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May 30, 2023

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AnonymousMay 4, 2021

As a Latter Day Saint therapist I was so sad to read about the difficulties fellow members have had. However, I would have preferred to read a more balanced article. I am in private practice and don’t work for LDS Services, but I find myself bearing testimony so frequently in sessions, I have come to view my profession is a sacred privilege. I know many therapists who feel the same. I pray daily that my clients of all persuasions will feel Christ’s love through me and have a desire to seek Him, knowing He can heal them. I would suggest that any member seeking therapy ask neighbors and friends for a referral. They should also make their beliefs known in the first session, along with their desire to prioritize spirituality as a tool for healing. Ask if your therapist agrees with ALL Church teachings. If you feel the relationship is not a fit, it is appropriate to say so and ask if the therapist knows someone who may be a better fit. Remember, when you are paying for a service, you are the boss. If you find yourself in a situation where the spirit cannot speak to you, either inside or outside the therapy room, LEAVE. Much love and happy healing. ❤️

Maryann TaylorApril 29, 2021

This is very disturbing, however, I do NOT believe the vast majority of LDS therapists would give counsel that is not in harmony with the doctrines of the church. Suffering from depression, I was very fortunate to find a Psychiatrist who was a member of the church and also a Bishop. I went to him because I needed to be able to trust that any counsel I received would not be in conflict with gospel principles. He was such a blessing and helped me greatly. We must be spiritually self-reliant so that we immediately recognize when someone is teaching us something that is not harmonious with the gospel. There are many wonderful therapists who are devoted members of the church. Keep looking until you find the right one.

JaneApril 28, 2021

I think this is a great conversation to have. I realize that you gave reasons for why people think they should see an LDS therapist, but I think those reasons are not as important as the quality of the therapist. I saw a non-LDS therapist for years, and in all that time, she never imposed her own values on our conversations. In fact, she did that so effectively that I didn't know what her religion was (if any), her political beliefs, or even whether she was in a relationship. That's how I think it should work, and if done well it doesn't matter what the therapist's religion is.

Virginia RockwellApril 27, 2021

Wow. I thought we were the only ones with a bad experience with a chauvinist LDS therapist. This is very sad.

ToddApril 27, 2021

Having had experience with psychology classes (yes in a Utah university), been through multiple types of therapy, had family members and friends share their experiences of therapy, and personally know several therapists. There have been both good and bad, but based on my personal experience at least 80% of these "active" LDS therapists defaulted to "the philosophies of men" (the standard practice of their profession) rather than use the gospel doctrine and principles to guide their therapy practice. There was a "we've now learned more and understand better than God how to fix this" attitude and one BYU psychology professor actually admitted that he did not believe the church or the gospel, but he did what he needed to do to keep his recommend so that he didn't loose his job. It may anger a lot of LDS psychologists, especially in Utah, that I say this (and it's not limited to psychologists, but in other professions as well) but, many keep up the appearances of church membership and activity because they use their church membership as a bridge of trust to their business clientele, and they are afraid of loosing business if they showed their true colors.

ShaunaApril 27, 2021

thanks for bringing this to my attention. I have had no qualms about persons seeking out a therapist, but I see that this is complicated. Sad to think that so many who advertise as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, don't see the need to fit their training into the Gospel lens, but instead see the Gospel through their "professional" lens, and feel therefore, empowered to leave Gospel principles out if they seem inconvenient or contradictory. Christ says "I am the way, the way, the truth and the life." I believe Him

Name WithheldApril 27, 2021

Thank you for this very timely article! It has helped me understand the confusion I felt for many years after my husband and I received marital counseling from a well-intentioned LDS therapist. My initial hopes soon turned into dread for those three-way visits because I knew I had to be careful of what I said, fearing repercussions from him later. However, I trusted that she would eventually recognize the dynamic of our dominant-submissive relationship because of her training. Thankfully, those exhausting (for me) sessions came to an end within the year because of our cross-country move for my husband's new job assignment. Our therapist's final advice to us was that I begin treatment (and antidepressants) from her colleague, a well-respected but non-LDS psychiatrist who practiced near our new hometown. We both agreed -- my husband with triumphant enthusiasm and I with a hopeless sigh of last resort... Dr. T's office visit began with an in-depth interview and ended with a wake-up call: "You aren't depressed and you don't need antidepressants. You have been gas-lit!" He did not send me home with any pills that day, but his "diagnosis" was far more empowering than anything I had felt for a long time, and our follow-up visit two months later helped launch me in my journey toward healing and dealing with my husband's narcissism. (For that part I am grateful to our LDS therapist.)

jgerberApril 27, 2021

I would like to know who signed the letter. Is there a way to find out?

kathy FlinnApril 27, 2021

This article is correct. There are "therapist" practicing today that teach false doctrine. There are latter-day saints that religiously follow the "therapist", instead of church doctrine.

NicoleApril 27, 2021

I do managed care for a bunch of therapists in UT and a few other states. We regularly talk to bishops who are helping ward members get help for various reasons - sexual addiction, infidelity, marriage problems, etc. These bishops pay for the sessions with fast offerings, in many cases. They seek out LDS therapists, as do other clients who are LDS. This article made me sad to think that some of these therapists are leading people astray spiritually. As someone who speaks daily to the clients seeking help, I hear their struggles in short form, and I ache for them. I have even prayed for some of them. I want them to get the help they're seeking, and I trust that these therapists are helping them heal and have healthier, happier lives. In many cases they do, but I wish they would read this article to be more aware of the great influence they can have for good or bad in a client's life, specifically when it comes to their spiritual safety.

Harold StuartApril 27, 2021

This is a much-needed article and I commend Brother Cunningham for publishing it. Sadly, more than one friend of mine has been sent to hell by a "therapist". One of them ended up committing jaw-dropping heinous acts because of a therapist's encouragement to leave gospel values behind. I would ask those who signed the letter a simple question: are you sure that you are right? Encouraging your brother or sister to sin is in and of itself a serious sin. Do you worship God or your so-called "professional ethics?" We should fear God more than man.

Charles DefranchiApril 27, 2021

There is no contradiction between gospel ideals and mental health. The only issue is acquiring the correct understanding of what they stand for and helping others in developing the same understanding. Latter-Day Saint therapists who see a gap between the gospel and the way they should provide their patients with help have given a significant portion of their faith and testimony to worldly ideas and the science of men, in opposition to that of God.

GGApril 27, 2021

This is very insightful. I have tried to find a list of the therapists who signed the letter you refer to but although I can find the letter itself, they don’t have their names attached to it. Does anyone have a link to the letter with the actual therapists names who signed it so we know who, in therapy, would advocate for behaviors opposed to church teachings?

Michael HogganApril 27, 2021

As a paranoid schizophrenic, I need a therapist who will encourage me to avoid self-destructive behaviors. It deeply concerns me that any therapist, who is presumably being paid for their time, would view that as "not their job". For the therapist in question to be a self-identifying Latter-Day-Saint is only more disturbing.

StefanApril 27, 2021

It’s great that you shared all of the experiences of people who have had poor outcomes related to therapy with LDS therapists, but why don’t you share any of the thousands of other experiences that people have had with these same LDS therapists, myself included. I can tell you first hand that I have been to therapists who are not LDS, therapists who are LDS from LDS Family Services and are required to stick to strict LDS standard therapy and a therapist who is LDS but allowed thoughts that some LDS people think may push the boundaries. By far, the third option was the one who kept me in the church, not pushed me away. This is the case for MANY members of the LDS church. These therapists often push boundaries related to cultural norms within the church that are harmful and not doctrinal. This article is simply poor journalism.



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