Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist with a unique ability to connect with audiences. Drawing upon his broad range of experiences in private practice, leadership consulting, and media, he simplifies life's issues and gives easy to understand, practical advice. Its Dr. Cloud's humor, compassion, and "in the moment" confrontation that make his approach to psychology and spirituality such a success.
As author or co-author of more than twenty books, totaling four million copies sold, Dr. Cloud's bestselling and award-winning titles include the million-selling Boundaries and his new book, The Secret Things of God: Unlocking the Treasures Reserved for You (Howard Books, September 2007). He has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including ABC News, PBS, and FOX News, and has been featured or reviewed in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and more. Dr. Cloud co-hosts the nationally syndicated radio program "New Life Live," heard in more than 160 markets and via XM and Sirius satellite radio, with more than two million listeners.
As president of Cloud-Townsend Resources, Dr. Cloud has produced and conducted hundreds of public seminars around the country, speaking on business and leadership development, as well as relationships of all kinds. In his consulting practice, he works with leaders in a wide range of organizations and corporations, from family-held firms to Fortune 25 companies. He has an extensive executive coaching background and experience as an organizational and leadership consultant, speaking regularly across the U.S. and internationally at corporate and leadership events.
After founding and building a health care company, which operated treatment centers in 35 cities in the Western U.S., Dr. Cloud served as Clinical Director for ten years. In that context of hands-on clinical experience, he developed and researched many of the treatment principles and methods that he communicates to audiences now. Since selling the company, Dr. Cloud has devoted his time to publishing and spreading principles of hope and life-change through speaking, writing, and media.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University, earning a B.S. in psychology with honors, Dr. Cloud completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Biola University, and his clinical internship at Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health.
Dr. Cloud is an avid golfer and enjoys boating, deep sea fishing and scuba diving. His philanthropic interests lie in the area of homelessness and the inner city, as well as missions in the developing world. He serves on the board of the Los Angeles Mission, a rescue mission Southern California. Dr. Cloud lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Tori, and their two daughters, Olivia and Lucy.
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Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist and the author or co-author of more than 20 books, including GOD WILL MAKE A WAY, BOUNDARIES and INTEGRITY. His latest work, THE SECRET THINGS OF GOD, offers a Christian alternative to Rhonda Byrne's THE SECRET, building on some of the book's tenets to reveal 20 of God's universal "secrets" that dictate how we approach our goals, desires, relationships and lives. In this interview with FaithfulReader.com's Margaret Oines, Dr. Cloud talks about why he chose to approach Byrne's teachings the way he did and shares his insights on them as both a scientist and a Christian. He also explains how these "secret things" can be applied to our day-to-day lives --- having the right tools to form the right relationships, for example --- offers words of wisdom to members of the modern church and its leaders, and discusses his upcoming book due out next spring.
FaithfulReader.com: Why do you think Rhonda Byrne’s bestselling book and DVD, THE SECRET, has become so popular?
Dr. Henry Cloud: I think it taps into some big questions that we all have: 1) is there a force that governs the universe, 2) is there a “secret” that could help us control our lives and our outcomes if we knew it, and 3) how do we live out this “secret” to make it all work. Every human wants to know if there is anything that lies beyond what we can see, and how to make life work here and now.
FR: Many Christian authors have taken a strong stand against Byrne’s teachings, but you take a much more gentle approach in your book, THE SECRET THINGS OF GOD. Instead of focusing on debunking Byrne’s beliefs, you spend your time and energy trying to establish a foundation on the truth. Why did you choose this approach? Do you think it’s more effective than the other? Why or why not?
HC: I chose it for the same reason I think that the Apostle Paul chose the same approach in ancient Athens. He saw that the culture there was seeking spiritual meaning, and he validated and joined them in their quest. He came to them and said that he saw that they were very religious and were seeking a God unknown to them; then, he proceeded to share with them who that God was and that God was seeking them too. That is not an “against” stance, but a very “for” stance, like God who “did not come to judge the world” but came “to seek and to save that which was lost.”
FR: In THE SECRET, Byrne says that you can attract whatever you desire, including wealth, possessions and relationships --- just by thinking the right thoughts. As a psychologist, what’s your perspective on the power of our thoughts?
HC: Our thoughts certainly have power, but not the kind of power to run the universe. We know through much research that our thoughts can lead us to success or failure, relationship patterns of fulfillment or misery, depression or happiness, and a host of other realities. How we think is much of the software that dictates how we live, and has a lot to do with our “sowing and reaping.” The bible says that over and over. If you look at the world in a certain way, you will behave and act in certain ways that will bring about certain realities. But that is very different from our thoughts being able to control external reality and ultimately being God ourselves by what we think.
FR: What one practical “secret thing of God” (besides being in a relationship with God) do you think would really transform a person’s relationships with others?
HC: One would be that we have successful relationships to the degree that we possess the skills to produce them. So many people are looking for the “right person” or the “right friends,” etc. and that is important. But we can find the right “others,” and yet if we are not working on our own abilities to love well, confront well, trust, etc. we will still not have good relationships. We have to grow into the ability that will produce the level of relationships that we desire.
FR: For the veteran Christian, what “secret of God” from your book could make the biggest difference in their life?
HC: Perhaps the one that says, “Trust is the key that opens the door to blessings.” I think a lot of veteran Christians get to a place where their faith becomes a mindset and a set of principles of how they think and behave. But when in more mature states, they revisit the concept of trust, they see that it is only through truly opening themselves up more to God and also to others that they can truly grow in the ways that have not changed, even after so many years of being a Christian. It is the most transcendent thing we can do, and at the same time the most practical thing we can do. But it is so easy to turn Christianity into a system that eliminates true trust and vulnerability.
FR: As a psychologist, do you see different struggles for people of different generations? For instance, do you see differences between the issues that boomers, Xers and Yers are struggling with? If so, explain.
HC: Yes, I do. When I first went into practice, a lot of people really needed to be “freed up.” We helped them get in touch with the parts of themselves that were shackled with guilt and needed to gain freedom to exist and be expressed in healthy ways. Now, we see people who need to lose some freedom and gain some limits. We see more entitlement, narcissism and lack of boundaries. Also, in Xers and Yers I think there is the need to have a rapprochement with structure and authority. There is absolute truth and not all reality is subjective, and structure can be a good thing.
FR: If you could give some words of advice, wisdom or encouragement to the modern church, what would you say?
HC: Focus on reality, and relationship. That is where the culture is, and it is also where God has always lived...in truth (reality) and in grace (relationship). So, find ways that meet the truth of how our lives work and the truth of how they were designed to work, and at the same time integrate that with relationship with God and others. That is how spiritual formation truly happens. Facing reality in community.
FR: If you could give some words of advice, wisdom or encouragement to future leaders of the church, what would you say?
HC: Be in your own growth process that includes character growth, relational growth, skills growth and recovery from your own issues and struggles of pain. If you do that, you will have the character that 2 Peter 1 says will keep you from being unfruitful.
FR: Where do you get most of your writing done? Are there any activities that you add to or eliminate from your schedule when you’re working on a book?
HC: I get it mostly done in my little writing loft, a private office. Actually, a lot of my activities can’t really be eliminated as they are of the ongoing nature of being involved in change processes with people and organizations, as opposed to “projects.” So, as a result, I have to write at odd times, and the only thing that really gets eliminated is probably sleep :)
FR: What is the next project you’re working on, and when might readers expect to see it?
HC: It is called THE ONE LIFE SOLUTION. It is a book about how boundaries integrate us at work, and also how they integrate our work and our life. It will be out next spring from HarperCollins.
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