Understanding Our Inborn Nature
Can Freud’s Theories Be Trusted?
Although Freud and his teachings were highly circulated, what he claimed completely flies in the face of what the Bible teaches about human identity.
The natural extension of Freud’s “blank slate” theory would be that our identity is merely the sum total of our past experiences, both good and not so good. Scripture clearly reveals that an omnipotent God uniquely, and individually formed each of us in our mother’s womb. Who we are is not defined by our past, but by our loving Creator.
This dichotomy often arises in my sessions with counseling clients. They insist that their relationships or occupation or family history “made them” who they are. They make statements like, “I’m just like my mom,” “Smith men are just that way,” or “My boyfriend makes me feel so stupid.”
Would you consider that the more correct view might be entirely the opposite of what you’ve always thought? In each of these examples, their environment did not make them who they were, but rather, they chose how to interact with, perceive, or respond to their environment based upon their perspective they already had of themselves. I promise, it will make much more sense as we continue through this chapter. But please don’t miss it.
If I’m entirely honest, much like you, I had never really considered either point of view. It had not ever seemed to matter. That is, until it did.
The Gold Standard of Christian Counseling Education
Over a decade ago, when I made the decision to retire from my lengthy professional career and to pursue education and training to become a pastor and Christian counselor, there was an overwhelming number of educational options to choose from. Suffice it to say, once I had done my due diligence in researching them all, one track clearly stood out from all others.
My seventy-two-credit hour course of study – accredited by the National Christian Counselors Association – culminated in my becoming nationally licensed as a Clinical Christian Counselor and conferred a PhD degree (with honors) from Colorado Theological Seminary.
The entire curriculum had one fundamental theme woven through every course, clinical experience, and assignment: man’s God-given, inborn nature, and its profound influence on our beliefs, thoughts, emotions, and actions throughout life. The flagship course was entitled Creation Therapy, written and taught by Richard and Dr. Phyllis Arno, founders of the National Christian Counselors Association.
National Christian Counselors Association
In 1981, the Arnos established the National Christian Counselors Association (NCCA) as a non-profit corporation in order to conduct extensive research in the development of a therapeutic assessment procedure based upon scripture. Through more than seven years of systematic research with over five thousand individuals, Drs. Arno developed a system that, still today, is considered the “gold standard” of client assessments. This instrument is known as the Arno Profile System.
Arno Profile System
The Arno Profile System (APS) is utilized by thousands of Christian leaders, ministers, and professional Christian counselors throughout America and around the world. It is the preferred instrument for assessing the unique, inborn identity of the individuals we serve. Over the past forty years since its inception, the APS has consistently been validated to a 95 percent accuracy rate in identifying an individual’s inborn, God-given temperament.
The APS does not measure a person’s personality, character, or behavior. To the contrary, it thoroughly describes a person’s inborn temperament – the unique nature the Creator “knit together in our mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13 NIV). We are not merely a blank slate waiting to be defined, as secular science would claim. No, we are intentionally, miraculously, and beautifully crafted, distinct from all others.
Personality is a “mask” we put on, specific to each environment we’re in and the people we’ll be interacting with. Our personality may be starkly different at a birthday party than it would be at a funeral. Character is the person we’ve “learned” to be over the course of our lives, known best by those closest to us. Temperament, however, is the “inborn” nature we were given by God, and may very possibly not be fully known, even by ourselves.
Consider an old, white wooden table. Its “personality” is white. Its “character” is marred and blemished from years of use. But its “temperament” is the natural wood underneath the many colors that have been layered over it through the course of its life.
In contrast to Freud’s suppositions, the person God created each of us to be (our true identity) and the person we have become through life in a fallen world (our learned, false identity) can be considerably different. This is creatively illustrated in a quote that many attribute to Albert Einstein:
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing it is stupid!”
The APS profile intricately and accurately identifies the inborn nature of the “fish” we were created to be. Traditional profiles, designed to measure an individual’s personality, simply reveal the outward behavioral and relational characteristics of our ability or propensity to “climb the tree.”
Soul health and spiritual maturity cannot be separated. Our counselors are ordained Christian ministers as well as certified and licensed Christian counselors. We are able to help you experience freedom from shame, anxiety, depression, or marriage / relationship conflict with methods that are purely Christ-centered. Please click on this link to learn much more about how our MARRIAGE COUNSELING can help you become a more authentic follower of Christ, and help you find freedom from identity dependence.
Life Training offers convenient sessions at our office in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as online counseling via Zoom or FaceTime. Our non-profit counseling practice has an outstanding track record for over a decade helping men and women, individuals and couples who are ready to move beyond anxiety, depression, and conflicts in marriage or other relationships find hope and healing in their lives. Contact us today at 502-717-5433, or by email at email@example.com