In the September-October 1998 issue of PAL we made a statement comparing the American Psychological Association (APA) and the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (NANC). Based on evidence from both organizations it is obvious that the APA permits internal criticism and disagreement to be made publicly. However, NANC prohibits public expression of internal criticism and disagreement. In that issue of PAL we challenged NANC to discuss publicly one or more of seven issues on which some NANC counselors would disagree.
The NANC national meeting occurred in Little Rock, Arkansas, from October 5 through 7, 1998. The feedback we received indicated that censorship of certain issues will continue. If this is incorrect, we would be happy to receive information from one or more of the many NANC counselors on our mailing list.
Also, we would like to add one more publicly undiscussible issue to our previous list to NANC. This one appeared in the Family Therapy Networker (FTN), a journal for practicing therapists. Since so many biblical counselors charge for their ministry (a practice we adamantly oppose), the following question from FTN would be appropriate for a workshop at a future NANC conference: “What can I do to get clients to pay up, and how do I make sure money issues don’t harm our therapeutic [counseling] relationship?”
In past newsletters we admonished Stuart Scott, Associate Pastor at Grace Community Church, for sending us a letter that appeared to have been written by him, but which he did not write, which was a critique of one of our books, which appeared to have been written by him, but which he did not write. The letter was signed by Scott and contained references to himself through the first person pronoun “I.” In defense of himself regarding errors in the critique, he told us that he had not actually written the letter or done the critique. When we later confronted him with this duplicity he disregarded our letters.
We listened to two talks by Scott from the NANC conference. In neither talk did he address this issue. In his plenary talk he spoke about pride and humility. Scott mentioned the adage “If you think you’re humble, you’re not,” but apparently disagrees with this statement. Regarding pride, Scott asked his audience that if anyone saw pride in him to “bring it to my attention.” Scott said, “If it even looks like it, bring it to my attention.” We repeat what we said in the previous newsletter:
It is extremely doubtful that anyone at the NANC conference in October will confront Scott about this matter, but someone should. It seems hypocritical to have Scott speak at the national conference of an organization that purports to emphasize “nouthetic confrontation,” when, as a matter of fact, Scott is apparently incapable of being involved in that very process (PAL, V6N5, p.3).
This is compounded by the fact that Scott asks his audience at NANC to bring something to his attention. We did bring something to his attention that confronts both his pride and lack of humility, but to date no response. Scott is an excellent example of many NANC counselors who are nouthetic with others but avoid those who are nouthetic with them.
Will NANC ever mature to the level of the APA with respect to internal public criticism and disagreement? When will NANC be willing to be as nouthetic as they claim? Maybe next year.
(From PAL V7N2)