Secular Psychology
“Science of the Soul”?

Part II

Second Half of 20th Century

CARL ROGERS 1902-1987:

One of the most influential minds in the field of psychology in the last half of the 20 century is that of Carl Rogers. He is one of the founding fathers of Humanistic Psychology and also had great influence in establishing research in this field. He started his advanced education training in a theological seminary, but after two years he transferred to Teachers College, Columbia University, receiving a MA degree and then in 1931, a PhD in Psychology. He was on the faculty of Ohio State University, University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin—Madison, Western Behavioral Sciences Institute, and Center for Studies of the Person. He was known for originating the person centered approach for counseling and psychotherapy.

Carl Rogers’s theory of the Self is considered to be humanistic and phenomenological. 1) Pescitelli, Dagmar, An Analysis of Carl Rodgers’ Theory of Personality, Listed in Wikipedia/Carl Rodgers. (1996). His theory is based directly on the phenomenal field personality theory of Combs and Snygg. 2) Combs, Arthur W. and Snygg, Donald (1949), Individual Behavior: A New Frame of Reference for Psychology, New York, Harper & Brothers, Article on Snygg and Combs’ “Phenomenal Field” Theory. An encyclopedia tells us that he wrote 16 books and many journal articles defending his theory.

In his book, Client-centered Therapy (1951), Rogers divides his theory into nineteen propositions. We will consider those propositions that pertain to the theme of this chapter, searching for and identifying seeds of spiritualism in psychology. Propositions numbers four and five relate to how the Self, the I or the Me is formed in man’s development. Numbers eleven and twelve tell us that man’s ways of behaving which have been adopted by his organism are formulated within the concept of Self. The remaining propositions continue to elaborate on the theme of Self. In his propositions outlining man’s development of his personality, the main issue is the development of a Self-concept and the progress from an undifferentiated Self to being fully differentiated. A Self Concept definition:

Self-Concept…the organized consistent conceptual gestalt composed of perceptions, of the characteristics of ‘I’ or ‘me’ and the perceptions of the relationships of the ‘I’ or ‘me’ to others and to various aspects of life, together with the values attached to these perceptions. It is a gestalt which is available to awareness though not necessarily in awareness. It is a fluid and changing gestalt, a process, but at any given moment it is a specific entity. (Rogers, 1959) 3) Rodgers, Carl (1959). A Theory of Therapy, Personality and Interpersonal Relationships as Developed in the Client-centered Framework. In (ed.) S. Koch, Psychology: A study of Science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the person and the social context, New York: McGraw Hill.

If you find yourself confused by this definition of Self, you are not alone. Perhaps it will clear some as we progress in this study.

First we need to understand more of what Humanism is and then attempt to decipher the meaning of humanistic psychology. If a person reviews encyclopedias, or goes to the Internet and reviews the various web sites on the subject of humanism a voluminous number of articles are available. They cover the history of this thought and terminology going back to ancient Greek philosophers, ancient Asian and Renaissance humanism, and tracing its influence forward to our present time. Humanism is a world view and moral philosophy that places humans above their Creator God. In fact it does not accept the idea of a God, never mind a Creator God. It sees man as the center of the universe. In the ancient pagan concepts expounded on earlier in this book we spoke of the belief that man was the microcosm of the macrocosm (the universe). We presented a figure of a man standing within a circle, within another circle. This figure represented man as the center of the universe and under this symbol in the book Magic and the Supernatural by Maurice Bessy, figure 220, is written:

Man, as conceived in astrology, reflects the rhythms and structure of the universe in the same way as the universe mirrors the rhythms and structure of Man himself, everything is part of everything.

In the pagan belief man has a super consciousness, True Self, Self, which is the connecting link (divine within) to the wisdom of the universe and when man connects “all is One, One is all”, “as above so below,” immortality or godhood is achieved. In Freud’s and Jung’s philosophy and psychology this access to universal wisdom is through the subconscious and/or collective consciousness respectively, which is synonymous, as I understand it, with the expression Self used by humanists.

Humanist Manifesto I of 1933, declared the followers to be religious humanists and in their view traditional religions were failing to meet the needs of their day. They claimed to form a religion that would meet the needs of their day. 4)

Human Manifesto II of 1973, states that a faith and knowledge are required for hope for the future and that traditional religion renders a disservice to humanity. Manifesto II recognizes the following groups to be part of their naturalistic philosophy: scientific, ethical, democratic, religious, and Marxist humanism. 5)

Human Manifesto III of 2003, secular humanists consider all forms of religion, including religious Humanism to be superseded by secular Humanism, a religion that does not believe in God. Their view is compatible with atheism and agnosticism. They do not consider metaphysical issues, or the existence of immortal beings (spirits). 6) Kurtz, Paul, Living Without Religion: Eupraxophy, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, (1995), p. 8.

Rogers is not known for being involved in paranormal psychology during most of his career, denies having any type of mystical experiences, or drug induced altered state of consciousness. Yet as he aged he gradually began to accept that there was really something to the experiences so many wrote about. He stated that the most convincing statements he encountered in the reporting of the paranormal were from Carlos Castaneda, and this man’s encounter with the mystical through a Yaqui Indian medicine man—shaman. 7) Rogers, Carl R., A Way of Being, Houghton Mifß in Company, New York, New York, (1995), pp. 253, 254. He also gradually changed his concepts of what happens at death, from a total end of a person to the probability of life after death. He expands further on this subject as he relates the circumstances in his wife’s final illness and eventual death.

Helen Rogers and Carl visited a medium in the later days of the illness that lead to her death. Helen experienced contact with a deceased sister and facts were shared by the sister that were totally convincing to both Helen and Carl.

The messages were extraordinarily convincing, and all came through the tipping of a sturdy table, tapping out letters. Later, when the medium came to our home and my own table tapped out messages in our living room, I could only be open to an incredible and certainly non-fraudulent experience. 8) Ibid., p. 90.

He tells of Helen having dreams and visions of a family member telling her she would be welcomed “on the other side.” She experienced the sight of evil figures and the devil by her hospital bed. She eventually dismissed the devil and he left for good. She had a vision of a white light that came close, and lifted her from the bed and then put her back upon the bed. The evening of her death, friends of Carl who had a long scheduled appointment with the medium, held a séance session. Contact was made with Helen and she answered their questions. She told them she heard everything that was said while she was in a coma the night of death and again she experienced the white light and spirits came for her. She had taken the form of a young woman; dying had been without stress. 9) Ibid., p. 91.

Carl said that these events gave him a lot of interest in all types of paranormal phenomena. He accepted spirit life and reincarnation. 10) Ibid., p. 92. He found quite appealing the view that the individual consciousness is but a fragment of a cosmic consciousness and the fragment would be absorbed back into the cosmic consciousness upon the death of the individual, essentially the Eastern view of life after death. 11) Ibid., p. 88. Rogers had developed an interest in the exploits of Carlos Castaneda and his initiation into the sorcerer’s world “Where the man of knowledge has a spirit ally, where the impossible is experienced.” Rogers comments further:

These and other accounts cannot simply be dismissed with contempt or ridicule. The witnesses are too honest, their experiences too real.

All these accounts indicate that a vast and mysterious universe— perhaps an inner reality, or perhaps a spirit world of which we are all unknowingly a part—seems to exist. 12) Ibid., p. 99-102.

William Kilpatrick writes that he was present when Rogers related the following. After Helen’s death Carl Rogers was ridden with guilt because he had formed a new relationship during his wife’s illness, so after her death he with a group of people consulted an Ouija board, in spite of no previous use of the board, suddenly letters began to form…:

It is Helen, and her message is one of complete absolution: “Enjoy, Carl, enjoy! Be free! Be Free!”
“Well by gosh!” says Rogers, and he wipes his hand upward across his brow. “What a wave of relief swept over me when I heard that.”

From the group, exclamation of awe can be heard: “That’s incredible!” “Fantastic!”
And now it seems everyone in the group has had their mystical and quasi-mystical experiences:… premonitional dreams, poltergeists, and encounters with something known as “the white light.” Whenever the latter is mentioned there are nods of familiarity, as though the white light were an old friend or a new G.E. product. 13) Kilpatrick, William Kirk, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Crossway Books, (1985), pp. 176,7.

Rogers, in A Way of Being, expresses his acceptance of and belief in the use of altered states of consciousness. He comments on the feeling of transcending experience of unity, where the individual self is a part of the whole area of higher values, such as beauty, harmony, and love. There is that feeling of being one with the universe. He shares the belief that the mystic’s experience of union with the cosmos is confirmed by solid science. He shares with the reader his experience of when being closest to his inner intuitive self; he comes in touch with the unknown in himself. When he is in an altered state of consciousness he is full of healing and energy, just to be near the patient transmits healing. He speaks of the life force that is in each patient and therapist, which he tells us is like a meditative experience wherein he feels himself as a center of consciousness, “very much a part of the broader, universal consciousness.” 14) Rogers, op. cit., pp. 128-130. (Emphasis added)

On the front cover of his book, Carl R. Rogers has written “The Founder of the Human Potential Movement Looks Back on a Distinguished Career.” It appears to me that Rogers’ influence upon the field of psychology is based upon the same foundation as Freud, Jung, and of the Eastern pagan doctrines, i.e., the lie told in the Garden of Eden, “you will become wise like God.” That you have within Self access to the wisdom of the universe; it lies latent and must be developed. These teachings have indoctrinated the world through the influence of Eastern thought and similarly in the Western world in a disguised form, at times, under the banner of psychology—the science of the soul.

I have chosen to present the work of psychologists Abraham Maslow next, to illustrate progression in the development of Self in psychology toward more open spiritualistic concepts and practices.

Abraham Maslow 1908-1970:

Maslow is considered one of the founders of Humanistic Psychology along with Carl Rodgers. Maslow considered humanistic psychology a third force in the field of psychology, the first field was of Freudian, the second behaviorism. Maslow added to the theories of Rodgers with the concept of Self-actualization, that of reaching the point of highest possible attainment for an individual. Humanistic psychology ushered in several different therapies; all guided by the idea that people possess inner resources for full attainment and therapy is designed to help clear away those things which tend to block this fulfillment.

Self-actualization of Maslow could be compared with the self-realization of yoga, both look to the inner Self to secure the ultimate growth and refinement of the soul. The inner-Self is the sub-consciousness of Freud, the collective consciousness of Jung, the Self- Concept of Rodgers and the Super-consciousness of the Eastern religions—the god within.

Maslow had a lot to do with the establishment of Transpersonal Psychology discipline. In 1969 Maslow, Grof and Sutich initiated publication of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology. The Association for Transpersonal Psychology was founded in 1972. Transpersonal Psychology focuses on the spiritual aspects of life while parapsychology focuses on psychic phenomena. Transpersonal psychology attempts to describe and integrate the experience of mysticism within modern psychological theory. Transpersonal psychology is associated with New Age dogma. 15) p. 3. This variant of psychology is often regarded as a fourth force of psychology, which in Maslow’s judgments summarized in Wikipedia “Transpersonal Psychology”:

Transcends Self-actualization of Humanistic psychology. 16) Unlike the other first three schools of psychology i.e., psychoanalysis, behaviorism, and humanistic psychology which more or less deny the transcended part of soul, transpersonal psychology integrates the whole spectrum of human development from prepersonality to transpersonality. 17) Hence transpersonal psychology can be considered the most integrated complete psychology, a positive psychology par excellence. 18) From personality to transpersonality, mind to meditation, neuroscience to Nirvana, it is a complete wholesome science for all round development and treatment. 19)

In more understandable terms we could say that Transpersonal Psychology is more openly connected with the tenets of the neo-pagan—New Age mysticism than are the other disciplines of psychology. Now we trace the progression of the Self-concept onward into more open New Age theosophy through Psychosynthesis of Roberto Assagioli, M.D.


Dr. Assagioli was an Italian Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist, having trained at the same mental hospital as did C.G. Jung in Switzerland. He learned psychoanalysis but was not satisfied with this discipline as he felt it was not complete and proceeded to develop what he called psychosynthesis. He was influenced by both Freud and Jung and felt that Jung was the closest to his theory. Psychosynthesis is broadly defined as a spiritual and holistic application of psychology having been developed out of psychoanalysis. It is an attempt to develop the “higher psychic functions, the spiritual dimension.”

In 1938 he was imprisoned in Italy by Mussolini for one month due to his humanistic teachings and he used that month to investigate his inner-Self. 20) Assagioli sees the willthe power of choice in a central position of Self-consciousness. He combines the Eastern approach to mental health with Western psychology in a stronger way than most other psychologists have done. His writings are frequently quoted in the field of holistic health as well as mental health.

Will Parfitt, a practitioner of psychosynthesis for 40 years, in an article on the Internet titled Roberto Assagioli The Kabballist, presents what is known about Assagioli’s connection to the Jewish secret society Kabbalah. Assagioli‘s library contained many books of mystical nature, writings of Gershom Scholem (the founder of modern Jewish mysticism), works of Alice Bailey and Theosophy, the works of Plato, etc. Most striking were psychospiritual articles written by Assagioli describing the psyche identical to the Kabbalah’s description of the psyche. The psyche is divided into three divisions: the lower unconscious, the middle unconscious, and the upper unconscious which is the Soul—Self.

Assagioli was careful in his writings to avoid mention of the Kabbalah or its doctrines, yet it is apparent that he subscribed to its tenets. The Kaballah is pantheistic in its doctrines; it is mystical. Parfitt tells us that:

Psychosynthesis easily interfaces with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to create a model that can be effectively applied in many areas, particularly in the fields of healing, counseling and psy-chotherapy. Indeed, an understanding of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life is useful for practitioners of all types of therapeutic work. The larger, synthesizing context of the Kabbalah enables different models to be included without any subsequent loss of the integrity of each system. 21)

The Psychosynthesis psychology of Assagioli goes beyond transpersonal psychology in that it is quite open to the Eastern spiritualistic—pantheistic teachings. It can be seen that the pantheistic Self can be found in Freud’s, Jung’s, Rodger’s, Maslow’s, and Assagioli’s psychologies, and that over time the progression to openness of a pantheistic tone is recognized.

Herbert Benson M.D.:

An author and researcher who is not a psychologist, but has become well known in the medical world; a cardiologist, and founder of Mind/Body Medical Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. He is a graduate and associate professor of Harvard Medical School. He is author or co-author of many scientific publications and authored a number of books which have sold more than 4 million copies in several languages. He was an early promoter of spirituality in medical practice. His work has been a bridge, joining medicine with religion, East with the West, mind with the body, and belief with science. His research and writings have had a significant influence in the field of medicine.

Dr. Benson and his work were included in the chapter Ayurveda, Meditation section. I wish to review its role in mind—therapy; its contribution to the field of psychology.

discipline known as The Relaxation Response brought forth by Herbert Benson M.D. has had considerable influence upon the medical community. Dr. Benson conducted quality medical research, studied the physiological changes in the autonomic nervous system in followers of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while they practiced Transcendental Meditation, and then he named those physiological effects of transcendental meditation The Relaxation Response. Remember, it took meditation to produce the relaxation response. He studied the effects of this relaxation technique upon various medical disorders in his Harvard research lab. He was able to show beneficial effects upon high blood pressure, help in reducing illicit drug use, benefit for migraine headaches, lower cholesterol levels, overcome insomnia, stimulate creativity, relieve various pain syndromes, and various anxiety disorders.

Dr. Benson is also Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine, New England Deaconess Hospital in Boston. His book, The Relaxation Response, has sold millions. It gained wide acceptance by the medical community because it showed benefits under controlled trials that met with the medical standards of research. The methods presented by Benson are easy and without cost. This method he considered as harmless to the physical body. However, it was not evaluated as to its effect upon the long term spiritual health. William A. Nolen M.D. wrote an endorsement to the relaxation response as follows:

I am delighted that someone has finally taken the nonsense out of meditation… Without the need to waste hundreds of dollars on so-called “Courses,” the reader knows how to meditate—and how to adopt a technique that best suits him or herself. This is a book any rational person—whether a product of Eastern or Western culture—can whole heartedly accept. 22) Benson, Herbert M.D., Klipper, Miraiam Z., The Relaxation Response, Wings Books, a Random House Company, New Jersey, (1975), cover of book.

Not only medical professionals but also the mental health establishment has accepted Dr. Benson’s Relaxation Response as quality science and many therapists have utilized his technique. In 1975 it was introduced to the armed forces, “the meditative technique, cleansed of ideology,” and made a smashing hit with the Admirals and chief of naval education. It became a standard in indoctrination of new recruits throughout the armed forces. All basic training programs use it because of its effect as an alternative to drug use. 23) Ferguson, Marilyn, The Aquarian Conspiracy, J.P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, Distributed by St. Martin’s Press, New York, (1980), p. 237.

What is this Relaxation Response that the doctor has made so popular? Benson reviewed the past and present religions of the world, including practices of shaman of primitive tribes throughout the world, looking for and selecting a particular practice used in healing that tended to be common to all. He found that meditation similar to transcendental meditation contained the principles that were found in the healing practices he had reviewed in his study of the various ancient religions as well as certain present religions.

All non-Christian and mystical Christian systems have some form of Eastern type meditation in their religious practices. Apostolic style Christianity does not, it has the practice of what we refer to as study and prayer as its particular method of communion with God. However, within the Christian movement there has been a mystical branch as traced by Benson. It started with St. Augustine (354-430), and then continued through monastics of the desert (desert fathers) during the early Middle Ages, using the mantra as a form of prayer tool.

The meditation practices and rules for living of these earliest Christian monks bear strong similarity to those of their Hindu and Buddhist renunciate brethren several kingdoms to the East… the meditative techniques they adopted for finding their God suggest either a borrowing from the East or a spontaneous rediscovery. 24) Goleman, Daniel, The Meditative Mind (Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher/Putman Inc. 1988), p. 53; Reported in Youngen, Ray, A Time of Departing, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Silverton, Oregon, (2002), p. 42.

A book by an unknown author with the title of A Cloud of Unknowing written possibly in the fourteenth century promoted the use of a passive mind to achieve a contemplative mind (meditation). There are records of people in the Christian faith known as Christian mystics who practiced some form of meditation down through the centuries. We have continuation of this movement in the Christian community today teaching a similar practice, referred to as contemplative prayer.

The Relaxation Response is composed of four elements, previously listed in the chapter on Ayurveda but important to review at this point: 1) A quiet environment; 2) an object to dwell upon, word or sound in repetition (mantra) or to gaze upon some object or symbol; 3) passive attitude, an empting of all thoughts from one’s mind; facilitated by deep rhythmic breathing; 4) a comfortable position allowing the same position for at least 20 minutes.

Medical research has substantiated that there are very definite effects upon our nervous system and endocrine system by use of these methods. The involuntary nervous system reacts to many methods of relaxation and stress reduction. The rate of metabolism will be slowed within minutes by 20% or more as revealed by the reduced utilization of oxygen. Blood lactate levels drop revealing that the muscles are in a more relaxed state, blood pressures will become lower, heart rate slows, breathing rate slows, and the brain wave changes from the beta rhythm to alpha rhythm which is a slower rate of electrical brain waves. All these changes result in improvement of various medical conditions as mentioned in the first paragraph of this section.

If the Relaxation Response is so easy, cheap, safe, accessible, and effective for problems that are not always responsive to medicines, why has this section on Relaxation Response been placed in this chapter which is exposing Satan’s deceptions that are infiltrating the mental health field? Because it is insidious, deceptive, and spiritualistic. Dr. Benson has proposed the technique as a neutral method between science and religion by changing the word meditation to Relaxation Response and suggests use of Christian terms in the mantra. Many health professionals have accepted it. Some spiritual leaders believe they would not be partaking of its spiritualistic pagan tenets if they choose to use this method.

Meditation and yoga are worship acts and practices made to pagan gods. Transcendental meditation is a particular method of yoga wherein a secret mantra is given that is never to be shared with anyone. This manta is in fact a name of a Hindu god and when the mantra is used the meditator in turn is calling upon that Hindu god to possess him or herself.

Some may doubt the above statement. I will share with the reader a recent experience that makes clear to me this is so. I was conducting a seminar on the subjects of this book in Massachusetts March 2010 and I had shared the above statement with those in attendance. Following the lecture a young man came to me with a question—how did I know this fact that the mantra given in transcendental meditation is the name of a Hindu god and that to repeat it is to call on that god to possess the meditator? I could not recall at that moment where I learned such, however, he told me I was correct, that it was a secret not to be revealed. He had once worked for the great Transcendental Meditation Ashram near Lancaster, Massachusetts and had been initiated into transcendental meditation; he had received the secret name of a Hindu god and bowed before two altars to Hindu gods in this initiation. One and one half years later he had surrendered his life to Jesus Christ and became a baptized Christian.

The Relaxation Response is a name given by Dr. Benson to the physiologic changes measured on transcendental meditators he used in his research. This meditation that he measured had the same response on the nervous system that occurs from meditation of Eastern religions, of Shamanism, of Christian mystics, Western occultism, of yoga, etc. For certain there are real effects, hundreds of experiments and studies substantiate that it is not a sham; there is a power in these practices. How does hypnotism bring changes to our nervous system to the degree that painless surgery has been done while under its influence, or painless surgery with patient awake with acupuncture? Men are able to walk or run through white hot coals of fire without burning flesh or clothing. Is this the answer?

These Satanic agents claim to cure disease. They attribute their power to electricity, magnetism, or the so-called “sympathetic remedies,” while in truth they are but channels for Satan’s electric currents. By this means he casts his spell over the bodies and souls of men.–Signs of the Times, March 24, 1887.

In the Appendix H (Satan’s Ground), there is a list of more than thirty different conditions or situations that are considered Satan’s ground by Ellen White. Is it possible that a thirty-five hundred plus year old worship procedure, designed to worship and connect the worshiper to Satan’s spirit world could be considered as Satan’s ground, and an act that the worshiper of the Creator God would choose to avoid?

What has made The Relaxation Response so deceptive is a name change. Most of the medical profession at the time Dr. Benson was doing his research rejected practices coming from Eastern thought. By demonstrating physiologic changes from meditation and changing the name, prejudice was overcome. One of Dr. Benson’s investigators, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. shares with us his confirmation of the way that Dr. Benson was able to gain the medical professions acceptance of his relaxation response therapy.

…Transcendental Meditation, popularized by the Beatles, and the relaxation response, was popularized by Harvard’s Dr. Herbert Benson. Dr. Benson, who directed a postgraduate course I took at Harvard Medical School, was chiefly concerned with isolating the most obvious healing aspect of meditation, and therefore focused his research almost solely upon simple, worry-free relaxation. In so doing, he made meditation palatable to the medical community. 25) Khalsa, Dharma Singh M.D., Meditation as Medicine, Stauth, Cameron, New York, NY, (2001), p. 7. (Emphasis added)

Dr. Khalsa is author of the book Meditation as Medicine, wherein he compares the relaxation response and Transcendental Meditation with his method—Meditation as Medicine. He makes the comment that visualization, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, and affirma-tion are forms of meditation but lack the value and full effects he sees from his method—Meditation as Medicine. He refers to Relaxation Response as the kindergarten version of Medical Meditation. 26) Ibid., p. 10. Khalsa points out that Medical Meditation has unique attributes wherein specific breathing patterns are utilized; postures are specific even to the position of the hands and fingers; specific mantras that give selected sounds; and a special mental focus are used. What makes the difference between a kindergarten level practice and one of superior effectiveness? Answer: the spiritual sensitivity of the operator, or said another way, the operator’s close connection to the powers of the occult.

Dr. Benson followed his book, The Relaxation Response, with a second book, Beyond Relaxation Response, which brings out additional areas of interest not mentioned in the first book, The Relaxation Response. In this second book he emphasizes the faith factor. He speaks of two powerful spiritual vehicles: 1) meditation 2) personal religious convictions. The statement is made in his book that the use of Relaxation Response is to form a bridge between two disciplines, the practice and art of meditation and your traditional faith. 27) Benson, Herbert M.D., Beyond Relaxation Response, A Berkeley Book, Times Books edition , 1984, Berkley edition ,(1985), New York, NY, p. 6. How does one connect an ancient practice designed to alter one’s level of consciousness and to connect man with the spirit world and blend it with the Christian faith?

As I read through this small book it soon became clear that the book is written to persuade one, of the beliefs of the Eastern thought, i.e.,, the origin of man coming from a theorized energy and not from a Holy Being—Creator God. Buddhism’s doctrines are cautiously introduced throughout the book in a masterful way suggesting a blending of these principles with other religions including Christianity by use of the technique (Eastern style meditation) spoken of as the Relaxation Response.

A third book by Benson, Your Maximum Mind, moves the reader one more step further toward changing one’s world view of reality. In this text Benson recommends his Relaxation Response technique as a means of:

…Our research has shown that to pass into the so called hypnotic state, the Relaxation Response is first elicited. Then, the hypnotist may suggest various actions to the individual being hypnotized. 28) Benson, Herbert M.D., Your Maximum Mind, Times Books, Division of Random House, Inc., New York, (1987), p. 38. (Emphasis added)

This above quotation is telling us that all that is needed after the Relaxation Response is reached is to have a hypnotist make suggestions and the meditator will respond accordingly. Is that not fully hypnosis when the Relaxation Response has been reached? Another question comes to my mind: what is the difference between a hypnotist and any other person that might give suggestions to the meditator that has achieved the Relaxation Response? I suggest this answer: the hypnotist has placed him or herself under the control of occult powers. What about the person who attained the Relaxation Response?

If I choose to use the Relaxation Response for stress or other reasons, how do I know when I have reached the full response? Dr. Benson gives the answer in The Maximum Mind, pages 38, 39:

It’s interesting that many people who have elicited the Relaxation Response—and experienced increased communication between the two sides of the brain—express the experience as a sort of “wholeness.” They use such terms as “unboundedness,” “infinite correlation,” “well-being,” and “intense wakefulness.” Also, those in this state tend to have much greater awareness of the richness of details which surround them in their environment. Often people just say that the state is inexpressible; it’s beyond words and language and can only be felt, not described. In its most intense form, this type of experience is known as a “peak experience”—whether you’re talking about a spiritual insight, a winning sports effort or some personal intellectual break through.

Benson in the same chapter as above refers to a Dr. Stanley R. Dean, professor of psychiatry at the Universities of Miami and Florida, who makes the following comment on this peak experience. As one that:

…produces a superhuman transmutation of consciousness that defies description. The mind, divinely intoxicated, literally reels and trips over itself, groping and struggling for words of sufficient exaltation and grandeur to portray the transcendental vision. As yet, we have no adequate words.

In the research laboratory when this state of full Relaxation Response has been reached, monitoring of brain waves reveals alpha and theta brain waves in both hemispheres. These are the wave lengths of a slowed brain activity which results from a passive mind, and theta is specifically the rate demonstrated in biofeedback and hypnotic trance.

The book, Your Maximum Mind, by Benson has as its purpose to share with the reader Dr. Benson’s belief that by use of the Relaxation Response the brain can be tuned to bring forth its full potential. He presents the story of research that his laboratory from Harvard University did in Tibet, monitoring Tibetan monks as they meditated. One group of monks came into a room at 40 degrees Fahrenheit and took wet cloths, wrapped them over their bodies. Meditation style (gTummo Yoga), was entered into. The wet cold clothes within three to five minutes began to steam and in thirty to forty minutes the clothes were dry. They repeated this act several times.

Another group of monks living at 17,000 feet elevation walked in the early evening up to an elevation of 19,000 feet and dressed in sandals, loin cloth and a thin cotton cloth over the body. They took off their sandals squatted down with their heads resting on the ground in front of them and entered into gTummo Yoga. The temperature was zero degrees Fahrenheit. Thus they spent the night without even a shiver, in the morning they arose shaking off snow that had settled on them during the night and walked back to their monastery.

Dr. Benson shares with us his belief that the monk’s ability to do these acts is a result of the Relaxation Response—meditation and relying profoundly upon their Buddhist faith. Might it not be the same power that prevents burns to clothing and skin for those who walk forty feet through white hot coals of fire?

In the book, Your Maximum Mind, Herbert Benson reveals how by use of the Relaxation Response we can increase our abilities in academic activities, music, health, creativity, spirituality, etc. We do this by bringing ourselves into the fullness of the Relaxation Response then exposing ourselves to any of those endeavors we wish to excel in. The level of achievement in that art will be much higher than we are able to achieve without using this technique. Why not take advantage of it?

Can I find in the Bible any suggestion that this is the way to enrich my spiritual life? Is there any hint of such in the books written by E.G. White? I have not found any suggestion of such. I do find the advice to seek wisdom from God. Solomon asked wisdom from God and was blessed with such. We cannot serve two masters at one time, it is always only one. Is it spiritually safe? The Christian will find his growth in abilities and wisdom coming from the Creator God of the universe, not hidden within his consciousness to be brought forth through an occult power.

That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2: 2, 3 (emphasis added)

Herbert Benson comments further:

So when you are in this state of enhanced left-right hemispheric communication, it’s easier to process information and view situations in a new and innovative way. In other words, a cognitive receptivity or plasticity of cognition occurs, in which you actually change the way you view the world. 29) Ibid.,. (Emphasis added)

Benson told the L.A. Times:

…in his clinical experience, about 60-70% of those who begin a meditation-type practice primarily for medical reasons (often at the recommendation of their doctor) adopt the teachings. (Buddhism). L.A. Times Quiet the Mind, Heal the Body, 1/12/03

False Science of Mind Cure:

Philosophy since the time of Socrates and Plato considered the workings of the mind and expounded upon man’s understanding of its workings. Man added to man’s ideas; the scriptures were not consulted in an attempt to explain the mind, psychology became a discipline of its own. Scriptures were not accepted and an anti-Creator—God attitude was present through the ages. The tradition of men helped to devise many of the concepts and dogma that went into forming modern mind sciences. Undoubtedly there also has been worthwhile advancement in knowledge in the mind sciences that is valuable and not connected with spiritistic influences. It is important to make clear that there are psychologists and psychiatrists that do not use techniques that are re-lated to the methods exposed in this chapter. However, it is important that we understand these principles so if we choose professional aid in mental health that we are intelligent in those practices that are tainted.

Says Paul, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colosians. 2:8) This scripture is especially applicable as a warning against modern Spiritualism. If the mind commences to run in the channel of phrenology and animal magnetism, it is almost sure to lose its balance. “Vain deceit” takes possession of the imagination. Many think there is such power in themselves that they do not realize their need of help from a higher power. Their principles and faith are “after the traditions of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Jesus has not taught them this. He does not direct the minds of men to themselves, but to God, the Creator of the universe, as the source of strength and wisdom. 30) White, E.G., ST, November 13, (1884), par. 1.

For thousands of years Satan has been experimenting upon the properties of the human mind, and he has learned to know it well. By his subtle workings in these last days he is linking the human mind with his own, imbuing it with his thoughts; and he is doing this work in so deceptive a manner that those who accept his guidance know not that they are being led by him at his will. The great deceiver hopes so to confuse the minds of men and women that none but his voice will be heard. 31) White, E.G., Letter 244, (1907). {MM 111.2.}

True Science Mind Cure:

At the beginning of the previous chapter this quote from book 1 Mind, Character, and Personality by E.G. White, p. 10 was presented. I desire to draw attention to it once again. Many pages in this chapter have been written exposing a false science of mind—cure that looks to Self—the divine within, as the power and means for restoration of mental health.

Laws of the Mind Ordained by God.–He who created the mind and ordained its laws, provided for its development in accordance with them.

To have mental health it is first necessary to exercise the power of the will—to choose:

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Luke 16:13

Satan cannot touch the mind or intellect unless we yield it to him 32) White, E.G., 2 Mind, Character, and Personality, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, (1977), p. 710.

Christ can do nothing for those who are yoked up with the enemy. His invitation to us is, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” When in our daily experience we learn His meekness and lowliness, we find rest. There is then no necessity to search for some mysterious science to soothe the sick. We already have the science which gives them real rest–the science of salvation, science of restoration, the science of a living faith in a living Savior. 33) White, E.G., Medical Ministry, Pacific Press, Nampa Idaho, (1932), p. 117.

Within the scriptures are to be found the principles for safe and effective therapy for the mind. Those that may be looking for help and guidance for mental wellbeing, choose not only a Christian health professional but also one who finds in the scriptures his guidance for assisting patients in securing mental health. I have become acquainted with books written by authors that are guided by scriptures in their professional endeavors. Undoubtedly there are many more such professionals. I wish to share some names of authors and books so written.

First: A book entitled Christians, Beware! The Dangers of Secular Psychology by Magna Parks, Ph.D., a previously practicing psychologist. Her book is written, about an oftentimes confusing subject. With simplicity and clarity she tells her story of twenty years of psychological counseling following the secular methods taught by the schools she attended.

She once read a sermon that challenged the usual principles of therapy in psychology counseling and found it in opposition to her way of treatment. She studied to expose the error of understanding of psychology by this pastor as revealed in his sermon.

Her pursuit in this study led her to the conviction that he was right and thereafter she turned to the scriptures for her source of wisdom in bringing mental health to her patients. The conclusion Dr. Parks came to in her search for the guiding principle used in secular psychology is summarized in the following quotation.

It is my prayer that what you have read in this book will provoke you to re-examine your perspective on secular psychology as it relates to your life as a Christian. The teachings of secular psychology point us to one object—self. This is completely contrary to God’s desire for us to be focused on Him. 34) Parks, Magna, Christians, Beware! The Dangers of Secular Psychology, Teach services, Brush New York, (2007), p. 77.

Second: Depression The Way Out by, Neil Nedley, M.D. , is another book that approaches mental health utilizing the physical, mental, and spiritual approach. It is especially directed at mental depression. Dr. Nedley is an internal medicine practitioner and during his specialty training he became interested in the mental affliction of depression. This disorder is extremely widespread in our country. He recognized that the results of the usual therapy were not very beneficial. The customary medical approach has been treatment of depression largely by medication. In his book Dr. Nedley places great emphasis upon lifestyle and changing our patterns of thinking, avoiding negative thoughts and carrying an attitude of gratitude. The value of helping people see themselves as having true value because they were bought with a price, the life of the Son of God, and avoiding the pursuit of self-esteem is emphasized. 35) Nedley, Neil M.D. , Depression the Way Out, Nedley Publishing, Ardmore, Oklahoma, (2001), chapter

Third: Daniel L. Gabbert with 25 years of full time Christian ministry of which 13 have been in church pastoral ministry, six as a mental and spiritual health coach at Black Hills Health and Education Center, in Hermosa, South Dakota. There he conducts training seminars for those wishing to learn and share with others God’s method of healing the mind. He has written a special training manual entitled, Biblical Response Therapy®, Healing God’s Way. He too, has recognized the infatuation of Self by the mental health field. He exposes in great detail this false focus; tracing its origin from Satan in his rebellion—sin against God and to its infection and spread in man, therein identified as Self. In the preface of his manual the following words reveal the focus:

The purpose of this manual is to provide sincere Christians the basic principles for leading hurting people along the incredible path of spiritual and mental healing and restoration found in God’s word. These principles are based solely upon the precepts of healing the thought life (the habits of thinking and feeling) as found in God’s word…. 36) Gabbert, Ibid., p. i.

The information prepared for the training course and contained in Gabbert’s syllabus recognizes the influences of our physical health upon the function of the mind and thought life, the effects of diet, exercise, and even our world view. The syllabus material is based on scrip-ture and occasionally selections from the author E.G. White as follows:

Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being, and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobe-dience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness (self) took the place of love. His nature became so weakened through transgression (sin) that it was impossible for him in his own strength, to resist the power of evil (Satan). 37) White, E.G., Steps to Christ, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD, p. 17.


The purpose and goal of this chapter has been to search for seeds of spiritualism in the field of psychology/mind cure. This study was initiated because of statements by the author E.G. White naming phrenology, mesmerism (hypnotism), and psychology as laying the foundation for spiritualism. This statement is made several times in her writings. This search proceeded guided by definitions of spiritualism as understood by Ellen White, which are: man’s consciousness in death, (immortality); spirits of dead return to minister to the living; no dif-ference between righteousness and sin; man will judge himself; men are unfallen demigods (divine within, pantheism); Theosophy principles, theory of animal magnetism (which includes universal energy, universal mind, divine mind, Self and or Divine Self, consciousness, unconscious, and all synonyms).

Spiritualism declares that there is no death, no sin, no judgment, no retribution; that men are unfallen demigods; that desire is the highest law; and that man is accountable only to himself…. 38) White, E.G., Evangelism, Review and Herald publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD, (1940) p. 608.

Thousands of men and women have been involved in the field of psychiatry and psychology and different forms of mind—cures but this discourse has presented only a few names that are more prominent in the literature of psychology as having formulated theory concepts which have influenced the field of psychology/mind-cure over the past 120 or so years. Within this book the foundational precepts of Eastern religions and mysticisms as well as Western occultism (Theosophy) have been presented. These in brief are: man’s origin is from a blending of a universal divine energy, therefore man has divinity within—Self, man by his works progresses toward godhood, belief in reincarnation and that man eventually reaches nirvana (spirit’s paradise).

Did we find any of the above defined aspects of spiritualism in psychology? Let us review: the concept of life after death (immortality) was found in philosophy writings down through the ages; the theories of the subconscious of Freud; collective consciousness of Jung; self of most other psychologists; are in reality synonymous with the doctrine of Eastern mysticisms and Western occultism. They are presented as apart from religion, but in reality I believe they constitute a near-religion with the same core dogma of Eastern religions, that is—the divine within.

This conclusion is illustrated by tracing the gradual change in the concepts of psychology during the past century. Freud was anti-religion and denied there were spirits until his later years; however, he promoted the doctrine of intelligence in the unconscious. Jung’s life was filled with contact with the spirit world and by his own words this influence helped him formulate his theories of psychology, that of the collective unconscious which is the same as the Eastern consciousness. Rogers and Maslow were leaders in humanistic psychology which places man as possessing the divine within, Maslow moved farther than Rogers toward Eastern mysticism as seen in his interest in what is called transpersonal psychology which is an empha-sis on spirituality, but not Biblical directed spirituality. Assagioli was oriented in psychology but also accepted parapsychology (occult manifestations) into the discipline of trans-psychology. Herbert Benson, the scientist, has taken the Eastern practice of meditation, repackaging it as relaxation, bridged it to religion for treating stress, anxieties, and various medical disorders.

          Satan has not only controlled pagan man’s loyalty by his counterfeit teachings of salvation by works, but also great parts of the Christian civilization by the greatest deceptive doctrine found in secular psychology, Self. I do not believe that all psychologists or psychiatrist are directed by this false doctrine in their therapy. There are undoubtedly practitioners who do follow the Biblical model of “True Science Mind—Cure.”

          The law of the universe is: God gives all things to the Son, who gives to the created, who in turn returns love to the Son, and the son to God, completing the great circle of beneficence. Satan introduced Self as a substitute for the love of God.

          Eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was proclaimed by Satan to make man wise like Godman possessing within self all healing and wisdom of the universe. This is the theme of Satan’s counterfeit story of God’s creation and salvation.

In Paul’s second Epistle to the Thessalonians, he exhorts to be on guard and not depart from the faith. He speaks of Christ’s coming as an event to immediately follow the work of Satan in spiritualism in these words: “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 39) White, E.G., Confrontation, (1971), pp. 91, 92.

The warnings of the word of God regarding the perils surrounding the Christian church belong to us today. As in the days of the apostles men tried by tradition and philosophy to destroy faith in the Scriptures, so today, by the pleasing sentiments of higher criticism, evolution, spiritualism, theosophy, and pantheism, the enemy of righteousness is seeking to lead souls into forbidden paths. To many the Bible is as a lamp without oil, because they have turned their minds into channels of speculative belief that bring misunderstanding and confusion. The work of higher criticism, in dissecting, conjecturing, reconstructing, is destroying faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. It is robbing God’s word of power to control, uplift, and inspire human lives. By spiritualism, multitudes are taught to believe that desire is the highest law, that license is liberty, and that man is accountable only to himself. 40) White, E.G., Acts of the Apostles, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa Idaho, (1911), p. 474.

The follower of Christ will meet with the “enticing words” against which the apostle warned the Colossian believers. He will meet with spiritualistic interpretations of the Scriptures, but he is not to accept them. His voice is to be heard in clear affirmation of the eternal truths of the Scriptures. Keeping his eyes fixed on Christ, he is to move steadily forward in the path marked out, discarding all ideas that are not in harmony with His teaching. The truth of God is to be the subject for his contemplation and meditation. He is to regard the Bible as the voice of God speaking directly to him. Thus he will find the wisdom which is divine. 41) Ibid..,.

In these days when skepticism and infidelity so often appear in a scientific garb, we need to be guarded on every hand. Through this means our great adversary is deceiving thousands and leading them captive according to his will. The advantage he takes of the sciences, sciences which pertain to the human mind, is tremendous. Here, serpent-like, he imperceptibly creeps in to corrupt the work of God. 42) White, E.G., op. cit., 1MCP p. 19.1.

From: Exposing Spiritualistic Practices in Healing by Edwin Noyes M.D., MPH


1 Pescitelli, Dagmar, An Analysis of Carl Rodgers’ Theory of Personality, Listed in Wikipedia/Carl Rodgers. (1996).
2  Combs, Arthur W. and Snygg, Donald (1949), Individual Behavior: A New Frame of Reference for Psychology, New York, Harper & Brothers, Article on Snygg and Combs’ “Phenomenal Field” Theory.
3  Rodgers, Carl (1959). A Theory of Therapy, Personality and Interpersonal Relationships as Developed in the Client-centered Framework. In (ed.) S. Koch, Psychology: A study of Science. Vol. 3: Formulations of the person and the social context, New York: McGraw Hill.
6 Kurtz, Paul, Living Without Religion: Eupraxophy, Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY, (1995), p. 8.
7 Rogers, Carl R., A Way of Being, Houghton Mifß in Company, New York, New York, (1995), pp. 253, 254.
8  Ibid., p. 90.
9  Ibid., p. 91.
10  Ibid., p. 92.
11  Ibid., p. 88.
12  Ibid., p. 99-102.
13  Kilpatrick, William Kirk, The Emperor’s New Clothes (Crossway Books, (1985), pp. 176,7.
14  Rogers, op. cit., pp. 128-130.
15 p. 3.
22 Benson, Herbert M.D., Klipper, Miraiam Z., The Relaxation Response, Wings Books, a Random House Company, New Jersey, (1975), cover of book.
23  Ferguson, Marilyn, The Aquarian Conspiracy, J.P. Tarcher, Inc., Los Angeles, Distributed by St. Martin’s Press, New York, (1980), p. 237.
24  Goleman, Daniel, The Meditative Mind (Los Angeles, CA: Tarcher/Putman Inc. 1988), p. 53; Reported in Youngen, Ray, A Time of Departing, Lighthouse Trails Publishing, Silverton, Oregon, (2002), p. 42.
25 Khalsa, Dharma Singh M.D., Meditation as Medicine, Stauth, Cameron, New York, NY, (2001), p. 7.
26 Ibid., p. 10.
27  Benson, Herbert M.D., Beyond Relaxation Response, A Berkeley Book, Times Books edition , 1984, Berkley edition ,(1985), New York, NY, p. 6.
28 Benson, Herbert M.D., Your Maximum Mind, Times Books, Division of Random House, Inc., New York, (1987), p. 38.
29 Ibid.,.
30 White, E.G., ST, November 13, (1884), par. 1.
31 White, E.G., Letter 244, (1907). {MM 111.2.}
32 White, E.G., 2 Mind, Character, and Personality, Southern Publishing Association, Nashville, TN, (1977), p. 710.
33 White, E.G., Medical Ministry, Pacific Press, Nampa Idaho, (1932), p. 117.
34  Parks, Magna, Christians, Beware! The Dangers of Secular Psychology, Teach services, Brush New York, (2007), p. 77.
35 Nedley, Neil M.D. , Depression the Way Out, Nedley Publishing, Ardmore, Oklahoma, (2001), chapter
36  Gabbert, Ibid., p. i.
37 White, E.G., Steps to Christ, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD, p. 17.
38 White, E.G., Evangelism, Review and Herald publishing Association, Hagerstown, MD, (1940) p. 608.
39 White, E.G., Confrontation, (1971), pp. 91, 92.
40  White, E.G., Acts of the Apostles, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Nampa Idaho, (1911), p. 474.
41  Ibid..,.
42  White, E.G., op. cit., 1MCP p. 19.1.