03) COUNSELING: What has been taught regarding trusting counselors and/or receiving counseling services?

Supporting Statements

Boyd K. Packer

We seem to be developing an epidemic of ‘counselitis’ which drains spiritual strength from the Church much like the common cold drains more strength out of humanity than any other disease.  That, some may assume, is not serious.  It is very serious!. . . We have become very anxious over the amount of counseling that we seem to need in the Church. Our members are becoming dependent. We must not set up a network of counseling services without at the same time emphasizing the principle of emotional self-reliance and individual independence.

If we lose our emotional and spiritual independence, our self-reliance, we can be weakened quite as much, perhaps even more, than when we become dependent materially. If we are not careful, we can lose the power of individual revelation. . . . Some want to start with psychologists, with professional counselors, or to go directly to the General Authorities to begin with. The problems may need that kind of attention but only after every personal, and family, and every local resource has been exhausted.  . . .

Bishops, you must not abdicate your responsibility to anyone—not to professionals, even to those employed by Church Social Services. . . .  You have a power to soothe and to sanctify and to heal that others are not given. . . .

There are some spiritually destructive techniques used in the field of counseling. When you entrust your members to others, do not let them be subject to these things. Solve problems in the Lord’s way.

Some counselors want to delve deeper than is emotionally or spiritually healthy. They sometimes want to draw out and analyze and take apart and dissect.  While a certain amount of catharsis may be healthy, overmuch of it can be degenerating. It is seldom as easy to put something back together as it is to take it apart.  By probing too deeply, or talking endlessly about some problems, we can foolishly cause the very thing we are trying to prevent.1

Richard G. Scott

No matter what the source of difficulty and no matter how you begin to obtain relief—through a qualified professional therapist, doctor, priesthood leader, friend, concerned parent, or loved one—no matter how you begin, those solutions will never provide a complete answer. The final healing comes through faith in Jesus Christ and His teachings, with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and obedience to His commandments. 2


  1. Boyd K. Packer, “Solving Emotional Problems in the Lord’s Own Way,” LDS General Conference April 1978; Ensign, May 1978
  2. <a href=”http://www.lds.org/ensign/1994/05/to-be-healed“>Richard G. Scott, “To Be Healed,” LDS General Conference April 1994; Ensign, May 1994</a>

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