Over the years we have been asked about June Hunt and her ministry and radio program “Hope for the Heart.” We had declined to evaluate her work because we were devoting our time to reviewing the impact and intrusion of psychoheresy in the church and later to critiquing the psychotherapeutic direction of the biblical counseling movement as it followed the problem-centered format of psychotherapy with its dependence on sinful conversations. Recently, we decided to look into June Hunt’s ministry, “Hope for the Heart,” and found that her ministry offers both psychotherapy and her form of biblical counseling, which she largely conducts over the radio.
The standard we have used to take on an evaluation of a ministry is the popularity of the person and program and the amount of impact it has on believers. Everything we looked at pointed in the direction of high influence, high impact, and high inundation among believers. One indication of popularity and impact is the amount of money taken in by an organization as revealed by Internal Revenue Service (IRS) filings. Some non-profit IRS filings are available to the public online. In the case of Hope for the Heart, only four years (2013-2016) were available for us to examine. A change in status apparently occurred, since their 2017 and 2018 filings were not available. The total revenue for Hope for the Heart for 2013-2016 was $43,231,765.
The following information is provided on the cover of all of her numerous “Counseling Calls-LIVE” CDs:
JUNE HUNT is the founder of HOPE FOR THE HEART, a worldwide counseling ministry impacting over 60 countries with resources in more than 33 languages. June is heard daily on over 300 outlets on her 30-minute award-winning broadcast of the same name and on HOPE IN THE NIGHT—her live 1-hour call-in counseling program.
As an author, June has written many books including, Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes, Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook, and How to Forgive…When You Don’t Feel Like It.
Her landmark contributions to the field of counseling with her 100 topical Counseling Keys … were recently compiled to create the Biblical Counseling Library.2
In addition, Hunt has various honors and awards from the National Religious Broadcasters, as well as other organizations. She was granted an honorary Doctor of Law degree from Criswell College and an honorary Doctor in Literature from Dallas Baptist University. 3
Hunt’s influence is wide-spread and impacts numerous other ministries through The Hope Center in Plano, Texas, of which she is the founder and CEO. The Hope Center is a $46 million center, which opened in 2008,4 and is “a permanent home for nearly 50 nonprofit Christian ministries that share common space, a technology backbone, and amenities under one roof.”5
To learn more about June Hunt and Hope for the Heart, we went to her website and noticed that she describes what she does as “biblical counseling” and offers a large number of resources on that topic. We will demonstrate that Hunt is guilty of psychoheresy because of her embrace of psychotherapy and also because she uses the psychotherapy format in what she calls “biblical counseling.”
We will be responding to only two facets of Hunt’s extensive and expansive ministry. We will respond first to “HopeWorks Counseling” to demonstrate that Hunt is guilty of psychoheresy and second to her “Counseling Calls—LIVE,” which provide examples of the biblically errant psychotherapy format of some of her “biblical counseling.”
Hunt’s website advertises “HopeWorks Counseling” with the following description: “HopeWorks blends psychological principles with the wisdom of biblical truth to provide professional and compassionate help”6 (bold added). The counseling services are offered at the Center in Plano, Texas, but they are also available internationally at “HOPE-sponsored walk-in counseling centers.” Hunt’s ministry is Hope Center’s “anchor tenant and offers walk-in counseling by appointment.” 7
The “Sessions & Fees” section states: “Counseling visits are offered in 50-minute sessions. HopeWorks has established fees for Ph.D, LPC and LMFT counselors,” LPCs are Licensed Professional Counselors and LMFTs are Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists. The section also says “Additional charges are incurred for Psychological, Psychoeducational and ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] Evaluations.” Under “Fees” are the words: “We accept credit card, check, cash, and flex spending cards.”
The testimonies of two of the state licensed psychotherapists indicate that they use a systems theory approach to counseling. An early developer of family systems therapy is psychiatrist Dr. Murray Bowen. There are many forms of family therapy based on systems theory. These are all psychological systems, none of which existed before the middle of the last century.
Systems theory and family system psychotherapy, along with almost 500 other psychotherapies did not exist before World War II. Each state licenses its own psychotherapists. The first state to license a clinical psychologist was California in 1958, and in 1963 California issued the Marriage and Family Therapy license.
Hunt’s website advertises a two-day “Living Beyond Symposium” titled “Get Your Life Back” meeting at the Hope Center in Plano, Texas. In addition to Hunt, two other speakers are listed. Both are licensed psychotherapists with considerable psychotherapy experience. Also, Continuing Education Units are available for the following state licenses: Licensed Professional Counselor, Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists in Texas.8
As mentioned in a previous article: After six university degrees between us, with one being a doctorate in educational psychology, the two of us concluded that psychotherapy was a hoax being perpetrated on the American public. The doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Colorado qualified one of us for the Clinical Psychologist license in California, which was never applied for. Some years later the president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, Dr. Lawrence LeShan, said: “Psychotherapy may be known in the future as the greatest hoax of the twentieth century.”9 It may eventually be recognized as one of the greatest heresies of modern-day Christianity.
Hunt and many others like her must not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for the trials, troubles and tribulations of life, or why has she promoted the unholy psychological theories and therapies of the world? No one has at any time, by any means or manner, shown that one of the almost 500 forms of psychotherapy, including family systems, is more effective in helping individuals in need than the God-given ministry found in the Word of God ministered by the indwelling Holy Spirit in the fellowship of the saints.
We contend that the kinds of mental-emotional-behavioral problems of living that are generally therapized by a psychotherapist (psychological counselor) should be ministered to by biblical encouragement, exhortation, preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and fellowshipping, all of which depend solely upon the truth of God’s Word, without incorporating the unproven and unscientific psychological opinions of men.
The psychological seduction of Christianity is a most subtle and widespread leaven in the church. It has permeated the entire loaf and is stealthily starving the sheep. It promises far more than it can deliver and what it does deliver is not the food that nourishes Christians. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35.) Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), not Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Carl Rogers, Albert Ellis, Erich Fromm, Abraham Maslow, Murray Bowen or any other such men. Jesus, the apostles, and the early church did not send the sheep out to feed in other pastures. They did not turn to man-made systems to understand the nature of man or to discover answers to the problems of living. Jesus offered Himself as the bread of life. He gives the pure water of the Word which springs up into eternal life. When Hunt “blends psychological principles with the wisdom of biblical truth,” she ends up with an unholy mixture, which we call “psychoheresy.”
We coined the word psychoheresy because what we describe is a psychological heresy. It is heresy, because systems theory and all other psychotherapy theories are departures from the fundamental truths of the Gospel as they incorporate using unproven and unscientific psychological opinions of men, in contrast to maintaining absolute confidence in the biblical truth of God. They are denials of the sufficiency of Scripture for the issues of life now treated with psychological counseling, which utilizes the very wisdom of man about which God has warned His people(1 Cor. 2). Psychoheresy is also the intrusion of such theories into the preaching and practice of Christianity, especially when they contradict or compromise biblical Christianity in terms of the nature of man, how he is to live, and how he changes. The subtitle of our book is The Psychological Seduction of Christianity, which is a seduction that we document as having already happened and that continues to deceive many Christians. Hope for the Heart is a prime example of the psychological seduction of Christianity.
We have observed many psychotherapy counseling sessions of a variety of types and theories and we have not yet found one that is not in violation of biblical admonitions, prohibitions, and restrictions. We offer our book PsychoHeresy, Revised & Expanded, as a free ebook for a limited period of time at the following website: www.pamweb.org. Read it to see why psychotherapy is a psychological heresy and why those like June Hunt who promote it are guilty.
Public Purging of Private Lives
Before discussing Hunt’s call-in counseling programs, we describe the historical background of her pursuit of the public purging of private lives. In our book Stop Counseling! Start Ministering! we reveal how the privacy of private lives became public and how the therapeutic mentality became ubiquitous throughout America.10 Early marriage education classes prior to World War II mandated a move from lives being private to a need to reveal as much as possible about one’s personal life, thoughts, and relationships in order to be helped. It was primarily women who sought the help. During the post-World War II era, women’s magazines carried and conveyed a so-called necessity to express publicly what had previously been unexpressed and private. Also during the pre-war and early post-war periods the psychotherapeutic gospel, in which private lives are made public to the counselor, was the leaven being infused into marriage education and women’s magazines that eventually came to full loaf with licensed psychotherapists and the psychotherapeutic gospel permeating society and even the church. The sinful problem-centeredness began with the psychological counseling movement after World War II and was later adopted by the biblical counseling movement.
Alongside the post-World War II counseling movement came the almost simultaneous arrival of the media-driven exposure of personal lives becoming publicly proclaimed and drastically displayed in a new and unprecedented way. While men and women are both guilty of the publicizing of private lives, men were instrumental in initiating such exposure in therapy, but women led the way as eager users and are, thereby, primarily responsible for its current popularity and expansion.
Complementary to the psychological counseling movement was the rise of media moguls like Oprah and others, who capitalized on women’s interests by corrupting women’s strengths to their own detriment. All of this gave rise to all of life in the United States being viewed through the lens of the psychotherapeutic gospel. At the same time the media madness with its expression and often sinful practices moved into the online availability of almost everything from benign banter to devilish debauchery through such social networking sites as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, and through search mechanisms such as Google and Yahoo.
Without the history of the public undressing of private lives, fostered by Oprah and others, and the complementary psychological counseling movement, Hunt’s ministry would not exist today. It took all these worldly, fleshly, and sometimes demonic events to pave the way for Hunt and others, who call themselves “biblical counselors,” to thrive. As with other counseling we have examined, Hunt’s biblical counseling follows a psychological format of problem-centeredness that engenders sinful conversations.
Hunt offers “Biblical Counseling Keys” with “100 topics available” from Abortion” to “Worry.” Each Key topic is discussed in an 8 ½ by 11-inch paper publication. A number of the topics have CDs titled “Counseling Calls—LIVE,” which are taped conversations between Hunt and her callers from her previous radio call-in programs.
To examine what Hunt does on her live counseling calls, we read through her list of 100 topics for which she provides Keys (booklets) and many CDs. We ordered 10 of the Counseling Calls—LIVE CDs on the following topics: Anger, Boundaries, Codependency, Conflict Resolution, Depression, Domestic Violence, Forgiveness, Rejection, Self-Worth, and Stress. Each CD includes six to nine separate calls, each from a different person for a total of 93 calls. We wondered how long the on-air conversations were for many of these topics. By adding the on-air conversation times, we found the average on-air time for these conversations to be nine minutes! Within that brief period of time Hunt listens, analyses, draws conclusions, and gives advice.
Short-term psychotherapy is often defined as 12 sessions or less. Each session is typically 50 minutes. Short-term psychotherapy is provided for problems viewed as simple, short-term situational problems that can be resolved or relieved by one or more 50-minute-hours of therapy. Hunt’s quick-fix counseling approach is co-terminus with the demands of a quick-fix society. However, no licensed psychotherapist would believe that all the counseling problems on the 10 CD’s we received could be resolved or mitigated in an average of nine minutes. It is doubtful that such a quick fix will lead to permanent change, but no one will ever know except the caller.
Hunt’s counseling is a combination of psychotherapy and biblical counseling. If one removes the biblical counseling portions, she would be labeled as a psychotherapist, since she functions that way. At times Hunt appropriately advises a caller to see a medical doctor. However, her referrals to professional counselors conflict with the sufficiency of Scripture and perpetuate faith in psychotherapy, which reveals that she must not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture for issues of the soul. Hunt’s promotion and use of psychotherapy to remedy the issues of life (HopeWorks Counseling) and her use of psychotherapy in her biblical counseling deserve our charge of psychoheresy.
Even though Hunt may desire to offer biblical solutions and at times gives good biblical advice, she provides a psychological format, which opens the door to conversations that violate biblical principles regarding the tongue and regarding God-ordained relationships. Hunt’s callers are free to demean or denigrate their spouses or ex-spouses, complain about people who are not present, and simply speak evil of others on-air, which is so typical of psychologically oriented counseling conversations and talk-show blather. These sinful kinds of conversations are both allowed and fostered within the psychological format where people are encouraged to express themselves without biblical principles and restraints on speaking, such as: “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).
Hunt quickly and easily answers matters with sparse information gleaned in only a few minutes. However, Proverbs 8:13 says: “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Hunt would have to hear from all the people her callers talk about behind their backs. She has not done this. How could she? Psychotherapists do not check out the details of the stories they have been told either. It is impractical and almost impossible to do so. Hunt evidently believes her callers, who could easily be lying to her or at least distorting the facts through personal bias or leaving out personally incriminating information.
An article in Psychology Today reveals:
Nearly everyone who attends [psycho]therapy has lied to the therapist. Approximately half of patients fessed up to some form of sofa subterfuge in a 2015 study conducted at the University of Maryland. A staggering 93 percent of 547 clients could recall at least one instance of lying outright to their therapist or omitting part of the whole truth, according to a 2015 Columbia University study….
What they’ve found is that deception comes in many degrees between the truth and a lie—from simple omission to full-blown fabrication—and clients serve up lies ranging from merely concealing their real feelings about a situation to covering up a criminal act. 11
One psychotherapist with experience once said:”90 percent of the time [clients] distort the truth to make themselves look good.” However the Bible advises getting the facts before believing tales: “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him” (Prov. 18:17). Hunt probably never discusses this verse with her counselees in reference to what they say about others. She follows the psychotherapy format of accepting each word and expression as worthy of belief and response. If Hunt questioned the veracity of what her callers say, she could discourage people from calling and cause some people to hang up on her.
There are good sound biblical reasons why the psychological format of unrestrained counseling conversations should not be emulated by those like Hunt, who claim to counsel biblically. If one is to minister biblically, every word, every sentence, every expression, and every emotion expressed must conform to Scripture. Jesus’ very words condemn the psychologically formatted conversations in Hunt’s Counseling Calls—LIVE:
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matt. 12:36-37.)
We have to remember that even a believer’s carnal nature has a deceitful heart. Jeremiah 17:9-10 describes the deceitful heart:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.
The sinfulness of mankind has been an undeniable plague upon the earth from the first bite of the forbidden fruit. Rebellion against the Creator has replicated itself throughout the progeny so that “There is none righteous, no, not one…. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). The verdict is in; the judgment is true. Each and every person is a sinner. The only exception is the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save mankind from the condemnation, power, and eternal results of this putrid condition.
The reason we emphasize this ugly fact regarding the sinful nature of humans is because no one in counseling is free of this evil. Whenever two or more people meet together, even for seemingly good purposes, they are sinners in the nature of their being. Yes, they may be saved sinners who have a new life and the imputed righteousness of Christ, but even saved sinners are not free of sin, because sin yet dwells in what the Bible refers to as the “flesh,” the very nature of the “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph. 4:22). Furthermore, if we deny that we are sinners, we are deceiving ourselves (1 John 1:10).
Even though biblical counselors may attempt to remove the “logs” from their own eyes before examining the “mote” in their counselees’ eyes (Matt. 7:3), they are nevertheless more vulnerable than they realize to their own sinfulness, especially in the process of listening to and participating in the ensuing sinful communication endemic in problem-centered counseling.
Hunt would agree that there is an ongoing, relentless spiritual battle raging between the flesh and the Spirit, between the old order of the natural man under the ruler of darkness (Eph. 2:2-3) and the new man in Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Galatians 5:17 tells us that “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.”
Since the deceitful heart resides in the natural man, it continues on and becomes active as soon as one begins thinking or acting according to the flesh rather than the Spirit. In fact, as soon as a believer entertains sinful thoughts, the deceptive heart has already become active. Thus, one can see that the deceptive heart is very active during Hunt’s counseling conversations as callers describe situations, speak evil of others, and justify self, and as she enables such talk in an effort to help her callers.
The deceptive heart is active in both psychological counseling and in what Hunt calls “biblical counseling.” The psychotherapy counseling format activates the deceptive heart by opening the door to sinful thinking and speaking. Thus, even during Hunt’s attempt to fix the inner man through her counseling, deceptive hearts are activated and deceive her callers and her listeners, as they become privy to private matters that may soil the soul (Ps. 19:14; Prov. 11:13; 26.22).
Jeremiah 17:9-10 and many other Scripture verses give the reasons why we are opposed to the psychological counseling format. What we reveal in this article alone should be a wakeup call to Hunt and her many callers. In ministering to fellow believers, Hunt has crossed biblical lines set down by God in Scripture in her efforts to help callers with their problems of living. The fleshly, unbiblical activity involved in her psychotherapy-formatted counseling cannot be justified, no matter the amount of Scripture she uses.
June Hunt’s biblical counseling is a corrupt mixture of sound biblical advice and a variety of psychotherapeutically-driven sinful conversations that violate the Word of God. Hunt’s major error and biblical undoing is her use of the sinful psychotherapy format of receiving, believing, and advising on the basis of what the caller says.
For all the above reasons, we conclude that what Hunt offers as biblical counseling is sinful and the psychotherapy she offers (HopeWorks Counseling) is doubly sinful. With her world-wide ministry and with the millions who have heard her Counseling Calls—LIVE, Hunt has communicated, through her psychologically corrupted biblical counseling conversations, a contaminated message of hope that depends on the worldly wisdom of men (psychotherapy) rather than on the Word of God. Therefore, June Hunt’s ministry is more hopeless for the believer than Hope for the Heart!
1 The brackets are used to indicate that the suffix less is not part of Hunt’s ministry title.
2 “June Hunt Biblical Counseling Audio Series,” Hope for the Heart, PO Box 7, Dallas, TX 75221, back cover.
3 “June Hunt,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_Hunt.
4 “New ‘Hope Center’ Campus to Be Home to 14 Christian Ministries in North Texas,” Business Wire, May 20, 2008, www.businesswire.com.
5 “June Hunt,” Wikipedia, op. cit.
6 “HopeWorks Counseling,” www.hopefortheheart.org.
7 “June Hunt,” Wikipedia op.cit.
8 “Get Your Life Back,” https://www.thehopecenter.org/events/get-your-life-back-/2019-08-23+00%3A00%3A00.
9 Lawrence LeShan, Association for Humanistic Psychology, October, 1984, p. 4.
10 Martin and Deidre Bobgan. Stop Counseling! Start Ministering! Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 2011, Chapter 1, pp. 13-47, ebook temporarily available at www.pamweb.org.
11 Ryan Howes, “Why You Lie to Your Therapist,” Psychology Today, Vol. 52, No 3, pp.44-46.
PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, August September 2019, Vol. 27, No.5