The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
Course and Section #:201120 Fall 2012 COUN 507-D12 LUO
Sub-term D; Deadline: 12/02/2012
Instructor’s Name: Dr. James A. Laine
Date of Submission: 12/01/2012
Counseling Theory Critique: The Bondage Breaker by Neil T. Anderson
“Dealing with the demonic should be seen as a truth encounter rather than a power encounter” (Anderson, 2000, p. 258) this quote by Anderson, 2000, basically sums up his entire counseling theory in The Bondage Breaker. Anderson believes that the majority of what is construed as mental illness by psychologists today is actually demonic strongholds over the mind. Throughout his book, Anderson relays stories about patients he has dealt with whom he says have experienced some sort of physical ailment or mental illness such as hearing voices or physical deficiencies, and after completing the 7 steps in his counseling theory have seen remarkable improvements in their physical and mental health. Anderson believes that we wage a war against spiritual forces in our daily lives and even Christians are not free from the attacks of evil. As an example to his theory, Anderson illustrates a road Christians walk towards Christ with demonic forces leering on either side; his theory is that if a person is to engage in activity with these forces, they become overcome and their minds are controlled by demonic powers. Anderson stresses that everyone has a right to be free and that if they will regain control of their minds and “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (Anderson, 2000, p.69), they will have the ability to overcome the forces which control them. The steps to freedom recommended in Anderson’s theory are: #1 Denouncing any involvement in satanic customs, #2 Overcoming deception, #3 Learning to forgive, #4 Submitting to higher authority, #5 Learning to be humble and caring towards others, #6 Confessing sins, and #7 Denouncing family curses (Anderson, 2000). Anderson stresses that once these steps are complete a person must work daily to continue to remain free by shutting out any thoughts which are lies and will lead back to a place where the mind can be controlled by demonic forces. Theory Critique
Anderson makes a good argument for spiritual warfare in his book. His stories of past clients are compelling and allow his readers to understand just how deep the strongholds of the mind can go and the power that mental capacity has over physical nature. This theory’s strengths lie in Anderson’s ability to denounce the popular Hollywood folklore of demonic possession full of exorcists calling out demons from screaming writhing inhabitants and explain that his view of demonic possession is a much more deceptive image which is often displayed through physical ailments and relatively common mental illnesses; in other words, instead of screaming and writhing, demonic possession according to Anderson is a sneak attack on the mind.
However, weaknesses in Anderson’s theory abound. As a cognitive therapy advocate, when I look at Anderson’s theory I tend to see a cognitive model dressed in religion and spiritual warfare garb. Basically Anderson’s counseling theory is no different than any other cognitive theorist’s model, even those of other Christian authors. Anderson believes that the mind is our greatest enemy and even admonishes “But you need not fear Satan and his demons as long as you cling to God’s truth. His only weapon is deception.” (Anderson, 2000, p. 118), basically stating that the deception of our minds, negative thoughts, lies and wrong beliefs are our only enemies. The difference between Anderson and other cognitive therapists is that he attributes false beliefs to demonic powers while other therapists believe these come from what we have been taught. However, even Anderson contradicts his theory of demonic forces at some points in his book saying...