Blog

By Tom Joseph PhD

 

If you think you found a short cut in life, you actually found a longer road to the same spot.

Knowing Good and Evil

By Tom Joseph PhD

 

Humans are the only living specie that knows good and evil (Made in the image of God). All other living creatures are only controlled by programed survival  instincts. Animals do not have the ability to be or do evil. Humans are the only living creatures that can think and do evil deeds. Therefore, we must learn what the Holy Bible deems as “evil” and by choice, do the opposite. There is no such thing as selective morality or moral relevancy for the human race. Therefore, true morality to not be evil, only comes from Jesus Christ and His recorded word (the Bible). Otherwise, every man will be righteous in their own eyes and according to their own self interests.

Addicted To Religion Excerpt

By Tom Joseph PhD

 

In order for us to understand what addicted to religion may mean, we first must understand what an addiction is. My definition of addiction is as follows:

It is any repeated need of a substance, person, thought, or action that creates a mood-altering euphoria in order to escape the pain of reality, which produces negative results and consequences in a person’s life. This pain, which is being avoided, includes emotional, relational, physical, and financial ones.

In light of this definition, religious repetition and false supernatural magic tricks only lead a person to what we call in the addiction recovery world as chasing the high. Chasing the high came from the idea of an addict who is hooked on a drug or substance, which gave that person an unbelievable feeling of bliss once the drug was first introduced to their system. After that initial encounter, the human body responds less and less to that drug, causing the addict to use more frequently, with more intensity, and with longer duration. Moreover, the addict repetitiously continues to try and fix their pain issue with the false promise that the drug or drink will make their pain go away.

As the substance abuser engages in this insane cyclical activity, so does the religious addict engage in rituals, and superstitious, unrealistic miracle cures, trying to escape the pain it will take to
truly be healed. Repetitive rosary beads, healing cloths, candle lighting, baptisms, communion, foot washings, confessions, signs of the cross, praise and worship, confessing over and over, forgiving over and over, sowing seed money, keeping the Sabbath, reading devotionals, and even positive exciting preaching. The religious addict continues to repeat the same ritualistic, emotionally driven behavior, to expect a different result, never satisfying the empty thirst that plagues them.

Repetitive religious actions and false doctrine of an easy fix brings a temporary euphoria that diminishes as soon as you leave the church parking lot. This is prevalent in third-world religions as well as modern-day Christian religions. The true Holy Bible does not promote, encourage, or require any of these ceremonial rituals in order for a person to be right with God or to achieve wholeness and
fulfillment. Anxiety-driven and fearful people saturate themselves with self-help Christian books and daily reading material to try and somehow find that golden nugget that just might be the magic answer from God to elevate their fear of making a tough, hard, direct decision on their own.

Most individuals, especially women, who come to my office for counseling and dare to follow through with the reality of tough behavioral change, end up throwing all their books away or donating them to the local thrift store. Why? Because they were chasing the high of what these books might give them to escape the pain of divorcing; setting boundaries with family, friends, and children; or facing the repercussions of rejection and confrontation. But when they realize that their issue is not going to go away by osmosis, then, and only then, can recovery start. The religious drug dealer continues to give the illusion that when one stays tuned, the answer will be revealed next week, next program, or even immediately if they sow a seed gift of a $100, $500, or a $1,000.

I remember how many Christians, over a period of approximately ten years, came to me for counseling who were unable to give the suggested donation for counseling services because they had spent their hard-earned money on boxes of Kenneth Copland faith tapes and CDs about how to claim their health and wealth. Years later and bankrupt, they finally came for real biblical advice and true
healing through painful recovery.

Saving the Saved Campaign

By Tom Joseph PhD

 

• Helping Christians become emotionally, physically, financially, and relationally healed.
• Helping Christians stop believing false misguided doctrine that keeps them stuck.
• Helping Christians recover from false doctrine being taught from their churches.
• Helping Christians wake up and see that false teachings just keep them from getting healthy.
• Helping Christians from living in denial who go from church to church, ministry to ministry, looking for answers just to find themselves stuck in the same mess over and over again.
• Helping Christians understand what addicted to church and religion means and what real faith and Christian recovery looks like.

Grace

By Tom Joseph PhD

 

Grace is a period of time allotted to one, or many, in order for repentance (turn around) to take place before irreparable damage and or a permanent judgment is enacted.

Grace is not unmerited favor toward us for a lifetime or eternity from God. A grace period of time can be cut short based on the intensity duration and frequency of sinful behavior. If one does not turn from their evil destructive, or dysfunctional ways, eternal consequences are inevitable that can last, not only for a lifetime, but from generation to generation (everlasting)

What is Codependency?

by Dr. Tom Joseph Ph.D

 

Codependency is when an adult person continues to be dependent, committed, dedicated, and loyal to another who continues to exhibit unhealthy poor behaviors which causes ongoing distress, pain and abuse.
What is really interesting, is that codependents, whether or not they are male or female, think that because they are giving, loving, forgiving, kind, sensitive, understanding, tolerant, sacrificial, trustworthy, and completely committed, that they are not wrong in their motivations. When in all reality, these attributes they exhume are done out pure survival and self-focus. A codependent believes that if they continue to lavish their loved ones and friends with altruistic mush, that the “loved one” will naturally reciprocate these qualities back to them and thus make life easier and better for the codependent. The codependent believes in positive karma, what goes around comes around. They cannot fathom that another person is capable of not giving back or appreciating their efforts. The codependents idea that overly giving and exaggerated kindness to even the worst offenders, will somehow soften their evil mean heart. This presumptive illusion gives the codependent a glimmer of hope that they would be appreciated, loved and praised for such goodness. When these acts are not realized, and even rejected by abusive unhealthy people in their life, the codependent plummets into a depression and sadness that is hard to get them out of. This sadness then becomes an attention getter for others to run to their rescue and tell them how important and wonderful they are for giving so much.
Even though codependents act as if they want no praise or attention, they are a black whole of gravitational pull for every possibility to receive recognition for their accomplishments. It is worthy to note, that most codependent people are the first to come to an irreparable point in a marriage more than any other type of personality. In my counseling practice, I have witnessed codependents suddenly shut their spouse off like an outside water facet. The bewildered spouse of fifteen or twenty years said they had no idea there was a problem in the marriage until the day they were served.
For more help with codependency, contact me at www.atthewell.net .

Sexual Addiction By Tom Joseph Ph.D., L.C.P.C. Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor

by Dr. Tom Joseph Ph.D

 

Sexual Addiction is the insatiable thirst of never being content or secure with true love, intimacy, acceptance, and approval to the point of possibly engaging in; selfish, controlling, risky, unethical, immoral, unnatural, or even violent behaviors that include a sexual experience trying to obtain long term satisfaction with short term immediate gratification.
These behaviors include and are not limited to; prostitution, adultery, infidelity, repetitive and consistent pornography, abortion, and excessive masturbation,
The next set of sexual activities I am about to mention, are extremely addictive in nature, to the point that the person engaging in these behaviors usually believe, for the most part, that they are born with these urges or that these urges have been a part of their nature throughout their life. Also, these abnormal, unnatural sexual behaviors are usually incurable from the stand point that once a person has stepped over the line in deciding they were going to engage in these deviant behaviors, have already had serious mental and emotion issues long before participating in these perversions. Many times these underlying issues have been undetected by family and friends because of the stealthy nature of sexual addicts. Once they engage in these deviant behaviors, the sex addict feels as if they can’t stop. This is what I call “the fish hook syndrome”. You see, once a fish hook is inserted into clothing, flesh or a fish, it is very difficult and almost impossible to pull it out without inflicting major damage. This is what happens once a person begins to engage in the next set of abnormal psychological unnatural sexual activities.
Abnormal mental and psychological sexual disorders that have very serious personal and social consequences are:
Homosexuality, lesbianism, bi-sexuality, transvestite and transgender behavior, rape, pedophilia, sadomasochism, cross dressing, bestiality, exhibitionism, asphyxiophilia, necrophilia, sodomy (of any kind), incest, bigamy, polygamy, partner swapping, orgies, multiple partners, and group sex.
Sometimes and more often then not, These deviant behaviors just mentioned include more then one of these activities simultaneously.
These sexual activities I just mentioned are rooted in extreme self hatred and self contempt. It is also rooted in several possible disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder, clinical depression, Anxiety disorders, borderline personality disorder and anti-social personality disorder or what we would call, psychopathic tendencies.
My counsel to the lovers and spouses who find that the person they have been married to, or involved with, have been engaging in these sexual behaviors is to understand that there is a very remote possibility that the sex addict will ever truly stop these behaviors, and that there is most likely going to be serious consequences later on down the road unless strict boundaries with the sex addict is implemented. Implementation should include extensive long term treatment.
Just a few names out of thousands that have harmed society from their sexual addictive behaviors are: Jeffery Dahmer Homosexual a pedophile, and cannibal- His father tried to get him mental help for years before he killed, but to no avail.
Dennis Rader (B.T.K), (Bind, Torture, and Kill) serial killer in the Wichita Kansas area spanning approximately 28 years before he was caught. He was married for over 30 years and was a pillar in his community. He attended a Christian college, and served in the armed forces. He was the president of his Lutheran church and was a great neighbor. But, because of his sexual addiction which was born out of hate, narcissism and hidden depression, Dennis Rader bound, tortured and killed men, women, and children while he climaxed as life left his victims. You see, sex is a very small part of sex addiction. It is a slippery slope once it starts. Dennis Rader was caught and convicted in 2005.
Freddie Mercury of Queen, was a self destructive homosexual of one of the most popular rock bands in history. The rock band was named “Queen” to identify with homosexual transgender prostitutes known as “drag queens”.
Ted Bundy and Gary Ridgeway (the Green River Killer) these are all just a few of a very long list of people that have stepped into the fishhook syndrome.
There are many others who have been caught in sexual deviant addictive behaviors that stunned the nation, and that were very popular TV preachers, and priests who had sexual addictions. Just to name a few: Jimmy Swaggart (caught paying hookers in New Orleans), Ted Haggard paying a homosexual male massage therapist, and propositioning young men in his large evangelical church he Pastored in Colorado Springs. And there are thousands of sexual assaults on children from homosexual Catholic Priests.
This is why the Bible is specific about these sexual behaviors and why you must get help if you are connected to a person with sexual addictions in any way.

Anxiety

by Dr. Tom Joseph Ph.D

Out of all the emotional problems that negatively affect a person’s behavior, the most prevalent that I see in my practice is anxiety. More people then not suffer from some sort of anxiety. Most all the other issues I have spoken or written about, in one way or another are connected with anxiety. If this is true, we must first define anxiety before we can begin to conquer it. Seeing numerous cases of anxiety with consistent frequency, I felt that I had to create a simple but accurate definition that would describe anxiety, so I came up with this definition: Anxiety is the anticipation of bad things to come. Yep, that is it. When ever a person senses danger lurking in the near or far future, they will began to worry about the uncertainty of all its possible unpredictable outcomes. Once these anticipatory feelings start, the imagination rehearses the worse possible scenarios that cause the mind to obsess, replay, and focus on a futuristic apocalypse. Sometimes the obsessing can get to the point that it causes many immediate responses to take place within the body.  Because of the natural chemical adrenaline rush that takes place in the body when fear of being harmed is present, the body will create all types of physiological symptoms that are not pleasant unless the body utilizes the adrenaline through fight or flight. But when the threat of danger is no where near, but afar off, or imagined, the trapped adrenaline has no escape. Therefore the body begins to experience heart palpitations, jittery stomachs, gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux, insomnia, and many other symptoms that will exacerbate the problem then what had been first anticipated. The domino affect started. The physical symptoms one felt because of the initial fear begins a reverberating affect that causes one to think that they are dying from a heart attack, A.I.D.S, a stroke, or most common, Epstein-bar syndrome. Anticipating bad things to come just increased considerably from its origin. A mountain has been made out of mole hill, a tsunami out of a ripple wave, and an avalanche out of a snowball. And because of this spontaneous reaction, those who are close to the person suffering from run away anxiety will by association, inherit the repercussions. If anxiety is not slowed or halted, loved ones will loose steam and began to separate themselves from the anxious person. Anxiety can cause more and more anticipations of bad things in the future because of the initial onset, and becomes a vicious cycle that continues to repeat itself for a lifetime unless identified and fixed.

The Origin of Anxiety

There are many sources that cause a person to start anticipating bad things to come. Childhood abuse is the most to blame for the creation of anxiety. When a child doesn’t feel safe from the adults in their own home, they will try to rationalize and problem solve with an undeveloped brain on how to escape the fear of the future that should have been taken care of by their parents. Children that hear and see parents panicking, raging, isolating, self medicating and living in fear, the child knows nothing else but to anticipate bad things to come. The child will begin to fight, act out, hide, or developed elaborate coping skills for innate survival.

The other most prevalent cause of anxiety I have noticed is chemical genetic pre-disposition to depression. Remember, depression doesn’t necessarily need to look like the stereotypical demeanor of “down and sad”, in many cases depression shows itself as anxiety. A person worrying and obsessing over the smallest things most likely has anxiety caused by a low level clinical imbalance. You see, clinical depression can be minute enough to look as if a person is functioning normally to those around them when things are going somewhat “normal”, but when there are changes in life and problems that hit the fan, that low level depression becomes large and out of control. That is why a person suffering from this type hidden depression will show their imbalance by obsessing to keep everything in control anticipating that the other shoe will drop and they will not be able to handle it. So they keep cleaning, fixing, washing, counting, checking, saving, avoiding, hiding, and worrying to avoid a bad thing to come. After a while the adrenal glands of the worry wart can’t keep up and that person begins to show generalized anxiety, panic attacks, psychosomatic illnesses, and even a nervous breakdown. Our bodies just can’t keep anticipating bad things to come without action or else the body will fall apart sooner or later. Many times anxiety untreated will also result in very poor choices in relationships. Anxious people gravitate toward dysfunctional people because they appear to pamper them in the onset of the relationship but cause severe problems later on. Picking the wrong partner is very common among the anxiety plagued person.

The solution to anxiety is:

1)                  Medication– In most cases, anxiety can be treated with a low dose anti-depressant from the doctor. Miraculously I have seen medication fix unnecessary anxiety in most situations. It appears that when serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain are fixed, anxiety tends to be a thing of the past. There are so many Christians who resist taking a simple, non-lethal drug that in many cases is very inexpensive, because of the stigma created in our society about antidepressants and medication that help the brain. There seems to be a taboo that goes with the false notion that taking medication for mood or anxiety is a sign of weakness and faithlessness in Christ. I believe it takes more faith to take medication than to not take it and suffer. Also, many of the people who refuse to look into an antidepressant are drinking toxic alcohol or smoking pot everyday, and some how they justify that “medication” as OK.

2)                  Counseling- As I have said earlier, many people who are suffering from anxiety need to deal with the childhood hurts and false perceptions created by a dysfunctional upbringing. Along with the proper medication, there should be intensive counseling to help a person create new patterns of thought about the future and how not to keep anticipating bad things to come. The main reason most people look back, blame and focus on regrets of yesteryear, is because they are failing in the present, and see the future as defeated. If they were successful in the moment, and tomorrow looked hopeful, they would never look back or blame.

3)                  Spiritual confidence- Learn to focus on God as a God of the future, not the God of doom. There are many Christians who focus on a doomsday theology that keeps feeding the worry and anticipation of bad things to come. Jesus said in the beatitudes, “worry will not add one cubit to your stature” meaning, by worrying, you will not get any taller. He also said that His father knows every sparrow that falls to the ground and clothes the grass and lilies of the field. Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself.” Only do what you know you can do today to plan for the future, and trust in the Lord to direct your path.

4)                  Learn to accept that rejection and pressure from others: There will always be those who will reject you and pressure will always be present, but know that you have the power to set boundaries with shameful people, and that it is ok if they choose to reject you. Many people suffering from anxiety believe they are helpless against another persons control over their life. You must understand that no person has that much power to control how you feel unless you give them that control. Anxiety comes when you anticipate, the other person’s reaction when you don’t conform to their wishes. I decided a while back that I would never give that much power to another human being in my life again. It doesn’t matter if it is a family member, friend, government official, or a spouse. No one on this earth will ever have the ability to make me so anxious to the point of living in fear and paralysis. The Bible says that the fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom. We should listen to those who give wise advice, and avoid those who flatter or enable.

5)                  Understanding your inborn temperament: Every person who comes to me for counseling is administered an inborn Temperament Analysis Profile test. This test will determine what is motivating you from the natural point of view, and what causes you to do the things you do. Knowing your basic inborn temperament will help you battle anxiety from the standpoint of understanding your natural vulnerabilities, weaknesses and tendencies. For example: if you have a choleric temperament in your control area, you will naturally become very anxious if you are in a situation where you feel controlled by others. If you have a Supine temperament in the area of control, you will become anxious if someone isn’t helping you make decisions or if you have to be overtly controlling. You see, we must understand what is causing the basis of the anticipation of the bad thing from your temperament point of view.