New Meaning for the Term Dr. Mom

I am a college dropout.

I am not a Beauty School dropout, for some reason I was able to finish that program.  But I couldn’t persist through the endless sessions of cut and paste at the Art Institute long enough to obtain a degree.  Hence, I am not allowed to call myself an Interior “Designer.”

The reason I went to school in the first place was because our industry is taking a strong stance toward “professionalism.”  The ranks of women who, after watching Trading Spaces or HGTV, ran out and helped their friends and family decorate their homes apparently diminished the role of “legitimate” designers.  I wanted to make sure I was working within the realm of the credible.  Besides, we didn’t have cable and I never watched those shows.

Several quarters into the program, however, it occurred to me that school had little to do with a secret design knowledge unknown to the average housewife and more to do with the per credit hour fee.  Which was outrageous.  I kept waiting to find out how the placement of candlesticks could threaten the life of a homeowner or which wall finish was the most dangerous to use in a child’s playroom.  Never mind the risk of falling from a plastic toy slide, it was the paint fumes that were most hazardous.

Suffice to say that, as much as the industry would like to legitimize, decorating is not hazardous to the average homeowners health.

Now pay attention, I’m gonna take a large leap here (picture that yellow plastic slide and me on top)

A similar correlation can be made in reference to psychology.

One of the questions I often ponder is, “who let Freud in the church?”  There is no force of nature that could persuade a body of believers to allow an atheist such as Darwin to influence the programs of a ministry. Yet the atheist Freud is to whom we refer our congregation’s deepest soul needs. For the past 100 years Christians have willingly deferred soul care from the institution with “the only authoritative source for counseling wisdom (the Holy Spirit speaking through the Word of God)” to the psychotherapist and expect he would fulfill “the role of a priest, and expect and demand of him that he shall free them from their distress.”

I believe the answer to my question falls somewhere in that thought above about professionalism.  By redefining the issues of sin and fallen man and giving them instead a medical identity, early atheist forefathers of psychiatric thought removed the problem (and therefore the cure) from the power of the local church.  “Specifically, in our time and place, secular psychology has intruded into the domain of biblical truth and practice.  Secular theories and therapies substitute for biblical wisdom and deceive people both inside and outside the church.”

And if you remember anything about Freud or Skinner or Jung, that was exactly their intention.  “Psychotherapists must occupy ourselves with problems which, strictly speaking, belong to the theologian.” Carl Jung (Oops!  I quoted Jung again!)

I think if I said that housewives are completely qualified (without a degree) to decorate both their own as well as their friends and families homes you would smirk – and agree.  I wonder if also I claimed that believers are completely qualified (without a degree) to counsel, admonish and encourage people in distress for the purpose of changing the human heart what the response would be.

“The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations; He frustrates the plans of the peoples.  The counsel of the Lord stands forever, The plans of His heart from generation to generation.” Psalm 33:10-11

6 thoughts on “New Meaning for the Term Dr. Mom

  1. You speak truth, lady! Two observations (and sorry, I do have to address the design one, though I realize it’s the vehicle of the metaphor, not the tenor):

    1) You are spot on about the field of design/decorating. The problem is, decoration and design are, to me, not the same thing at all, but the “design trade professionals” refuse to differentiate, largely (I think) because many of them for some reason want to be called designers when truly what they are are decorators, and the training for this does not belong to the art studio (the field actually used to belong to the home-economics departments, which have disappeared from college campuses of course.) Decorating is a great and useful profession, and I’m glad to know people who are good at it. But what I do (as a designer) I like to call “interior architecture,” and I can’t imagine doing it without a knowledge of architecture and even training that simulates an architect’s training. In school, in the classes worth taking, we built architectural models, worked concepts from poetry and music and history into abstract renderings of space, wrote and conceptually sketched about space… you get the idea. This, as you say, has very little to do with whether you like the chintz or the toile drapes better, or how far that light fixture can stick out from the wall according to ADA. (Those classes were just funny to me, and I worked the system to avoid them as much as possible.) So, I’ll design and draw the space for you, and do a reflected ceiling plan to suggest how light could enhance the architecture…but please don’t ask me to shop for pillows.

    2) Freud and Skinner, are worth studying for a human perspective on human behavior, and certainly there’s some wisdom in applying a little behavior modification to help shape good behavior and habits. I will not give up on this technique, though I know it can be controversial in Christian circles. It has helped people stop smoking, lose weight, control the way they vent their temper, and instill politeness in children. But you’re right: the doctor of the heart (where all our actions and words come from) is the Great Physician. When problems go way deeper than behavior modification–and I think some do and some don’t–then I would no more go see a non-Christian counselor (who would be useless in helping me root out the core sin) than ask an atheist philosopher what’s wrong with the world.

    1. yippee! conversation! (someone IS out there)

      So you have discovered the meaning of “2meem” (better known in Christian circles as “thummim”… in Urim and Thummim…which can be translated as truth!)

      As well, you have also identified the problem with ID school. As it works to define itself it has lost some of us in the muck. I am thankful for people such as yourself who work in the beginning stages with a Design mindset; you create living/working spaces that make sense. Designers are definitely a positive influence in the architectural process. And I am absolutely content with the title Decorator, but does it require a degree?

      Interesting commentary on the second point. Unfortunately Freud and Skinner did not base psychological study on human behavior. Psychology is more frequently based on animal behavior and stems from the school of evolution (ie man is an evolved animal).

      I see some distinct differences in our thoughts regarding psychology, and hope we can continue this conversation. To that end, would you be willing to contemplate some questions?

      Is behavior modification Biblical? Or is it simply a means by which we as humans come to believe we have the ability to move toward Christ (likeness)? To help get at the answer, let’s look at some of the problems you have identified as those that behavioral modification helps. Countless people use this approach to stop smoking or lose weight, how do you see it going? Is it working? Or do you instead find a constant struggle to quit smoking and a see-saw of weight gain and loss ala Oprah?

      Which leads me to part 2 of that question….Is smoking or weight loss a behavior problem or a sin problem? Is anger? Does the Bible have anything to say about how children speak?

      You have separated certain behaviors from those of the heart, “where all our actions and words come from.” Does the Bible differentiate between actions of the flesh and actions of the heart?

      Ultimately the question I would ask is, to what extent are these words true in our life? “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” 2 Peter 1:3-4

      And how are you or I ever going to get any work done if we keep talking about this????? Thanks for commenting, I look forward to the interaction!!!

  2. As you can see from the ping posted above, my response got so long I decided to make a blog post out of it. This is a fascinating issue. At its core is that whole issue of where behavior comes from, and what role do body chemistry and brain physiology and DNA etc. play? God made them all, and they all play a part. If behavior needs changing, then, how has he planned for us to participate in it? (click on link above for some thoughts)

  3. o h m y

    is STILL all I have to say. Well, ok, that is a lie. I can say a whole bunch more. This is, however, much more “vacation” thinking than I was prepared to do!

    Thank you though, for such a thoughtful response. I have long desired meaningful conversation via the blogosphere and you have indeed provided.

    My initial blog on this topic, New Meaning for the Term Dr. Mom, is the product of newfound enlightenment. As I study for the Nouthetic Counselor Certification exam, “Counseling,” by John MacArthur has addressed this issue meticulously. The questions I posed in response to your comments are questions I myself had grappled with; I too had questioned the significance of behavior modification.

    The simple answer to your question, “is there no usefulness at all in studying (and sometimes applying) the findings of experts and writers in psychology and human behavior, if they aren’t starting with a biblical view of man?” quite possibly may be found in the following statement…

    “Why should believers choose to do behavior modification when we have the tools for spiritual transformation (like a surgeon wreaking havoc with a butter knife instead of using a scalpel)?” (John MacAruthur)

    But that response is unfair in comparison to your well articulated blog (not to mention your years of practicing the principles you express!—look at those wonderful boys!)

    So may I ask you to excuse this over simplified answer and invite you to trek with me as I continue to review? Perhaps we can read the book together?? Better yet, will you and Larry consider attending the NANC Conference with Bob and I in October (in Spartanburg?) Perhaps this is the arena some answers might be found since it is where the debate began (we ARE late).

    I’m sure that once I recover from visiting with 50 of my closest friends and family at 17 restaurants over the past 12 days I will have more brain cells to respond in detail….just didn’t want you to think I was ignoring you….(and yes, eating out gets old)

  4. Must admit I had to look up the word “nouthetic.” Yay! A new word for me! And what a wise concept. As I mentioned in the post, I do like Adams’ approach, and want to read more. Certainly I would drink up any training in how to help people in trouble by using the powerful words God has already provided in scripture. I’ll talk to Larry about it. Definitely interested in reading the book with you!

    I am sure, as wise as MacArthur is, that he would concede that all of us use behavior modification techniques all the time (probably just instinctively), to the benefit of families, schools, societies. It’s not an either/or proposition: outward behavior control, or inward transformation? Yes, and yes. The former is a mere shadow of the latter, and very temporary, but sometimes necessary as the latter takes root and bears real fruit–”fruit that will last.”

    Thanks for the affirmation of our boys. When people say things like “you must be proud of your boys,” I say “I am grateful for my boys; I am proud of GOD because of what He has done in them.” My behavior techniques were pitiful compared to his powerful Spirit!

    p.s. I completely understand the restaurant fatigue. Thankfully, that condition disappears quickly once you’re back to “normal” life! After 21 days on the road in Europe, I still want to go out to eat on Friday night.

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