The Center -- is it Really "A Place of Hope"?

Today, I received an inquiry from a reader in the Dominican Republic who is battling bulimia, and is looking into Christian inpatient treatment in the United States. She was wondering about "The Center", an addiction-treatment center in Washington state founded by Dr. Gregg Jantz. While I did not specifically mention "The Center" in my book, Redeemed from the Pit,  the program's integrationist worldview and "whole-person" treatment model predictably follow the pattern common to many counseling centers. While claiming to be "Christian", these facilities, sadly, do not subscribe to a biblical philosophy of man, God, sin, or the Word of God itself.

Following are the main points I mentioned to her about "The Center":

 My discernment alarms are going off. First off, what I notice from the website (in the 1st few minutes I'm there):

 - They "accept insurance". This is never a good sign. If they were truly Christ-centered, biblical counseling-oriented, they would NOT be licensed as "mental health" providers. That alone tells me they are more psych-based than Scripture-based.

 - I cannot find any Statement of Faith. That is another red flag, even if a counseling center claims to be founded by a Christian. - Dr. Gregg Jantz is very much in the "integrationist" camp -- one who believes that the Bible does not contain all the answers; but rather that psychology can be blended with the Bible. (It can't be, as any biblical counselor will tell you -- psychotherapy's view of man and the Bible's view of man are diametrically opposite.) His "whole person approach" is just that. He is not a biblical counselor, by any stretch of the imagination (although he may very well be a Christian.)

 After a few more minutes perusing their website, I come across The Center's program distinctives:

  - 2. We have assembled a comprehensive recovery team of psychologists, licensed counselors, a certified eating disorder specialist, medical personnel, board certified psychiatrist, dieticians, licensed social workers, depression experts, licensed marriage and family therapists, certified chemical dependency professionals, massage therapists, RN, fitness trainer and various specialists. Our team represents the very best in treatment – professionals who are called into the ministry of Hope and Healing. 

Okay....dieticians (nutritionists) and other medical personnel are always a good thing. "Board certified psychiatrists" and "depression experts" are not. They will tell the client that eating disorders (and depression) are "diseases", not their fault, and probably pump them full of psychotropic drugs to numb the feelings of guilt. No child of God should be deceived in this way.

 - On the Eating Disorder program page, I saw good and bad. Yes, I (obviously) agree that total transformation (I refuse to use the word recovery) is possible.....but this: "our programs for eating disorders incorporate advanced eating disorder treatment and technologies." is hogwash. They never mention REPENTANCE, which is how one changes. Of course, for them to talk about repentance, they'd have to admit that anorexia and bulimia are SINS, which they never do.

 - On the main page, where one would expect a comprehensive explanation of The Center's worldview (is it biblical? secular?), we read: "The Center for Counseling and Health Resources follows a model of whole person care – for both men and women – whereby our vision ensures we give appropriate attention to the medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual aspects of each person seeking help through one of our treatment programs. We believe in and value the worth of all individuals, and model this belief to all we serve – “inspired healthcare” for restoring balance to the body, mind and spirit."

 No mention there (or elsewhere) of the Bible as God's inspired, inerrant Word; or the fact that it is sufficient "for all matters pertaining to life and godliness" (2 Peter 1:3). A Christian seeking inpatient treatment (or a long-term residential center) would do well to avoid "The Center".


  1. you are invited to follow my blog

  2. I agree it's not a chemical imbalance , but obedience and disobedience

  3. Please consider how your "opinions" could be deterring people from getting the help they need. God can and does heal, sometimes through medicine. To say they are not Christian-based simply because they accept insurance or are licensed by the state? That is just plain ignorant and judgmental and well...cruel. Who do you think you are?

    1. Evidently you did not read the several paragraphs of doctrinal issues I analysed. The fact that The Center accepts insurance is not the problem per se - it is simply an indication of the counseling model it promotes: namely, the secular, psych-based one rather than the biblically-based one.

      And YES, I maintain that any "center" where the Gospel is not being faithfully taught and upheld as a life-transforming reality is worse than no "help" at all. As a certified biblical counselor, YES, I will most certainly steer prospective residents towards Christ-centered counseling, such as that available at Vision of Hope. Even Mercy Ministries upholds a more Scriptural counseling model than The Center. (I assume from your comment that you work for the latter).

  4. Marie, I just wanted to add my two cents to the above conversation. I actually received counseling from The Center, A Place of Hope, for severe depression, anxiety and grief counseling last year. I was a patient with them for over a month. I had tried various types of medicines and counseling prior to admitting myself to The Center. I very thoughtfully and prayerfully chose The Center. I actually flew from Dallas, Texas to Seattle, WA. I am a stay-at-home mother of three and my husband travels quite a bit, so you can imagine how hard this was for me to commit to a program this intense! While I was not specifically treated for an eating disorder, I can tell you that they are indeed, Christians. It is my belief that they do not list specific theology on their website so they do not deter non-Christians. I met quite a few non-Christians there and I can personally tell you that I saw many lives transformed by the Holy Spirit through the staff at The Center. There is a pastor on staff as well as bible study, both are optional. They are not about "saving" people, they are about helping people. There is also very nice Christian music playing at all times. I just wanted to say that I had a very life-affirming and changing experience there. Am I "fixed?" Heaven's No! I did, however, learn many healthy coping strategies and learned a lot about nutrition, too.

  5. Hi MamaThornley,

    Thanks for your comment!

    First, I am very glad that you were helped at The Center, and it sounds like you deepened your walk with the Lord. As Christians, we know that true change comes by Him, transforming our old nature. It's not about coping strategies or behavior modification per se - it's about surrendering every area of our life to God, and in turn finding our joy in Him. (Which a non-believer cannot discern spiritually, much less experience). Also, I don't doubt that the staff themselves are Christians - that's not the issue I would raise.

    The problem with integrationist (blending of biblical Christianity with psych-based approaches)treatment is that, in effect, it denies the sufficiency of Scripture for problems that are, at root, spiritual ones. I don't know if this is what you intended to say in your second sentence about non-Christians (please correct me if I read that wrong), but the only way the Holy Spirit transforms the life of a non-Christian is through regeneration (conversion to Christ). The Bible tells us that we are spiritually dead apart from Christ; the Holy Spirit ALWAYS leads a soul to Him.

    While I don't doubt the intentions or the good work The Center may be doing, a difference between biblical counseling and their practice is this: we do not "counsel" non-Christians. We EVANGELIZE them. Then, if they accept Christ, they are prepared to do the work of biblical change -- because NOW they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. The rationale behind not counseling unbelievers is simple: God is not interested in moving someone from a lifestyle that is displeasing to Him....to another lifestyle that is equally displeasing to Him. Remember Hebrews 11:6? "Without faith, it is impossible to please God".

    You cannot truly help someone unless you are trying to save them -- all you are doing is making them more comfortable on their way to hell. If the pastor and folks at The Center have the Good News and are using it to help folks who come to them (you mention Bible studies, etc.), great. But love must compel them to share it all the more urgently with the lost - otherwise they are leaving them dead in their transgressions, AND deception.

    It may be that they are at least presenting the Gospel or being upfront about their biblical view (with everyone) at intake; it would be difficult to determine, without having been there, the type or extent of evangelism going on. But this is the most critical part of helping anyone walk free -- leading him or her to Christ. I would like to have the chance to visit one day and interview the directors personally. Thanks again for your imput!

  6. Here is what I have to say about the Center (not really anything to do with God but more so about the actual place and how they run)
    They are not that great of a place to go. They are understaffed and have too big of groups or they combine groups. The groups most of the time start 10-20 minutes late meaning a 45 minute session turns into 10 minutes of talking about how late we were and that leaves 15 minutes of actual time spent on the subject. The staff turnover is almost as often as the client. In 7 weeks 5 staff members left. Also, they have kicked clients out based on assumptions rather than facts. They always assume the worst case scenario is the truth. Councilors are not supposed to sway your decisions in life, they are supposed to show you the options and let you decide. This is not the case here. Their Christian beliefs weigh on how they counsel.

  7. My girlfriend just left this place. Stay away. The customer service is horrible.


  9. i had the worst experience i ever had in my life . they lied to me even my roommates were nasty . they kicked me out threw my clothes all over the best western and ripped my rosary beads from my neck . they fed me a brown box of lettuce which they probably picked from the trash the most evict people i had ever know. i was so scared i would never get back home . thank God i had an extra phone pn me because they did not allow me to have contact with my family. they wouldn't even tell my family i was safe. something very strange going on there stay away.

  10. The Center is not a place of hope anymore... They don't really care about the staff or patients like they say they do. They care about money and fame. The few good staff they had have moved on or have been run down. Its sad to see a place like this fall apart.

    As far as Doctor's go, there is no Naturopathic Physician, no practicing RN, no full time MD, the psychiatrists they have are great but only part time. They advertise acupuncture and massage but do not have it. The chemical dependency program is a joke. When I was there, most of the people in housing would go out to the bars in town and drink. I mentioned it to my counselor but nothing changed.

    On a positive note, the dietician is very knowledgeable about eating disorders and the pastors on staff really helped me reconnect with the lord.


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