As our readers know, we have been critics of the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) for years. We have written articles about their unbiblical pay-as-you-go counseling at a separated-from-the-church counseling center and have featured their unbiblical practices in two of our books. We recently went to their web site and noticed that they have a “Montana Affiliate Office.” We checked on that and found Aaron Sironi. The CCEF site says of him:
Aaron Sironi is a Licensed Clinical Professional in his home state of Montana and has been counseling over six years. He holds a Master of Science degree in Marital and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary and has earned Level I, II, and III Certificates in Biblical Counseling from CCEF, where he also serves as Adjunct Faculty.1
Sironi’s degree from Fuller Seminary is loaded with classes that are outright unbiblical psychologizations of the faith. This type of psychology (clinical) is the very wisdom of men about which God warns His people (1 Cor. 2:5, etc.). Fuller Seminary has an American psychological Association approved training program, so you know it is more than psychology friendly.
We called Sironi’s office and spoke with him personally and asked about his counseling fees. Before telling you his fees, we mention the fees for CCEF itself. The CCEF site says, “Our counseling fee is $85 per hour. The initial hour costs $90 to cover set-up fees.” However, Sironi said that his counseling fees are “$150 for the first session and $100 per hour after that.” In other words, Sironi’s set-up fee is $65 more and his per hour counseling fee is $15 more than Philadelphia-based CCEF. Is the cost of living that much higher in Billings, Montana, than in Philadelphia? In spite of the difference in fees, CCEF-Philadelphia and Sironi’s CCEF branch both have the same wording regarding fees. They both say, “All counseling charges are due before each appointment.”
In contrast, notice what was reported about Ernest R. Groves, an early secular marriage educator/counselor, regarding charging:
When asked if he charged for his help, Groves explained that he had once after a wealthy client insisted. But after that he had determined not to charge again because “it seemed like taking pay for throwing a drowning man a rope” (bold added).2
This secular counselor is certainly more biblical in this regard than CCEF.
In addition to charging, Sironi’s Billings, Montana, office is in a separated-from-the-church building and he does counsel couples and we assume that he counsels women. The unbiblical nature of those we discuss in our book Person to Person Ministry.
We went to the “Montana Board of Social Work Examiners and Professional Counselors” web site regarding Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors and found the usual psychological graduate courses, degree requirements, and a required supervision of 3,000 hours by “a licensed counselor, social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist” for licensure!3 Sironi would have to have met all these psychological requirements in order to be issued the license. Sironi uses his Montana State License that was earned with extensive psychological training and supervision and still advertises that he has the license, even though he presents himself as a biblical counselor. We believe it is inappropriate, to say the least, to advertise his psychology-based license and even qualify his counselees for insurance reimbursement by its use (which usually means providing psychological treatment) and yet state that he is a biblical counselor.
The Montana State Code under 37-23-102, related to Sironi’s license, says: “‘Professional counseling’ means engaging in methods and techniques that include” the several items that follow with their definitions. One of the items that is “included” is: “counseling treatment intervention, which means those cognitive, affective, behavioral, and systemic counseling strategies, techniques, and methods common to the behavioral sciences that are specifically implemented in the context of a therapeutic relationship.”4 The “cognitive, affective, behavioral, and systemic counseling strategies, techniques, and methods common to the behavioral sciences” are exactly what Sironi was trained and supervised in!
It seems contradictory to advertise his license, based upon all that psychology, charge his fees, and practice biblical counseling! Now CCEF will no doubt explain this away by referring to their “recycling” practice. That would amount, in Sironi’s case, to recycling the “cognitive, affective, behavioral, and systemic counseling strategies, techniques, and methods common to the behavioral sciences” into biblical counseling. This will probably be CCEF’s explanation for all the advertising and promotion of Sironi. However, all it does is reaffirm our past exposes of CCEF as being unbiblical integrationists. CCEF truly has a sinful affection for integration.
2 Eva S. Moskowitz. In Therapy We Trust: America’s Obsession with Self-Fulfillment. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001, p.83.
(PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, November-December 2010, Vol. 18, No. 6)