Theophostic counseling (which at first used to be written as "TheoPhostic Counseling") is, essentially, Agnes Sanford's inner healing
in a new jacket. Theos = Greek for God
. Phostic = Greek for light
. Theophostic counseling is said to bring God's light into a given situation. Whereas traditional counseling is said to teach coping techniques to deal with painful experiences (now or in the past), the heart of Theophostic Counseling is that Jesus
is invited to address the lies and false beliefs resulting from painful experiences.
Theophostic counseling is a theory pioneered by Dr. Ed Smith, a Christian therapist from Campbellsville, Kentucky, who ...
...saw the importance of not just addressing the memory, or its emotion, but the long-term lies that the memory held in place.
On its previous web site, Cornerstone Christian Counselling Centre (Canada), described Theophostic counseling as follows:
TheoPhostic counselling is a very Biblical, user friendly, effective method which taps into a counsellee's incorrect interpretations about experiences, brings God's Spirit into the beliefs the person has assigned to the event and reinterprets
the memory according to the truths from God's Word.
Perhaps significantly (in terms of the effectiveness claims made for Theophostic Counseling), the same organization currently states that it uses a "blended approach," including Theophostic Counseling:
We use a method we call Prayer Counselling. Prayer Counselling is a blended approach which we gleaned from the foundational teaching of John and Paula Sandford (Elijah House) and numerous others: Kylstra's, Olson's, Payne's, Smith's (Theophostic), Anderson's, Kraft's, McNutt's and Ellel Ministries.
In correspondence with Dr. Smith - as well as in his workshop materials - he has denied that Theophostic Counseling is akin to inner healing. However, close examination shows both approaches to be very similar.
Though is it adamantly denied, Theophostic Counseling includes a form of guided imagery and visualization
, the possible acceptance of recovered memories
, and Dr. Smith's belief that Christians can be inhabited with demons
Interestingly, the Theophostic Ministries website claims that its training program has been found ''to be highly effective with,'' among other things, so-called ''Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA).''
SRA is a highly controversial subject kept alive with fantasies, hoaxes and conspiracy theories. Thus Theophostic Counseling opens up the prospect of False Memory Syndrome
Theophostic ministry has been the subject of much study, discussion and prayer by the CEFC Elder Board for nearly a year. As a result, we have concluded that we can neither actively nor passively endorse this approach to Christian ministry.
A Few Words About Theophostic Counseling: Pastor to Pastor [No longer online]
(Contra) By Rev. Fr. Kevin L. Baker. Note his remarks about the progression:
Our counseling ministry progressed from the standard Christian counseling materials such as Rapha's The Search for Significance and Minerth-Meir materials, to adding Neil Anderson
's truth and deliverance approach, to the Elijah House
prophetic prayer counseling (including having a ''prophet
'' in to give people ''words'' at a cost of $300/night), to step groups, and finally degenerating into Theophostic Counseling.
Dr. Smith's official web site.