There are some mental health professionals who inject religious and supernatural concepts into the care they provide clients and view this as an acceptable means of “treating” clients. Dr. Darrel Ray, who practiced in a clinical psychology setting for 10 years and authored several books, views this method of treatment by therapists as problematic. During these years, many potential clients wanting treatment by secular therapists contacted Dr. Ray. Several people wrote to him sharing that they saw a therapist for months only to have the therapist recommend they pray, go to church, or use some New Age method to address their problems. As a result, he founded the Secular Therapist Project, which includes a website that connects potential clients with therapists who adhere only to secular, evidence-based treatment and avoid the supernatural and religious approaches.
Ray believes that the problem with therapists not adhering to methods with clinical testing and peer review grew over the last ten or twenty years, in part because many religious schools incorporated counseling programs for students to major in. Thus, graduates from these programs inject their religious views into their relationships with their clients.
Through Ray’s website, www.seculartherapy.org, secular therapists and potential clients use this free and confidential service to connect with each other. The website is like the popular dating sites OKCupid.com or Plentyoffish.com. With seculartherapy.org, therapists register and describe their practices on the public parts of their profiles, along with a checklist of conditions they are qualified to work with. The identities of the therapists are protected. And no other information such as email addresses, phone numbers, office addresses, or websites are available to prospective clients on these public profiles. Dr. Ray and, the other site developer, Han Hills, use a secure process to screen and approve therapists. Four very experienced secular therapists look at each application and evaluate the applicants’ use secular methods. All personal information of the clients using their website is kept confidential as well. The way it works: Clients and therapists correspond through a system a few times until they feel comfortable and believe they are a good fit to work together.