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Good Thing my First Name is not Paul March 13, 2007

Posted by Johan in Off Topic, Psychology Freakshow.
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I have exams this week, so don’t expect anything on topic!

I don’t know how it happened, but I stumbled upon someone claiming to be a psychologist by the name of Paul Carlin – my surname! I’m aware that the name is not uncommon in the US, but I was still a little curious.

Turns out I hit the jackpot of scary charlatans. Carlin runs the Therapon Institute, offering biblically-oriented counseling courses like the “Certified Re-Entry Crisis Counselor.” On Carlin’s theoretical origins:

During his research, Carlin studied the writings of the renown psychologist, Dr. Albert Ellis. Dr. Ellis is the developer of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. After reading Ellis and comparing Genesis 3, Proverbs 23:7, Mark 7 and Psalm 139:23-24 from a therapeutic viewpoint, he concluded that what was missing in Ellis’ belief, thought, feel and action model were Biblical dynamics. Using the established RET model, Carlin added his Biblical components and came up with the Belief Therapy model.

However, all was not well in Texas, as he set out to apply this model:

For years Dr. Carlin and his wife used these faith-based, therapeutic, Biblical concepts in the prisons. Certain laws in Texas, however, made it almost impossible for non-State licensed counselors to operate a counseling ministry. Certain words, like counselor, counseling, rehabilitation and therapeutic could only be used by licensed professionals. Then in 1997, God used the leadership of Governor George Bush to change the laws in favor of faith-based counseling.

Thank God for enabling people with no actual training to call themselves counselors. And George W. Bush, of course.

Anyway, Carlin appears to have abandoned the prisoners, for his website mainly tries to sell his distance-education courses in Belief Therapy. In exchange for buying the course and completing the workbook that comes with it, you get a certificate, which, thanks to George Bush, Carlin (and anyone else, by the way) is able to give you. Having trouble paying the tuition fees?

Q. Is tuition financing available?
A. Therapon has kept our tuition very low so anyone can afford it. Certification tuition is $290. We do not have a finance plan. We do, however, accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards.

No Good Samaritans here, I suppose. And to be sure, $290 is peanuts when you get 6 tapes, 5 books and a workbook.

When Carlin is not offering faith-based counselling to prisoners or suggesting that people get into credit card debt to pay for his courses, he also offers Christian advice on how to deal with erectile dysfunction.

I’ll have to keep an eye on how this one develops. I have a guilty fascination with the dirty underbelly of psychology. This guy looks almost as good as Norberto Keppe, the Argentinian psychoanalyst who has some kind of church in his own honour on a Swedish tv channel. Essentially, Keppe’s theory is that modern man suffers from some kind of theo-neurosis, that is, the origin of the unhappiness of modern life is our unresolved relationship with God… More on him in a future post, I’m sure.

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