Pioneer of Biblical Counseling
For over five decades, Dr. Henry Brandt—international consultant, educator, counselor, author, and conference speaker—impacted the lives of countless people. With a focus on individual development as well as marriage and family living, the legacy of his ministry has been written in the hearts and lives of generations of men, women, and children around the world.
Henry received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Houghton College in 1947, his Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wayne State University in 1949, and his PhD in Marriage and Family Relations from Cornell University in 1952.
After completing his doctorate at Cornell, Henry accepted what he thought would be his life’s vocation—serving as Dean of Men at his alma mater, Houghton College. After two years, he realized that God had other plans. Subsequently, Henry was invited to take a one-year sabbatical replacement position teaching Speech at North American Baptist Seminary. The experience taught him far more than he had anticipated: it set the course of his career in public speaking.
In 1955, following his pivotal year at North American Baptist Seminary, Henry moved to Michigan. He worked for three years as a full-time staff member for the Clare Elizabeth Fund, not only to develop further some of the key teaching principles behind the Lamaze Program, but also to supervise twelve children’s nurseries! Henry served for over a decade (1955-65) as a licensed psychologist in the area of individual, marriage and family counseling in private practice in Michigan. During this time his call to ministry and his gifts in public speaking led him to host a popular family radio program aired over the Moody Bible Institute’s station WMBI from 1961 to 1971.
One day a man appeared in Henry’s office. His name was Rev. R.E. Thompson. He had been praying for years for someone like Henry to help him train and counsel new and inexperienced candidates for the mission field. Rev. Thompson had no money to offer Henry, but one month later, Henry had a full-time counseling load working with young missionaries in Rev. Thompson’s interdenominational program, Missionary Internship. Henry developed the training program into a vital counseling clinic. The practice grew to include eight associate counselors and to support a number of missionary efforts.
From the earliest days of Henry’s vocation, he trained missionaries at home and ministered to them abroad. At his own expense, he reached out to countless men and women stationed in extreme and isolated locations. He was the first counseling psychologist to meet with the missionary wives after the Auca massacre in the Amazon.
In 1965, Henry combined his vocation with a business endeavor to support his growing worldwide outreach. After developing a group of restaurants into a profitable venture, he sold them to purchase the state franchise for a popular ice cream parlor chain. With the success of his businesses, Henry was able to continue his international speaking, teaching and counseling ministry.
Throughout Henry’s career, he taught in a number of institutes, colleges and seminaries, including The General Motors Institute, Houghton College, North American Baptist Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Christian Heritage College, and Palm Beach Atlantic University. He was instrumental in founding departments of psychology for both Christian Heritage College and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Henry rightly has been honored with the title: “The Father of Modern-Day Biblical Counseling.” For decades he has counseled individuals to evaluate their heart attitudes and behavior in the light of biblical teaching and to guide them to a godly solution.
In 2003, the American Association of Christian Counselors presented Henry with their “Care Giver Award” for his lifetime achievements in counseling. With a focus on individual development as well as marriage and family living, the legacy of his ministry has been written in the hearts and lives of generations of men, women, and children around the world.
Known as a communicator of communicators, Henry has had an uncanny ability to understand his audience and to deliver just the right message. His use of Scripture, combined with his unique sense of humor, has reached the “inner person” of many to help facilitate genuine change.
Over the decades, Henry’s wisdom and skill as a communicator has also authored numerous books with a focus on individual development and marriage and family living. His work, which has been translated into many languages, has circulated the globe.
Henry was married for forty-two years to Eva (d. 1982), with whom he had three children: Richard (Valerie) of Chicago, Illinois; Beth of Richmond, Kentucky; and Suzanne (James) of Cleveland, Ohio, in addition to a former daughter-in-law, Patty, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. He later married Marcy, who had one daughter, Lori, two grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. Marcy died after three years. In 1987, Henry married Jo, who had three children—Will (d. 2000) (Ann) of Lodi, California; Juliette of Moscow, Idaho; and Chris of New York, New York—and four grandchildren. Jo and Henry were married twenty-two years. Jo, who faithfully attended Henry throughout illness and hospice care, was with him when he died.
Dr. Henry Brandt, died November 24, 2008 of complications related to Parkinson’s disease. He was 92.