What is TheoPhostic Prayer Counselling?

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What is TheoPhostic Prayer Counselling and Four Reasons that it works

What is TheoPhostic Prayer Counselling? is by © 2010 George Hartwell, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.- an outline of the essential core principles of theophostics and why they are effective. Mr. Hartwell's primary web site is www.HealMyLife.com .  See: About George as a Christian counselor.  

In other locations I have provided an overview of TheoPhostic prayer counseling - the good and the bad.  In "Theophostic Models of Inner Healing" I said that Dr. Ed Smith "provided a needed breakthrough and a significant advance in the theory and practice of Christian prayer therapy."  My reservations are included in that article.

I appreciate a lot about Dr. Ed Smith, for example, the use of experiential teaching methods to equip others.  I believe that Theophostic prayer counselling releases cognitive, emotional and personality healing that is deep and permanent.  It does so in a timely fashion and thereby accelerates the healing process and reduces the number of sessions required.

1.  Strategic Focus on the Root Memory

I believe that Dr. Ed Smith's TheoPhostic Counselling is showing how to use listening prayer to bring emotional and inner healing.  This allows the Holy Spirit freedom to guide the prayer therapy and focus on the right issue in the right memory.  This is not a theological or theoretical difference.  It makes a real difference to move from man's wisdom to the wisdom that comes from above.

2.  Target Core Beliefs within the Root Memory

TheoPhostic prayer counseling always focuses on the beliefs.  Beliefs are the cognitive aspect of trauma - the conclusions about ourselves, others, life and God that are decided in a time of pain in childhood.

In my lifetime behavioural Psychology has moved beyond S-R or Stimulus-Response models of learning to include the organisms thinking or cognition, thus S-O-R.  This major innovation (LOL) in Psychological theories of the person allowed for the emergence of "cognitive behavioral therapy."  CBT as it is called focuses on what a person believes.  CBT is an effective form of therapy for depression, anxiety and so on.  Theophostic prayer counseling has the same focus.

Smith's model of prayer therapy, theophostic counselling, focuses on thinking, cognition in the form of beliefs within the Root Memory.  This is a major change of focus from earlier models of Christian prayer therapy that was based on a model of forgiveness of sin and forgiving others.  These earlier models did not make core beliefs in the root memory the focus of inner healing.

Given my early education in Experimental Rat Psychology (S-R) and studies in cognitive behavioural psychology (S-O-R), I understand and appreciate the focus on core beliefs in bringing about emotional healing quickly and effectively.

3.  Open the Heart to allow Emotional Learning

Emotional learning is not stored in the cognitive part of the brain like the frontal cortex.  Emotional events are stored in a special part of the brain called the Emotional Brain.  Motivation and prioritization are the job of the Emotional Brain ar what poets and the Bible would call the Heart.

All highly emotional events are stored, put into memory, in the Emotional Brain.   The Emotional Brain does an analogue scan of all new events to discover similarities to any highly emotional events stored in the Emotional Brain.  Traumatic events and all the 'cognition' related to them is stored in the Emotional Brain.

Therapy will be slow and progress minimal if we engage the cognitive brain trying to being change.  That strategy does not work well.  That is why Smith in TheoPhostic activates the Emotional Brain by allowing the presence of the memory to stir up emotion.  Recent research indicates that this is essential when you want to provide healing for traumatic experiences.

4.  Identify the beliefs and Listen for God's Truth for Life Change

Another key to the effectiveness of the Theophostic prayer counselling method is listening to God; really listening.  By being open to God's 'still small voice spoken to me' we are able to receive life changing revelation.  It is always revelation that changes people's lives - the touch of the living word of God.

God's truth received in the heart by the Spirit is quicker and more effective than anything man can say or anything received through our rational mind.  God's truth strikes like lightening with the power to destroy that which is false and leave behind - God's truth and God's heart attitude as well.

Dr. Ed Smith

George Hartwell

Dr. Ed Smith of www.Theophostic.com

George Hartwell of www.HealMyLife.com

After notes:

Please note that this explanation of theophostic principles does not mean that I am theophostic counsellor.  Because I use some of the principles but apply them along with other methods and principles, I do not qualify as a theophostic counselor.  I (George Hartwell) am not a theophostic counsellor.

Also note that this article is not a balanced critique of the theophostic method.  I provide some balance in the article: "Theophostic models of Inner Healing."

Note that many so called critiques of TheoPhostic counseling are simply lame.  For example, the psychoheresy-aware web site jumps, with absolutely no fact or reason, to the conclusion that TheoPhostic is the "result of many existing therapies, including psychoanalytic, EMDR and cognitive-behavioral therapies."  This type of critique seems to be driven by a pre-judgement that allows fabrications to be stated as if they were facts.  This is lame because it reflects both poor scholarship and is a poor reflection on Biblical processes for discerning truth and wisdom.

For related topics see: prayer therapy:   Christian desensitization of fear

Content by George Hartwell M.Sc. - Christian writer, speaker, therapist

George Hartwell M.Sc. is a Christian counselor with a masters degree in clinical psychology and 30 years experience in private practice.  To learn all About George or his professional practice see: George's Professional web site, Christian marriage counselling, Christian phone therapy, and Christian Marriage Retreats.  To e-mail George click on:

For testimonies on my teaching mission to Scotland see: testimonies of Listening Prayer Therapy.
For testimonies of my marriage and individual therapy using listening prayer therapy.
For testimonies by professionals who have observed prayer therapy with a couple over several days.