Thursday, June 28, 2012


The two Sandfords, John and Paula, (1982, 1985) have continued to develop Agnes Sanford’s approach in their theory of the praxis of inner healing. In developing Sanford’s work, the Sandfords have put their emphasis on the effects of sin in the personality structure. Before developing their ideas of what they call ‘the sinful self,’ one more theorizing concept from Rhychlak needs to be introduced.

Responding versus teleosponding
Personality theorists are divided into those who believe the personality is constructed in response to its environment and those who believe personality is inherent, inborn. The best examples are the Behaviorists who believe we are born a blank tablet and the environment writes upon that tablet to create our personality.

In contrast are those theorists who postulate a pre-existing person, a sort of ghost in the machine, even before we start. God says to Jeremiah .for example, ”Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee.” For this second group, Rhychlak proposes a new term to be used in psychology.. In direct contrast to the Behaviorists word “response,” he proposes the concept of the word “telosponse.” To telospond is to perform a mental act prior to an environmental stimulus. Telosponsive behavior proactively frames human purposes in relation to stimuli rather than merely responding reactively to stimuli. Telosponses thus change stimuli to fit human purposes apriori, that is, before we even respond.
In the following quote you hear the proactive telosponse of what the Sandford calls the “sinful self.”
“As Christians, we believe that what is already in us, by inheritance from Adam, colors our interpretation of all that happens to us, and influences drastically our choices in responding. Further, Adamic sin often initiates many wrongs done by us before events happen to form us wrongly. It is not merely that life does things to us; we first do some things to life.” (p 7, italic emphases added by this writer.)

Thus, prior to development of any characteristic of the personality, sin actively telosponds, distorting all inputs to the personality. Therefore, there is no such thing as a neutral stimulus in that every stimulus is fouled by “the deceitfulness of sin” from the start. This proactive distortion of experience at every point, guarantees malformation of every human personality on the planet from the beginning. (The proactive consequences of sin will be further discussed under theory of illness.)