In this article I've included just enough of my personal story to show the harm regressive therapy can do. My hope is that the reader will make Jesus their counselor. (Isaiah 9:6)
By David Edgerton
"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." (John 16:13)
"Theophostic counseling can take you back to your mother's womb to find out what was wrong inside your mother that made your arm stop growing. We've taken other patients back to their mother's womb."
Yes, the above statement was made to this author by a leading professional in the theophostic counseling movement. He has held trainings in many churches, teaching pastors how to perform theophostic on their congregation. In this writing we'll discover what lead me to this theophostic healer's office.
Some say love is blind. A few weeks into dating, my future wife broke the door off of her mother's house in a fit of rage. I put a new one on for her. Throwing things, name calling, watching her mother beat the future wife's head against the wall, were red flags I chose to ignore during our dating period. A few months after our wedding she punched me in the face for not stopping her from taking a part time job at a veterinary clinic. I insisted she get help. That started her on a quest for therapeutic salvation.
My wife, who I committed myself to unconditionally, continued abusing me for fifteen years, both physically and verbally. There is nothing that could have been done to cause me to leave her; I believed in my vows. But then, after faithfully committing fifteen years to my wife and two children, just to have her throw me out, permanently, on to the street, with a family court order, I decided to do some investigation into the therapeutic practices that she was involved in.
Her first therapeutic stop, (after that punch in the face), was a Christian counselor. In later years my wife did EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). At the advice of that therapist she went to Al-Anon. From there she went to theophostic counseling. EMDR and Theophostic Counseling are "regression therapies." These therapies are based on the same principles as "Past Life Regression," (getting in touch with your past lives) which is a New Age religious practice tied to reincarnation. They are hypnotic in nature.
It was a few years before being thrown out of my home that my wife started going to EMDR. Coming home after her first session she informed me that EMDR was a regression therapy. Over time I shared my concerns about supposed past memories being drudged up. To which she replied, "It's not like I'm going to discover that my father molested me, that NEVER happened." As time passed, sure enough, she "discovered" that she was molested by her father as an infant only weeks old.
One evening my wife beat me in the presence of my son. Rage was supposedly the reason my wife was going to counseling. I set up an appointment with her EMDR counselor to see if she could help me. The counselor never knew that my wife had rage/abuse issues. She later questioned my wife about the abuse. She admitted to it.
EMDR took my wife back to a time, in infancy, that she was supposedly molested by her father. This turned our tilted marriage completely upside down. Nothing I could do was right. In her eyes I became the enemy, guilty of everything that she thought her father had done.
At the firing of the counselor (for giving my wife her home phone number), Al-Anon became her new "therapy." Why Al-Anon? According to the EMDR counselor, the 'twelve steps' apply to any area of life, including her alleged molestation.
Ever heard of the "Twelve Steps?" They sound good. They work for some. Central to the 12 steps is a core belief in an unknown God, known as a "higher power," or "the god of my understanding."
My wife was a woman strong in the Word of God. Outside of her rage problems, she was a woman of little compromise. That was one of the traits that I highly respected about her. As time passed, she came to rely on precepts contrary to the Word of God. Coming home from meetings, I was consistently reminded that everyone in Al-Anon who had a "higher power" was saved, no matter what the higher power was. In her words," A relationship with god is a very personal thing. We each have a god of our own understanding. We can't dictate another person's truth. Truth is a variable based on perception. There can be more than one truth. All the truths can be true at the same time."
Along with a change in doctrine came a change in affection. After an evening Al-Anon meeting, she came to my den: "There may come a day I don't need you anymore. I won't need to be with you anymore." She bragged how she was the healthiest she'd ever been. Her self esteem had been restored. She was becoming strong enough to be on her own.
Al-Anon had taught her to focus on herself, not Jesus. It created an extreme self-centeredness. Everything had to revolve around her. My children are still suffering from this.
A mutual friend had been attending Al-Anon with my wife and came to the same conclusions about her husband. She stayed at our house during a separation from her husband. She has left him four times as of this writing. This "friend" of my wife, Joan, was very instrumental in tearing my marriage apart. Joan showed her exactly what to do to get rid of me, through the family court system, like she had done to her own husband. Her husband tells me that she believes she has a "gift" from God in getting women out of their "abusive" marriages. He listed numerous divorces she had facilitated.
Every afternoon I would pick up my kids at the Boys and Girls Club after school. One afternoon, picking up my kids turned into a nightmare. Just as the kids got into the car, my wife flies her car within inches of my front bumper, blocking me into the parking lot. Joan had followed and was sitting in her van watching the event from the street. Well, my wife jumped out of her car, yanked open my door and pulled the kids out of my car. To this day, I have no idea what was going through her mind, or Joan's.
That was the summer of 2000. Everyday she would scream how she hated the sound of my voice, always did. There were times she would throw me out of the car, no matter where we were, because she didn't "like the sound of my voice." She was grabbing the kids and going over to Joan's house quite frequently, usually in a fit of rage.
As she stayed in Al-Anon life became most unbearable. Sharing her supposed traumas around the table, Al-Anon assured her that she was the one in the right. One evening she visited her sponsor, Janet, with a bottle of Black Velvet. (You see, my wife was an alcoholic. Yet, as time progressed, she started sharing in Al-Anon that I was an alcoholic. She wrote this in an article she had published in a national Al-Anon magazine.) She poured the Black Velvet down the sink at her sponsor's house.
Her accusing me of things she's done still happens. My son shared with me how mom told him that I always told her that I didn't care how she felt. In his words, "Mom use to always say that to you. Now she says you are the one who said it." Her attacking me with objects is still being reported as something I did to her. On August 6, 2003, a woman from my ex-wife's church said to my daughter, "I'm so sorry that your dad is an alcoholic." My daughter said to me, "What the heck dad? These people never met you, talked to you or seen you, yet they believe all kinds of sick things about you." One can only imagine how this kind of non-sense within the "church" can make a child's head spin with disbelief.
My daughter tells of her mom reporting to someone that I've never paid child-support, and she doesn't mind taking me back to court and putting me in jail. I have the pay stubs to prove I've paid, and my daughter sees the check come in the mail every week. My daughter and son have heard quite enough of the lies. My son witnessed my many beatings; including the one on the night of February 6, 2001 when she threw me out onto the street with no place to live, (one week after I had finished remodeling the house to her specifications) and acquired a family court order the next morning with the assistance of Joan. On the date of February 14, Valentines Day, Family Court informed me that I could not return to my home. What God puts together no man is to put asunder. A marriage based on a government licensing/contract has an exit. My wife took that exit.
After my exile I joined Al-Anon, regularly attended several different Al-Anon meetings, one which had her sponsor in it. No matter what anyone shared, the group assumed it to be true, and gave consoling counsel to the 'innocent' party. I learned that Al-Anon can actually be a positive experience, if you aren't the guilty party getting the consoling encouragement that they have to offer. From my observation, women who complain about their spouse are encouraged to leave their husbands. I have no way of knowing if that's how it is at all Al-Anon meetings.
"Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness." (Luke 11:35)
During the year of 2000 my wife started theophostic counseling. (Theophostic and Al-Anon overlapped each other.) For the most part, theophostic took over where EMDR left off.
Theophostic counseling requires that a person go back in time to relive the trauma. Any uncovered 'memories' are relived in theophostic. Theophostic's founder, Dr. Ed Smith, claims "Theophostics" was a direct revelation given from God, to him, in 1996. Dr. Smith had 17 prior years of experience in psychological counseling. Did God allow hurting people to stay in their emotional pain, for thousands of years, waiting for Ed Smith's breakthrough in psychotherapy? Surely not. Dr. Ed Smith had no right adding his "revelation" to the Christian church.
After being banished from home I tried "Christian" marriage counseling. This is when my wife blurted something at me that traumatized me in ways you can't imagine. During the course of her theophostic counseling, she "discovered" that I had raped her, holding her down with "two hands," each hand holding down one of her arms. I was born with one arm. The Freudian Christian marriage counselor didn't know how to handle such an accusation. He allowed it to continue, trying to get me to admit that it is possible that it may have happened. Later, in a private visit, he admitted to me that it was "kind of strange" that she accused me of that. He said that the problem with theophostic and any regressive memory therapies is that they cannot be proven. This accusation could be proven to be false, I was born with one arm. I still wonder why he didn't share the unreliability of regressive therapy in our marriage counseling session. I also wonder why he never pointed out the impossibility of the accusation being true.
As my wife relived her traumas in theophostic, Jesus held her as an infant being molested by her father. Jesus told her how important she was. Jesus was there as I was raping her, consoling her in the crisis. Jesus appearing to the client is the same as the New Age practice of channeling. To this day she still accuses me of raping her, holding her down with two hands. As I sat there, watching the extreme pain she was in as she retold the "event," I thought I understood why she suddenly threw me out of my home. It all made sense at the time, in a perverted sort of way. In her shoes, I may have done the same thing.
That's how theophostic works. There is nothing scientifically proven. Proof is not required. The very definition of science requires hard evidence. Thus, theophostic is not a science. Unlike theophostic, Christianity has hard evidence in the creation. (Romans 1:19,20) Theophostic's evidence is the imagination of its clients.
My wife's theophostic counselor instantly became her good friend. She went to court with her during our divorce. Her theophostic counselor was very active in my banishment from my house. She counseled her in ways to get more out of me in the divorce. Having no place to live, she told me to move into a rooming house in a bad part of the city. I went to that rooming house. There, I had to give the name of someone to contact for when they found me dead.
Often, in relationships gone bad, people use the phrase, "there's two sides to every story." For those who subscribe to the imagination of repressed memory "victims," there is only one side to the story. Repressed memories, "brought to light," are considered to be all the evidence they need to crucify the other party in the relationship. As in my case, the victim is further victimized by more than just his original perpetrator. (1 Cor. 12:26)
My ex-wife has gone on to start a group, at her new church, for abuse "victims" like herself. I've met people at her church who have ill feelings towards me. I don't know these people, and they don't know me. A family who took me into their home, when I had no place to live, are the only people who know both sides of the story. For Doug and Lynda I am very thankful to God. I consider Doug to be one of the luckiest people I know; his wife seeks after God. Lynda was one of my ex-wife's best friends. She was told, by my wife, that she was trying to get rid of me for years, but I didn't get it, and just wouldn't leave. She got the court order to guarantee my removal. I guess my wife thought Lynda would do the womanly thing and stand beside another woman even if she was wrong. Instead, Lynda rebuked her. Consequently, my wife went around bad-mouthing Doug and Lynda, saying that they aren't even saved.
Regression therapy gives way for a person to justify their wrong actions. While they live with a new sense of freedom, their actions radiate destruction on those they think have wronged them. Forgotten memories is a wide open door for "the father of lies" to wreak havoc on relationships.
It's kind of like the Salem Witch Trials in reverse. With memory regression, the people who are doing the conjuring are the ones burning people at the stake. "Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house." (Pr 17:13) "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isa 5:20) "He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord." (Pr 17:15)
Dear regressive therapist, it may be your job but,
"Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15)
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." (2Peter 2:1)
"While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage." (2Peter 2:19)
If a person has problems that they do not know the root of, regression therapy is the last thing they should try. Why? Psyche needs a relief, and regression therapy becomes the conduit through which our minds create the relief. In our quest, longing for answers to our condition, our brains come up with some tall-tales. How is one to sort the real from the fake, when they don't know which is which from the start? Empirical evidence is needed, verifiable or provable by means of observation or experiment, not theory. There is no regression therapy that can provide such evidence, only supposed memories. If, perchance, we have hidden memories, our minds hid them for a reason. In regression therapy, we open a "Pandora's box," a source of many unforeseen troubles, that lead us down a path ridden with half-truths and lies.
Most churches in my area are being trained in theophostic. Unfortunately, for many, institutional christianity has become comfortable with living according to its vain imaginings, rather than the Word of God. I do believe we are seeing a great falling away in the institutional churches. God's word is no longer sufficient for them. The sufficiency of scripture, to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, is being lost in today's version of "christianity." If we are going to claim to be Christians, we must consider the place of priority God's word has in our lives. The Word of God is finished. Instructions for life and godliness are in it. Man-made methods, to obtain life and godliness, add to God's Word.
Relying on our own God-given judgment, we will see things for what they are. Mentally, we need no longer be "children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." (Eph 4:14) We have the Holy Spirit, sent to us by Jesus. He is our comforter and guide. We will be lead into all truth by Him. (John 16:7-15)
Christianity requires faith in the good news; the grace of God sending His Son to be a sacrifice for our sins. In much counseling, faith is placed on alleged past events. Theophostic, for example, requires a belief that certain events happened, and requires a tremendous pain, and grief, over those events.
Our emotions follow our thought life. So what kind of thoughts are we to cultivate? "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Php. 4:8)
Let's say we have problems from our past that hinder our present. Does God tell us to relive the past? No. God instructs us to "forget those things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are ahead, and press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Php. 3:13,14) The answer to our past problems is through forgetting, not trying to remember. At least that's the answer God gives us.
Emotion, set apart for the glory of God, rejoices in all things. (Phi. 4:4; 2Cor 6:10; 2Cor 7:4; Acts 5:41; Rom. 12:10-21) Wrong thinking leads to wrong actions. If we dredge up thoughts of ill treatment, love for the alleged offender becomes difficult. Our own forgiveness comes only as we forgive those who trespass against us. (Luke 17:3-4; Lu 11:4; Mt 6:12)
Let's look at 2Timothy 2:3,4; "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." A good soldier advances. Retreat is not an option. A good soldier endures hard times. The things of this world do not stand in the way of pleasing the one, Jesus Christ, who enlisted him as a soldier.
Lot's wife looked back (Genesis 19:26) , Christianity calls us to, diligently, look ahead to our eternal home. "And he (Jesus) said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, allow me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:59-62)
Pressing on, looking ahead, let's aim for the Kingdom for which we wish to be fit.
Copyright 2003 David Edgerton
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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