Can a skeptic be a mental health professional?

In recent months, some have expressed concern with my chosen field of graduate studies – Mental Health Counseling. Throughout some interactions with some proponents of ‘alternative medicine,’ truth relativism, religious ideologies, and even some who profess to be skeptics, I have been told that I should reconsider my scholarly pursuits because I am not fit to be a mental health professional.

I have been told that I do not ‘respect’ others’ beliefs and thus would be unable to be an effective counselor because of various philosophical stances I hold. I believe that persons who voice this person lack knowledge pertaining to counseling.  Counselors, being aware of their beliefs and resolving to maintain a position of ‘value neutrality’ on particular issues, can be effective mental health professionals.

Counseling sessions should not be ‘philosophical boxing rings’ in which counselors ‘impose beliefs’ and/or debate their clients. It’s simply not the place.

Listen to a recent Youtube video I uploaded further addressing this topic:

Free speech or intellectual honesty?

As some of my readers — and/or my Youtube subscribers — may have noticed, I have recently been uploading many videos my Youtube account. Don’t worry, though! I will continue to frequently write here. After all, I have been actively authoring posts concerning controversy surrounding the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s holiday freethought banner which I had placed in Wilkes-Barre.

Earlier today, I uploaded a Youtube video titled “Free speech or intellectual honesty” (see below) in which I discuss the benefits of an open marketplace of ideas, light comment moderation, and engaging with detractors.

Some speak of high moderation of comments as a free speech issue, but I don’t believe it is. I believe the issue in contention is intellectual honesty. Rather than engaging in high moderation and assuming bad faith concerning commenters, skeptics should allow for an open atmosphere so that many can benefit and engage in discussion.


Interview with Dan Barker – Podcast #22

Episode 22 of the NEPA Freethought Society Podcast is now available! I interviewed Dan Barker, co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, shortly after the 2012 PA State Atheist/Humanist Conference at which both of us had spoken. This podcast episode is also accompanied by a Youtube video which is a live recording of the interview – thanks to the podcast’s producer Jason Gogola.

What contributions have freethinkers made to the history of music? Can atheists properly enjoy music with religious themes? What, exactly, is a ‘botched faith healing?’ What does the FFRF do to guard the principle of church/state separation? What are effective ways to engage religious believers? Find these answers and more by listening to and/or watching the Youtube video.

Visit the NEPA Freethought Society’s podcast page for the downloadable/streamable podcast, the Youtube video, a link to the podcast on iTunes, and much more. ‘Like’ the podcast on Facebook and subscribe to the podcast’s RSS feed.

God’s plan and the Republican National Convention

This weekend has contained various news reports concerning the possibility of Hurricane Issac touching Florida and disrupting the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. While hurricanes may seem to be no laughing matter, many secular individuals have wondered how the Republican Party — often thought to have the favor, according to some Republicans, of God — would respond to their national convention being interrupted by a natural disaster which was the work of God and/or something God could prevent. Read More