Mercy Ministries counseling and the casting out of demons

Mercy Ministries advertise that they offer “professional support from psychologists, dieticians, general practitioners, social workers, counsellors and program staff who all contribute to provide daily education for the young women” in their care.  They also claim that the program is “provided at no charge to the young women.”

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Mercy Ministries’ promotional brochure obtained from a Gloria Jeans Coffees outlet in NSW, 2007 (click for larger.)

Imagine a young woman’s horror then, as she enters the program and finds that she has no contact with psychologists, mental health professionals or social workers, and that the only counselor she is permitted to see during her time at Mercy Ministries is unqualified and unregistered.  In Australia, despite advertising that the program was free (presumably to attract more donations from the public,) Mercy Ministries charge the girls for their services from a girl’s Centrelink sickness benefit (welfare cheque).

Let’s discuss the type of counseling offered to young women in the Mercy Ministries program.  Mercy Ministries advertise that they offer “Christian based counselling” however, they do not go into specifics when describing the type of counseling given, nor the qualifications of their “counselors.”

Mercy Ministries use a counseling program known as “Restoring the Foundations.”

Our purpose is not to argue the virtues of such a counseling program when it is being used with a person’s informed consent; rather to explore whether Mercy Ministries is being upfront about the types of practices being used in the ‘counseling’ they are performing, and whether a young woman who goes to Mercy Ministries seeking the promised professional treatment, is properly informed before she walks through the doors.

This program is far from the typical example of “Christian based counseling” as Mercy Ministries describes it.

Sections within this counseling program are entitled:

  • Sins of the Fathers and the Resulting Curses
  • Ungodly Beliefs
  • Soul/Spirit Hurts
  • Demonic Oppression

Source:  What is Restoring the Foundations Ministry?

More about Restoring The Foundations can be read here

Many former residents have spoken about exorcisms (the casting out of demons) that were performed on them during their counseling sessions at Mercy Ministries. Mercy Ministries Australia has categorically denied performing any such practice.

Let’s have a closer look at some of the Restoring the Foundations counseling materials that are worked through during counseling sessions at Mercy Ministries:

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Dozens of young women who were treated at a Mercy Ministries facility have come forward to speak out about the abuse and neglect they experienced during their time in the program.  These women come from a variety of different experiences.  While many of these women chose to leave the program due to the lack of much needed medical treatment, others were dismissed with no follow up, and others have “graduated” from the Mercy Ministries program.

If one thing remains clear, it is that Mercy Ministries’ claims that 95% of young women who enter their program “successfully graduate,” or that they come out unscathed from their experiences, is nothing close to the truth.

Mercy Ministries Australia’s response on television program Today Tonight:

An excerpt from a letter recieved from television program Today Tonight on 20 March 2008:

In the days since Today Tonight did a story on Mercy Ministries, we have been inundated with responses, so much so it’s raised serious questions about the figures we received from Mercy Ministries claiming to be the total number of girls who graduated and “failed”.

Executive Director of Mercy Ministries Peter Irvine claimed since the organisation began in 2000, 96 women had graduated, six failed and only two had come forward to complain… Since our program aired, a greater number of women have since contacted our program citing mistreatment by Mercy Ministries.

These girls did not receive professional treatment whilst in the care of Mercy Ministries, they were denied such help and instead were put in the care of people whose only training was from an in-house program – a far cry from the medically based expertise needed to treat serious problems of sexual abuse, drug addiction, and psychological trauma.  It also contradicts the program guidelines outlined on the website.  Even the website acknowledges that such conditions need professional help…

Kind regards,
Marguerite McKinnon

Journalist
Today Tonight

Written By Mercy Survivors

Support for survivors of Mercy Ministries

9 Comments on “Mercy Ministries counseling and the casting out of demons

  1. The Cynic Sage

    October 16, 2008 at 12:55

    Hey ladies, just something you might want to know about.

    Mercy Ministries has been flagging videos critical of Mercy with false DMCA claims, which is illegal.

    They have flag all my vids so my youtube account is now “permanently disabled”. I haven’t spoken with a lawyer yet, but I think I may be able to legally sue them.

    SilverRose72, if you are reading this. I think you can also legally file a counter-suit too.

    They really shot themselves in the foot this time, eh?

  2. The Cynic Sage

    October 18, 2008 at 9:40

    Hey everybody, I got a new blog-entry up about Mercy’s false copyright flagging and it is very important that people read it:

    http://cynicsage.blogspot.com/2008/10/someone-must-be-butt-hurt-pretty-bad.html

  3. Katherine

    November 30, 2008 at 7:46

    I am a survivor of Mercy’s program. After spending 4 months there, I was told to leave without any reasoning behind it. A couple days before I was told to leave I revealed to my counselor that I didn’t feel like their methods were helping me. That casting out of demons and just praying wasn’t leaving me to feel any better. She told me “that’s ridiculous, you’re just not trying hard enough, you’re allowing the demons to rule your life”. I’ve dealt with mental health issues my whole life, and have been on medications my whole life… they kicked me out the last day on my medications, with no health insurance and having pulled me out of the mental health system. I had no support and no aftercare. I was given two hours to pack my bags and be sent out on a plane… When it first happened I just kept thinking “gosh I really failed, I’ll never get better” because thats all they teach you there. That mercy is the only way to get better. And much to my dismay there methods did little for me. I was also denied proper medical care, I saw a psychiatrist twice my whole time there, and with the supervision of a staff member. I had an ongoing health problem, that required a special diet and medication. I wasn’t given the medication or the proper diet. When I asked about why I couldn’t take the medication, they told me they had called the doctor and he wouldnt prescribe it for me they also said he wouldnt fax information about my diet, so they weren’t going to follow it. When I finally begged them to see a doctor enough they took me. To their doctor, who said little and referred me to a specialist, who they wouldn’t take me to anyway. When I had an attack, they took me to the ER( again accompanied by a staff member) and not till after they cleared with all the higher ups. (which took about 3 hours). They ER prescribed me pain medication, which they refused to fill. When I couldn’t get out of bed because of the pain I was told “I was refusing treatment and not working towards getting well”. I actually believed this… and was constantly putting myself down for being lazy, and unproductive and not caring about my recovery. My counselor did little to help me. She wasn’t even qualified to do it. She knew little about mental illness, and didnt even know what half my diagnosis were, let alone treating them. Their answer for everything was praying and casting out of demons. They often spoke in tongues, and laid their hands on me. I did not have access to a nutritionist, psychologist, a proper doctor or anything else they claim to have on their website. I know they got rid of me, because they didn’t want me added to their list of graduates, and therefore unsuccessful… making their success rate drop. They get rid of all the girls that won’t make it out a success…

  4. Anonymous

    March 11, 2011 at 11:10

    As a former resident who was asked to leave due to the lies of a volunteer and resident which they just believed and didn’t bother to investigate (consequently the truth came out 3 weeks after I was gone and they didn’t bother to correct the wrong they did!!) it is interesting to see the full material of the RTF folder in print.
    We were decieved in many ways. We were handed a counselling folder at our first session and it only contained what they thought was relevant to us at the time section by section!
    It started off with the easier to handle things such as forgiveness etc and then moved onto that stuff. Obviously done that way so we would be totally compliant to the program by the time they got to that stuff. By the time a girl came to that section in her counselling she had been there long enough that even if she was not comfortable or felt that something was off with that stuff she would feel guilty for even thinking and feeling that way. It truly was indoctrinated into us that mercy and their program was the only way and if we didn’t comply we were beyond help and would never change.
    Because of this it took me many years to get help and even today I am still suffering the effects of mercy ministries and their treatment of me and its been over 5 years. The material we were given for demonic oppression was the bare necessity and I can tell you if I had seen some of the other stuff that is shown above I would have been out of there like a shot. THEY HID THAT FROM THE RESIDENTS UNDER THE GUISE OF IT BEING GUIDELINES FOR THE COUNSELLOR ONLY!!
    The counsellors were trained as they went with a little training provided before they came on board as a counsellor. The rest was done in sections throughout the year.

    • MS Team

      March 15, 2011 at 2:02

      Hi Anonymous.

      Your story unfortunately echoes that of dozens of other former Mercy residents. I know I shouldn’t be by now, but I am always shocked when I read another girls story.

      If you would like to join the Mercy Survivors network, please drop us an email at info [at] mercysurvivors [dot] com .

      MS Team

  5. […] ‘therapy’ manual and written about it that I’m aware of. But people have seen the old one – and have warned Christians thinking of seeking help. No way MM is going to throw out most […]

  6. Sathees

    February 6, 2013 at 3:32

    i need deliverance can you help me. currently i am in australia. please let me know further information please

    • Sarah's Collage

      February 25, 2013 at 11:41

      Hi Sathees.

      Not sure if we can help you on that one, but if you email us with some more information about what you’re experiencing and where abouts your located, we may be able to give you details of services in your area who may be able to assist.

      MS Team

  7. […] Comprehensive checklists of Restoring The Foundations regarding ungodly beliefs, generational curses and demonic influences can be viewed here and here, and pages from the counsellor’s manual on performing deliverance (including comprehensive checklists) can be viewed here. […]

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