My Values and Beliefs

A recent Gallup poll reported that 2 out of 3 Americans want their mental health professionals to have spiritual values and beliefs, and 4 out of 5 Americans want to have their own values and beliefs integrated into their counseling process.  Research has consistently found that people get more out of counseling when they know that their therapists share their values and beliefs.  My clients have a right to know what I believe and value, if they so choose.  I write this not to convert anyone to the way I think and feel.  Instead, I try to work with the faith and traditions of the people who hire me.  If people wish to work with my values and beliefs as well, or if people need to determine how compatible the lives they want to live are with the one I am already living, I describe it to you here, in “How I Live."

I am a Christian who feels called and gifted to be a psychologist.  I believe that my faith and my training are very compatible, that observing professional ethics and standards are necessary to being a good witness for my Lord Jesus Christ, that the compassion and wisdom I have been given are gifts from God that are very therapeutic, designed to grow in me as I give them away.  My clients pay for my time and my training, not to receive gifts that were given freely to me.  I believe that being pro-spiritual, pro-family, and pro-health go hand in hand.  My priorities are God, health, family, work, and then my friends and church family.

The God of my understanding is also the God of recovery.   Since 1983, the people and principles of the twelve steps have played a key role in my recovery from the disease of sin, from the many character defects that I would otherwise rely on to avoid pain in my life.  When my selfish habits arise in me, I seek to confess, discipline, and surrender them to God and God’s people.  This helps me help my clients recover from their own negative attitudes, and find the true freedom that I believe can only come in voluntary service to a higher power.

Finally, I am a warrior in a spiritual war.  The fruits of the spirit I keenly appreciate:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, acceptance, courage, wisdom, and a love of life with a sense of humor, among others.  These I give and receive with a passion to the best of my ability in my personal life, so through me they can be imparted to my clients.  Likewise my war is against the fruits of selfishness:  fear, sexual immorality, lust, idolizing, resentment, fighting, jealousy, envy, arrogance, greed, addictions, laziness, dishonesty, disloyalty, and just taking ourselves too seriously, to name a few.  If you are wanting to enlist in this war, I will be highly honored to work with you and walk beside you in the great adventure of Life.

[1] A review of 75 studies and articles by Allen Bergin in The American Psychologist, April, 1991, entitled “Values and Religious Issues in Psychotherapy and Mental Health.”

* The Christian Counseling Connection, American Association of Christian Counselors, 2009, 16, 4, p.15.


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Dr. Paul F. Schmidt