About Theophostic Counseling (TPM):
The word "theophostic" comes from two Greek words: "Theos"
(God) and "Phos" (light). Its originator, Ed smith, writes: "These two
terms describe God bringing forth illumination into a previously darkened area
of one's mind. TheoPhostic counselling offers a new and revolutionary means of
accomplishing what traditional approaches to therapy I only saw produce in
Theophostic© Counseling (TPM;
a.k.a. TheoPhostic Counseling, Theophostic Ministry) shares most of its fundamental beliefs with
recovered memory therapy (RMT). Its promoters believe that:
||Memories of traumatic events, particularly those of childhood sexual
abuse, are often repressed at the time of the incident.
||These memories are accurately stored in a part of the brain that is
not readily accessible by the adult's conscious brain.
||Repressed memories of childhood abuse cause emotional problems in
||Repressed memories can be accurately recovered via therapy or
||Recovered memories are accurate recollections of real events.
TPM thus can thus be reasonably considered to be a form of RMT.
However, TPM includes some concepts that are not part of traditional RMT. TPM
promoters believe that:
||Associated with each of these traumatic memories is a false belief --
a lie -- implanted by Satan. It is the lie, more than the abuse memories themselves, that causes
distress in adulthood.
||Satan, or one of his demons, continually tries to exploit these lies
by causing the individual adult to engage in sinful behaviors, causing
feelings of guilt.
||During a TPM counseling session, encourages the person to revisit the
memory and then allows Jesus, or the Holy Spirit to enter the mind of a
born-again Christian and cause the lies to be over-written and corrected
-- much like a virus is removed from an computer disk.
||It is possible that a demon has actually entered the client's mind,
masquerading as Jesus or the Holy Spirit. The therapist must verify the
identity of the indwelling spirit before proceeding.
||Once the lies in the person's early memory have been corrected, the
linkage to today's emotional problems and sinful practices is broken.
Satan can not tempt a person to sin as easily as he could before the TPM
sessions. The person is healed.
During the pre-scientific eras, sinful behavior, mental illness and physical
illness were often attributed to indwelling evil spirits
(a.k.a. diabolical spirits, demons, unclean spirits, devils, etc). These beliefs
were universally believed in Palestine during the 1st and 2nd centuries
CE when the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) were
written. Conservative Protestants believe that the entire Bible is the Word of
God and inerrant -- without error. Thus, they accept
that the biblical accounts about spirit possession are literally true. They believe that
individuals in the present generation can be also possessed. They
believe that an ever-present Satan, his demons, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit can
enter a person's mind and effect changes in the individual's thinking, for evil
or for good.
TPM supporters and secular therapists are poles apart on mental health
issues. Demonic possession, Satanic seduction, hearing the voice of Jesus, and
seeing his image during therapy are normal parts of TPM therapy. The mainline
mental health movement abandoned the possibility of spirit possession many
This web site's policy on counseling methods:
It is not normally the policy of this web site to recommend for or against a specific
counseling method. However, we make an exception for therapies which have
been shown to be experimental, unproven, and extremely dangerous to clients. One such
counseling method is
Recovered Memory Therapy (RMT). RMT has had a very low cure rate, a history
of creating false memories, and a horrendous record of destroying the mental
health of tens of thousands of clients and their families of origin.
Fortunately, most RMT therapists abandoned the technique in the late 1990s. We feel
that it would be irresponsible for us if we did not recommend that everyone
avoid RMT at all costs. Since RMT forms an integral part of Theophostic
Counseling, we also recommend that everyone steer clear of TPM as well -- at
least until its safety has been established.
Potential dangers of TPM:
To our knowledge, no independent study of the efficiency and safety of TPM
has yet been conducted. No review of TPM has appeared in any peer-reviewed
journal. We urge extreme caution.
Over the past two
decades, many psychologists, psychiatrists, other therapists and counselors have
developed new forms of therapy that were not grounded on a solid theoretical
foundation. These therapies typically grew rapidly in popularity, reached a plateau
of acceptance, and then went into decline. The cycle typically takes 15 to 20
years. Past examples of these psychological fads have include Recovered Memory
Therapy, Multiple Personality Disorder, Dissociative
Identity Disorder, Reparative therapy (to
attempt to change
the client's sexual orientation), Satanic Ritual Abuse, implanting memories of abuse in young
children's minds, and UFO abuse oriented therapy. The current therapy-du-jour
appears to be Eye Movement Desensitization and
The public has no protection against these potentially dangerous and ineffective
||The FDA in the U.S. carefully monitors new medications for safety,
effectiveness, and side effects. But there is no comparable government agency which
prevents the widespread use of experimental therapies until after their safety and
efficiency have been established.
||Professional mental health associations have
acted irresponsibly and have largely failed to regulate the activities of their own members.
Of concern is that TheoPhostic counseling is performed in a religious
setting, typically by conservative Christian counselors with no academic
qualifications. Many believe that since prayer is involved in the sessions,
that God will prevent any evil acts or false memories from emerging. It is
our opinion that God is not responsible for any good effects of TPM nor is
Satan responsible for any evil results. Rather, the impact of TPM -- whether
good or evil -- is determined by the counselor, the client, and their
interaction. During the 1980s and 1990s, RMT seriously
harmed many tens of
thousands of its victims, drove some to suicide, and disrupted tens of thousands of families of origin.
Many of its victims were counseled in a conservative Christian religious
setting. Since TPM and RMT are so closely related, we urge the
reader avoid becoming involved in TPM or in any other similar experimental therapy. We suspect that TPM has the same potential
for evil, if it becomes widely used.
Quoted in: Martin and Deidre Bobgan, "Theophostic Counseling:
Divine Revelation or Psycho Heresy?" Eastgate Publishers,
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
Chapter 1 of Bobgan's book is online at:
http://www.pamweb.org/images/Tpc01.pdf You need software to read these files. It can be obtained free from:
Copyright © 2002 & 2003 y Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2002-MAY-19
Latest update: 2003-JUL-6
Author: B.A. Robinson