Home » Speaker Mike Johnson’s wife practices Christian therapy based on ancient ‘four temperaments’

Speaker Mike Johnson’s wife practices Christian therapy based on ancient ‘four temperaments’

Kelly Johnson, the wife of the newly elected speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, runs a Christian counseling business affiliated with some very homophobic beliefs. According to HuffPost, Kelly Johnson’s Onward Christian Counseling Services has a business document breaking down its offensive understandings of the world, placing people who are gay and transgender in the same categories as sex with animals: “We believe and the Bible teaches that any form of sexual immorality, such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, pornography or any attempt to change one’s sex, or disagreement with one’s biological sex, is sinful and offensive to God.”

On top of this, Business Insider reports that Kelly Johnson “advertised a specialty in temperament therapy.” Temperament therapy is based on “Creation Therapy,” which was created by Christian counselors Richard and Phyllis Arno. The basic idea behind these therapies is that people are born as one of five types: Melancholy, Choleric, Sanguine, Supine, and Phlegmatic. The Arnos based this idea on work by controversial right-wing fundamentalist Rev. Tim LaHaye, a co-author of the popular and anxiety-producing “Left Behind” apocalypse novels. LaHaye, in turn, lifted his un-Christian-like idea of temperaments from Hippocrates.

The fact that ancient Greek pseudoscience continues to exist in modern-day fundamentalist Christian counseling is not particularly shocking. The idea that fundamentalists, unable to manage the reality around them with their acutely myopic understanding of scripture, might try and apply some of those medical practices to psychology is also unsurprising.

After her husband became speaker, Kelly Johnson’s business website became inaccessible. It is hard to say how much her counseling practice veers into the pseudoscience of temperament theory, but the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine has this “memory” of the website dating to Oct. 26—the day after her husband was elected speaker—and her bio on the leadership page reads as such:

Kelly L. Johnson is a Licensed Pastoral Counselor, a Certified Temperament Counselor, Professional Clinical Member of the National Christian Counselors Association, President of Onward Christian Counseling Services, LLC, and CEO of Onward Christian Education Services, Inc.

Business Insider reports that neither Johnson nor the organization returned their requests for comment, but the organization does advise its counselors to hold malpractice insurance—so that’s modern.

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October 2023