The Folly Of Freud and Psychological Counselling
‘Sigismund Schlomo Freud’
was born in 1856 into a Jewish home in Freiburg, Austria, a geographical area that is now part of the Czech Republic. His father was a wool merchant and his mother was his father’s third wife. Sigmund was the first of their eight children. In 1859 the family moved to Leipzig and then to Vienna in 1860. At the age of nine, Freud enrolled at a prominent high school where he excelled in his studies. He was proficient in eight languages and had a love of literature, with a special life-long interest in the work of William Shakespeare.
Freud entered the University of Vienna at the age of 17 with the intention of studying law, but ended up studying philosophy, physiology, and zoology instead. He graduated as a medical doctor in 1881 and the following year he married the daughter of Hamburg’s Chief Rabbi. That same year he embarked upon his medical career in a psychiatric clinic at the Vienna General Hospital. In 1886 he entered into private practice specializing in ‘nervous disorders’. He also undertook medical research into the use of analgesics for pain relief, a work that almost gained him a Nobel Prize for research.
It is widely reported that during his time of research Freud became addicted to cocaine, a drug almost unknown at that time. He developed a deep hatred of Christianity and perhaps this helped to develop his obsessive fascination with the occult. When he was a young doctor It is said that he had made a pact with devil and undoubtedly his involvement with the occult and cocaine use had a strong influence on the concoction of his psychological theories that could only have emanated from a deeply sinful and corrupt imagination; (for example his ‘Oedipus Complex’, by far the most wicked and perverse of all of Freud’s theories).
One theory conjured up by Freud was psychoanalysis, a concept that attributes human behaviour to the unconscious mind, which Freud labelled the ‘Id’. According to Freud the ‘id’ is the uncontrollable part of the mind driven by a self-gratification principle that influences an individual’s basic impulses, behaviours and motivations.
Dr ES Williams in his book entitled ‘The Dark side of Christian Counselling’ rightly identifies serious problems with Freud’s theory of the unconscious and brands it as “extremely subtle, for it places enormous power in the hands of the therapist, for only he has the esoteric [specialised] knowledge to delve into the deepest recesses of our unconscious mind and interpret its motivations.”
Freud’s erroneous unconscious theory also has potential to exempt individuals from responsibility for their actions since according to him, they have no control over the impulses or behaviour that are directly attributable to their id/unconsciousness, which he claims is developed as a consequence of their childhood experiences.
Freud taught that in order to identify the source of an individual’s problematic behaviour and negative thoughts or emotions, the expertise of a therapist (Psychodynamic counsellor) is required as this is the only viable means to help people deal with their behavioural or mental problems. Employing a variety of therapeutic tools to help them delve into a patient’s subconscious, the therapist/counsellor unearths the source of their problems. The problems so skilfully resurrected by therapeutic means are used to explain the patient's current problems, which are then commonly attributed to the individual’s early life experiences such as an inadequate, abusive upbringing or over-zealous religious parenting etc. Such an exercise appears to have more in common with a spiritualist séance, a practice clearly forbidden by the Word of God!
There truly is nothing new under the sun as evidenced in Freudian theories and therapies. The outcomes reportedly produced by Freudian and other humanistic psychological therapies bear a close resemblance to the excuses that Adam and his descendants employ in an effort to escape the consequences of their own personal choices and their want of obedience to the just demands of God’s Law.
Freud’s psychological theories also bear a close correlation to evolutionary theories. Both were developed to deny the existence of God and thus excuse mans accountability to their Creator. If Freud’s unconscious theory was accurate then man could not be regarded any different from an animal acting according to its instinctive nature, void of an ability to choose otherwise. However, from the biblical record it is evident that the Lord provided man with a clear distinction from animals by creating Adam in His own image (Genesis 1:26) and by breathing into Adam’s nostrils thus making him a living soul capable of thinking, knowing and with a unique ability to make rational decisions. (Genesis 2:7) God also equipped Adam with a God consciousness that enabled him to enjoy close communion with his Creator. However, Adam’s fall into sin resulted in his immediate spiritual death, thus robbing him of the capacity to commune with his Maker and eventually he was also subjected to physical death. Each of Adam’s descendants have inherited this spiritual deadness and whilst they may know about God and even believe in His existence through the reading of God’s Word and the witness of His creation, sinners remain void of spiritual life or a God consciousness until they are made recipients of God’s redeeming love, grace and mercy, whereby they are made spiritually alive when miraculously born again from above by the Spirit of God! “And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins....but God, who is rich mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved”. Ephesians 2:5-6
When confronted with his sin by God in the Garden of Eden, Adam responded in a way his descendants have continued to perpetuate – he tried to evade responsibility for his wrong choice and attempted to place the blame for his sin upon Eve and the Lord, who had so graciously given him Eve as a meet help! But he was without excuse because God had also equipped Adam with another distinguishing feature not possessed by animals – a conscience within his soul and an ability to choose between right and wrong. Despite Adam’s instantaneous spiritual death and loss of God consciousness, he and each of his descendants have a conscience within their eternal souls (albeit marred by sin), thus enabling them to choose between right and wrong. Therefore we are compelled to accept responsibility for the decisions we make in life. Whilst it cannot be denied that many people live with deep hurt and inerasable memories of appalling childhood abuses, nevertheless these experiences cannot be used as justification for sinful choices or adverse behaviour on the part of any individual.
Adam’s ‘blame game’ was repeated by his son Cain when he tried to shirk responsibility for the wilful murder of his godly brother Abel. However, God confronted Cain and compelled him to take responsibility for his sinful deeds and in particular his vain attempt to offer the works of his own hands as a means of atonement for his sin and rejection of God’s way of salvation (substitutionary atonement).
Psychoanalytical therapists would have traced Adam and Cain’s sinful actions to their id/unconsciousness that had developed as a consequence of God’s draconian demands for Adam’s complete obedience and His unreasonable rejection of Cain’s very commendable and sincere efforts to make atonement for his sin!
What utter folly and yet these principles are the basis for psychodynamic therapy and almost all subsequent psychological counselling models including so called Christian counselling therapies! Sadly many undiscerning Believers have been duped into undergoing such counselling methods often because they are presented under a ‘Christian’ counselling label!
Therapies based upon such unscriptural theories ought to be rejected by Christians yet disconcertingly within recent years they have been accepted by many and have even crept into evangelical and otherwise sound churches. A rise in the number of Christians experiencing emotional/mental problems in recent years cannot be denied. Undoubtedly much of this increase can be traced to the stresses and strains of modern day living. In addition to this some Christians (including those appointed by God to feed the flock), have been affected by the worldly spirit of the age and are therefore lacking in the spiritual wisdom and power that is crucial to counsel downcast souls aright from God’s Word. Consequently some well meaning ministers of the gospel and believers have no reservations in sending needy members of the Body of Christ straight into the arms of humanistic psychological counsellors, who neither possess the means or the inclination to apply the Balm of Gilead to troubled souls.
(Part 2 will be posted in approximately 1 week)