CCEF: Welching on Biblical Counseling?

by Martin Bobgan

In the September-October newsletter we reported on a seeming discrepancy between what is advertised and promoted at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) in Glenside, Pennsylvania and what clients are reimbursed for. We quoted from a general information letter sent from CCEF to those who inquire about their counseling services. In the CCEF letter the following is stated: "Blue Cross-Blue Shield, Employee Assistance programs, and a number of private insurers have often reimbursed those seeking help at CCEF."

CCEF was originally established "to serve the church by providing biblical counseling services and teaching about counseling." To spend time proving that CCEF claims to be committed to providing biblical counseling and only biblical counseling would be a waste, and the CCEF Journal is even called The Journal of Biblical Counseling. Wherever one looks at CCEF one will see them claiming to be biblical counselors. While on the one hand we have accused CCEF of providing less than biblical counseling, on the other hand they would in no way own up to providing an integrationist approach or of subordinating biblical counseling to a psychological model and methodology.

As we mentioned in the last issue, we were told by several insurance companies that biblical counseling was not covered in their plans. When we first heard about third-party insurance payments for those counseled at CCEF, we contacted Ed Welch, who is the director of counseling there. Welch is a licensed psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania and would be the likely one to be involved in such payments. We asked if the report regarding insurance reimbursement was accurate.

Welch wrote back making ad hominem remarks about me but refusing to answer. I sent a copy of our article from the September-October PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter to Welch. In response, he scribbled a brief note to me. The following is my reply to him with a copy sent to John Bettler, who heads CCEF and is responsible for what happens there.

  • I received your brief note in response to my request. I am still eager to hear your response to the questions that naturally arise from the situation at CCEF that we described in our article.

    You say in part two of your memo, "Please stop lying about the size of our counseling budget." The reason I have been repeatedly contacting you is to print the truth. Hopefully that is a goal we share. There are several sources for the reference to $500,000 in annual counseling fees at CCEF. David Powlison reports that in 1991 the annual gross income from counseling was "over $500,000." The Fall 1993 Pulse reports a counseling fee income of $491,791.55. In addition, a recent letter received from your office states that CCEF staff "schedules over two hundred counseling hours each week." At $60 to $75 per hour for 52 weeks, the total comes to over $500,000. If this is in error, please help me print the truth in our next newsletter. Give me the annual gross income from counseling fees at CCEF each year from 1991 to present and I will print it.

    We are beginning to write articles for our next newsletter. Please provide written answers to my questions. If you wish to speak by phone, I am happy to call you, provided I have your permission to tape our conversation. I would, of course, provide you a copy of the tape. I urge you to provide answers soon to the questions that naturally arise.

  • Because of the lack of cooperation on the part of Welch and CCEF, I decided to investigate further. I found an insurance company where Welch is a designated provider. I spoke with two representatives from that company and found out many things, such as:

    1. While this company writes a great number of policies, it is extremely unlikely that any would cover biblical counseling.

    2. To comply with this company’s requirements, Welch must follow the published policies.

    3. To meet the conditions for reimbursement to his clients by this company, Welch must function within the scope of his license as a psychologist.

    4. Welch is required to give a mental health code designation to his clients to identify their psychological condition.

    I have privately confronted Welch and CCEF with my questions in hopes of making sense out of the seeming contradiction between what CCEF claims to do and what the insurance companies have told me. I have even contacted a previous board member of CCEF, explained all I had already done, and asked him what I could do. CCEF has some explaining to do both to their board and to other Christians.

    A former board member of CCEF, once said, "CCEF can say it’s not a mental health center, but if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, maybe it’s a duck."

    Welch is a licensed psychologist, expected by the insurance companies to function within the scope of his license as a psychologist by providing psychological services to his clients, and he must even provide mental health labels for the treatment. We believe he is doing so; but, this more than supports our accusations of CCEF as an integrationist organization.

    We have already demonstrated in past writings that Bettler, Powlison, and Welch are integrationists. This present critique should further demonstrate that they are integrationists indeed, since Welch is the CCEF director of counseling. We look forward to a response from CCEF. Otherwise the case is closed; CCEF is, without question, integrationist.


    PsychoHeresy Awareness Ministries, 4137 Primavera Road, Santa Barbara, CA 93110

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