention today is that as Christians you can understand
04:57 that, but unless Christ comes into your heart and changes you,
05:01 just understanding that will not help us, if that makes any sense
05:04 because as Christians we become new creatures and when we become
05:08 new creatures it doesn't mean that tomorrow all my problems
05:12 will be gone, but it means that I have the different focus and
05:16 my focus is on as that new creature helping the creator to
05:19 change me. Amen. Seems to like what we
05:24 don't truly understand is the supernatural power of the
05:28 creator who is doing this adjusting. It's kind of hard to
05:35 term your psychologist, who probably could be your best
05:38 friend for a while as being supernatural. So I would rather
05:42 go to someone that has that supernatural power whenever
05:47 you start. I think that you brought some graphics.
05:50 Yes, I did. Because I believe that there is some impact of
05:55 childhood, which you mentioned earlier, that when you think of
05:58 psychotherapy you think of going back to childhood, and the Bible
06:01 tells us that childhood has an impact and there are other
06:05 people who have written about that. I have one graphic that
06:07 shows something powerful that I don't know if many people know
06:10 know about this. Let's go to that graphic now.
06:12 The character of Napoleon Bonaparte was greatly influenced
06:16 by his training in childhood. Unwise instructors inspired him
06:21 with a love for conquest, forming mimic armies and placing
06:25 him at their head as commander... And this is the
06:28 significant sentence... Here was laid the foundation for his
06:33 career of strife and bloodshed. So we see Napoleon Bonaparte,
06:38 we know the history, we know what kind of person he was, but
06:40 this particular author is telling us that the principles
06:44 for that were laid in childhood where he started to act out
06:47 being a commander and carrying out armies and all of that.
06:51 We see the results of that as an adult as we read history.
06:53 We even see that today, you know. Our kids, we want them
06:57 to mimic things out. So it's really what you put in is
07:03 normally what you're going to get out. This is a study here.
07:08 It is, and as we look through the Bible there are examples.
07:11 When you look and you read the books of Kings and Judges it
07:15 says that he followed his father's ways, or he followed
07:18 his grandfather's ways. So we know that childhood does have
07:22 an impact and we cannot deny that. We can't deny that at all,
07:26 it's a reality. So let's look at going back to
07:32 childhood. So do we focus on childhood to help people heal
07:37 emotionally? Do we go there, I mean, how does all that work?
07:41 That's a very good question. I could tell you how I used to
07:44 work. People would come in, I would spend initial time...
07:47 I would actually ask them to fill out questions about their
07:49 childhood. How was your relationship with your father?
07:51 How did your mother treat your dad? How did your mother treat
07:54 you. How was your relationship with your siblings. All of that
07:58 does have an impact. So I learned a lot from that. This is
08:01 where I went wrong. As I spent a lot of time getting their
08:06 feelings out about that, drawing pictures about it and they
08:10 learned a lot, but the behavior change didn't follow. I made a
08:14 lot of money because that type of therapy keeps people coming
08:18 in because they really think that they're learning, you know,
08:22 this knowledge that I'm gaining is really helping me to learn.
08:25 It's interesting, one thought that came to my mind was, Satan
08:29 used that same explanation to Eve, if you know more you'll be
08:33 better. But we found out that wasn't true and in psychology
08:37 that is not necessarily true that you know more meaning you
08:41 will be better. I do believe, however, there are times to
08:44 make connections because God wants us to make connections:
08:47 I'm doing this because my father did this. But the next step is,
08:51 Lord, how can you help me to move past this. After you gain
08:54 that knowledge only God can come in and help you to move forward
08:58 and to change. That's where I went wrong.
09:01 Did you find out that some of people just weren't able to
09:05 answer these questions: Oh many of them were not
09:07 when I first started out in the early 90's but I don't know
09:10 if you've recognized, if you look at TV and you go to the
09:13 book stores, there are so many books and so many program on how
09:17 childhood impacts us now. People are very knowledgeable about
09:21 that. So they come in to me talking about these things.
09:24 I know why I am like this, my father did this, this happened
09:28 to me, that happened to me. But as I started to learn more I
09:30 said to myself, They know all of this, but they're still coming
09:33 in to see me. So there's a disconnect somewhere.
09:36 So, in order to heal emotionally is that ever truly done?
09:42 I don't think so personally. I think some changes occur but
09:47 not true emotional healing. If we spend all the time talking
09:52 about childhood personally I don't think that it is done as
09:57 thoroughly as it should be. I really don't think so.
09:59 It would just seem like that would just be an unending mine
10:03 that you just keep chipping away and keep chipping away and
10:07 it just gets deeper and deeper and deeper. Then it gets a
10:10 little bit more complicated and then you go to the right or
10:13 you go to the left and it starts all over again.
10:15 That's exactly what happens and sometimes it opens up wounds as
10:19 well that people would do better just to keep closed, if that
10:22 makes any sense. Most certainly it does. You know sometimes you
10:25 don't have to dig that wound open again in order to heal; let
10:29 it heal. I don't want to throw it completely
10:32 away but I think the problem with secular psychology is
10:35 that's where we stop and God says, I want you to move further
10:40 Amen. I certainly want to make a point that we aren't downgrading
10:45 psychologists in any way because you are one. It's just that in
10:50 your particular life the way that God led, it took you up to
10:54 a certain point and then you were enlightened by the Holy
10:58 Spirit, which is a gift to each and every one of us and then
11:02 you started seeing things that you hadn't seen before.
11:06 I probably could guess that you started seeing a different type
11:10 of healing in your clients.
11:13 I did. Oh I can tell you so many stories about the type of
11:15 healing. I mentioned in another program about the young lady who
11:19 had been sexually abused by so many different people and had
11:22 been through years of therapy and it was only when we started
11:24 talking about forgiveness that her healing occurred. I know
11:27 another story of a woman who was having problems because she was
11:30 the illegitimate child, the only child of this particular father
11:34 and all her sisters had the same mother and father. She came to
11:37 me and had been through all this therapy and the Holy Spirit
11:40 impressed me to take a chapter or a page out of a particular
11:43 book called Desire of Ages that talks about Christ being sort of
11:47 illegitimate because he didn't have the earthly father.
11:50 She read it and came and said to me, This is the solution to my
11:54 problems. If Christ went through this and was able to be okay,
11:58 I can go through this and be okay too. She said, Thank you
12:01 so much for sharing that with me. But if I had used the
12:04 traditional psychotherapy, we would have been there exploring
12:07 her feelings about what it feels like to be the only child of
12:10 this father and, Oh, I'm just sure you're hurting so much,
12:14 you know. But God has just blessed to be able to lead me to
12:17 know through the Holy Spirit how to really help this woman.
12:21 Now I guess that there are other types of psychotherapy.
12:25 Yes there are. Some psychotherapists don't even
12:28 look at childhood. Some of them just focus purely on changing
12:32 behaviors; like if a child has problems with urinating in the
12:35 bed all the time, they use behavior modification techniques
12:39 where they do certain things to help the child stop doing that
12:42 if it's not a physiological problem. With smoking, or with
12:46 overweight they use reward- punishment systems to help
12:49 people to change their behaviors and that's pretty effective.
12:53 However, what is happening is all we do is look for changing
12:56 of behaviors and not changing of the heart what will happen?
12:59 If another behavior goes bad guess what, I'm running back to
13:02 that psychotherapist again. So those things are helpful, but we
13:06 still, even as we go to them because I'm not saying not to
13:09 go to them, but even as we go we recognize this may stop my
13:12 behavior but I have to keep carrying it further so the Lord
13:16 can change my heart. So I'm assuming that if there
13:19 are people in our audience that seem like they have come to a
13:21 crossroad and they can't go any further and they have been going
13:25 to their therapist for a long time, perhaps they need to get
13:28 on their knees. Amen, amen. The other thing they
13:31 could do is to find someone who is biblically based, not
13:35 necessarily a PhD or a masters in psychology. A grounded pastor
13:40 a grounded Bible worker, a grounded church member who knows
13:44 God's word could help this person move past that block.
13:47 That's what I love about God's word. You don't have to have a
13:50 Ph. D. If you have one that's great, but if you don't have one
13:53 there's many people that you can reach out to and help.
13:56 Now everybody has different goals and some people have
13:59 different influences in their life and different opportunities
14:04 than other people have, but we can all have the heart of God if
14:08 we can just turn it over and surrender it to him. You can use
14:13 this in mighty ways, mighty ways. Should a red flag go up
14:17 whenever we're talking about Christianity and secular
14:21 psychology? Well yes, a red flag should go
14:25 up because we need to compare everything with scripture. And
14:30 related to that, we shouldn't just automatically assume that
14:35 because someone titles themselves as a Christian
14:39 psychologist that they are safe. I titled myself as a Christian
14:42 psychologist. The insurance company, because I was on a lot
14:46 of insurance lists as a mental health provider, they would
14:49 refer people to me because the person would call in and say I
14:52 want a Christian psychologist. But, J.D., you know what I was
14:55 doing. I rarely picked up their Bible. They came to me, I was a
14:59 Christian, but I used a lot of Freud, I used a lot of Carl
15:03 Rogers, I used a lot of Maslow. But they just wanted to know I
15:07 was a Christian. So because a person has that title before
15:10 them does not mean they are going to refer more to the Bible
15:13 than to secular psychology to help. So I tell people that all
15:16 the time; when you're looking for someone kind of talk to
15:19 them and get a sense of the methods they use, how much do
15:22 you use the Bible? How much do you pray? Just ask those
15:24 questions and if they are honest they will answer them and they
15:27 will give you an idea of what they mean when they dub
15:30 themselves as a Christian psychologist.
15:33 You know, back whenever I grew up we were vaccinated as kids,
15:38 measles, mumps and all this kind of stuff and everything.
15:43 And I found out that with a small group of people it didn't
15:48 take. So even if you were vaccinated, doesn't necessarily
15:53 mean that it's going to take. So it's very important that you
15:59 do ask whoever you choose to share time with from a therapy
16:05 standpoint that you're on the same page.
16:07 That's very important, very important, especially for
16:10 Christians because our guidebook is the Bible and when we deviate
16:14 away from that, that can be problematic. But even for the
16:17 secular person. You may not have to day Bible scripture to
16:21 them but the principles of the Bible are much more healing than
16:24 what secular psychology alone has to offer.
16:27 I know that people call 3ABN pastoral department quite
16:31 often, not to counsel, because we don't counsel, but they do
16:35 call for prayer because they know that there is something
16:38 supernatural in prayer. There are many times, and I say this
16:41 with love in my heart, that you've got some people that
16:45 just want to talk. They really don't want to allow God to work.
16:49 They'd rather just talk, talk, talk, talk. You know you can
16:53 only talk for so long and especially as many people
16:55 that call us. So I've found myself, and I'm saying this with
16:58 love in my heart. I mean, it's very important that you hear
17:02 that. I say, Do you want to just talk or do we want to get
17:05 to the bottom of this issue? If you want to get to the issue,
17:08 we can bring Jesus Christ into this real quick.
17:11 You say you're not a counselor. You're a good counselor.
17:13 Well, thank you Jesus. But the whole thing is here again just
17:18 because they're vaccinated does not mean that it's going to take
17:23 We do deal with lots of hurting people. What about people
17:30 getting on the Christian band wagon. Is it strictly a
17:35 Christian band wagon or do other non-Christian's express
17:40 concerns about the psychotherapy?
17:42 Oh yes. Non-Christians are expressing concern especially
17:45 the research psychologists. You know there's a divide in
17:48 psychology, many people don't know that between those who do
17:52 research and those who do therapy. When I was going
17:55 through school the researchers would criticize them saying
17:57 you're basing all these things on Freud, Rogers, Maslow.
17:59 There's not been any research on this. But we actually have a
18:03 graphic that shows one study and the results of what one study
18:07 showed about psychotherapy and how much it works. Let's show
18:10 that graphic right now. In a review of 42 studies
18:14 comparing professional therapists with paraprofessional
18:17 therapists... let me explain, paraprofessional is the one who
18:20 doesn't have the degree in psychology or mental health...
18:23 only one study out of those 42 showed that the trained
18:27 therapist got better results. Twenty-nine studies showed no
18:32 difference between those two groups and the remaining 12
18:36 studies showed that the paraprofessionals actually
18:40 out-performed the professional therapists. You know if I had
18:43 read that study years ago when it came out I would not have
18:47 been a happy camper because I spent a lot of years in school
18:50 and a lot of money. But what this is saying is that the
18:53 trained did not necessarily do much better than those who were
18:57 not trained in helping people with their problems. And many
19:00 psychologists and mental health professionals might not want to
19:03 hear that but I'm just basing it on what science shows.
19:06 There are psychologists who are non-therapists out there saying,
19:11 You know guys, you're doing this but I don't know necessarily if
19:14 you're doing any better than a person who just provides a good
19:17 listening ear. So there are some secular people who are
19:22 recognizing... Actually there's a book that's called On Blanking
19:26 Out; it's something about Americans becoming less
19:30 strong and less resilient because we're so therapy prone.
19:34 There was a time when Americans were strong because we were able
19:38 to, for lack of a better term, pull ourselves up by our own
19:41 bootstraps. But the therapizing of America has
19:45 actually made us weaker.
19:46 They just did it, you know, they just got out there and they just
19:51 did it. If a person can be led, and many people can be led,
19:57 if they're being led, they can be molded. So this again is
20:02 where to me it only makes sense; of course, I'm coming from a
20:06 spiritual aspect, let's let God take over. Let's let him do what
20:10 he does. He's supernatural, so supernatural things are going to
20:15 happen if you invite him in and just say, I'm yours Lord. You
20:19 know, not my will be done but yours be done. It would just
20:25 make sense, if you choose to believe that He is real, then He
20:32 certainly will do what he has promised to do. I've got a
20:37 question here. It says what about Christian psychologists,
20:41 we're talking about on the graphic there, and are they
20:45 safer for us as Christians?
20:48 If they're using the Bible as their base they are, very much
20:52 so. If they're basing their counsel from the principles of
20:55 scripture, they are safer than a secular psychologist because
20:58 scripture is going to bring lasting change when we apply it.
21:02 Secular psychology only changes the outside, but the scripture
21:05 will bring the lasting change.
21:07 I would assume that if you are indeed a Christian you are
21:13 looking for change and you know your change does come from Jesus
21:16 and so that would probably just help their mind set even
21:21 so they'd go into it looking. I know Father that you're out
21:25 there, I know that if I ask you to come into my heart that you
21:29 will come in and you know the issues that I have.
21:30 But you know the sad part, J.D., is that I've spoken to some
21:34 Christians and I tell them how I work since the Lord has changed
21:38 my way and they're like you just use the Bible? That breaks my
21:42 heart when I hear that because we don't recognize how rich the
21:45 Bible is and the principles that are in there. I remember working
21:49 with a non-religious person and they were going through a lot of
21:52 stress and I said, I'm going to share a principle with you that
21:55 is found in Deuteronomy. I always forget the chapter.
21:57 Now I didn't tell them this. I just said remember this, As thy
22:02 day so shall thy strength be. They took that home and came
22:06 back to me a week or two later and said, You know, I repeated
22:09 that to myself every day and it made a difference. Because
22:13 I explained it to them. God will provide you strength for this
22:16 day. You go to bed and wake up and then the next day he will
22:19 provide you strength. Don't try to surmount the whole week.
22:23 Take one day at a time and he will give you strength. Actually
22:27 I didn't say God now that I think about it, I just said
22:29 strength will be given to you. And they took that principle and
22:32 went with it and said that was so helpful to hear that
22:36 principle. That's just an example out of many. One author
22:40 says, True psychology is found in the scriptures and I truly
22:44 believe that. I believe that. I guess that
22:48 psychology itself, what is that, the study of human nature?
22:51 Of the mind. That's right, the study of the mind. And who
22:54 better knows the mind than the creator of the mind. I remember
22:59 that he promises us grace for the day. So let's don't sit and
23:05 get caught up in what could happen tomorrow because he's
23:08 promised us, As your day is then your strength shall be. And if
23:13 we start building up mountains for tomorrow, which lots of
23:16 people do, then he says, Wait a minute here, I haven't promised
23:20 you grace for tomorrow, it will come, that's tomorrow. Let's
23:24 bring reality and let's deal with today.
23:27 You know, another Bible verse that focuses on that is
23:29 Matthew 6. Take no thought therefore for tomorrow for
23:31 tomorrow shall bring, I'm just blanking on it, but sufficient
23:35 unto the day is the evil thereof. Tomorrow shall take
23:39 thought for itself, that's what it is.
23:40 Exactly. The truth of the matter is many people have been hurt
23:47 in childhood. How can they be helped? Because they experience
23:53 this pain as a child, they carry it on as a young adult and then
23:58 many people... I mean I've had people call that are 80 years
24:02 old and they've never shared an issue that they've had in their
24:07 life with anybody; 80 years old! But they've experienced this as
24:12 a child. So they went from childhood, young adulthood
24:16 adulthood and they continue to grow. But how can they be helped
24:22 Do we have any ideal in dealing with the people that have been
24:28 hurt by childhood experiences?
24:30 Since I've learned a different way I start out with people and
24:35 I say to them, Let's look at focusing on how God can help
24:39 you move past this. Present this to God and say, God this person
24:44 this parent did this terrible thing to me. What is it that you
24:48 can do for me through this. How can you heal me? And turn to his
24:52 word for that. It sounds so simplistic and sometimes I
24:56 actually might need to hold their hand in helping them find
24:59 that in God's word. But when they do that healing can come.
25:03 The other thing is looking at what we can learn from these
25:07 things. There are some people who have become wonderful
25:11 people, not that God put this on them for that to happen, but as
25:15 a result of these childhood difficulties they could comfort
25:18 others wherewith they have been comforted. So a person who has
25:22 been molested can easily talk to someone who has been molested
25:26 A person who has been through a divorce can easily relate to
25:29 someone who has been divorced and they can, Lord, because of
25:32 these things I can help so many people. So there are a lot of
25:35 things that I do with people like that but those are two that
25:37 just come to mind, helping them turn to scripture and the Lord
25:39 and helping them to say, Lord, what can I do with this
25:42 situation. How can I help others and when that attention is
25:46 focused away from self, healing can come and that's what I've
25:49 seen happen in so many different situations and cases.
25:52 How has this changed your life?
25:54 Oh it's changed my life tremendously. First of all, I
25:57 can just be honest. It's helped me deal with things that have
26:00 gone on in my own past that I was looking to secular
26:05 psychology, but as I learned this, I recognized how God could
26:08 help me move past there number one and number two it's changed
26:11 how I work with people completely. I use biblical
26:14 principles. One thing I also learned in working with
26:17 Dr. Neal Nedley was it helped me understand how to apply just
26:20 basic health principles to help the mind function better;
26:23 working with people who are depressed or who are anxious.
26:26 Helping them learn how to eat better, helping them know about
26:29 what time to get to bed so those hormones can be released in the
26:32 brain to help the brain function better with stress and with
26:36 depression, helping them to exercise, even the music they
26:40 listen to, find healing music. These are the things that I do
26:43 with people and actually when I started doing that before in
26:46 my practice I lost money because people stopped coming in as much
26:49 because they were calling in leaving messages on the front
26:51 desk saying, Well, tell Dr. Parks I'm doing much better.
26:55 So I lost money, but people healed much quicker because
26:59 I was using God's principles. It was a wonderful thing.
27:02 Then they are also blessed but God honors that, God honors
27:06 you know, because we're not looking for things of this of
27:10 this earth. You know, we are looking for what comes beyond
27:15 that. Once again, psychotherapy is what in 25 words or less.
27:20 It is using the techniques of psychology to help people change
27:24 behaviors, emotions and thoughts helping them gain insight to
27:28 resolved conflicts and all of that. That's what psychotherapy
27:32 does. Well, once again we're running
27:36 out of time. But I just want you to know how much I have
27:41 appreciated your input and not only have I appreciated it but
27:45 I'm sure that our audience out there has appreciated it.
27:48 Well there's such a blessing to be here. I'm so grateful to be
27:51 here and share what the Lord has shared with me.
27:53 Once again, Be In Good Health That's the name of your
27:57 ministry? Yes it is. Amen, Amen.
28:00 I just want to thank each one of you for being with us at
28:03 Issues and Answers. Just know how much that we love each one
28:06 of you and we will continue to pray earnestly for you.
28:09 God bless.


Revised 2014-12-17