Psychology a legitimate field?

John DehlinMormon 40 Comments

My brother studies psychology at the University of Buenos Aires. Some members of the church told us that a member of the church should not become a psychologist!!!

Thank you for your comment! This is just not true. Unfortunately there can be those who mistrust the study of psychology and/or who believe that getting professional help in the mental health field somehow translates into being spiritually weak. In other words, the acts of prayer, fasting, scripture study and church attendance should heal anything that ails us emotionally and spiritually. We know from experience and research that this is just not the case. Although all of these “church solutions” can and do help people tremendously, there are many cases where psychotropic medicine and/or therapy are useful (even necessary) and should be used. My personal take on how Heavenly Father wants us to approach life is to be proactive and educated in using ANYTHING of good accord that will help us move forward. In addition to the many spiritual tools we have to our disposal, we should also be open to research, technology, medicine, literature, etc. that contain the information and solutions needed. When speaking on how to recover from abuse, Richard G Scott states, Healing may begin with a thoughtful bishop or stake president or a wise professional counselor. If you had a broken leg, you wouldn’t decide to fix it yourself. Serious abuse can also benefit from professional help.” There have been many talks given by leaders that encourage the saints to seek professional help when necessary. In fact the church itself is affiliated with LDS Family Services which provides psychological services. Brigham Young University offers several degrees having to do with psychology, sociology, family studies, etc. I hope that you and your brother will both be able to serve as educators of correct principles in the area you live. You can always search for support from the leaders of our church on many issues.
MM Readers:
What is your take on psychology?  What about seeking psychological help?  Does this somehow speak to spiritual weakness?
Do you distrust the mental health field and/or its professionals?

Comments 40

  1. There was a talk, I can’t remember by who right now since I am at work and dont have my school things in front of me, that said an advanced degree in the social sciences was akin to turning over your testimony as you get you diploma. I wanna say this was SWK, I will come back later and give the reference if some one else doesn’t already remember it. Either way this is why some members have this opinion of psychology, however there has been several more recent talks particularly by Elder Maxwell about how the church needs more social scientists so that they can build the bridge between the two cultures. Again I will come back and post the links to this later.

    To be sure an advanced degree in psychology could be damaging for one who has a weak testimony, as the philosophies that dominate the field try and marginalize God and take him out of equation in the name of science, and since those philosophies are hammered pretty hard I can see why some people might waiver. But if it is your passion stick with it, there is a whole society called AMCAP (Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychologists). So it is by no means something the church discourages.

  2. Quite the contrary, competent professionals can do a great deal of good and have done so in my family.

    It is challenging, however, to identify the “right” therapist, and I, for one, would appreciate some guidance on how to do it. Our family’s experience has been hit and miss.

  3. I’ve never heard this, but if I ever did I’d simply ask the person why, if psychology is so counter to spiritual truth, all the BYU campuses offer degrees in it.

  4. 1-
    Isn’t the marginalizing of God the case in any “scientific” degree: biology, chemistry, physics, even possibly philosophy? Has psychology been more prone to this type of bias than these other scientific fields? If so, why in our opinion do we think so?

  5. 2-
    I speak about this a lot on my blog. Since personality is such an integral part of a therapist’s essence, this can be a difficult thing to maneuver.

    The other point of discussion I’d like to foster is LDS therapists vs. non. Many members have had both good and bad experiences in both realms. Opinions? Pros and cons?

  6. Paul-
    One thing is to do is ask what their professional orientation is, there are several different kind, psycho-dynamic, CBT, Behaviorism, etc.
    Chances are they will tell you they are eclectic, a mix of everything, but push them to pick the one they favor. Some are better than others for the religious person. e.g. a behaviorist will not take kindly to the idea of agency, at worst he will tell you it doesn’t exist at best he will tell you that if you feel like you have that is nice, but it really doesn’t. Ask questions of them before you sign on, remember you are their customer and their business depends on you. Ask them questions about values that are important to you, like how do you deal with family issues individually or as a group? Explain on how God is important in your life, and how are they going to treat that belief (this one can be tricky as they will claim a neutrality to God, but often they will incorporate techniques that would have you ignore or defy your values and beliefs)
    You can also take the things you liked out of previous therapists and ask them if they do things like that and if it is part of their technique. I found that there is no one “correct” orientation for everybody, but drill your therapist before they see you for the things that are important to you and make you decision off of that.

  7. 4- This is actually a new conversation going on in the theory and philosophy of psych circles, that there exists an implicit bias against God; I dont think it is any more prone than say chemistry or physics, but it is more apparent since there is way more human element in the field of psychology. I think in part is that psychology has had a long hard climb to be considered “scientific” field that is lost the humanity (soul?) of the human in the name of scientific empiricism . It focused so hard on trying to become like its empirical big brothers that it lost sight that God can not be measured and so was treated as dross and unimportant and thus marginalized.

  8. I’ve never heard this and I’m pursuing a degree in psychology (in Utah even. Anthropology might be more “satanic”). I have no idea why people would think this or why it would an issue of contention.

  9. I suppose that there are legitimate, consciencous, and dedicated psychologists that have a proven track record of effectivness.
    Anecdotally, it’s been my experience that most shrinks are as nuts, if not more so, than their patients. Also, I think that the field have been too influenced by “political correctness” and popular cultural trends, and not as rooted in science as it should be.
    Also, starting with Freud (what the fictional Archie Bunker would call “Doctor Siggie Fruit”), too many J-O-Os.

  10. I did graduate work (not in the social sciences) at the University of Pittsburgh, where I was also an academic adviser to undergrads. When we visited the Psych department, they told us that their program encouraged students to first get over their attachment to God. It was not just a “checking at the door”, but an effort to eliminate belief. That was the nature of their program. Down the street was Duquense University, affiliated with the Catholic Church. The Psych department there was God-friendly. I suppose it must be related to the style or focus of psychology studied / researched by the faculty there.

    I did have a Latin American stake president 10 or 12 years ago who told us bishops NOT to send our people to psychologists, but to seek revelation ourselves. I viewed his comment as rather parochial, since our family had benefited from an ongoing relationship with an LDS Family Services counselor prior to moving to South America.

    I suppose there is also a reasonable question to consider about the difference between what a psychologist does and a therapist. I suppose there is great overlap, but my experience has been that therapists are often MSWs or other Master-degree holders rather than PhDs, and I assume practicing psychologists are PhDs.

    Natasha, I’ll check your blog for selection help. Thanks.

  11. I know a couple of people that think that psycology is a waste of time as church members and that all we need to do to get out of something like depression is to get more involved in the church and study the scriptures and pray more. Thankfully our current Stake President works for an occupational rehab firm and he does the psych side of things, so he is trying to dispell these myths.

    Unfortunately, I have heard of some members that think that anything to do with doctors, medicine, psychology, etc is a waste of time as we hold the priesthood and we should be able to heal the sick without the intervention of the man made things.

    My family has been helped greatly by the right therapists, and hindered by the wrong. One of the first things we do is explain that we are religious and that it plays a large role in our lives so we will not tolerate anything within the therapy programme that tries to interfere with this. So far we have had no problem in this matter.

  12. I am a social worker, have worked as a therapist and am currently working on a Ph.D. in social welfare. It has been my experience that God is marginalized in the education process. Certainly not “God friendly”. We even conducted a qualitative study interviewing students who considered themselves Christians in the program. Most of those interviewed reported feeling that their values and opinions that were anchored in their faith were considered less than those who were based on logic or scientific inquiry. While I don’t think this the experience that occurs in all socal work programs…it happens in many. Perhaps this is why there has been a push by some in the church to avoid therapists. While it is not unique for therapy programs to margninalize God in their schools…therapists also have much more of an influence on those whom they counsel than say a chemist or a biologist.

    Regarding telling a good therapist from a bad… I believe it is similar to having a good bishop or a bad. I have had wonderful bishops who I believe embodied the love of god. I have also had a bishop who blabbed confidential information to other members in the ward and treated those who went to him for help with disrespect. I have also had a non-member therapist who was simply amazing, supportive of religion and God (although an athiest herself), and incredibly empathic. I have also seen horrible therapists whom I wouldn’t refer my dog to. It is so hard to know what you are going to get before hand…but at least with a therapist you can choose to leave and get a new one…with a bishop?

  13. Perspectives on psychotherapy in the Church have changed radically in my professional lifetime, becoming much more open, accepting, and encouraging. I don’t think needing therapy speaks to spiritual weakness. But, I do think some LDS folk do think that, especially as we look at age–the older one is, the more likely to not be willing to go. I was searching trying to find old conference talks which basically said as much.
    I have been a social worker for more than 20 years and and LCSW almost as long. In every ward I have been in, bishops have sought advice re: how to help ward members, without revealing confidential info, unless it was info I’d know as part of my calling.
    In general, I think LDS individuals do better in counseling with LDS therapists, simply because we’re more aware of the culture (beliefs, expectations, history, etc.). Finding a good therapist is like buying a house or a car. You need to shop around. Call a potential therapist and ask to speak on the phone briefly to ask a few screening questions. If the person won’t give you 5 minutes, call someone else.

  14. #13 – EXCELLENT ADVICE (My Mama told me, ya better shop around….[Captain and Tennille version, 1976])

    I get a charge out of the latest GEICO commercial with R. Lee Ermey…”Does a former drill sergeant make a terrible therapist?” What makes it hilarious is how true it is…

    Methinks there are some crybabies out there going from shrink to shrink when what they need most is a swift kick in the pants and to “drop and give me fifty”.

  15. Thank you for this post, Dr. 🙂

    I just graduated with a BA in psychology this year and am trying to go to pharmacy school to pursue a career as a psychiatric pharmacist so this discussion is very close to my heart/mind. And imagine the surprise from some members when I told them I chose to take an elective class on evolutionary psychology!

    6-excellent points to make. thank you.

    My wife and I have had a mostly good experience with a psychologist from LDSFS. He was employing a technique to help my wife overcome some trauma in her past. It has seen a lot of success, but for some reason, it is not an accepted method in the eyes of LDSFS, so if he uses it (which he does regularly) he just doesn’t talk about it in his case notes. I think its kind of weird, but, eh.

  16. Some people swear by it.
    I don’t think that is not so much “not an accepted method in the eyes of the LDSFS” but rather, in the psychology community as a whole. For example, if you wiki it, look at all the red flags at the top of the article.
    I prefer to treat patients with “evidenced-based treatment”.

  17. A year ago I was seeing a therapist who did a lot with EMDR and also EFT (tapping on energy centers of the face), and who works in the temple. It never helped me that much. Then she gave me some stickers to put on various parts of my body to “balance my energies”, and that’s when I decided it was getting a bit weird and stopped seeing her. I’ve got something of an open mind, but there comes a point where my mind won’t open any farther.

  18. 14:
    I’d just like to say that those who work with me are putting much effort, time, energy and money to this process of change and progress. It’s not an easy task to be willing to have a complete stranger challenge, explore and discuss very personal and sometimes traumatic parts of their pasts, presents, relationships and inner selves. I believe this is the equivalency of 100 emotional push ups. In fact, I am constantly impressed by the courage and candor of my clients. I’m just not comfortable with the “crybaby” personification. 🙁

  19. I’m a former school psychologist so my work experience lies more in working with children who have various disabilities, or social or emotional problems that effect learning. School psychologists do a fair bit of counseling with both parents and kids. When I was working, I had a fairly long commute down the freeway everyday. I frequently prayed that I “would not cause any harm”. There is a very real potential to misread or misdiagnose someone, or to give bad advice. People trust you to help them with very young, frequently handicapped children. Teens talk with you about huge decisions like what to do about an unplanned pregnancy. I felt a greater need for inspiration and faith, not less. I absolutely felt that my work was both legitimate and necessary, and working in a helping profession was humbling. It was a privilege.

    I’d agree with some of the previous comments, like any profession you will find good and bad counselors. There are certainly plenty of wacky psychologists. Probably half of the people I went to graduate school with were there because they had some personal issues that they wanted to figure out. That doesn’t mean that they couldn’t help you with your problems, but I do think psychology draws quite a few messed up people. I did see some friends loose their faith in the process, but you could probably say that about any group of graduate students.

  20. I’ve also run into this myth in church. Members seem to think that a Bishop is there as a church psychologist and that he can solve all their problems and issues relating to counseling, but he simply can’t. And we regularly see training that tells the opposite to Bishops: show people how they can find their own answers to problems and send people ‘struggling’ with emotional issues to LDS social services.

    #14 “Methinks there are some crybabies out there going from shrink to shrink when what they need most is a swift kick in the pants and to “drop and give me fifty”.
    You do that and you’ll find that some of those people will just blow their brains out because they can’t find help for their problems. Its dangerous to think this way. That ‘drop and give me fifty’ only works with the fit and healthy as most young military men are.

  21. Well, considering I am working on my PhD (I’m ABD at the moment) in psychology–I’m a bit biased. I’d say it’s just as valid for study and work as being a chemist, MBA, or pretty much anything else.

    For those that are reading this and wondering about Psychology’s status as a scientific endeavor, I’ll try to summarize more than 100 years of psych history in a few short sentences. Bluntly put, psychology comes from two very separate roots. One is Freud’s very unscientific approach in psychotherapy, which dealt largely with parts of the human experience that cannot be measured empirically. The other major root is from Wilhelm Wundt (and colleagues) which got its start in measuring reaction times. In academic circles, the reaction time stuff became the most prevalent and dominant for quite some time (leading to the Behaviorist movement–which was a counter movement to Freud’s psychotherapy). Later (think 1950s), people started talking about cognition and mental processes again, and then even later, it became vogue to talk about personality measurement (again–though with differences).

    The real problem that psych has is that we are dealing with human behavior as our ultimate scientific empirical evidence for everything–and humans are terribly erratic. This means that in MOST studies we settle for correlations that would never fly in the world of chemistry, biology, or physics. If a biologist or chemist can’t demonstrate a correlation of around .8 or so, they aren’t going to bother reporting the experiment until they can. On the other hand, many times in psychology we settle for correlations around .3 and call it very fortunate. Many scientists in the physical sciences look at that and wonder how psychologists can claim ANYTHING.

    This all leads many psychology programs to try harder than they really need to in order to be considered a ‘science’. Including adopting views from biology about evolution and God’s reality.

    My experience in talking with people (anecdote, not evidence) is that how a particular school treats ideas about Diety vary widely, and one should be cautious before attending a school that rejects diety.

    The school I went to does not offer a clinical psych program (for the uninitiated, NOT all psychologists are also therapists), but was reasonably respectful regarding religious views (this is, in my view, more common among the Industrial/Organizational Psych programs).

    Oh, and for anyone that comes on here and says psychology isn’t a science: I defy you to show me any way to approach the prediction of human behavior in a MORE scientific manner than psychology or economics. The rigor that is applied in these fields is at least as good as what one will find in any other field of scientific endeavor.

    Final note: I am VERY partial to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT is the common abbreviation). I can’t say that every therapist employing it is good, or that it is the only legitimate form of therapy, but I would argue that if you ask a therapist if they use it and they don’t use it OR even know what it is, you should move on. The therapist may not use it for every patient, but they should be familiar enough with CBT to talk about it coherently and use it when the situation calls for it. And yes, there is a lot of quackery being employed by therapists who are either unethical or uneducated. Avoid them. Also avoid any therapist who decries medication OR who uses medication without serious evaluation of the situation. Sometimes medication is necessary, other times it’s not. Your therapist should know the difference.

  22. Natasha, guess what happened yesterday at church. The original person had to cancel unexpectedly (an MFT), so for the 5th Sunday, I have to teach/lead a discussion about communication in marriage. That the church leadership chooses two folks in psych-related fields speaks to ‘legitimacy’, yes? If you had 30 min to talk about one point well, what would you focus on? Like Ben, I’m a CBT gal–I thought I would maybe spend a bit of time on distortions–that we get frustrated with our partner because of what we ‘think’ is going on.

  23. @Ben Orchard,
    Thank you for that comment. I’m glad you were able to explain it like that. I think another reason a lot of people don’t think it’s a real science is because for the longest time only BA’s were offered and not BS’s. The school where I got my BA in psych seemed to be respectful of religion. There was never any blatant, out-right “we’re gonna cure you of religion” like apparently other schools are.
    My school offered Evolutionary Psych as an elective “senior seminar”, and, although it was taught by a major atheist, he made it clear that his intentions with the class, and the field’s intentions in general, is not to do away with God. There doesn’t have to be an either/or about it. I took the class because it sounded interesting and I had worked with the professor before and had the utmost respect and admiration for him and I can honestly tell you, nothing shook my testimony in the least. In fact, it gave me a new way of looking at the principle of polygamy (but I’ll refrain for now)

  24. I practice amateur Psychology. I’m taking up surgery next (pushed face into pillow) electro-shock theraflu. Cabin fever. …and pants and shirts for snakes!

  25. How is this topic worthy of discussion? How can anyone legitimately suggest that a member of the church should not become a psychologist? Have these cretins ever heard of LDS Social Services? Are they under the impression that the church does not employ psychologists and even psychiatrists?

    Sentiments like those raised by this article are on par with discussing the 1978 revelation on the priesthood and coupling it with worries about being stakes being overrun by welfare requests. To call this topic “stupid” is to pay it a bold and brilliant compliment. It could not rise to that level without electroshock therapy – and even then, all it would evoke is intellectual drool and a little vomit.

    If you want to be a Mormon version of the Huffington Post, please try to pick topics that actually manage to be a tiny-bit thought provoking.

    How about developing discussion on clinical depression and an honorable, early-release for missionaries? Did you know that approximately five to six percent of the missionaries return early because they are diagnosed with disorders like depression, anxiety, bi-polar, panic attacks and/or other disorders?

    1. I like your style TerraNova. Obviously, the site is meant for greater things then answering questions of LDS, or otherwise, people that they otherwise would have difficulty asking, or receiving an answer, without fearing negative judgement. It leaves my blood boiling that the site administrators would not automatically assume every person visiting here has the same church and secular education. It is contemptible and disgusting that the cretin who wrote the article did not thank you for calling their idiocy to attention. I am sure you did everyone some good. Keep up the good work!

  26. There is a long history of distrusting psychology. It may have peaked with McConkie’s “Mormon Doctrine” but there remains a tension between psychology and conservative religion. I say this as a research psychologist. When I began this career, at least one concerned relative cautioned me not to lose my testimony.

    To some degree, it is a justified fear. Classic research done nearly 100 years ago showed that psychologists were less religious than people in other sciences. That study was replicated in the past decade. And two years ago the Univ. of Michigan Institute for Social Resaerch did a study of how students’ religiosity changed while in college. Students in Education, vocational, business, biology engineering and physical sciences showed increases in their religiosity (when measuring religious attendance). (Education majors showed the greatest increase.) Students in social sciences and humanities showed decreases in religious attendance. (Similar patterns showed when rating religious importance, which increased for education majors, was neutral for business majors, and lower for the biology, engineering, physical science/math, humanities, and social sciences.)

    These realities can raise cognitive dissonance, and the best way to deal with dissonance is to avoid it where ever possible. Although our theology proclaims that all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole, it presumes that truth fits LDS dogma, and ideas that don’t fit are tossed aside and avoided. This isn’t unique to LDS churchgoers. One need only look at the many Christian counseling programs to see that it is a common pattern.

  27. When I was growing up, I had an uncle and aunt (married to each other) who were both social workers. My mother had a very negative opinion of social work, because my uncle and aunt withdrew somewhat from family interaction. She said that social work taught people to not value families. It was more extreme than that though. She really vilified my aunt.

    I grew up distrusting social work and then married a social worker. The idea that social work (or psychology) is wrong somehow baffles me. In fact, when my husband decided to go into social work and I was able to witness his education, I was deeply impressed at the transformation that occurred in him. It seemed to increase his Christ like qualities, improving his compassion, empathy, understanding, and ability to help others. When we were newly married and while my husband was still in school, my parents tried everything they could to convince my husband to change his field of study, probably because social workers tend to make so little money but probably also because they had horrible impressions of it being some sort of evil force.

    My uncle suffered abuse at the hands of both parents (my grandparents) and my aunt helped him to define boundaries that helped him to not continue suffering… because both of my grandparents made it very difficult to have a healthy relationship with him. I didn’t know about the abuse growing up, and while my mother did (she suffered it too), she felt (and still does) that withdrawing from family relationships is wrong no matter what. It saved my uncle to not be too close with his parents, to limit interaction, and to have strong boundaries. I don’t think it was wrong of him or my aunt to withdraw.

    It isn’t social work or psychology to “made” my uncle withdraw. It was his parents and their abuse of him that forced my uncle to protect himself with stronger limits and boundaries. In his case, social work gave him information and knowledge about abuse, coping with it, surviving it, and thriving in spite of it. Social work helped him.

    I don’t think psychology, social work, psychiatry, or therapy in general is against Christian values. There may be conflicts between values the church teaches and what some therapists teach (regarding sexuality and homosexuality for instance), but in general, therapy employs research based information while the church seems to be slow in doing so. Still, LDS Social Services does exist and is a good start. My husband once interviewed for a job at LDS Social Services but declined because he thought there would be a bit too much control levied by the church in the way he would/could counsel and support clients. Maybe there isn’t (he never worked there to know for sure), but my husband considers his decision to not work for the church to be one of the best decisions he’s ever made. That doesn’t mean church membership is at odds with psychology though. The church is evolving in the right direction.

    About 20 years ago when I was trying to come to terms with some abuse in my past, I could barely work on that in therapy, because I had to spend so much time trying to come to terms that I was in therapy at all. I certainly grew up with a very strong bias against needing psychological or emotional help at all… and I know that was a result of my parents’ and the church’s influence. I hope more and more people feel comfortable in becoming as mentally and emotionally healthy as possible even if they use therapy to get there.

    A lot of church members still strongly hold to negative opinions regarding therapy. I think the church should do more to dispel the roots of those beliefs… like actually coming out and saying past church leaders and statements were wrong. I hope they do.

    My brother (who is over 30 and mostly bedridden due to several different illnesses and conditions) is terribly depressed and still living at home. He is unable to work or function much of the time. He thinks of suicide multiple times a day and I have begged my parents to help him get therapy of some kind. Finally, my brother began therapy after a doctor insisted on it. He was able to go for several months and began to have a lot of hope. Unfortunately, my parents have withdrawn support in helping him get to appointments and after the therapist gave him several phone appointments, she has referred him to someone else… who will insist on appointment attendance. I love my brother and do not want him to kill himself, but the bias my parents hold against therapy of every kind will probably lead to his death.

  28. There certainly is a bias against therapy and psychiatry. Many Mormons think that depressed people can pray their way out of the depression. I was raised with this mentality too. Then, lo and behold, my very own mother got severely depressed, as did I. I realized that I definitely needed professional help, and if I hadn’t sought it, I’m not sure that I would be alive today. Actually, I credit one of my doctors specifically for saving my life. He was there insisting that I go to the hospital even though I really didn’t want to. I thought that if I went people would really look down on it. Well, like I said, psychology certainly is a legitimate field, and I’m thankful for people who go into it. Somehow church leaders need to address mental illness on a more specific level and encourage people to get the help that they need.

  29. When I got home from my mission back in the 90s, my Mom and Brother pulled me aside after I told them I had decided to become a psychologist and told me that only really wacky people go into psychology, and that that was no career for me. I should do computers instead. All through High School and during my mission, I had this dream of coming home, going through school and becoming a psychologist and perhaps opening up a hospital for the mentally ill someday.

    Well after they took me aside and told me that psychology was a bogus career because “anyone living the gospel would have no need of psychologists.” me being young and stupid, changed my career path to computers and I have regretted it ever since. It took me a few more years to get that BA, and instead of celebrating I broke down in tears because by the time I reached the age where I had my BA, I was supposed to be finishing up my Ph.D. I never did go into computers, but I lost a lot of years in school trying to FIND myself and a career path I could enjoy.

    I say, if you are a young person who wants to become a psychologist, do it. Don’t let a Church Leader, or parent talk you out of it for the sake of the ‘gospel’ being the cure for mental illness, because not being true to yourself is the true path to misery.

  30. I’ve had my own issues with depression and anxiety. It was such a relief
    to know that the problems I was having were from a simple chemical
    imbalance. I fail to see any difference between getting treatment for
    mental issues and any other health problems.

    I will always be grateful to the professionals who helped me get through an extremely difficult part of my life.

  31. Mormon psychologists! What an incredibly profound paradox! The mormon church itself is the definition of psychological disorder and inflicts mental distress via its fundamental nature. 

  32. Since psychology is a science in the fallen world it has no direction which opens the door for bias to creep in. Psychology is the most atheistic science. Before I fully converted myself I had many atheist friends and have come to realize how biased and inconsistent the secular world is.

    We have to accept all truth. So whatever field it is that you want to study pray for understanding so that you can discern the truth. In that way your free and not carried away in the current culture or counterculture like so many others.

    1. If Psychology is the “most atheistic science” why does the LDS church teach it at BYU? Also look at how many of the general authorities have degrees in psychology. Last of all the LDS church routinely uses Psychologists, Social Workers, and Psychiatrists at LDS Family Services and for crises intervention. Try not to judge a field of study when it seems you don’t have a very deep knowledge of the field. Try studying psychology, its methods of research, and science in general and you might be surprised that they do not talk much about God and there are lots of people who realize they can be religious and a scientist.

  33. As a faithful lds family therapist I can say that mormons may have good reason to mistrust psychologists, but have no reason to fear psychology itself. While the science is sound, many of its practitioners are not. I would caution members to be careful regarding the choice of a mental health provider, but I would highly encourage faithful members to pursue a career in mental health if that interests them. We need more good people in the field.

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