A Synopsis Of Belief Therapy

Belief Therapy is a Biblical, faith-based, Scripturodynamic, Christian, cognitive analytical process based on Albert Ellis’ Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy with spiritual dynamics added. Belief Therapy rests upon the axiom that core beliefs are the gates through which thoughts originate, emotions are formed and behaviors are ultimately acted out. BT places the role of beliefs as the “sine qua non” of human addiction. According to the model, certain beliefs (lies people believe) drive and maintain even the addictive process. BT is a lie versus truth modality. With BT, knowing and appropriating the truth will progressively (and sometimes immediately) make a person free from any bondage, i.e., “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) “And if the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Belief Therapy points out that in dealing with false beliefs and/or half-truths, Jesus often corrected thinking errors by saying, “You have heard it said by them of old times, but I say unto you.” (Matthew 5, 6 & 7)

Belief Therapy is ineffective without bringing the power of God and the Scriptures into the treatment process. Jesus said to the most religious people of His day, “You are wrong not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) To leave these two essentials out of the treatment process makes healing incomplete.

In Belief Therapy the heart is emphasized as the center, the core of psychospiritual life. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) In some of His harshest teachings Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, and in doing so he picked up the theme of the heart as central to human personality. “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.” (Matthew 15:18-19; Mark 7:1-23)

The heart represents the ego or the person. Thus the heart is the one center in man to which God turns, in which the spiritual life is rooted, and which determines moral conduct. The heart is the source of motives, the seat of passions, and the spring of conscience. This concept incorporates what now is meant by cognitive, effective and volitional elements of personality. The divine distinction is made between the “head” and the “heart” even in the salvation experience: “That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)

The heart is the seat not only of emotion but also of the will and thought; all three spiritual activities converge in the heart. With the term “mind” (nous; disnoia in the Grk) we find the same emphasis. The total person is always in view. In Deuteronomy 6:5 God says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” There was no technical word in the Hebrew language for the mind, so we have the word “strength.” The Hebrew word for “heart” is pronounced “ne-fesh,” which means “the self” or man’s vitality, the very essence of the person. Out front, preceding cognition, even driving cognition, is the presence of conscious- ness. Belief Therapy views consciousness as the spirit of man. It is where man believes.

In repeating this commandment, Jesus says in Matthew 22:37, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all you soul and with all your mind [disnoia].” Loving God with all “your mind” implies the whole personality is to be committed to an intimate and personal relationship with God.

One central element of Belief Therapy is the development of a positive self-concept grounded in God’s unconditional, electing love in Jesus Christ. With a Biblical perspective of self-concept a person is released from the burden of having to generate feelings of self-worth based on performance. Since a Christian, i.e., a believer in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, need not be a slave to ego-enhancing behavior, he/she can be free to be unselfish and to manifest virtues such as faith, integrity, knowledge, patience, self-control, God-consciousness, kindness, love, sacrifice, obedience and humility. But without a healthy self-acceptance the practice of these values can easily become a neurotic striving to gain God’s approval. Belief Therapy identifies this “striving” condition as a symptom of Positional Identity Disorder (PID), i.e., trying to become who you already are. It is the position of BT that a Christian’s identity is “in Christ” and that “being” is more important than doing. “For in Him we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) Christians will never gain a healthy self-concept until they are sure about who they are “in Christ.” Positional truth is essential for one to become emotionally and spiritually mature.

In consideration of a healthy, Scripture-based self-concept, BT teaches that “according as His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that called us to glory and virtue.” (2 Peter 1:3) Based on this and other related passages, BT would emphasize “not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.” (2 Corinthians 3:5)

A person’s spiritual, moral and emotional health depends upon his “belief that comes from the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 3:7; Hebrews 10:26; John 8:32), walking in the truth (2 John 4), and obeying the truth (1 Peter 1:22).

Belief Therapy is, therefore, a Christian, faith-based approach to treatment. The process can be used as a single treatment modality or it may be used as an additive or complementary program with other approaches to treatment. Based on the DSM IV V Code (V62.89), Religious or Spiritual Problems, which states, “This category can be used when the focus of clinical attention is a religious or spiritual problem,” using BT as an additive or complement to traditional treatment would be clinically acceptable.