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Research Findings

Ministry Recipient Satisfaction Survey

Full Doctoral Dissertation of satisfaction survey click here.

It is acknowledged that the research that has been done thus far is limited to case studies and surveys. However, the results that have come forth do suggest that something positive is occurring in the lives of those who have experienced this form of ministry. For example, when 2800 people are surveyed and then report that TPM provided great benefit this is significant information (read about this survey). The outcome of this limited research merits further study. Therefore in the near future there will be controlled studies that will be conducted to gather empirical evidence for the effectiveness of this ministry approach.

If you read about a negative experience claiming to involve the use of Theophostic Prayer, please examine carefully to see if what was being administered was in fact TPM. An easy evaluation is to compare what was adminstered to the TPM Ministry Session Guidelines. Of the few negative reports that we are aware of, each case was in fact not Theophostic Prayer, but a variation of, an augmetation to, or flat out NOT TPM or simply bad therapy. Just because a person calls what he or she does by the name "Theophostic" does not make it so. If you know of a person who is not following the Guidelines and prescribed protocol please contact this office.

2818 People Surveyed Concerning Their Satisfaction with TPM

Ministry Recipient Satisfaction Survey: A Descriptive Study on the Effectiveness of Theophostic Prayer Ministry from a Recipient's Perception

Dissertation Summary by Dr. Kimberely Tilly

To read the full length dissertation click the link above in the menu.

Kimberely Tilley researched the reported effectiveness of Theophostic Prayer by interviewing over 2800 people who had received at least one session of Theophostic Prayer. She is a graduate of Southern California Seminary where she completed her Psy.D. degree. It was her desire to create a research instrument that would be unbiased and one that could genuinely gain good insight to what people where experiencing from receiving Theophostic Prayer. She was encouraged by Dr. Ed Smith (founder of TPM) to design the survey in such a way that it would clearly identify whether the person was indeed receiving Theophostic Prayer or in fact something else. If people reported receiving something other than true Theophostic Prayer they were eliminated from the survey whether they reported favorable or unfavorable outcomes.

It is important to note that Ms. Tilley was not a student of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. She had no investment in the success of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. At the time of her research she had not taken the training offered by this ministry and has not up to the time of this writing. She had never personally received ministry from anyone trained in this ministry approach. She became interested in this ministry through what others had told her of it and her personal investigation. What follows is not her interpretation of the data but only a report of some of the raw findings.

As you read through this data it is important to keep in mind that the focus of Theophostic Prayer is not symptom reduction or the resolution of any particular behavior (such as an addiction, a phobia, or panic disorder.) The focus of Theophostic Prayer is the identification of lie-based thinking and the ministry recipient connecting with and receiving truth from the Holy Spirit. It is believed that transformation (behavior change) should follow this experience, but behavior change is not the goal but rather an expected outcome. Therefore it is not taught in Theophostic Prayer Ministry that the measure of success is in whether a person is no longer depressed, addicted or obsessive/compulsive, but rather if they identify the lies they believe, receive truth from the Holy Spirit, find peace in their places of pain and then walk in truth with transformation to follow. It is assumed that symptom reduction would follow genuine mind renewal, but it is also understood that people tend to funnel many different lie-based emotions through the same outward behavior. People tend to have a "medication' of choice or a default behavior through which they express any and all emotional pain. For example a person may continue to eat compulsively even after much genuine renewal of many lies due to this behavior being the default medication for the various lie-based pain harbored in his mind. However, after a measurable amount of ministry and mind renewal this behavior should decrease as more of the lies are resolved.

Also keep in mind that the percentage outcomes reported for both counseling experience before Theophostic Prayer and the experience reported following Theophostic Prayer is based upon all people whether they had one session or fifty. There was also no attempt to determine the expertice level of the ministry facilitator. It is assumed that there is a wide spread of skill level from novice and inexpereinced to those more proficient. Therefore, when you read a percentage that says only 25% reported complete resolution of their issue, this would include all people in that area of reported concern no matter how extensive their time of counseling or ministry may have been or how qualified their facilitator may have been. Nevertheless, what is noteworthy is the comparison pre-Theophostic and post-Theophostic since this would generally be the same group of people reporting their experiences.

Overview of Survey

In January through March of 2007, 2,818 people who had received TPM took an online survey. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of Theophostic Prayer Ministry as reported by TPM clientele through the use of an online survey. The majority, 60.7%, of recipients were trained TPM facilitators. 39.3% received TPM but were not trained TPM facilitators, but all had personally received this form of ministry and thus were recipients of ministry.

Description of Instrumentation

The online survey was created using the survey software on SurveyMonkey®. A simple website with a link to the survey was created with a memorable URL,, in order to make finding and visiting the survey as easy as possible. Participants were recruited through an email invitation from Dr. Ed Smith using the Theophostic Prayer Ministries database as well as it being publicly posted on the Theophostic website for the general public. It was assumed that most known critics of this ministry would be informed of the survey as well since many of them are on the Theophostic email mailing list.

The email explained the research project and informed the respondents about the voluntary nature of their participation, instructions on how to access the survey, and the need to communicate this opportunity in an unbiased manner to all individuals they've done TPM with, whether positive or negative results occurred. Letters of invitation were carefully stated so as not to bias the request and so as to encourage those who may have had a negative experience to respond. This invitation asked recipients to take the survey themselves and then to forward the information to any and all people who may have been ministry recipients. An additional email, targeted toward ministry recipients was also provided as a communication tool for ministry facilitators.

The survey was comprised of a total of 48 questions, although no respondent would answer all questions because the logic took each respondent down specific paths dependent upon their answers to particular questions. The survey contained five sections, which correspond to the research questions and filters for non-genuine TPM experiences.

Section one of the survey asked respondents about any past counseling experiences they had prior to receiving TPM. These questions included information about practitioner credentials, issues that they struggled with and their severity, total duration of previous counseling, and four outcome questions. The previous counseling outcome questions inquire about issues of forgiveness, impact on personal relationships, level of improvement on issues they struggled with, and overall perception of the helpfulness of counseling.

Section two queried respondents about their TPM experience. These questions included information about how they learned of TPM, what made them seek TPM for themselves, issues that they struggled with and their severity, practitioner credentials, length of sessions, duration and number of times they received TPM, and qualifying questions to filter out non-genuine TPM experiences. If the respondent did not indicate non-genuine TPM experiences they continued on to the TPM outcome questions. The TPM counseling outcome questions request opinion on their belief that the Holy Spirit communicated with them during their TPM sessions, and if so, what form do they believe the communication took. These outcome questions go on to ask about the issues of forgiveness, impact on their relationship with God, impact on personal relationships, emotions regarding specific memories, impact on day-to-day life, level of improvement on issues they struggled with, and overall perception of the helpfulness of TPM.

Section three consists of the non-genuine TPM questions. The online survey logic filtered only respondents who answered the qualifying questions with answers that indicated they did not receive TPM according to how it is currently trained. These questions include TPM protocol questions in order to understand what key procedures were disregarded.

The fourth section was created to capture more information about any unhelpful TPM experiences. This section is comprised of questions asking about TPM protocol and an open-ended free text question that asks for a description of what they believe caused their unhelpful TPM experience.

Section five contains the demographic questions. Each of the previous sections brings respondents to the demographic page. The respondents are asked for information about their age, gender, geographic location, ethnicity, education, marital status, denomination, and Church attendance.


The majority, 37% (881), of respondents are between the ages of "46 – 55". 78.1% (1,843) are female and 21.9% (516) are male. Every state in the country (USA) had at least one or more respondents. The top three states represented in the survey are Texas (n = 199), Florida (n = 126) and Michigan (n = 124). 320 respondents indicated they lived "Outside the United States".

The majority, 32% (761) of respondents reported "Some College (including Associate Degree)" as their highest level of forma education completed. 28.7% (682) report having a "Bachelors Degree". 73.4% (1738) indicated they are "Married". 11.5% (273) are "Divorced", and 10.9% (258) are "Single". Several diverse denominations were represented with the majority indicating "Non-Denominational" at 32/9% (781). The second highest percentage was reported as 14.4% (342) Pentecostal/Charismatic. Other denomination that were represented include Assembly of God, Baptist, Catholic, Christian Church, Episcopal, Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Seventh Day Adventist, The Vineyard and Other. Respondents indicated they attend church-related activities 40.4% (961) "Three or more times a week", 37.3% (886) "Twice a week", 15.9% (377) "Once a week", 3.5% (84) "A few times a month", 2.4% (57) "Rarely or never", and .5% (11) Major holidays.

Overall TPM Results

What is reported below are just a few of the areas covered in the survey. When Ms. Tilley's dissertation is complete you will have access to the full report.

-The majority of recipients, 38.6%, indicated hearing about TPM as "A friend told me about it". 21.1% indicated "I heard about it at Church", and 12.8% reported "I heard about it through a ministry".

- 46.9% of recipients indicated they decided to seek TPM because it was "Recommended by others". 25.6% "Saw benefit in other people who had tried it", 17.8% "Read about it", 16.9% were "Dissatisfied with previous counseling results" and 32.7% indicated "Other" reasons for deciding to seek TPM.

- 52.8% receiving ministry from a layperson and 47.2% from either a pastoral counselor or mental health professional. 13.7 received TPM from a "Pastor" and 10.3% from a 'Pastoral Counselor". 7% indicated receiving TPM from a "Psychiatrist", 1.7% from a Social Worker, 3.9% from a "Psychologist" and 15% from a "Therapist or Professional Counselor".

- People had received ministry from 1 month to 5 years. 23.7% reported receiving TPM for "1 to 6 months", 15.4% for "Less than 1 month", 15.4% for 1 to 2 years, 13.6% for "2 to 3 years", 11.8% for "3 to 5 years", 10.7% for "7 to 12 months", and 9.4% for "More than 5 years".

- 96.4% (2,127) indicated they believed the Holy Spirit communicated with them during their TPM session.

- 72% believed TPM was "Very helpful to the most helpful thing tried" and 87% reported TPM to be at least "helpful." 43% (942) reported that the impact of TPM on the process of forgiving people who may have hurt them in the past was "The most helpful thing I've tried". 28% (610) indicated it was "Very helpful", 16% (346) "Helpful", 4% (80) "A little helpful", 1% (27) "Not helpful" and 8% (168) "I had no forgiveness issues to deal with". This indicated that 72% believed TPM was "Very helpful to the most helpful thing tried" and 87% reported TPM to be at least "helpful."

- 95% believed their ministry experience deepened their relationship with God. When asked how TPM impacted their relationship with God 37% (809) reported that it "Deepened enormously", 32% (691) "Deepened significantly", 24% (531) "Deepened", 6% (138) "No change" and .004% (10) "Worsened". This indicated that 95% believed their ministry experience deepened their relationship with God.

- 92% reported TPM had significant positive change to some positive change in impacting their personal relationships. 59% (1,271) reported "Significant positive change", 35% (756) "Some positive change", 6% (125) "No change", 1% (16) "Some negative change", .0009% (2) "Significant negative change".

- 84% reported complete resolution to significant positive change in the painful memories for which they received ministry. 50% (1,090) respondents indicated "Completely resolved, emotionally calm and peaceful", 34% (288) "Significant positive change", 2% (53) "No change", .002% (6) "Some negative change", and .001% (2) "Significant negative change".

- 95% reported significant to some positive change in their day-to-day life. 63% (1,363) respondents reported "Significant positive change", 32% (686) "Some positive change" 5% (108) "No change", .004% (9) "Some negative change", .0009% (2) "Significant negative change".

- Only 1.1% of those taking the survey reported TPM to not be helpful. 58.5% (1,278) reported that it was "The most beneficial of anything I've tried", 27.5% (601) "Very helpful", 8.8% (192) "Helpful", 4% (88) "A little helpful", and 1.1% (25) "Not helpful"



72.8% (1,977) of respondents indicated previous counseling experiences prior to receiving TPM. When comparing these respondents' previous counseling experience prior to TPM with their TPM experiences the following results were reported.

The rating scale used for the following outcome questions was: 1 = "Not Helpful", 2 = "A little helpful", 3 = "Helpful", 4 = "Very helpful", 5 = "The most beneficial of anything I've tried".

The average rating for the outcome question asking about the overall helpfulness of the person's counseling experience prior to Theophostic Prayer was 2.63 or a "little helpful to helpful." Whereas the average rating for these same responders Theophostic Prayer experience was 4.43 or "very helpful" to "the most beneficial of anything that I have tried." This is significant at the P<.001 level. The statistical method used was a paired t-test.

The average rating for the outcome question asking about the impact of the person's counseling experience prior to receiving Theophostic Prayer on their process of forgiving people who may have hurt them in the past was 3.29 or "a little helpful" to "helpful." Whereas, the respondents average rating following Theophostic Prayer was 4.95 or "very helpful" to "the most beneficial of anything I've tried". This is significant at the P<.001 level. The statistical method used was a paired t-test.

The rating scale used for the following outcome question was: 1 = "Significant negative change", 2 = "Some negative change", 3 = "No change", 4 = "Some positive change", 5 = "Significant positive change".

The average rating for the outcome question asking about the impact of the person's counseling experience prior to receiving Theophostic Prayer on their personal relationships with others was 3.81 or "no change" to "some positive change." Whereas, the respondents average rating following Theophostic Prayer was 4.54 or "some positive change" to "significant positive change". This is significant at the P<.001 level. The statistical method used was a paired t-test.

When asked what issues clients reported as being most improved by Previous Counseling and TPM?

Previous Counseling Improvement (top three rating averages)

1 = "No Improvement", 2 = "Mild Improvement", 3 = "Moderate Improvement", 4 = "Noticeable Improvement", 5 = "Significant Improvement", and 6 = "Resolved"

When based upon people rating this question as "Resolved" or "Significant Improvement" the ones with the greatest reported improvement ratings are:

- Avg rating 2.89 - Drugs and Alcohol Addictions - Of the 235 respondents who reported suffering from Drug and Alcohol Abuse 17.0 % (40) reported the issue "Resolved" and 11.5% (27) reported "Significant Improvement"

- Avg rating 2.67 - Depression - Of the 1,282 respondents who reported suffering from Depression 3.9% (50) reported the issue "Resolved" and 8.0 % (102) reported "Significant Improvement"

- Avg rating 2.63 – Relationship Issues - Of the 1,403 respondents who reported suffering from Relationship Issues 2.2 % (31) reported the issue "Resolved" and 8.8 % (124) reported "Significant Improvement"

TPM Improvement (top three rating averages)

1 = "No Improvement", 2 = "Mild Improvement", 3 = "Moderate Improvement", 4 = "Noticeable Improvement", 5 = "Significant Improvement", and 6 = "Resolved"

When based upon people rating this question as "Resolved" or "Significant Improvement" the ones with the greatest reported improvement ratings are:

- Avg rating 5.05 - Drugs and Alcohol Addictions - Of the 133 respondents who reported suffering from Drug and Alcohol Abuse 60.2% (80) reported the issue "Resolved" and 18.8% (25) reported "Significant Improvement"

- Avg rating 4.85 - Panic Attacks - Of the 369 respondents who reported suffering from Panic Attacks 42.5% (157) reported the issue "Resolved" and 28.2% (104) reported "Significant Improvement"

- Avg rating 4.84 - Memories of Sexual Abuse - Of the 546 respondents who reported suffering from Memories of Sexual Abuse 39.4% (215) reported the issue "Resolved" and 33.3% (182) reported "Significant Improvement"

Detailed Comparison of Counseling the Person Experienced Prior to Receiving Theophostic Prayer Ministry and Their Experience Following Theophostic Prayer Ministry

A six-point scale was established with a score of "1 - No improvement", "2 - Mild improvement", and "3 - Moderate improvement", "4 – Noticeable improvement", "5 – Significant improvement" and "6 – Resolved" in order to determine the level of improvement people indicated experiencing after receiving previous counseling prior to TPM. The top five levels of improvement the respondents who answered this question (1,763) include drug/alcohol additions (235), which ranked this as the highest of level of improvement with a mean of 2.89. Second was depression (1,282), which had a mean of 2.67. Third was relationship issues (N= 1,403) with a mean of 2.63. The fourth was grief and loss issues (764) with a mean of 2.59 and fifth was panic attacks (464), which had mean of 2.55. Respondents could indicate multiple issues but only one level of improvement per issue when answering this question.

Levels of Improvement Following Having Received Theophostic Prayer Ministry

The top five levels of improvement that respondents who answered this question (1,543) experienced after receiving TPM are drug/alcohol additions (133), which ranked this as the highest of level of improvement with a mean of 5.05. Second were panic attacks (369), which had a mean of 4.85. Third were memories of sexual abuse (546) with a mean of 4.84. The fourth was grief and loss issues (684) with a mean of 4.77 and fifth was memories of physical abuse (386), which had mean of 4.77. Respondents could indicate multiple issues but only one level of improvement per issue when answering this question. Drug/alcohol addictions as well as grief and loss issues both appeared in the top five levels of improvement for both previous counseling prior to TPM and TPM, although the mean average of improvement was significantly more after their TPM experience.


While this survey has its limitations it does give a good indication of ministry recipients experience with Theophostic Prayer. More research is needed to provide empirical evidence that this prayer method is scientifically valid. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of people worldwide are rejoicing with the peace they have in Christ whether the evidence is verified scientifically or not.


Outcomes-based Case Study

What follows is the report given concerning the outcomes study that included 13 cases where TPM was used. Dr. Garzon headed up this research using a different team of counselors than with the survey.
He and his team has written and published a full report of their findings in the new book "Pursuing Peace." This is available in the On-Line store.

Here is his initial report that was released before the book was available: "...I reported what we had learned from a major survey of Theophostic practitioners: who was using the Theophostic method, what types of conditions were being treated, and how effective the practitioners using Theophostic believed it to be in comparison to the other techniques they were using. The results were very encouraging, but there was a catch. How could we know whether the recipients of Theophostic Ministry would report the same positive findings as the practitioners unless we tested their experiences? Practitioners answering a survey can say they think the approach is great, but unless the clients themselves are tested and the findings support the practitioners’ assertions, the survey may mean little. Hence the client research that is now underway. We have completed 13 outcomes-based case studies of people who were suffering from anxiety, depression, and adjustment problems and were treated with Theophostic Ministry. In 10 of the cases, the practitioners were licensed mental health professionals; in three, they were lay counselors ministering under the supervision of mental health professionals. Our approach was to test the clients:

* prior to treatment.
* after every 10 hours of ministry.
* at the conclusion of treatment.
* three months following treatment.

The tests we administered included the following:

* Symptom Checklist 90R, a psychological test.
* Spiritual Well-Being Scale, a measure of spiritual well-being.
* Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, a rating scale completed by the therapists administering the method.
* Dysfunctional Attitude Scale, a measure that examines the number of depression-causing beliefs a person has.

At the conclusion of treatment, we also asked the clients to complete a satisfaction inventory. And in addition, since clients can sometimes think they’ve improved just because they’ve been a part of a research project, we took the extra precaution of having a licensed professional who does not use Theophostic Ministry assess their progress by interviewing each client for half an hour and examining his or her clinical record. These professionals also did not know the type of treatment (TPM) that had been received. Doing such ensured an objective evaluation of each case. The findings were very positive. Below you will see a graph of a summary scale of the Symptom Checklist 90R. The lowered scores indicate reduced psychological distress.


The Symptom Checklist 90R was also examined in regards to clinical significance, or how therapeutically meaningful the changes were for the clients. Of the 13 clients who completed treatment, nine were classified as recovered, two as improved, one as no change, and one as deteriorated. (It is not uncommon, by the way, for 5-10 percent of people in psychotherapy to exhibit negative responses, so this one case is within the normal parameters.) The overall numbers are very good and indicate obvious improvement in most of the cases. If, as it purports to do, Theophostic Ministry reduces the lie-based thinking of people, the depression-causing beliefs in the group should show decreased scores on the Dysfunctional Attitude Scale. And that’s exactly what we saw happening. The graph below indicates these results:


What about the spiritual well-being of the clients receiving Theophostic Ministry? If Christ was meeting them in a deeply meaningful way, their scores on the Spiritual Well-Being Scale in this area should have risen. Again, that is exactly what we saw happening.

Overall Spiritual Well-Being Scale Ratings

Apart from the tests, do the clients themselves say they have improved? Yes. All 13 clients indicated they had been helped through the prayer format. The 12 who had received previous non-Theophostic counseling or ministry all endorsed Theophostic as being more effective than what they had experienced before. Eleven of the 13 believed they had grown spiritually through receiving Theophostic Ministry. The opinions of the objective third party reviewers were only slightly less positive. They classified nine as showing “very much improvement” (the highest rating available), two as showing “moderate improvement”, and two as showing “mild improvement.” But overall, their findings were quite consistent with the test results and client opinions. The ultimate question, of course, is—do the results hold up over time? In this preliminary study, we gave the clients follow-up tests three months after their treatment ended. As you can see from the above graphs, the scores certainly held up during the three-month period. In summary, all these measurements indicate client improvement in most cases. Combined with the practitioner survey results reported earlier, these studies support the need for a more thorough scientific evaluation of Theophostic Ministry using true experimental designs. Such designs are needed before clear statements about efficacy can be made.


Pastor and Church Leader Ministry Outcomes Survey

In November of 2006, a simple survey was taken from 151 pastors and other church leaders who had attended the TPM Convention in Orlando who said they were actively using TPM. Many different denominations were represented in this group to include; Baptist, Assembly of God, Episcopal, Lutheran, Nazarene, Pentecostal, Catholic, Vineyard, Christian Church, Evangelical Free Church, Presbyterian, Church of England, Non-denominational and others. In comparison to the first survey mentioned where no experience was assumed by the participants, all in this group had some experience in using TPM. However, this survey did not attempt to qualify the expertise or skill level of the individual or even if he or she was doing the ministry correctly. What follows is a summary of some of the question responses.

- Of the 151 surveyed 91% had been using TPM for over one year. 47% had used TPM for more than five years. Only about 8% had been using it less than a year. This suggests that some of these people where probably seasoned users.

- 96% reported having "highly effective to effective" outcomes.

- 88% reported TPM to be more effective than any other approach they had used in helping people emotionally. Another 10% reported TPM to be at least as effective as other approaches. The remaining percentage reported "no answer" to this question.

- 20% said that every person with whom they had offered ministry reported complete resolution of all emotional pain in the specific memory in which they had applied ministry. 72% reported this occurring most of the time. 23% reported complete resolution 50% of the time. 6% reported this occurred now and then. There was a combined 92% reporting complete resolution at least 50% of the time.

- 38% reported what they believed was genuine life transformation in all of the people with whom they had ministered. 90% reported that they had witnessed what they believed was genuine life transformation in most of their ministry sessions. Only one person reported no noticeable transformation in any of his cases. One of the tests of genuine mind renewal is life transformation. "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind…" (Rom. 12:2).

- 93% reported seeing what they believed to be genuine spiritual growth as an outcome of the ministry.

- 98% of the pastors and leaders stated that they had personally benefited from having received ministry themselves.

- 95% of the pastors said that the training in TPM has positively impacted their preaching in various ways.

- 93% said that TPM has become a significant tool that they use in ministry.

- Nearly 85% said that they were able to integrate the core teaching of TPM without any problem. 13% said that they had had some theological issue. What is interesting with the responses to this question is the fact that though there was some theological issue with TPM, 100% of those surveyed said that they recommend TPM to others, 98% personally benefited from it, 96% found highly effective outcomes, 90% reported life transformation in the people who had received ministry, and 96% said that people came to complete resolution at least 50% of the time! It appears that even with the diverse theological differences represented in this cross cut sampling of ministers in the Body of Christ, there is a unity that is grounded in the centrality of Christ as is foundational in this ministry approach.

- 100% of everyone surveyed said that they recommend TPM to others.

Read Testimonies from Pastors Successfully Using Theophostic Prayer


Facilitator Satisfaction Survey

The survey was an independent study conducted by a team of Christian mental health researchers led by Fernado Garzon, PSY D. who wanted to gather information about who was using TPM and how effective they were finding it to be. TPM cooperated with this work providing names and data as requested to make the survey possible. The survey was completed by 1354 people who had ordered TPM training materials. There was no screening process to determine who was actually using the material or how effective they were if they were. Therefore it was a "mixed bag" that included everything from mental health professionals, pastors and lay ministers. The following report was written up by Dr. Garzon.

"We received a large number of responses, (1354) which provided a good impression of things. The fact that the e-mail was sent to anyone who had asked for basic training-related materials (whether they had used it or not) means that there was no attempt to bias the survey to include only those with a favorable opinion of Theophostic. We wanted to hear from anyone who had enough knowledge and experience to give an informed assessment…

The survey revealed that lay-ministers are open and eager to receiving consultation and supervision from licensed Christian mental health professionals trained in TPM. We felt this response was very positive because such input can be helpful to identify organic conditions or other situations that require additional services unfamiliar to the lay-minister. It is exciting to think that the lay ministers and mental health professionals could effectively minister together.

Over 80 percent of the survey participants had personally received Theophostic Ministry. Satisfaction ratings were very high, with over half of them saying that TPM was the most beneficial method they had ever experienced and another 39% saying that it was very helpful. When you consider that the survey included anyone with any experience with TPM (whether it was properly administered or not), these are very good numbers.

We asked TPM practitioners to rate TPM's efficacy compared to other techniques they had tried with the following conditions: Depression, general anxiety, anger issues, phobias, panic attacks, sexual abuse, physical abuse, Dissociative Identity Disorder, sexual addiction, and eating disorders. The comparative ratings of TPM were very high, with 70 to 85% of respondents in each category rating TPM as more effective than other techniques they'd used. What was even more surprising than this was that there was no statistical difference between the perceptions of licensed mental health professionals and lay counselors in any category. In other words, those with a high degree of knowledge about secular psychological techniques rated TPM as highly as those with much less knowledge of those techniques. This result was unanticipated by us as researchers.

Of course, limitations to the survey do exist…perception does not necessarily mean reality. One needs to give psychological testing to people who are actually receiving Theophostic Ministry (case studies) in order to start building confidence in the opinions of TPM practitioners. If both the client and the practitioner agree that something good is happening, then the results are more meaningful.


Christian Research Institute (CRI) Evaluation of TPM

Christian Research Institute (CRI) contacted this ministry with the desire to take an in-depth look at what is taught in the core teaching of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Elliot Miller, the chief editor for the CRI Journal did the investigative research. He committed hundreds of hours in dialogue with Ed Smith the founder of TPM. He also carefully read through the revised 2005 edition of the Basic Training Seminar Manual clarifying with Ed Smith any troublesome issue that he found. In addition to all of the above he invested three days in observing Ed Smith do actual ministry with people so that he could witness the process first hand.

Though Mr. Miller and Dr. Smith do not agree theologically on all points, the discussion was a warm and healthy exchange that resulted in Mr. Miller being able to give a more knowledgeable report on what this ministry teaches. We at TPM appreciate his spirit and willingness to do this. Also at our request, Mr. Miller provided critique and made many suggestions concerning the 2005 revised edition of the Basic Seminar Manual. We are pleased to point you in the direction of his evaluation even though it is not "glowing" in all respects it does give a fair appraisal of where we are at this time in development. It is important to note that in the theological areas where Mr. Miller and Ed Smith did not fully agree, none where of major significance and were reflective of the typical and expected differences found in the Body of Christ. None of the differences were related to the core teaching of Theophostic Prayer Ministry.

CRI Summary Statements of Published Evaluations

"After an exhaustive evaluation, CRI detects nothing unbiblical about the core theory and practice of Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM). The theory is elegant in its profound simplicity, and the anecdotal reports of its effectiveness in practice justify further investigation; nonetheless, much more scientific research needs to be done before even the more modest claims of TPM can be validated, and some of the extravagant claims seem unlikely ever to be established..."

"...CRI finds nothing inconsistent with Scripture in TPM's core theory and practice. It certainly fits the biblical worldview to hold that believing lies oppresses or injures people and replacing those lies with truth frees or heals them. The theory that the emotional pain that haunts so many people's lives (including Christians) is rooted in false beliefs associated with past experiences rather than the experiences themselves seems elegant in its profound simplicity, and the proposal that Satan is often the source of those lies while Jesus supplies the truth that dispels them is again consistent with Scripture (e.g., John 8:44; 14:6; 18:37). This emphasis on conforming one's beliefs to truth is entirely biblical (Ps. 43:3; 51:6; Prov. 23:23; 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:14–15, 25; 5: 8; 6:1411), and the complete dependence on Christ in ministry to the hurting that TPM advocates, to the point of giving Him the central place in that ministry, is commendable at least in concept and warrants consideration..."

"...CRI is also intrigued by the numerous public testimonies of practitioners and recipients for TPM's lasting efficacy in dealing with a wide variety of emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, general anxiety, anger issues, phobias, panic attacks, sexual addiction, and eating disorders. The frequency of such testimonies calls for further investigation, but anecdotal evidence is entirely insufficient to establish TPM's claims. To demonstrate that TPM gets results superior to all or most other varieties of inner healing/therapy and is not simply reaping the common benefits of counseling (e.g., the placebo effect and the therapeutic value of catharsis in a caring environment), rigorous scientific testing is needed. Researchers have already conducted some surveys and case study research that provide favorable results for TPM,B but much more extensive and rigorous testing (e.g., randomized control group studies) will be required to establish its claims. CRI thus finds no problem with Christians engaging in TPM per se, but at this early stage of the research we are unable to endorse TPM's specific claims of efficacy..."

"...CRI does have several peripheral concerns about TPM, but we have been favorably impressed by founder Ed Smith's openness to constructive criticism and change. We caution Christians who practice or receive TPM to be discerning about Smith's past teachings on the sin nature, sanctification, and satanic ritual abuse, and to be aware that, despite major improvements, there are still aspects of Smith's teaching on spiritual warfare that CRI does not endorse..."

NOTE: As you read Mr. Millers papers he sometimes presents his theological views and perspectives in a way that may seem to be corrective of Ed Smith's personal views. Please know that Ed Smith agrees with what Mr. Miller expounds upon in the areas of sanctification, salvation, Christian growth and discipleship, and most of his views about demonization even if it seems to appear otherwise. Please refer to "Author's Statement of Faith" for a concise overview of Ed Smith's basic theological tenets. Ed Smith and Mr. Miller are in continual dialogue to this day. What both learned from this experience is just how difficult it is to clearly understand another person's position unless you are willing to slow the discussion down, ask a host of clarifying questions and remain open and willing to listen. We hope that more people would be willing to take this road toward clarity and unity.

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A Field Study of Treatment Outcome: The Efficacy of Theophostic Ministry
J. David Bragg, MA
Regent University, Spring 2004


From the time that psychology began to emerge as an independent science there have been attempts to integrate the effect of spiritual beliefs, their effect on well-being, and the practice of psychology (Zinnbauer & Pargament, 2000). Current interest in spirituality is driven, in part, by holistic concepts that wholeness (healthy personality and functioning) is linked to spiritual and psychological well-being (Hawkins, Tan, and Turk, 1999). A recent meta-analysis (Levin and Steele, 2001) found the data overwhelmingly supports spirituality as a harbinger of well-being, both psychological and physical. Historic and current research links spirituality to the prevention of mental illness and substance abuse (Conco, 1995; Weaver, Koenig, & Larson, 1997; Mackenzie, Rajagopal, Meilbohm, & Lavizzo-Mourey, 2000; George, Larsons, Koenig, and McCullough, 2000; Blackledge, n.d.). At least ten essential domains of spirituality have been identified that have at least some evidence of linkage to health and well being (George, et al.). Blackledge also found that spirituality was a significant mediator between stress and well-being.

Regardless of this body of knowledge, there is considerable resistance, to the inclusion of spirituality in the practice of psychology in the United States - in part because only 27% of surveyed psychologists identified with a Christian worldview (Yarhouse & Fisher, 2002). The rise and influence of psychoanalysis, humanism, and behaviorism in the twentieth century has resulted in an anti-religion bias in mainstream psychology. The attitude of the majority of psychologists has been nonchalant at best, and frequently antagonistic, to religious believers (Zinnbauer & Pargament).

Countering the non-religiousness of mainstream psychology, the American public is overwhelmingly religious, almost 90% of survey respondents identified with a religious worldview (Yarhouse & Fisher). The differences in client/therapist points of reference often lead to clients becoming concerned that their values may be challenged or changed. Spirituality not only reflects one's worldview; it also indicates how religious faith may yield different outcomes to psychosocial events (Hathaway & Pargament, 1990). In light of the demand for services that are at least sensitive to spirituality, non-traditional methods of service delivery, e.g., Theophostic Ministry (TPM), have been developed to serve clients who have a faith-based worldview.

While there are numerous testimonials for the efficacy of TPM there have only been a few peer-reviewed studies published regarding the efficacy of TPM, buy the initial data seems to support the efficacy of TPM for the reduction emotional distress. The current field study was initiated to determine the efficacy of TPM as practiced by the author in a church-based clinic. At the time the field study was initiated the author had attended the Basic Theophostic Training Seminar twice (once in March of 2003 and again in January of 2004), and had been practicing TPM for approximately eight months with generally favorable results.
Study Participant: Rachel[1]

Social History

Rachel is the second of four siblings, and the only daughter, in a blended family. Her biological parents divorced when she was five years old, and her mother remarried when Rachel was eight and subsequently had two more children.

Rachel is a 25 year-old single mother, at the time this study was conducted her son was five-years old. She has long-standing issues of low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. Rachel is in good physical health, except for having flat feet for which she has undergone corrective surgery. She has a high school diploma and has completed a basic paramedic-training course; however, she currently works for a telephone company. She denies substance abuse of any kind. She also denies past sexual abuse, but states that her biological father was emotionally abusive.


The current study was initiated as a time series project. A baseline for Rachel's symptomatology was established over a four-week period. The battery of test instruments utilized consisted of the Symptom Checklist-90R, the 10 questions from the Spiritual Well-being Scale that measure Religious Well-being, and an Emotional Identification Scale devised by Smith. TPM sessions were initiated on the same day as Rachel completed the third test battery. The initial plan called for ten TPM sessions over five weeks followed by two more administrations of the assessment battery. The post-treatment battery also included the Beck Depression Inventory-II and the Beck Anxiety inventory. Pre and post-test means were to be compared to ascertain the efficacy of this treatment regimen. However, in the fourth TPM session Rachel was unable to recall distressing or painful emotions (from the same memories that had surfaced emotional duress before.). A fifth TPM session was scheduled for the following week to ensure that Rachel's inability to surface the initial emotional duress in her former painful memories was not an anomaly. During the fifth session Rachel was still unable to surface pain in these same memories; therefore, post-treatment testing was initiated.

Test Instruments

The Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R) is a self-report instrument comprised of 90 items. Each item is endorsed using a Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5, with "1" indicating "not at all" and "5" indicating "extremely". Its' primary utility is screening for the presence of both psychological issues and symptoms related to psychopathological disorders (Derogatis, 1994). Each response is statistically factored into three global indices and nine symptom scales. The symptom domains represented by the nine scales are Somatization, Obsessive-Compulsive, Interpersonal Sensitivity, Depression, Anxiety, Hostility, Phobic Anxiety, Paranoid Ideation, and Psychoticism. Scales are elevated in direct proportion to the level of severity endorsed for each item (Derogatis). The three global indices are the Positive Symptom Distress Index (PDSI), the Positive Symptom Total (PST), and the Global Severity Index (GSI). Derogatis and Savitz (2000) have postulated that the GSI may be the best qualitative indication of the respondents level of psychological distress. The PSDI is an adjunct to the GSI reflecting the overall severity of distress reported by the respondent; that is, the extent of the distress the respondent perceives (Derogatis & Savitz). The PST is supplemental to the other indices; it reflects the magnitude of the respondent's report of distress.

The Spiritual Well-Being Scale (SWBS) is a 20 item self-report, scored on a six-point Likert scale indicating the strength of the respondent's endorsement (strongly agree, moderately agree, agree) or disagreement (strongly disagree, moderately disagree, disagree) of the personal experience described. The SWBS is the most researched instrument used to measure spirituality (Standard, Sandhu, & Painter, 2000). It was developed to evaluate spiritual well-being as a two dimensional construct. Religious Well-Being measures well-being in relationship to the respondent's concept of God. Existential Well-Being measures Well-Being in relationship to the respondents sense of life's purpose and satisfaction independent of religion (Standard, Sandhu, & Painter). Because of strong test-retest reliability (.93, Standard, Sandhu, & Painter) the SWBS has proven to be a reliable instrument to measure longitudinal changes in an individual's spiritual well-being.

Smith devised the Emotional Identification Scale (EIS) as an aid to identifying areas of emotional distress in the client's life. There are 186 listed emotions that Smith collated into eight categories of emotion, abandonment, shame, fear, powerlessness, tainted, invalidation, hopeless, and confusion. There are also thirteen named emotions that stand alone. The client rates the strength of the emotion felt on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most severe. Although the EIS has not been psychometrically validated, it does have face validity in a time-series case study in that the client is rating the strength of the emotion they are feeling at a given point in time. Therefore, a change in numerical value corresponds to an increase or decrease of distress regarding that particular emotion. There is no empirical proof that the emotional categories Smith assigned each named emotion is accurate. However, as before, there is face validity in that the categories remain the same, and the ratings assigned to each emotion is the only variable that will effect the overall rating for the emotional category.

The BDI-II is a 21-item self-report instrument designed to measure the severity of depression in adolescents and adults (Beck, Steer, & Brown, as cited by (Sprinkle, Lurie, Atkinson, Jones, Logan, & Bissada, 2002). Respondents rate each item on a scale of 1-3, 3 being most severe. Individual item scores are summed; the total of which indicated the severity of the depression of the respondent. The BDI-II has a strong correlation with other self-report instruments (Sprinkle, et. al.), and has a test-retest correlation of .93.

The Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) is a 21-item self-report that samples somatic complaints and cognitions that are indicative of anxiety and panic (Manne, Nereo, DuHamel, Ostroff, Parsons, Martini, Williams, Mee, Sexson, Lewis, Vickberg, & Redd, 2001). Respondents endorse the severity each item for the past seven days. The BAI has been demonstrated to have high concurrent validity with other measures of anxiety (Manne, et. al.)

As with the SCL-90-R and the SWBS, the BDI-II and the BAI were used in this study because of their utility in a time series study.

Results and Analysis

The data generated by the present study did not lend itself to analysis by means of a standard statistics program such as SPSS. Nonetheless, the data does lend itself very well to descriptive statistical analysis.

Pre and post-treatment T-score means are presented in figure 1. The mean for the SCL-90-R is 50 and the standard deviation is 10. Rachel had an improvement in symptomatology of nearly one standard deviation across all scales, and her GSI with score is within normal limits. In all, the differences pre and post-treatment indicate that TPM was an effective intervention for Rachel.

Spiritual Well-being Scale

The author decided to utilize only the first ten questions of the SWBS; therefore, it must be emphasized that the resulting data does not measure spiritual well-being as measured by the complete SWBS. Nonetheless, the data appear to have face validity because this is an n of 1 time series case study. Hence, the data indicates Rachel's spiritual well-being as measured in this case study, but the data are not suitable for comparison with data generated by other studies using the complete SWBS. TPM had a strong impact on Rachel's Religious well-being (See figure 2). The average of Rachel's post-treatment scores is a 58.33% improvement over her pre-treatment score. These results indicate that TPM was an effective intervention for Rachel's Religious Well-being.

The Emotional Identification Scale

As noted previously, the EIS was developed by Smith and, as of yet, its psychometric properties have not been established. While the generalizability of the EIS is not known, it is a useful tool for the TPM prayer minister in identifying potential areas of distress. As with the abbreviated SWBS, the EIS appears to have face validity because this is an n of 1 time series case study. Whatever the external validity of this instrument may be, Rachel had a clear and dramatic reduction in emotional distress over the course of this study. (See figure 3)

Beck Depression Inventory-II , Beck Anxiety Inventory

Unfortunately, inclusion of the BDI-II and the BAI was an afterthought. The failure to include these instruments precludes measurement and analysis of Rachel's level of depression prior to initiation of TPM. Notwithstanding this oversight, Rachel's post-treatment scores of 4 at T4 and 1 at T5 are well below clinical significance. As with the levels of depression, the effect of TPM on Rachel's level of anxiety cannot be definitively ascertained. However, post-treatment Rachel reported only mild levels of distress on eight items at T4. At T5 this had improved to endorsing mild symptoms on only five items. If TPM meliorated Rachel's levels of depression and anxiety, there appears to be a lasting effect.











The results of this case study seem to indicate TPM had a positive effect on Rachel's level of emotional distress as measured by the SCL-90-R. Indeed, Rachel's post-treatment scores are within normal limits as indicated by her PSDI score of 44. The evaluator would have to justify this statement using clinical judgement in so stating, but each of the T-scores above 60 could be mediated by Rachel's life circumstances, e.g., being a working, single parent. This statement is supported by Rachel's post-treatment depression and anxiety scores.

The author did not give Rachel a diagnosis prior to initiating TPM; however, if a diagnosis were to have been given it would have been Dysthymic Disorder and Adjustment Disorder With Anxiety. Her GAF score would have been 61. Rachel's post-treatment scores indicate that she is not afflicted with clinical levels of depression or anxiety. A follow-up interview conducted via telephone on April 25, 2004 indicates that Rachel is maintaining her improved mood and functioning.

Use of an abbreviated spiritual well-being measure precludes Rachel's true level of spiritual well-being outside the bounds of this study. Nonetheless, post-treatment assessment indicates there was a dramatic and significant improvement in her Religious well-being.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this study was the EIS. The author found it to be a very useful tool in determining the ebb and flow of Rachel's emotions. If the psychometrics of the EIS can be established it portends to have utility in measuring emotional distress levels regardless of the intervention used by a counselor both within and without the realm of Christian counseling.

Finally, this study generated data similar in nature to other outcome studies of TPM. The findings indicate that TPM has a meliorating effect on emotional distress. At the very least, there is a strong suggestion that the efficacy of TPM deserves to be investigated and quantified.


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Charts and Graphs

Figure 1. Pre and post-treatment means for SCL-90-R scales

Figure 2. Pre and post-treatment Religious Well-being scores

Figure 3. Pre and post-treatment mean scores for the Emotional Identification Scale























Figure 2. Pre and post-treatment Religious Well-being scores

Figure 3. Pre and post-treatment mean scores for the Emotional Identification Scale


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