Information

Quote: Mental illness is questioning the point of living

Quote: Mental illness is questioning the point of living

I'm trying to find a quote essentially relating the sentiment that "a mind which questions the point of continuing to live, is a mind which is mentally ill", as a definition of mental illness. I thought it was Freud, but I read three pages of quotes of him and didn't find what I was looking for. I found two that are close in meaning:

No other technique for the conduct of life attaches the individual so firmly to reality as laying emphasis on work; for his work at least gives him a secure place in a portion of reality, in the human community. The possibility it offers of displacing a large amount of libidinal components, whether narcissistic, aggressive or even erotic, on to professional work and on to the human relations connected with it lends it a value by no means second to what it enjoys as something indispensible to the preservation and justification of existence in society.

SIGMUND FREUD, Civilization and Its Discontents

“About a third of my cases are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives. This can be defined as the general neurosis of our times.” ― C.G. Jung


In a letter to Marie Bonaparte, Freud wrote:

Im Moment, da man nach Sinn und Wert des Lebens fragt, ist man krank, denn beides gibt es ja in objektiver Weise nicht; man hat nur eingestanden, daß man einen Vorrat von unbefriedigender Libido hat, und irgend etwas anderes muß damit vorgefallen sein, eine Art Gärung, die zur Trauer und Depression führt. Großartig sind diese meine Aufklärungen gewiß nicht. Vielleicht weil ich selbst zu pessimistisch bin. Mir geht ein "advertisement" im Kopf herum, das ich für das kühnste und gelungenste Stück amerikanischer Reklame halte: "Why live, if you can be buried for ten Dollars?"

In English:

The moment a man questions the meaning and value of life, he is sick, since objectively neither has any existence; by asking this question one is merely admitting to a store of unsatisfied libido to which something else must have happened, a kind of fermentation leading to sadness and depression. I am afraid these explanations of mine are not very wonderful. Perhaps because I am too pessimistic. I have an advertisement floating about in my head which I consider the boldest and most successful piece of American publicity: "Why live, if you can be buried for ten dollars?"

  • Freud, S. (1960). Sigmund Freud an Marie Bonaparte, 13. August 1937. In E. L. Freud (ed.), Briefe 1873-1939 (p. 429). Frankfurt a.M.: S. Fischer.
  • Freud, S. (1961). Sigmund Freud to Marie Bonaparte, 13. August 1937. In E. L. Freud (ed.), Letters of Sigmund Freud (p. 432), London: Hogarth.

Baha’i Perspectives on Mental Illness

If I was to summarize the Baha’i quotes on mental illness, and try to put the ideas into my own words, this is what I’ve learned.

Mental disorders fall on a continuum from so mild as to be almost undetectable to very severe some may improve or worsen over time and some people may suffer from more than one mental disorder or complicating medical condition at the same time:

As with many health conditions, mental disorders fall on a continuum from so mild as to be almost undetectable to very severe. The degree to which a particular individual’s conduct may be affected varies accordingly and may improve or worsen over time, depending on many factors. Some individuals may suffer from more than one mental disorder or a complicating general medical condition at the same time. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 13)

Substance abuse combined with mental illness may further disrupt brain chemistry and affect behavior:

Sometimes, in response to overwhelming trauma, individuals resort to substance abuse, which can complicate or exacerbate the problems. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Problems of personality disorder may be complicated by medical conditions, substance abuse and/or mental illness. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Furthermore, persons with mental disorders may have difficulties with substance abuse, which further disrupts brain chemistry and affects behavior. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 13)

Personality disorders may interfere with proper functioning in personal, social and work relationships.

Personality disorders differ from personality change in their timing and the mode of their appearance. They are disturbances in character development that may interfere with proper functioning in personal, social and work relationships. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

God alone knows the reasons for mental illness:

I beseech God to obtain prosperity unto thee in this world, to confer favour upon thee in His Supreme Kingdom, and to heal thee from the illness which has befallen thee for some hidden reason which no one knows save God. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 59.)

It’s not true that only the spiritually ill experience psychiatric disorders:

The statement that ‘only the spiritually ill experience psychiatric disorders’ is entirely without foundation. (From a letter dated 2 February 1994 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual)

Mental illness can be caused by being without the love of God in our hearts:

With the love of God all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without it, are fruitless nay, rather the cause of insanity. (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 687-688)

Or by trying to attack the Cause of God:

The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)

It can be part of the polish God uses to draw us closer to Him.

Suffering, of one kind or another, seems to be the portion of man in this world. Even the Beloved ones, the Prophets of God, have never been exempt from the ills that are to be found in our world poverty, disease, bereavement, -they seem to be part of the polish God employs to make us finer, and enable us to reflect more of His attributes! No doubt in the future, when the spiritualized, a vast amount of our present ills and problems will be remedied. We who toil now are paving the way for a far better world, and this knowledge must uphold and strengthen us through every trial. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 603)

Although emotionally and physically painful to be burdened with it at times, mental illness only affects our minds, and not our spirits or our soul.

But in this world such illness is truly a heavy burden to bear! (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

It is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one. However, we must always remember these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Though its effects might hinder us or be a burden in striving towards spiritual progress, still we know that our spirits are healthy and close to God, and that in the next world we’ll be free to enjoy a happy and normal state.

Mental illness is not spiritual, although its effects may indeed hinder and be a burden in one’s striving toward spiritual progress. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

You must always remember, no matter how much you or your others may be afflicted with mental troubles and the crushing environment of these State Institutions, that your spirit is healthy, near to our Beloved, and will in the next world enjoy a happy and normal state of soul. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Treatment for mental illness, as for all diseases, consists of seeking the best medical advice you can find, even if it means travelling to a bigger city to find it, and then following it.

It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor’s instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 155)

Regarding your question about methods of healing which involve temporarily re-experiencing or remembering events, these are complex medical matters and as stipulated in the Teachings, believers should seek the best medical advice which is available and follow it. (Universal House of Justice, 1985 Dec 02, Child Abuse, Psychology and Knowledge of Self)

It is not easy to be burdened with long years of mental illness such as you describe. And plainly you have sought aid from many persons of scientific and non-scientific training backgrounds, apparently to little avail over the years of your prolonged illness. Possibly you should consider, if it is feasible, consulting the best specialists in a medical centre in one of the major cities, where the most advanced diagnosis and treatment can be obtained. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

Psychiatric treatment is still a growing rather than a perfected science, and psychiatrists are not always wise or right, but even so, we need to avail ourselves of the best they have to offer.

There is nothing in our teachings about Freud and his method. Psychiatric treatment in general is no doubt an important contribution to medicine, but we must believe it is still a growing rather than a perfected science. As Bahá’u’lláh has urged us to avail ourselves of the help of good physicians Bahá’ís are certainly not only free to turn to psychiatry for assistance but should, when advisable, do so. This does not mean psychiatrists are always wise or always right, it means we are free to avail ourselves of the best medicine has to offer us. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

The science of the mind, of normality and of the disabilities from which it may suffer, is in its relative infancy, but much may be possible to aid us to minimize our suffering and make it possible to live an active life.

The science of the mind, of normality and of the disabilities from which it may suffer, is in its relative infancy, but much may be possible to aid you to minimize your suffering and made possible an active life. The last ten years in the therapy of mental disorders has seen important advances from which you may well benefit. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

Discovery of the Faith, with its healing have brought us a powerful force toward a healthy life which will sustain us on a higher level whatever our ailments may be:

Your discovery of the Faith, of its healing Writings and its great purposes for the individual and for all mankind, have indeed brought to you a powerful force toward a healthy life which will sustain you on a higher level, whatever your ailment may be. The best results for the healing process are to combine the spiritual with the physical, for it should be possible for you to overcome your illness through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined effort. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

The best results for the healing process are to combine the spiritual with the physical, for it should be possible for you to overcome your illness through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined effort.

In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: “Such hindrances (i.e. illness and outer difficulties), no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort.” (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians, including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause flood your mind with their grace and positive power.

In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: “That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians, including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause flood your mind with their grace and positive power. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

The Writings promise us that madness, incurable otherwise, can be cured through prayer:

Madness, incurable otherwise, can be cured through prayer. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments:

Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 150-151)

As the world becomes more spiritually minded and scientists understand the true nature of man, more humane and permanent cures for mental diseases will be found.

It is a great pity that as yet so little is really known of the mind, its workings and the illnesses that afflict it no doubt, as the world becomes more spiritually minded and scientists understand the true nature of man, more humane and permanent cures for mental diseases will be found. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

There are a great many as you know mental diseases and troubles at present, and the one thing Bahá’ís must not do is take a defeatist attitude toward them. The power in the Faith is such that it can sustain us on a much higher level in spite of whatever our ailments might be, than other people who are denied it.

There are a great many as you know mental diseases and troubles at present, and the one thing Bahá’ís must not do is take a defeatist attitude toward them. The power in the Faith is such that it can sustain us on a much higher level in spite of whatever our ailments might be, than other people who are denied it. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

When trauma reactions are severe and go on for some time without treatment, they can cause major problems for the person and his or her family:

Because the symptoms of PTSD and other trauma reactions can impact how a trauma survivor feels and acts, traumatic experiences that happen to one member of a family affect everyone else in the family. When trauma reactions are severe and go on for some time without treatment, they can cause major problems for the person and his or her family. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Assemblies who have people in their communities whose mental health issues cause problems for them and for others, may wish to seek professional advice.

At any time, the Assembly may wish to seek professional advice for dealing with a believer who has been diagnosed with, or appears to suffer from, a personality disorder. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

For More Information:

Additional advice and insight may be found in “Some Guidance for Spiritual Assemblies Related to Mental Illness and Its Treatment”, available through the American Bahá’í Distribution Service at (800) 999-9019.


Modern Day Mental Illness

In the modern day, many new psychiatric medications have been introduced and successfully treat most people with mental illness. Very few people are placed in mental hospitals for long periods of time due to lack of funding (primarily from private insurance) and because most people can be successfully treated in the community.

Homelessness and incarceration of the mentally ill continue to be major problems as does the lack of beds and resources to treat people with severe mental illness.


What does the Bible say about dealing with mental illness?

In general, mental illness is considered to be a disorder affecting one’s mood, thinking, and behavior. The term mental illness covers a broad range of disorders from mild depression to schizophrenia, but for the purposes of this article, we will define mental illness as a condition that impairs a person’s ability to think, feel, process, and respond to life situations in appropriate ways. Our brains are physical organs like lungs and kidneys and are subject to illness and damage just as other organs are. However, because our brains control everything we do, their malfunction can distort our perceptions, leading to hurtful or harmful thoughts and actions. Mental illnesses can distort our view of God and others. Sometimes mental illnesses contribute to our sinful behavior. God has compassion for our struggles. He can help us learn to manage mental illness and even bring healing.

Mental illness is still not fully understood by medical professionals and may have a variety of contributing factors. Some factors are physical, such as brain abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, and neurotransmitter impairments. Even things like nutrition, exercise, and sleep affect mental health. Proper medication and competent therapy can help alleviate those symptoms. Other mental illnesses are brought on by traumatic events or abuse in childhood. Sometimes a “coping mechanism” that was helpful in one situation gets carried into later life where it is no longer useful or adaptive. Also consider the way our behavior feeds into our physical health and our physical health feeds back into our behavior. Sometimes unhealthy behavior causes our bodies to be unhealthy, which in turn leads to more unhealthy behavior the cycle is difficult to break. Sometimes our own sin contributes to mental illness. When we obey Scripture’s commands, we can bypass some aspects of mental illnesses and know better how to respond when we do encounter mental illness in ourselves or in someone else (Romans 12:2). Often, multi-layered treatment is best because multiple factors are contributing to a mental illness.

Mental illness has another factor that is not often considered in designing treatment programs. Much of what we call mental illness has a spiritual component that, if left unaddressed, keeps a person in bondage. Human beings have a spirit. To be created in God’s image means we have life that is unlike the life of animals or plants. Our lives are directly connected to God’s life. Acts 17:28 says, “In him we live and move and have our being.” When we are disconnected from God, we cannot live as whole beings. We sense the void and try to fill it with other things. But those things ultimately fail us, and that can contribute to mental illness. Of course, the first step in becoming spiritually whole is to receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. But even for those people who have a relationship with God through Jesus, we still sometimes have misperceptions about who God really is that can negatively affect our view of ourselves, others, and the world and contribute to mental illness. Sin can also get in the way of our fellowship with God and negatively affect our mental health. We are better equipped to handle mental illness when we are steeped in God’s truth and in active relationship with Him.

Spiritual sickness is often a big part of mental illness. When our spirits are healed and whole, our minds can think clearly. Psalm 23:3 says that our Good Shepherd “restores my soul.” While many mental illnesses are directly caused by brain abnormalities, many others are due to souls that need restoration. Unforgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:10&ndash11), bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), fear and anxiety (Philippians 4:6&ndash7), and low self-worth can all cripple our souls. When our souls are wounded, we cannot think clearly. We see every life event through a distorted filter. A sunny day only reminds us of the day we were hurt. The sight of a happy couple walking down the street brings a surge of fury due to an unhealed wound. Casual remarks, normal life stresses, and inconsiderate treatment can all cause a person with an unhealed soul to react like a person with mental illness. When we continually give in to those wrong thoughts, we perpetuate our own struggles.

While Jesus directly healed people who were considered mentally ill, He also recognized demonic control in others and cast the demons out (e.g., Mark 1:34 Luke 11:14). The demoniac of the Gerasenes was a man psychiatrists would call mentally ill (see Mark 5:1&ndash20). He was out of control, behaving in unacceptable ways, and today we would confine this man to an institution. But Jesus went directly to the real problem. He ordered the legion of demons to come out of the man. After they did, the man was “in his right mind” (verse 15). While not all mental illness is due to demonic involvement, there may be people diagnosed with mental illness today who are experiencing some sort of demonic influence. Such people need, first and foremost, the spiritual deliverance that surrender to Jesus would offer them.

Just as we have compassion on those who are physically ill, we must also have compassion on those who are mentally ill (Matthew 14:14). Just as we seek help when we are physically ill, we should also seek help when we are struggling with our thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. We need not judge the specific cause of mental illnesses in others rather, we are to pray for them and offer support (James 5:14). We cannot assume that a mental illness is a result of sin or demonic influence however, we should not ignore those possibilities when trying to help someone or when seeking help ourselves. We have many tools to help with treatment of mental illness, including medicine, psychiatry, community support, and education. We need to be careful not to neglect the spiritual aspect of mental illness. We can share the truth of God with those struggling with mental illness, encourage them as we are able, and support them in prayer. When we’re struggling with mental illness, we need to be vigilant to continue to seek out God’s truth, to come to Him in prayer, and to allow other believers to support us in our time of need (2 Corinthians 1:3&ndash5 Romans 12:9&ndash21 Galatians 6:2&ndash10 John 13:34&ndash35).


Trust The Process . Psychology Quote . Mental Health Poster . Counseling Office Decor . Therapy Art . Instant Download. Printable

Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.

Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.

This INSTANT DOWNLOAD PRINT is designed for anyone who would like this as a daily reminder, gift, artwork, or visual. After purchasing you will receive a link to download your purchase. You can then open it on your computer, tablet, or phone to print at home or using a printing service. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or personalizations you would like to have made.


Athlete Mental Health Considerations

The mental health of athletes is an area of emerging concern, or at least it seems to be getting more media attention than in the past. In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 – 34 year olds (3). A recent study on suicide at the collegiate level was a retrospective examination of the rate of suicide among National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes (22). Over the nine-year study period, 35 cases of suicide were identified from a review of 477 student-athlete deaths during that time (22). Suicide represented 7.3% of all-cause mortality among NCAA student athletes (22). Additional noteworthy results from the study were that NCAA male athletes have a significantly higher rate of suicide compared with female athletes, and football athletes appear to be the greatest risk (22).

Suicide would be considered the most serious concern for an athlete’s mental health due to the high potential for mortality, but it is not the only behavioral health concern that is seen in student-athletes. Many athletes believe that disclosing a mental health concern could be construed by coaches or teammates as a sign of weakness or failure (9). College athletes, coaches, and staff, out of their own lack of understanding of the seriousness of some behavioral health conditions may tend to ignore or discount symptoms, due to stigma, as it is antithetical to traditional sport culture values of mental toughness and resilience. An additional factor that might influence an athlete’s decision to seek mental health attention is their own lack of education about the continuum of mental health concerns compared with normal mood adjustments as part of customary stress responses. A third factor is the student-athlete’s personal biases and views regarding mental health professionals and ideas about how a mental health professional will view their problem, which includes a lack of understanding of how services will be kept confidential and whether or not coaches or other school officials will be privy to such services (18). Finally, athletes may believe that disclosing a mental health concern could result in loss of playing time, scholarship, changed relationships with teammates, and disapproval from coaches (5).

Athletes present unique risk factors when it comes to early identification of mental health symptoms and their willingness to access resources (15). The NCAA has put forward specific recommendations for best practices providing consistently updated data and education modules (17). One of the NCAA’s key recommendations is ensuring athletes are referred to qualified mental health providers in the case that services are needed. This early identification and assisting with referrals to professionals is a main point of this article.

In order for an athlete to be referred to a mental health counselor, someone needs to notice the athlete is in need, and actually take action to help that athlete. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) most recent standards and policies document specifically charges the strength and conditioning coach with participating on an allied team of professionals to enhance athlete performance (18). That allied team of professionals may, and probably should, include clinical and applied sport psychology consultants. Strength and conditioning coaches are often the athletic department staff members that come into contact with athletes most frequently. Yet, the typical academic training paths of a strength and conditioning coach leaves gaps where psychosocial skills are concerned, highlighting the need for that type of professional development (23). A recent article promotes these psychosocial skills being added into academic training programs for strength and conditioning coach (7). Moreover, the most recent International Sport Coaching Framework parallels the NSCA’s continuing education requirements and highlights the need for all coaches to make lifelong improvement to their craft (14).

There is no possible way to create an exhaustive list of all the things athletes may say or do that warrant a follow-up question or specific action from a strength and conditioning coach. However, similar phrases, both in their actual content and likely responses to them, can be collated and are possible to establish. The phrases included in Table 1 were received from a full-time strength and conditioning coach. In order to improve the applicability of this paper, strength and conditioning coaches at multiple NCAA Division I and II schools, as well as a private high school-aged training facility, provided examples of athletes’ words and behaviors they have personally experienced. The aggregate of those responses populates Table 1.

One way to categorize these phrases was to group them on immediacy of need. The most immediate being “emergent threats.” The two middle categories were “mental health” and “applied performance” concerns with the final category being simple “banter” between athlete and coach or even simply among the athletes in a group. The point to be stressed is clarifying the athlete’s statements, and then assisting with the most appropriate referral based on the severity of threat of the athlete’s statements. Several evidenced-based trainings do exist to develop individuals who work with athletes in this including “Mental Health First Aid” and “Question, Persuade, Refer” (16,21). The physical safety of athletes training with a strength and conditioning coach is always a key consideration (18). That level of safety should extend to the mental health of athletes too.

Table 1. Example Athlete Statements

Mental Health Concerns

“I wish my alarm did not go off.”

“There’s just so much pressure from everyone. I am totally overwhelmed.”

“Is any of this really worth it?”

“I don’t remember last night. I woke up in a strange bed, in a strange room.”


There are 61 Comments

Sanctification

Do you sense there is a significant difference in their understanding and presentation of sanctification between Adams and the CCEF guys? Was the idols of the heart question an example of this?

Idols of the heart

I actually can't remember where I first encountered the "idols of the heart" emphasis so I can't speak to CCEF's connection with it. But either way, I don't think it has all that much to do with folks' official view of sanctification, though it does impact the practice. I do believe there are such things as idols that are not statues ppl bown down to (and NT is sometimes very broad about the "idol" concept. equating in one place with greed, if I remember right).

My only gripe w/the "idols of the the heart" thing is that some want to attribute every single problem to one particular idol or other. and since, as Jay pointed out, there isn't much Scripture to guide that, it breaks down into speculation and very unclear almost mystical language. Wish I had examples handy, but I don't.
I've promised to do an article on sanctification one of these days and dig into it, but not sure when I'll get to it. it just seems that there are a variety of approaches (as opposed to "views") to sanctification these days that make it very difficult for believers to understand what they are supposed to do (some even say there is nothing to "do"). I don't believe the NT is unclear about that at all. and I think sometimes we are taking something easy-to-understand but hard to do and trying to turn it into something hard-to-understand but easier to do (because you can always say "I'm trying" or "I'm making progress" when the goal is extremely vague and mystical).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

A Story

Can I share a neat story? My husband's brother, an MD in a town near where Dr. Adams lived at the time, was thrown a surprise party about a dozen years ago for a "big" birthday. We went early to help, and my husband ended up parking cars for over an hour, hiding them behind a neighbor's house, with a really nice man with a beard. When they returned to the house, I enjoyed a brief conversation with the same very friendly and kindly man. Neither one of us asked his name at the time. It wasn't until about a half hour later that we realized that my husband had parked cars for an hour with Jay Adams. We ended up eating near him and his wife at the party, and they were delightful dinner companions. I had read several of Dr. Adams' books - had used them as college textbooks as well - and it was nice to see that in real life he was the "real thing."

Thanks for sharing

Close encounters of the nouthetic kind.
I'm not surprised. I found that he is quite emphatic about what he believes but always gracious.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

NOUTHETIC COUNSELING IS DANGEROUS IGNORANCE.

Jay E. Adams states the following in the book “The Big Umbrella”:

“In this country, because of a prestigious alliance with the A.M.A., a psychiatrist is required to have an M.D. But you will soon agree that Freud was right if you read the articles written by some psychiatrists complaining about the necessity to take medical training that they never use in their work and soon forget. The point is this: there is nothing a psychiatrist does with his medical training that a physician couldn’t do just as well, or better. And the physician could do it in conjunction with a pastoral counselor. The psychiatrist may write prescriptions for tranquilizers or other pills now and then, but a physician does that all of the time. There is no need for a specialty in order to prescribe pills.”
The Big Umbrella, p.6, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1972.

This statement reveals one of the major problems with the Nouthetic counseling philosophy. Psychiatrist is a medical specialty that involves special and continuous training in those aspects of medicine and research that involve the brain and neurology and the various diseases that affect them. In actual practice they have left Freud far behind. They are specialists who through knowledge and research are able to diagnose a cause and when necessary prescribe proper medication. There are now over 70 anti psychotic drugs available. Only the specialist physician (Psychiatrist) can accurately and safely prescribe them. Most all physicians in general or family practice will not get involved in prescribing anti psychotic drugs or treating mental problems. They may prescribe mood elevation drugs in some cases. If you have a serious medical problem you most likely will be referred to a specialist who understands a specific area of medicine. When it comes to genuine mental illness, the general practice physician or Psychologist will not treat the mentally ill without a psychiatrist being involved. It is a medical problem requiring a medical specialist.

This statement by Jay E. Adams appears to indicate a great deal of prejudice against the psychiatrist and very little knowledge of how they practice. It is a statement of monumental ignorance. This foundation assumption regarding psychiatry continues today in the second generation of Nouthetic counselors. They talk of physician referral but not psychiatric referral. They speak of mental illness but then start talking about depression. Depression alone is not mental illness though it may involve a medical cause.

Those who would be classified as genuinely mentally ill can only be properly cared for with the help of psychiatry. The drug prescription medication is almost always needed. With the mentally ill the proper drug is usually the only answer. The Schizophrenic or Bipolar person will suffer delusions, paranoia, and uncontrolled attitudes and moods without proper medication.

Chemical imbalance is today often diagnosed based on medical testing. Brain scans show the differences in function of a normal brain and a brain with chemical imbalances. This is now well established verifiable medical science.

In the interview, the person with J.E. Adams gives three problems with psychology (psychiatry). They are “agenda, diagnostic, and the chicken and the egg.” His statements are filled with errors and serious ignorance of modern psychiatry.

Most mentally ill people are not in the office of the private psychiatrist or psychologist. They also are not attending church even though they may be a Christian. They are being seen by a psychiatrist at the public health centers and are on SSDI or SSI. They are also on Medicaid. They get about 600 to 800 dollars to live on each month and do not have adequate shelter or care. If they have families that care they may have a place to live. They often do not take their medication and become confused. You see them pushing their shopping carts with their belongings. Those who have help and take their medication can often live fairly normal lives. The difference is the modern medicine available for treatment and getting them to take it regularly.

I would recommend that everyone see the movie “The Soloist.” It is a true story and parts of it are filmed at Christian run shelters in Los Angeles that specialize in sheltering the mentally ill. Those of us who have family members who suffer from mental illness and who are caretakers, understand the reality in this film.

Those of us who are caretakers of mentally ill persons view J.E. Adams as a seriously ignorant and dangerous person and training in Nouthetic counseling as a joke. The whole field of Nouthetic counseling as a false intellectual discipline built on contrived reality and selective biblical truth. A degree, usually a D.Min., in Nouthetic counseling is a degree in a made up field that pretends to have answers by ignoring the real problems.

Nouthetic counseling is as integrationist as other approaches to Psychology and counseling. They will use many of the statistics and findings of studies done in clinical Psychology. It seeks to derive a system of truth for counseling from scripture and the impose this system on scripture.

Biblical counseling recognizes the priority of truth is established by scripture and will endeavor to screen all principles and methods that ar expressly contrary to scripture. However, it will recognize and accept that if something is discovered and known from sources other than scripture and is reasonably verifiable as true. All truth is God's truth. No truth can conflict with the truth of scripture that is clear and properly applied.

One truth that is improperly applied here is the concept of the sufficiency of the scriptures. The scriptures are sufficient for the purposes intended. To use both scripture and other disciplines together in gaining an answer to a specific problem does not diminish the scriptures. The scriptures give answers for the soul. They give no instructions in human anatomy or diseases of the body. Man is a living soul and has a body. His soul works with and through the body. If we have a problem with the brain our soul will be effected in the way we express ourselves and behave. Integration of truth is essential to have a proper understanding and arrive at a proper spiritual interpretation of cause and effect.

Nouthetic counseling is a recently derived and invented system that diminshes real bibilical counseling. It was invented out of thin air. It was not part of historic approaches to sanctification or part of historic Fundamentalism. True Fundamentalism seeks to protect the church from dangerous movements. and trends. Nouthetic counseling should be looked upon as being in the same intellectual catagory as the KJVO movement.. It has an improper view of the the application and intent of scripture and has created a dangerous cultic mindset which has an improper view of the relation of Revelatory truth and non revalatory truth. Six day creationism is a clear on the face scriptural teaching. Nouthetic counseling has no such clear scriptures for its foundation principles. Its name and many of the scriptures used are misapplied from the original intent. It was improper to compare this non acceptance of Nouthetic counseling with acceptance and non acceptance of evolution. However, that statement reveals the cultic false epistemology that this system rests upon.

I do not believe I have ever met Bob T so I have no way of gauging whether or not his comments about Dr. Adams are intended to be tongue in cheek or not. Either way, he has given SI readers a good example of the kind of vitriol Dr. Adams has attracted for over 40 years. For Bob T, a man who I gather from his posting is somehow invested in the mental health industry, Jay Adams is not a fellow believer and follower of Christ whose views are to be debated and evaluated. Instead, he is “dangerous,” “ignorant,” and “cultic.” His views are “a joke,” “invented out of thin air,” “in the same category as the KJV only movement,” “prejudiced,” “misapplications of Scripture,” and (amazingly) “integrationist.” I am not sure how the ad hominim pejoratives contribute to the discussion.

I thought I had heard all the criticisms of Dr. Adams that could be raised but Bob T presents one that is new to me. He is quite correct that today most psychiatrists “have left Freud far behind.” The quote he posts is from a book Dr. Adams wrote in 1972, a time when Freud was still revered in the psychological world. But for Bob T, Dr. Adams is to be faulted for not being prescient enough to know what the secular psychological landscape would look like 37 years later in 2009. Still, the point Adams made in 1972 is even more true today. Most psychiatrists do not do truly medical work. They prescribe drugs philosophically, not medically.

The term “mental illness” is at best, a metaphor. It is not a reality. The mind is not a biological organ and therefore cannot be “ill.” The brain (a biological organ that can be treated medically) is not the same thing as the mind. In the Scriptures, the terms “mind,” “heart,” and “soul” are used interchangeably to describe the inner person where one thinks and lives before God. We will continue to think long after our brain is buried and decayed.

Donn, A quick philosophical

A quick philosophical point you are fallacious in your reasoning about the mind.

Besides the fact that there are Christian non-reductive physicalists (a view I do not support or think well of, but it exists and is cogent), one can be a dualist and still think "mental illness" is a reality. Besides the fact that your point about metaphor is of dubious relevance and meaning (almost everything can be shown to be metaphorical this is major issue in studies of "metaphor" and the "literal" sense), and the fact that your idea of "illness" is rather reductive, one can still argue that the mind is numerically distinct from the brain yet claim, as any responsible dualist that I know of would (e.g. Alvin Plantinga), that the proper functioning of the brain is a necessary condition for the proper functioning of the mind. Thus, brain functioning corrolates, quite obviously (hence the otherwise inexplicable attraction of reductive physicalism/materialism in neuro-science), with mental functioning.

This point alone indicates the fallaciousness of your reasoning, but beyond this point, one can note the fact that one of the dominant strands of dualism, one based on Aristotelian/Thomistic hylomporphism (the body is the matter that is informed by the mind, which is the form), would also support the idea of mental illness, because this tradition, quite influential in Christianity, argues that though mind and matter are distinct, they are inseparable, at least in this life, and therefore they function together.

It's simply basic ignorance of neuro-science to not acknowledge what everyone knows: that brain states corrolate with incredible precision to "mental states," and even if this erroneously leads some to reduce the latter to the former, it should lead no one to deny the corrolation and inseparability of the two.

Donn R Arms wrote: I do not

I do not believe I have ever met Bob T so I have no way of gauging whether or not his comments about Dr. Adams are intended to be tongue in cheek or not. Either way, he has given SI readers a good example of the kind of vitriol Dr. Adams has attracted for over 40 years. For Bob T, a man who I gather from his posting is somehow invested in the mental health industry, Jay Adams is not a fellow believer and follower of Christ whose views are to be debated and evaluated. Instead, he is “dangerous,” “ignorant,” and “cultic.” His views are “a joke,” “invented out of thin air,” “in the same category as the KJV only movement,” “prejudiced,” “misapplications of Scripture,” and (amazingly) “integrationist.” I am not sure how the ad hominem pejoratives contribute to the discussion.

I thought I had heard all the criticisms of Dr. Adams that could be raised but Bob T presents one that is new to me. He is quite correct that today most psychiatrists “have left Freud far behind.” The quote he posts is from a book Dr. Adams wrote in 1972, a time when Freud was still revered in the psychological world. But for Bob T, Dr. Adams is to be faulted for not being prescient enough to know what the secular psychological landscape would look like 37 years later in 2009. Still, the point Adams made in 1972 is even more true today. Most psychiatrists do not do truly medical work. They prescribe drugs philosophically, not medically.

The term “mental illness” is at best, a metaphor. It is not a reality. The mind is not a biological organ and therefore cannot be “ill.” The brain (a biological organ that can be treated medically) is not the same thing as the mind. In the Scriptures, the terms “mind,” “heart,” and “soul” are used interchangeably to describe the inner person where one thinks and lives before God. We will continue to think long after our brain is buried and decayed.

First, please note that there are no ad hominum attacks of Jay E. Adams. The attacks are of his ideas and outlook and that of Nouthetic counseling. However your post does involve an ad hominem attack.

Second, as noted by the remarks, and those of his assistant in the interview, his views regarding psychiatry are essentially the same today. Also, this view can also be seen in some of the recent books by second generation Nouthetic counselors. Edward T. Welch and others will talk of physiological causes but then go no further than depression and the over prescribing of drugs. They will mention Schizophrenia or bipolar but never deal with them or other mental illness. Their acquaintance appears to indicate almost no understanding of psychiatric illness (the latest PC label).

Third, I am familiar with the Biblical terms for the soul and would differ that Soul, mind, and spirit are exact synonyms. Man is a living soul. That immaterial soul has a spirit aspect and a mind aspect. However, the term used is not "mind illness" referring to the immaterial aspect of the soul but "mental illness" which refers to the process and result of thinking. It refers to the mental process which involves the mind and the brain and the result. The mind is not able to function properly through the Brain when the organ of the Brain is not functioning properly. The result is "mental illness". It is "mental" and it is "illness" as there is physiological disease involved. The aversion of Nouthetic counseling to this term is most likely due to their agenda. This agenda involves false concepts of the sufficiency of scripture and of epistemology or how we know truth. All truth is God’s truth. However, non revelatory truth can be wrong and therefore non truth. This does not preclude the reasonable verification and acceptance of non revelatory truth. We do this every day of our lives. We repair our automobiles, repair our electronics, and are healed through medical science. All such truth is God's truth. This does not diminish scripture as th priority truth source to which all truth must be compared and that no truth can contradict.

Fourth, my characterization of Nouthetic counseling may seem overly harsh but expresses the true feelings and opinions of many Christians who are caretakers for the mentally ill. Once one is critically confronted with those mentally ill, the ideas and literature of the Nouthetic counseling movement appear as a cruel joke. There is a Christian care center in Grand Rapids, Michigan that focuses on the mentally handicapped or ill. They do not allow Charismatic or Nouthetic oriented Christians to be involved in their ministry. The charismatics cannot differentiate between physiological illness and Demonization. They also want miracle healing on demand. The Nouthetic Counselors have insufficient appreciation of the psychiatric diagnosis and necessity of prescription drugs. They often diminish the need for drugs and this can be dangerous for the mentally ill who are hard to deal with in this matter. Both are extremely dangerous to the well being of the genuinely mentally ill. The Christian care centers in L.A. County are of the same opinion. I heard a Nouthetic counselor who has a regular Radio progrem speak many time overly harshly of anti psychotic drugs and their use. On one occasion he advised a caller who by admission had been under hospital care several times and who did not like taking hes medication to "stop immediatly because this may be your problem. " He was advised to seek Biblical counseling and to "get off drugs." To the care taker, of this person this was dangerous advice. When off of medicine some mentally illness can become dangerous, especially to those close to them.

Fifth, your accusation that psychiatrists do not do medical work, and prescribe drugs philosophically rather than medically, is not what is occurring today. This is the kind of opinion that makes Nouthetic counseling dangerous. This is why most Nouthetic counselors do not refer to Psychiatrists. Only the psychiatrist can deal with the reality of the medical problem that is mental illness. It is the general practitioner Physician who is likely to prescribe a mood drug without proper medical consideration. The psychiatrist gains vast experience in dealing with the mentally ill. The local psychiatrists in the L.A. county mental health dept. see from 8 to 10 seriously mentally ill a day. They can recognize symptoms with little problem. However, they will also order all necessary and pertinent testing. Everyone they see is on disability due to mental illness. These are not just depression or behavior cases. It is estimated that 1% of the adult population has such serious mental illness. This has nothing to do with the kind of problems the Psychologist or Christian counselor deals with.

Sixth, there are many Fundamentalists who are able to fully honor scripture by rejecting that which is contrary but recognize the blessings of truth gained from different intellectual disciplines. Such disciplines as Psychology have a history of many theories that were, and are, contrary to biblical truth. However, the progress of knowledge has still been blessed by many of the findings in this field. Christian counselors with insufficient theological discernment and Biblical commitment can be a problem. True Biblical based counseling is based upon the foundation of a good theological knowledge, practical experience, a willingness to learn from many sources, and a willingness to recognize limitations. Humility should make us thankful for established truth and increased affectiveness in psychiatric medicine. Nouthetic counseling theory and methodology have presumptions that interfere with true biblical counseling and dealing fairly and affectively with genuine mental illness.

Broad brushes

I do think Jay sometimes paints with an overly broad brush. But, Bob, you're doing the same sort of thing in dismissing nouthetic counseling entirely and in such over heated terms. Let's look for a few things we agree on.
1. People do sin
2. Many of their problems are due to their sin
3. The Bible specializes in dealing with sin
4. Many of the problems in item 2 are seen today as "belonging" to the fields of psychology and psychiatry and their methods rather than the Bible's

So what's going to happen? Sometimes sin problems will end up medicated or "talk therapied" when what they really require are new birth, knowledge, faith and repentance. For sake of argument, let's suppose that sometimes biblical counselors incorrectly identify items as belonging in #2 when they really have subtle "organic" causes (or at least major contributing factors).
Each of these is going to tread on the others' turf sometimes. And opinions will vary widely has to how often each of these scenarios occurs.
But all who believe the Bible should be able to recognize the truth of 1-3, and anyone paying attention should be able to recognize the truth of #4.
So.. maybe these would form a good place to being a conversation rather than a rant?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Very Good post Aaron. To add

Very Good post Aaron. To add to it, there are many within the psychatric community that are unwilling to deal with the short falls. On more than one occassion, I have referred someone who needed to be hospitalized (they were a danger to themselves or someone else or both). It was clear to everyone (police, EMTs, me) that they were going to hurt themselves or others. They were home withing two hours b/c they talked a good game. In my area that happens often, but I still refer.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

NO RANTS JUST FACTS AND REALITY.

My opinions regarding Nouthetic counseling are expressed in terms giving reasons why it is not considered a valid counseling philosophy. I do not believe these would normally be characterized as a rant.

Before Nouthetic counseling was proposed out of thin air, all Biblical counseling recognized your items 1 through 3. Most recognized your item no. 4 in various degrees.

A very serious problem exists within the Nouthetic counseling philosophy. This problem is that all true and genuine mental illness is physiologically based and can only be treated by Psychiatrists. The accepted, and medically effective treatment, is with anti psychotic drugs. Nouthetic counseling simply cannot accept this and in various ways seek to diminish this need of such treatment. In their scenario of the "Chicken and the egg" they even seek to propose that there may be some responsibility upon the mentally ill because they choose their thinking and behavior and this then changes Brain chemistry. This has been the subject of much research and is thoroughly discredited by all legitimately recognized studies. After the fact change does occur in some cases because such conditions as Schizophrenia often continue to deteriorate, especially if medication is not taken regularly. Yet this middle ages philosophy was stated in the interview with you. Nouthetic counseling is based upon defective research, pooled ignorance of those wishing to uphold some sort of Biblical accountability for all behavior, and a paranoid attitude toward culture and society that includes an aversion to science that involves the mind and human behavior. In this respect the anti intellectual tendency toward knowledge by Fundamentalists has produced the embracing of a counseling theory that is dangerous. It is like the mentality of some groups that advocate faith only healing and are against the intervention of medical treatment. In the same way, Nouthetic counseling presents a false anthropological view of man and mental problems. It is defective both philosophically and theologically.

There are two dangers to the historic Fundamentalist ideas. One is the KJVO movement. The other is the Nouthetic counseling movement. Both are built upon pseudo intellectualism and extra biblical dogmatism.

We certainly can agree on items 1 to3 and with some of item 4. However, it is the extra baggage of the Nouthetic counseling movement that is the problem. They have philosophical assumptions that are not only extra biblical, but in the case of their view of th constitution of man, are contrary to scripture. A big step would be their at least being aware of what medical science now knows with regard to the human brain and behavior. It would also be good for them to acknowledge the need to treat mental illness with anti psychotic drugs and being thankful that such drugs are now available. Just 30 years ago the drug treatment picture was severely limited. 50 years ago we had to lock up the mentally ill as the only way of keeping them safe. Nouthetic counselors continually misrepresent the drug prescription treatment picture and the methodology of Psychiatrists. Until they can present knowledgeable and truthful picture of this necessary and effective aspect of medicine they are guilty of negligence based on ignorance and being a stumbling block to the treatment of the mentally ill. We are not talking here about the thousands who receive counseling for various problems. They can be handled by knowledgeable laymen and trained biblical counselors. We are talking about the "mentally ill." Such have physiologically based problems.

I have not painted with broad strokes. I am not giving a rant. I am telling you that thousands of people, many Christians included, deal with mental illness daily. Nouthetic counseling is an enemy to them. Many Christian families with loved ones who are mentally ill look at Nouthetic counseling advocates like those advocating a flat earth. Their Fundamentalist mentality is seen as prjudice based on ignorance.

Nouthetic counseling does not adequately display the love of God and the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been stated to me in various ways by both mentally ill Christians and their care takers. How right they are. This is seen even in your interview with Jay E. Adams. They appear to receive those who criticize as persecutors of their stand for biblical truth. In reality they bring turmoil and misunderstanding based on false biblical views to many who suffer and are in need of a truly biblical and Christ like approach to their problems.

Bob. rewind

Bob,
Let's try again.
Can we agree that.
1. People are sinners
2. A lot of their problems are the result of their sins
3. The Bible specializes in dealing with the sin problem
I'll skip the fourth point for now since it might muck up the possibility of finding some common ground. Finding the common ground is important here because I think we need to be clear about we disagree with and why. and try to get away from vast sweeping generalities (mostly negative).

I'm pretty sure we agree that everything that is a sin problem should be dealt with as a sin problem and the Bible is the best tool for that. wouldn't we?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Nouthetic counseling

Aaron
Your list (1-3) is where it seems the church lost its way at one point, and the "nouthetic" world is seeking to reclaim to the good of the church. I do think many "Bible believing" churches still chalk most aberant and even sinful behaviors to imbalances and emotional sicknesses, that are simply the long term affects of sin.

Bob
Your experiences reflect two things. One is just like the term fundamentalism, those claiming "nouthetic" represent a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices. Sometimes a good idea is practiced imperfectly, thus to some impugning the idea. Your experience is/was real, but my experience with the nouthetic world has been far different, particularly on the compassion side and the medication approach. Most instruction I have been given has emphasized that since we are not doctors, refer any counselee to a doctor and don't attempt to play doctor. Focus on the spiritual issues that are present and leave the physical to those who are trained.

Secondly, the question you have raised seems to deal with severe situations that do bring both medical professionals and the Church to a place of humility and some uncertainty. Obviously, you have experience with a situation that has greatly affected you and those close to you. Even the work of medical professionals in these case does not bring "healing", but may allow someone to exist and live. These drugs may indeed be needed mercies, but to everyone's sorrow they do not result in a return to lasting health.

In my experience, these cases are not the majority of people that are being ministered to in churches. Most who are needing help in the church today do struggle with clear issues of obedience and trust. Some have been under the care of psychiatry and have not received the "therapy" to address the heart struggles that are present. They feel like they have "stabalized" emotionally, but they lack the knowledge and hope to really change their relationships, attitudes, affections, and actions. That is where the nouthetic world is aimed, returning care of the immaterial man to the Church.

Aaron, I do not know what

I do not know what your point is? What I have posted has nothing to do with counseling regarding problems that may involve sin. However, it would appear to me that Nouthetic counseling is wrong in many instances in this sphere of counseling. The well taught biblical pastor may be more effective than the trained Nouthetic counselor in dealing with normal counseling problems. Many so called Nouthetic counselors are merely part of a new pseudo profession that has little legitimacy. It is like Chiropractic or Naturopathy is to medicine. We have people running around with doctor degrees that represent questionable course content and philosophy of healing. In this case the healing of the soul.

Mental illness is not a sin caused problem other than being part of the physical curse of the fall as was my two time bout with Cancer. It is a medical problem with necessary medical treatment.

Of course we agree on items 1 through 3 as do all the Evangelical Psychologists that I know of. The Charismatics would also agree as would Wesleyans and Dispensationalists. However, these groups all have a differing view of the sanctification process. Nouthetic counseling is built upon the theology of the Reformed view of sanctification plus other additional concepts.

Getting to the essence

Well, now we're getting somewhere because now I know what you accept and what you don't. and thus where the beef mostly is: the "Reformed view of sanctification."

The spirit of nouthetic, though, doesn't depend on these things. The spirit of it is "Let's not leave to social scientists and medical doctors what belongs to the Spirit and the Word" coupled with a pretty expansive view of what that includes.
We all have different opinions about where the lines should be drawn in that area, but the using the Bible for all it's worth was the driving force behind the movement. Of course, along that scale of "just how much is the Bible worth in dealing with these things," there are extremes and the differences become major. But anyone passionate about not short-changing the Bible is closer to nouthetic than to most of the alternatives.
But I don't know anybody (besides Jay himself and probably Donn) who agrees with all the details of "nouthetic." Certainly Welch doesn't (I don't think he claims to be "nouthetic" at all, though I could be wrong).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Quote: Mental illness is not

Your view is dangerous in that it ignores the relationship between material and immaterial. There are physical illnesses that are sin-caused and physical illnesses that are not. And sometimes, it isn't even a true physical illness. Sometimes physical symptoms are the result of sinful thought patterns as well as thought patterns that turn into actions.

Your view that mental illness is not sin caused does a great disservice to those who desperately need to be confronted about their sin but instead are given a free pass because it is "mental illness." This type of oversimplification is as dangerous as the kind of oversimplification on the other side.

Aaron Blumer wrote: Well, now

Well, now we're getting somewhere because now I know what you accept and what you don't. and thus where the beef mostly is: the "Reformed view of sanctification."

Larry, your post does not

Larry, your post does not deserve a long answer. You need to get beyond your Fundamentalist Bible College education before you accuse someone who is a care taker for a mentally ill person and involved with research on the subject for over 10 years as being naive. I have been involved with this subject in teaching law and in court. Your arrogance is only exceeded by your appearant ignorance. Opinions like yours are exactly why Fundamentalism looks so bad to educated Christians. Why has Fundamentalism lost the younger generation? Look in the mirror.

If you properly define what and who is genuinly mentally ill, then you have a medically based cause. All Schizophrenia and Bipolar and adult autism has been so classified based in many studies. So have other catagories. You can probably still get the Canadian dept. of health study on Schizophrenia online. I do not have the time to find the address for you. Read and learn before you offer opinions!!

Bob, My post deserves more

My post deserves more interaction than you are willing to give it. But I understand it is easier just to accuse me of ignorance. First, I don't even have "fundamentalist Bible college education." Second, knowing some things about the issues is enough to offer a contribution. Third, I have dealt with these issues in ministry for a number of years. So I am not sure why you are calling me arrogant.

If you truly are a care taker for a mentally ill person, and if you have truly been involved with research for ten years, then your comments are even more inexcusable. How does someone with that kind of background possibly make the charges you have made? It is inconceivable to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of both mental illness and the Bible. I am not familiar with your caretaking responsibilities, so I won't pretend to pass judgment on that. You, in return, not being familiar with my experience should not pretend to pass judgment on it either. If you want to quit making personal attacks and read what I actually said, then you can offer a congent and coherent response.

I will sum it up for you again.

1. Some mental illness is physiological. No one should dispute that.

2. Not all mental illness has been shown to be physiological or caused by physiology. No one should dispute that.

3. Physiological mental illness has not been shown to be completely disconnected from sin. We know for a fact that much of what is diagnosed as mental illness can be traced to sin based on the diagnostic standards used by psychiatrists. No one should dispute that. Sometimes, sinful habits can bring on physiological changes.

4. It is naive and simplistic to say that all mental illness is physiological. We simply do not know that. Even a cursory reading of the relevant material will bear out the fact that we simply do not always know what causes things like clinical depression. If you read the DSM and compare it to Scripture, you will see very quickly that many of the things they consider as mental illness can in fact be traced directly to spiritual issues. That doesn't mean they all are. But it means that a psychiatrist who does not explore that realm is not dealing with the whole realm of possible contributing factors. He is doing a disservice to his patient not to consider what else might be contributing to the problem.

You don't seem to admit any other possibilities, even though the Bible and human experience gives us plenty of reason to I think your biggest problem revealed here is that you do not show any interaction at all with the interaction of the body and the spirit. The fact is that the human is complex. Spiritual matters, such as sin, do affect the body, and our response to the world around us. You are ignoring that fact.

Take, for instance, clinical depression. Let's assume there are physiological indicators (which, as you know, generally are not tested for). Are those physiological indicators the cause of depression? Or are they the result of depression? You see, that is what psychiatry does not fully interact with. If a person is involved in habitual sin, and they exhibit "clinical depression," we should immediately suspect that the sin habits may be the cause of the clinical depression. Surely even you admit that, don't you?

So, Bob, you may know more than you are saying here, but based on what you have said here (and said previously) you do not demonstrate a good handle on the complexity of these issues.

You have some valid concerns with the nouthetic counseling movement. But you also have some severe problems with your position, at least as you have laid it out here.

Aaron, my problem is not

my problem is not with Reformed sanctification here. This is with Nouthetic counseling and is not my problem alone. As J. Adams admits, he has received harsh criticism from many. Much of it has been very specific and has handled the issues better than I have here. It must be understood that most Evangelicals reject Nouthetic counseling. I know several who are very conservative and reject many of the concepts from secular Psychology but also reject Nouthetic counseling. It is a shame that many in Fundamentalism have accepted it. When at a Fundamentalist seminary in the early 1970s we had a class on counseling. However, it was not oriented toward Nouthetic counseling as that was not yet popular. As a "True Grace Dispensationalist" I would not agree completely with the Reformed view of sanctification. However, that is not the focus here at all.

I know you are seeking a common ground on the issues. I appreciate that.

WAS IT SIN OR THE DEVIL THAT MADE YOU DO IT?

Larry,
your reference to the DSM indicates where you stand on these issues. The DSM is used for billing purposes for insurance and government. It provides broad category information and description. It is not a primary or secondary source for information and knowledge as to the state of Psychiatric medicine.

Today we actually have mental illness studies indicating that it is physiologically based. Clinical depression is not part of that classification. It seems like every time Nouthetic counselors talk about mental illness they digress to using depression or clinical depression as some sort of example or excuse. You say that "we simply do not know that all mental illness is physiological." Who is we? Only physiological or medically based mental illness is so classified. You are possibly confusing the fact that Psychologists do not consider all psychological problems, including depression (which some loosely call clinical depression) as physiological. They will endeavor to use "therapy." Some will refer to a Psychiatrist for a prescription. These are usually not classified as "mental illness." The use of Brain scans is now wide spread. Physiological problems are the essence of mental illness within the mental health system.

Your claim for ministry acquaintance with the issues is very interesting to me. Pastors and church staff usually have almost no interaction with real mental illness. All I can say to you is to get the DVD for the movie "The Soloist." You will quickly understand what I am talking about. The subject in this film is typical of mental illness problems. It is a true story. Many caretakers have been through what the reporter in the movie goes through. You do not spend time trying to figure out what sins you can find. You try to keep them on medication and just care and help them move forward and alleviate symptoms. Some will improve if kept on the proper path of medication and later improve their executive functions and possibly work. Some will have symptoms subside in their forties. A Psychiatric nurse at a local hospital was in the mental health system from age 21. She went back to school in her forties and finally obtained her Phd. at age 70. She is still working in the behavioral medicine unit. Schizophrenia shows itself in males in the late teens and early twenties. In females it shows up in the twenties and even starts in the thirties in some. This is when the last 5% of the frontal lobe develops. If a person had the knowledge and experience to diagnose they could often see some odd symptoms in childhood years even though the child functioned mostly normal. When the onset does occur the first symptoms are usually word salad (mixing word order in sentences) and obsession with journaling which may be done with very small writing. The journaling will become increasingly nonsensense sentences. Eventually they may start hearing voices and may reply when alone. These and other onset symptoms are common in all schizophrenia onset. If diagnosed early, progression to more serious problems may be alleviated. However, because of parental and public ignorance most early symptoms are not understood and are over looked. Bipolar has its own set of onset symptoms. Some overlap with Schizophrenia. Studies indicate the causes to be genetic or birth or pregnancy trauma, such as an automobile accident. Studies indicate that twins separated at birth and brought up separately but one becomes Schizophrenic, the other has a 50% chance of also becoming Schizophrenic. These studies, and countless other studies, have given us a vast new resource of understanding regarding the different classifications of mental illness. The Brain is a mystery but we have made progress in understanding and treatment of mental illness. This includes the fact that all that is classified as mental illness has a medical etiology.

I took the time to give the above information so you will understand that much is known about mental illness causes and etiology. If someone wishes to allege that sin may be the cause of the presence of such illness then please show the study information. As you should realize no such studies can really be done. It is after the fact speculation. Also, in light of studies indicating a physical onset such speculation is simply avoiding what we do know.

The genuinely mentally ill deserve our love and care. It is sin to seek to make them accountable based on theories. Some medical experts have indicated that man's attitude and behavior may effect their physiology. However, none indicates that such could have such a severe effect as to initiate, contribute to, or cause actual mental illness. Nouthetic counselors like to use any such statements beyond their context and intent to construct a theory of sin causation. This is soundly rebuked by both secular and Christian behavioral science.

Your statements about mental illness are not accurate, old information of the 1950s to 1970s theories, and not in accordance with sound medical science of today. It is information found in books advocating Nouthetic counseling. Such books are not written by qualified medical science researchers and practitioners.

I have now interacted with you more than I should have . Larry, you need not do the somewhat extensive research I have done in this area as you do not have the motivation I have. Most Pastors do not have the time or necessity to do so. However, you should refrain from giving your opinions which are not based on accurate information and valid sources. I am going to give another post tomorrow in which i will give the ten best and latest books that can be a real help in understanding this subject today.

Thanks Bob. That’s a

First, your title to your post is part of the problem and it indicates that you are not interacting with what I have actually said. I never said anything that could remotely be implied as saying that it was sin or the devil that makes people do things. You need to get past what you think other people are saying and deal with what I am saying. I have intentionally not been dogmatic because I don't know. But you don't either.

With respect to DSM, it is not used only for billing purposes for insurance and government. The APA disagrees with you, according to their website. The DSM is routinely used in legal cases to assert mental illness. It is also used as a diagnostic tool to increase the likelihood that two psychiatrists will diagnose the same person in the same way. So your explanation was simplistic and inaccurate.

With respect to depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a recognized mental illness, and is frequently attributed to physiology. I am sure you know that. But I am sure you know a lot of this and it makes your statements very confusing.

With respect to physiology, as I have said several times, there is no doubt that at least some mental illness is physiological. However, you are failing to interact with the cause/effect relationship. Does the mental illness cause the physiological symptoms or the other way around?

With respect to dealing with mental illness, I can’t speak for other pastors. And I certainly don’t need a movie about it. I have, for the better part of seven years, dealt with it. I have been through the episodes. The whole hearing voices thing, going through strange behavior, major mood swings, etc is all familiar. I could tell some incredible stories. And yes, bipolar people still sin and you have to try to find the sin issues and deal with them. They do need to stay on their meds. But they still have a heart and will still stand before God and give account, and we will stand before God for how we discipled them. The one thing I have been very careful to do is stay out of the medical end of it. I tell him to stay on his meds. He has no choice about that.

With respect to love and care, you cannot biblically love and care for someone without ministering to them in their sin. Ignoring their sin is not “love and care.” It is helping them along the road to damnation. Even mentally ill people still make choices.

Finally, I don’t advocate nouthetic counseling as you speak of it here. Furthermore, you haven’t actually shown anyplace that I have been wrong. You disagree with me, which is fine, but that doesn’t establish who is right and who is wrong.

So Bob, I appreciate the attempt you made here. I find it inadequate to support the charges you have made. I will look forward to seeing further interaction of substance that will help to clarify the issues.

Bob, I understand this is

Bob, I understand this is subject that is close to your heart. I agree that sometimes the nouthetic viewpoint goes too far, and that mental illness is a very complicated subject.

But let me make sure I understand you. after decades and decades of theories first being championed and rejected in the areas of psychiatry and psychology, you are 100% sure that NOW they have it right?

I'm looking forward to your reading list. Let me suggest a book for you to read: American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States by Jonathan Engel. It is not written by a nouthetic counselor but from a completely secular perspective. He shows the complete failure of psychotherapy. He does advocate the use of drugs to a greater or lesser degree in current therapy of mental illness, but his history should be a warning to be so dogmatic about the causes of or solutions to mental illness.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bob, You are right that real

You are right that real mental illness can only be taken care of by psychatrists. But, by your own admission that is less than 5% of the population. For the other 95% there are Biblical alternatives (I have had alot of NANC training, but I don't follow the whole model either).

You also said that in some cases they prescribe drugs for depression. I don't know what it is like in Southern California, but here in rural illinois, it is the other way around. In my small church of 40, i have had as many as 10 on a script for depression at a given time. Like I said earlier, that is the common thing to do here.

I refer and I never tell someone to stop taking their meds. I think those who tell people to stop taking there meds are nuts and I would venture that that is a very small minority who would do that. I have dealt with real mental illness before. But not with a family member as you have (I greatly sympathize and have prayed for your family often). I do have a son with regressive autism, but he is getting better. We have been fortunate that he has not had to be on meds, but if it were needed he would have been on medication.

Let me give you a real life story of my other son. When he was in first grade, he started twitching. His teacher noticed it and so did we. It got worse and we took him to the pediatrition. His Dr.'s response was to automatically refer him to a psychiatrist for medication for terets (medication that at the time was not FDA approved for kids, BTW). Before we did that, I took him to a Biblical Counseling Center. Before we went, I had talked to him and knowing him well, I knew he had some mild fear issues. The counselor at the center asked if he had scene a neurologist.

We made an appt with a pediatric neurologist in Chicago. After he examined him, he asked if he had problems with sore throats. We told him that he had strep twice that year. He told us that he needed his tonsils out. There was cutting edge research that showed there was a connection between the chemicals in infected tonsils and mimicking teret like symptoms.

We made an appt with a local ENT DR. We told him what the neurologist said and he agreed and also told us that children who need their tonsils out will often twitch because they are not sleeping well even when they appear healthy.

Within weeks of having his tonsils out, the "tick" disappeared. We were willing to put our son on teret medication if it were necessary. But how many children out there are on psychotropic drugs that are not even approved for minors because they have "terets" when all they need is there tonsils out? I am not saying there are people who have don' terets. What I am saying and what you would agree with is that whenever a recommendation for medication is necessary is that investigation needs to be done.

If I had your opinion of assumming medication was always the answer my son would be on medication for 4 years now and still would have the underlying problem. You accuse Larry of being simplistic and misguided. Bob you seem to be as well. There are MANY who need to be on medication. But there are MANY who do not. People need to investigate before they are put on meds. People need advocates that are seeking the best thing to be done for someone who cannot do it for themselves. Sometimes are needed, sometimes they are not necessary, and other times (like in the case of my son) meds will make the situation worse.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Defining terms

There are two major difficulties to discussing these subjects.
1. Personal investment in one view or another
2. Use of terms

As for the first, when someone we are close has had needs that have required us to arrive at some answers and act on them, it's very uncomfortable to consider the possibility that we might not be handling things in the best possible way. This is true regardless if which side of a question you're on. Having had to make some tough choices in that area myself to a degree, I can sympathize. But the more we have personally invested in an idea the less objective we can be about its weaknesses.

As for the second, for many "mental illness" means illness based on brain chemicals. So sometimes the sides of the issue talk past each other because of the lack of shared terminology. So one says "mental illness can be caused by sin" and another says "no way" while simultaneously granting that "many of the problems people have in life are due to sin."
So most of the conflict is--in a way--over what "mental illness" is. And that's very hard to boil down to an essence folks will agree on even in the secular arena. But those who define "mental illness" very broadly in terms of thought and behavior and also define it narrowly in the area of cause (always chemical), are furthest removed from the "nouthetic" approach and--I believe--short changing Scripture (and not helping people as well they might otherwise).
And when "illness" is defined broadly in ref. to behavior, it invariably includes alot of stuff that has not been proven to have chemical causes (though there is much more evidence of chemical correlations) or even really be an "illness" at all.
So it really is necessary to be as precise as possible in defining terms. But not easy.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Quote: So one says "mental

So we need to be more cautious about the topic. The dogmatic statements from either side are not helpful, and I think that is what is most frustrating to many. Bob T makes some good points, but in doing so he ignores some other issues, and he makes those points with dogmatism that is not warranted. That is why I say that is simplistic, naive, and dangerous.

Any dealing with the issues of life must include a rigorous spiritual and biblical evaluation. We may find that there are no spiritual issues that we can determmine and thus proceed onto other ways of dealing with things. We may find that there are spiritual issues which must be addressed in conjunction with physical matters. And we may find that addressing spiritual matters is all that is necessary. But we must not rule out an option.

It reminds me of the congressional debate about social security. I remember one democrat saying, "All options are on the table, but we will not allow privatization." Well, that particular Senator is not the brightest bulb because if you take one option off the table (privatization), then all the options are not the table.

In this case, once you deny the possibility of anything spiritual, then you have illegitimate taken one possible explanation off the table. If the situation is truly connected to the spiritual, you have done the patient a gross disservice, and one that has eternal consequences. So let's take this matter more seriously.

Brain Disease

I practiced psychiatry until my son was diagnosed with autism 18 years ago. I left my practice to direct his treatment program and never returned, because in the interim I discovered biblical counseling. My current ministry includes psychiatrically informed biblical counseling. I've kept up with the psychiatric field and still subscribe to the journals. I like the term "brain disease" better than "mental illness" because today's psychology/psychiatry has muddied the distinction between painful emotional states and real physical illness of the brain. I counsel people with severe brain diseases like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, psychotic bipolar, and traumatic brain injury, I'm supportive of the use of meds in a variety of circumstances, and I consult with pastors and biblical counselors on their difficult cases. I'm not able to engage in a dialog, and I'm not willing to address every issue that's been brought up in this forum, for reasons of time, but I would like to respond to a few of the assertions that have been made here.

Jay Adams is a brilliant man whose books have done much good, but he is, like all of us, a product of his times. When he first began writing in the late 1960s, psychiatrists were exclusively psychoanalytic. They held to an unbiblical model of personality development, and believed that they could cure everything, including schizophrenia, through talking. His books were directed at this worldview, and he initially spoke more approvingly of psychologists because he received some training in psychology by a university research psychologist (O. Hobart Mowrer). But this was before psychologists in large numbers abandoned university research for clinical practice and took over the same psychotherapeutic ground that psychiatrists later abandoned for the current biomedical model. When he taught biblical counselors to send their counselees to their family doctors instead of psychiatrists for medical screening he was attempting to keep Christians away from psychotherapists espousing unbiblical views, not demonizing psychiatrists. He later had the same problem with psychologists. It was primarily an issue of worldview, not medication use.

Adams left open the possibility that proof of organic causation for some problems could be discovered in the future, and spoke about how we would understand such a development biblically if it should happen--which, of course, it has for brain diseases like schizophrenia. On this subject, I think that he was amazingly prescient, and it's to his credit that his biblical theology was inclusive enough to leave room for this possibility. Overzealous followers asserted that he taught that there was no such thing as schizophrenia and therefore serious brain disease did not really exist, but he never actually said that. His argument was with the label "schizophrenia," not with the potential for existence of conditions that could impair the ability to accurately perceive reality, but many biblical counselors have in the past believed that to be biblical they have to take a "no such thing as schizophrenia and no meds ever" approach.

The biblical counseling movement has been swinging away from this view in recent years. I've had a public ministry for some years now on this subject, and have found unfailingly that biblical counselors are quick to correct their misperceptions about brain diseases when they understand the issues involved more clearly. I encourage biblical counselors to refer those with brain diseases to psychiatrists for medicine, and agree that they are the most competent physicians to prescribe these potentially dangerous medicines. But I also encourage biblical counselors that they can counsel even those who have serious impairments with reality, because even those who are seriously ill also have a sin problem. We can't escape this, since every human being ever born except our Savior is a sinner, and all sinners sin (Romans 3:23). I've found that even very seriously impaired people's function improves when they are in an environment where they are encouraged to take their meds, surrounded by a church community that loves them and holds them accountable, and helped to structure their lives to minimize the kinds of things that work against stability (substance abuse, chaotic living situations, wrong friends, not keeping regular hours, etc). In fact, I'd love to see the church take seriously the deep needs of people who are currently in the community mental health system--not to get them out of it, for many need the free care and practical support it provides, but to supplement it with a much-needed biblical worldview, personal, loving Christian charity and real relationship.

But it's essential to see clearly the distinction between real brain disease and what is referred to as "chemical imbalance." There is much functional brain scanning research linking the brain's chemical status to the thoughts and feelings of experimental subjects. Nobody is arguing with the fact that functional scanning demonstrates the brain's activity when a subject is having thoughts and feelings. But there is not, and cannot be, any research proving that the brain's chemical status arises de novo and produces thoughts and feelings on its own. The belief that it does has to be considered to be religious/philosophical in nature, because it's not possible to determine causation where the immaterial mind is involved. It is possible to experiment on the brain, but it's not possible to delineate via experiments the precise relationship between activity in the immaterial mind and corresponding brain activity. This is not a problem for the many secular psychiatrists who are also materialists, denying the existence of an immaterial mind. But for those of us who want to be biblical, we have to go beyond what the brain is doing to seek to understand how the mind (whose existence the Bible clearly teaches) is involved in cases where physical brain disease is not the primary issue. We also have to insist that even those whose relationship with reality is seriously disordered have thoughts and emotions that are tainted by their sinful nature, and can learn to respond biblically to areas of sin in their lives (as well as learn not to listen to their voices!). But as we do this we need to step very tentatively, understanding that there is much we don't know about the relationship between the physical brain and the nonphysical mind.

Biblical counselors look to biblical anthropology and insist that the mind (soul, spirit, heart) is the source of our thoughts, feelings, and choices. This means that bad feelings, by themselves, do not constitute brain diseases, even though the brain's chemical balance is involved in the expression of those feelings. I don't believe that this means that it's wrong to take medicines for overwhelming feelings. But when people do, they should be aware that what they are doing is suppressing those feelings, not curing them. This is somewhat analogous to what morphine does for the pain of appendicitis--it decreases the pain but does not solve the underlying problem. I've been practicing psychiatry or biblical counseling for about 25 years now, and have not found medicines to be curative in any case by themselves, although they can be a useful adjunct for those who are struggling with very overwhelming emotions, and are essential for those who have true brain diseases, since all we can do for manifestations like voices is to suppress them using medicines.

Biblical counseling is a biblically consistent intervention that gets to the heart of the painful emotions. When I counsel those with brain diseases, I work to get them to understand that they will need to continue to take their medicines to remain stable, as well as teach them how to deal with temptations and struggles in their lives that rise from their sin nature. As they walk in increasing stability, they also begin to understand themselves and their problems better and are able to lead a more normal life. As for those who are not suffering from these devastating diseases, but are struggling with painful emotions, many who begin seeing me while already on medicines over time find them to be no longer necessary because they get to the heart of their struggles. I've also had counselees who don't respond to counseling alone, because they're already in a deep emotional hole by the time they come for counseling. I refer such counselees to a psychiatrist for medicine, and usually find that they do well in counseling with this additional physical support, and later are able to stop the medicines. It should go without saying that when a counselee is considering harm to self or others, I always recommend a trip to the emergency room and hospitalization with medicines, to protect a sufferer when he is too vulnerable to do so for himself.

This is not the only way to slice this pie, and I don't think that you have to see it the way I do to be biblical. This is just the way that I do it. I respect very much the passion that Bob T. brings to this discussion. I am passionate about this topic too, as I have a close relationship with a dear one who has had a very severe case of schizophrenia for almost 20 years, as well as a son who was born with severe autism. But I believe that it's possible to be biomedically informed and biblically consistent at the same time.


95 Mental Health Quotes for Happiness and Success

These mental health quotes will remind you of just how precious it is.

Mental health refers to the state of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

It impacts the way we feel, think and act, making it important in all areas of our lives.

Mental health plays an important role in the way we deal with stress, how we relate to others, and the decisions we make in our daily lives.

Without positive mental health, it will be almost impossible to realize your full potential, work productively, make a meaningful contribution to your community, or handle the stress that comes with life.

So what can you do to ensure you have a healthy mental state?

Well, there are various ways to maintain positive mental health and live a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.

Besides seeking professional help if you need it, you should make time to connect with others, think positively about yourself and get physically active.

Also, make sure you get enough rest, you’re mindful of your present moment, and be helpful to others.

A healthy mental state will help you leverage your Everyday Power to achieve the success you seek and live a purposeful life.

Here are some inspirational mental health quotes to remind you of that.

Don’t forget to also read our collection of helpful depression quotes, these anxiety quotes as well as these insightful 13 Reasons Why quotes for a new perspective on mental health.


I am sure we can all relate to this. Whether it’s insecurities which have built up as a direct consequence of our scrambled society, or perhaps due to previous exposer to a singular toxic perpetrator self-criticism can cause undeniable havoc and internal conflict. The constant flux within our culture, alongside a concurrent addiction to unrealistic expectations has led to the manifestation of many young individuals feeling like they will neverbe good enough. Continue reading “The disaster of getting inside your own head.” &rarr


How should we talk about mental health?

Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly.

Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive public dialogue about mental health indeed, the problem seems to be largely one of communication. So we asked seven mental health experts: How should we talk about mental health? How can informed and sensitive people do it right – and how can the media do it responsibly?

Easier said than done, of course. Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems. According to neuroscientist Sarah Caddick, this is because when someone points to his wrist to tell you it’s broken, you can easily understand the problem, but that’s not the case when the issue is with the three-pound mass hidden inside someone’s skull. “The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with ‘us’ — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.” Says mental health care advocate Vikram Patel, “Feeling miserable could in fact be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world, and applying a biomedical label is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.” Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way to facilitating genuinely useful conversations.

Avoid correlations between criminality and mental illness

People are too quick to dole out judgments on people who experience mental health problems, grouping them together when isolated incidents of violence or crime occur. Says Caddick, “You get a major incident like Columbine or Virginia Tech and then the media asks, ‘Why didn’t people know that he was bipolar?’ ‘Was he schizophrenic?’ From there, some people think, ‘Well, everybody with bipolar disease is likely to go out and shoot down a whole bunch of people in a school,’ or, ‘People who are schizophrenics shouldn’t be out on the street.’” Solomon agrees that this correlation works against a productive conversation about mental health: “The tendency to connect people’s crimes to mental illness diagnoses that are not in fact associated with criminality needs to go away. ‘This person murdered everyone because he was depressed.’ You think, yes, you could sort of indicate here this person was depressed and he murdered everyone, but most people who are depressed do not murder everyone.”

But do correlate more between mental illness and suicide

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or other mental disorders, or substance-abuse disorders in conjunction with other mental disorders. Yet we don’t give this link its due. Says Solomon, “Just as the association between mental illness and crime is too strong, the connection between mental illness and suicide is too weak. So I feel like what I constantly read in the articles is that ‘so-and-so killed himself because his business had gone bankrupt and his wife had left him.’ And I think, okay, those were the triggering circumstances, but he killed himself because he suffered from a mental illness that drove him to kill himself. He was terribly depressed.”

Avoid words like “crazy” or “psycho”

Not surprisingly, nearly all the mental health experts we consulted were quick to decry playground slang like “mental,” “schizo,” “crazy,” “loonie,” or “nutter,” stigmatizing words that become embedded in people’s minds from a young age. NIMH Director Thomas Insel takes that one step further — he doesn’t like the category of “mental health problems” in general. He says, “Should we call cancer a ‘cell cycle problem’? Calling serious mental illness a ‘behavioral health problem’ is like calling cancer a ‘pain problem.’” Comedian Ruby Wax, however, has a different point of view: “I call people that are mentally disturbed, you know, I say they’re crazy. I think in the right tone, that’s not the problem. Let’s not get caught in the minutiae of it.”

If you feel comfortable talking about your own experience with mental health, by all means, do so

Self-advocacy can be very powerful. It reaches people who are going through similar experiences as well as the general public. Solomon believes that people equipped to share their experiences should do so: “The most moving letter I ever received in a way was one that was only a sentence long, and it came from someone who didn’t sign his name. He just wrote me a postcard and said, ‘I was going to kill myself, but I read your book and changed my mind.’ And really, I thought, okay, if nobody else ever reads anything I’ve written, I’ve done some good in the world. It’s very important just to keep writing about these things, because I think there’s a trickle-down effect, and that the vocabulary that goes into serious books actually makes its way into the common experience — at least a little bit of it does — and makes it easier to talk about all of these things.” Solomon, Wax, as well as Temple Grandin, below, have all become public figures for mental health advocacy through sharing their own experiences.

Don’t define a person by his/her mental illnesses

Just as a tumor need not define a person, the same goes for mental illness. Although the line between mental health and the “rest” of a person is somewhat blurry, experts say the distinction is necessary. Says Insel: “We need to talk about mental disorders the way we talk about other medical disorders. We generally don’t let having a medical illness define a person’s identity, yet we are very cautious about revealing mental illness because it will somehow define a person’s competence or even suggest dangerousness.” Caddick agrees: “There’s a lot of things that go on in the brain, and just because one thing goes wrong doesn’t mean that everything’s going wrong.”

Separate the person from the problem

Continuing from the last, Insel and Patel both recommend avoiding language that identifies people only by their mental health problems. Says Insel, speak of “someone with schizophrenia,” not “the schizophrenic.” (Although, he points out, people with autism do often ask to be referred to as “autistic.”) Making this distinction clear, says Patel, honors and respects the individual. “What you’re really saying is, this is something that’s not part of a person it’s something the person is suffering from or is living with, and it’s a different thing from the person.”

Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all

Sometimes it just starts with speaking up. In Solomon’s words: “Wittgenstein said, ‘All I know is what I have words for.’ And I think that if you don’t have the words for it, you can’t explain to somebody else what your need is. To some degree, you can’t even explain to yourself what your need is. And so you can’t get better.” But, as suicide prevention advocate Chris Le knows well, there are challenges to talking about suicide and depression. Organizations aiming to raise awareness about depression and suicide have to wrangle with suicide contagion, or copycat suicides that can be sparked by media attention, especially in young people. Le, though, feels strongly that promoting dialogue ultimately helps. One simple solution, he says, is to keep it personal: “Reach out to your friends. If you’re down, talk to somebody, because remember that one time that your friend was down, and you talked to them, and they felt a little better? So reach out, support people, talk about your emotions and get comfortable with them.”

Recognize the amazing contributions of people with mental health differences

Says autism activist Temple Grandin: “If it weren’t for a little bit of autism, we wouldn’t have any phones to talk on.” She describes the tech community as filled with autistic pioneers. “Einstein definitely was he had no language until age three. How about Steve Jobs? I’ll only mention the dead ones by name. The live ones, you’ll have to look them up on the Internet.” Of depression, Grandin says: “The organizations involved with depression need to be emphasizing how many really creative people, people whose books we love, whose movies we love, their arts, have had a lot of problems with depression. See, a little bit of those genetics makes you sensitive, makes you emotional, makes you sensitive — and that makes you creative in a certain way.”

Humor, some say, is the best medicine for your brain. Says comedian Wax: “If you surround [your message] with comedy, you have an entrée into their psyche. People love novelty, so for me it’s sort of foreplay: I’m softening them up, and then you can deliver as dark as you want. But if you whine, if you whine about being a woman or being black, good luck. Everybody smells it. But it’s true. People are liberated by laughing at themselves.”


Modern Day Mental Illness

In the modern day, many new psychiatric medications have been introduced and successfully treat most people with mental illness. Very few people are placed in mental hospitals for long periods of time due to lack of funding (primarily from private insurance) and because most people can be successfully treated in the community.

Homelessness and incarceration of the mentally ill continue to be major problems as does the lack of beds and resources to treat people with severe mental illness.


What does the Bible say about dealing with mental illness?

In general, mental illness is considered to be a disorder affecting one’s mood, thinking, and behavior. The term mental illness covers a broad range of disorders from mild depression to schizophrenia, but for the purposes of this article, we will define mental illness as a condition that impairs a person’s ability to think, feel, process, and respond to life situations in appropriate ways. Our brains are physical organs like lungs and kidneys and are subject to illness and damage just as other organs are. However, because our brains control everything we do, their malfunction can distort our perceptions, leading to hurtful or harmful thoughts and actions. Mental illnesses can distort our view of God and others. Sometimes mental illnesses contribute to our sinful behavior. God has compassion for our struggles. He can help us learn to manage mental illness and even bring healing.

Mental illness is still not fully understood by medical professionals and may have a variety of contributing factors. Some factors are physical, such as brain abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, and neurotransmitter impairments. Even things like nutrition, exercise, and sleep affect mental health. Proper medication and competent therapy can help alleviate those symptoms. Other mental illnesses are brought on by traumatic events or abuse in childhood. Sometimes a “coping mechanism” that was helpful in one situation gets carried into later life where it is no longer useful or adaptive. Also consider the way our behavior feeds into our physical health and our physical health feeds back into our behavior. Sometimes unhealthy behavior causes our bodies to be unhealthy, which in turn leads to more unhealthy behavior the cycle is difficult to break. Sometimes our own sin contributes to mental illness. When we obey Scripture’s commands, we can bypass some aspects of mental illnesses and know better how to respond when we do encounter mental illness in ourselves or in someone else (Romans 12:2). Often, multi-layered treatment is best because multiple factors are contributing to a mental illness.

Mental illness has another factor that is not often considered in designing treatment programs. Much of what we call mental illness has a spiritual component that, if left unaddressed, keeps a person in bondage. Human beings have a spirit. To be created in God’s image means we have life that is unlike the life of animals or plants. Our lives are directly connected to God’s life. Acts 17:28 says, “In him we live and move and have our being.” When we are disconnected from God, we cannot live as whole beings. We sense the void and try to fill it with other things. But those things ultimately fail us, and that can contribute to mental illness. Of course, the first step in becoming spiritually whole is to receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. But even for those people who have a relationship with God through Jesus, we still sometimes have misperceptions about who God really is that can negatively affect our view of ourselves, others, and the world and contribute to mental illness. Sin can also get in the way of our fellowship with God and negatively affect our mental health. We are better equipped to handle mental illness when we are steeped in God’s truth and in active relationship with Him.

Spiritual sickness is often a big part of mental illness. When our spirits are healed and whole, our minds can think clearly. Psalm 23:3 says that our Good Shepherd “restores my soul.” While many mental illnesses are directly caused by brain abnormalities, many others are due to souls that need restoration. Unforgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:10&ndash11), bitterness (Hebrews 12:15), fear and anxiety (Philippians 4:6&ndash7), and low self-worth can all cripple our souls. When our souls are wounded, we cannot think clearly. We see every life event through a distorted filter. A sunny day only reminds us of the day we were hurt. The sight of a happy couple walking down the street brings a surge of fury due to an unhealed wound. Casual remarks, normal life stresses, and inconsiderate treatment can all cause a person with an unhealed soul to react like a person with mental illness. When we continually give in to those wrong thoughts, we perpetuate our own struggles.

While Jesus directly healed people who were considered mentally ill, He also recognized demonic control in others and cast the demons out (e.g., Mark 1:34 Luke 11:14). The demoniac of the Gerasenes was a man psychiatrists would call mentally ill (see Mark 5:1&ndash20). He was out of control, behaving in unacceptable ways, and today we would confine this man to an institution. But Jesus went directly to the real problem. He ordered the legion of demons to come out of the man. After they did, the man was “in his right mind” (verse 15). While not all mental illness is due to demonic involvement, there may be people diagnosed with mental illness today who are experiencing some sort of demonic influence. Such people need, first and foremost, the spiritual deliverance that surrender to Jesus would offer them.

Just as we have compassion on those who are physically ill, we must also have compassion on those who are mentally ill (Matthew 14:14). Just as we seek help when we are physically ill, we should also seek help when we are struggling with our thoughts, emotions, or behaviors. We need not judge the specific cause of mental illnesses in others rather, we are to pray for them and offer support (James 5:14). We cannot assume that a mental illness is a result of sin or demonic influence however, we should not ignore those possibilities when trying to help someone or when seeking help ourselves. We have many tools to help with treatment of mental illness, including medicine, psychiatry, community support, and education. We need to be careful not to neglect the spiritual aspect of mental illness. We can share the truth of God with those struggling with mental illness, encourage them as we are able, and support them in prayer. When we’re struggling with mental illness, we need to be vigilant to continue to seek out God’s truth, to come to Him in prayer, and to allow other believers to support us in our time of need (2 Corinthians 1:3&ndash5 Romans 12:9&ndash21 Galatians 6:2&ndash10 John 13:34&ndash35).


95 Mental Health Quotes for Happiness and Success

These mental health quotes will remind you of just how precious it is.

Mental health refers to the state of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.

It impacts the way we feel, think and act, making it important in all areas of our lives.

Mental health plays an important role in the way we deal with stress, how we relate to others, and the decisions we make in our daily lives.

Without positive mental health, it will be almost impossible to realize your full potential, work productively, make a meaningful contribution to your community, or handle the stress that comes with life.

So what can you do to ensure you have a healthy mental state?

Well, there are various ways to maintain positive mental health and live a more fulfilling and enjoyable life.

Besides seeking professional help if you need it, you should make time to connect with others, think positively about yourself and get physically active.

Also, make sure you get enough rest, you’re mindful of your present moment, and be helpful to others.

A healthy mental state will help you leverage your Everyday Power to achieve the success you seek and live a purposeful life.

Here are some inspirational mental health quotes to remind you of that.

Don’t forget to also read our collection of helpful depression quotes, these anxiety quotes as well as these insightful 13 Reasons Why quotes for a new perspective on mental health.


I am sure we can all relate to this. Whether it’s insecurities which have built up as a direct consequence of our scrambled society, or perhaps due to previous exposer to a singular toxic perpetrator self-criticism can cause undeniable havoc and internal conflict. The constant flux within our culture, alongside a concurrent addiction to unrealistic expectations has led to the manifestation of many young individuals feeling like they will neverbe good enough. Continue reading “The disaster of getting inside your own head.” &rarr


Trust The Process . Psychology Quote . Mental Health Poster . Counseling Office Decor . Therapy Art . Instant Download. Printable

Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.

Мы не просто торговая площадка для необычных вещей, мы сообщество людей, которые заботятся о малом бизнесе, людях и нашей планете.

This INSTANT DOWNLOAD PRINT is designed for anyone who would like this as a daily reminder, gift, artwork, or visual. After purchasing you will receive a link to download your purchase. You can then open it on your computer, tablet, or phone to print at home or using a printing service. Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions or personalizations you would like to have made.


How should we talk about mental health?

Mental health suffers from a major image problem. One in every four people experiences mental health issues — yet more than 40 percent of countries worldwide have no mental health policy. Across the board it seems like we have no idea how to talk about it respectfully and responsibly.

Stigma and discrimination are the two biggest obstacles to a productive public dialogue about mental health indeed, the problem seems to be largely one of communication. So we asked seven mental health experts: How should we talk about mental health? How can informed and sensitive people do it right – and how can the media do it responsibly?

Easier said than done, of course. Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems. According to neuroscientist Sarah Caddick, this is because when someone points to his wrist to tell you it’s broken, you can easily understand the problem, but that’s not the case when the issue is with the three-pound mass hidden inside someone’s skull. “The minute you start talking about your mind, people get very anxious, because we associate that with being who we are, fundamentally with ‘us’ — us as a person, us as an individual, our thoughts, our fears, our hopes, our aspirations, our everything.” Says mental health care advocate Vikram Patel, “Feeling miserable could in fact be seen as part of you or an extension of your social world, and applying a biomedical label is not always something that everyone with depression, for example, is comfortable with.” Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way to facilitating genuinely useful conversations.

Avoid correlations between criminality and mental illness

People are too quick to dole out judgments on people who experience mental health problems, grouping them together when isolated incidents of violence or crime occur. Says Caddick, “You get a major incident like Columbine or Virginia Tech and then the media asks, ‘Why didn’t people know that he was bipolar?’ ‘Was he schizophrenic?’ From there, some people think, ‘Well, everybody with bipolar disease is likely to go out and shoot down a whole bunch of people in a school,’ or, ‘People who are schizophrenics shouldn’t be out on the street.’” Solomon agrees that this correlation works against a productive conversation about mental health: “The tendency to connect people’s crimes to mental illness diagnoses that are not in fact associated with criminality needs to go away. ‘This person murdered everyone because he was depressed.’ You think, yes, you could sort of indicate here this person was depressed and he murdered everyone, but most people who are depressed do not murder everyone.”

But do correlate more between mental illness and suicide

According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), 90 percent of people who die by suicide have depression or other mental disorders, or substance-abuse disorders in conjunction with other mental disorders. Yet we don’t give this link its due. Says Solomon, “Just as the association between mental illness and crime is too strong, the connection between mental illness and suicide is too weak. So I feel like what I constantly read in the articles is that ‘so-and-so killed himself because his business had gone bankrupt and his wife had left him.’ And I think, okay, those were the triggering circumstances, but he killed himself because he suffered from a mental illness that drove him to kill himself. He was terribly depressed.”

Avoid words like “crazy” or “psycho”

Not surprisingly, nearly all the mental health experts we consulted were quick to decry playground slang like “mental,” “schizo,” “crazy,” “loonie,” or “nutter,” stigmatizing words that become embedded in people’s minds from a young age. NIMH Director Thomas Insel takes that one step further — he doesn’t like the category of “mental health problems” in general. He says, “Should we call cancer a ‘cell cycle problem’? Calling serious mental illness a ‘behavioral health problem’ is like calling cancer a ‘pain problem.’” Comedian Ruby Wax, however, has a different point of view: “I call people that are mentally disturbed, you know, I say they’re crazy. I think in the right tone, that’s not the problem. Let’s not get caught in the minutiae of it.”

If you feel comfortable talking about your own experience with mental health, by all means, do so

Self-advocacy can be very powerful. It reaches people who are going through similar experiences as well as the general public. Solomon believes that people equipped to share their experiences should do so: “The most moving letter I ever received in a way was one that was only a sentence long, and it came from someone who didn’t sign his name. He just wrote me a postcard and said, ‘I was going to kill myself, but I read your book and changed my mind.’ And really, I thought, okay, if nobody else ever reads anything I’ve written, I’ve done some good in the world. It’s very important just to keep writing about these things, because I think there’s a trickle-down effect, and that the vocabulary that goes into serious books actually makes its way into the common experience — at least a little bit of it does — and makes it easier to talk about all of these things.” Solomon, Wax, as well as Temple Grandin, below, have all become public figures for mental health advocacy through sharing their own experiences.

Don’t define a person by his/her mental illnesses

Just as a tumor need not define a person, the same goes for mental illness. Although the line between mental health and the “rest” of a person is somewhat blurry, experts say the distinction is necessary. Says Insel: “We need to talk about mental disorders the way we talk about other medical disorders. We generally don’t let having a medical illness define a person’s identity, yet we are very cautious about revealing mental illness because it will somehow define a person’s competence or even suggest dangerousness.” Caddick agrees: “There’s a lot of things that go on in the brain, and just because one thing goes wrong doesn’t mean that everything’s going wrong.”

Separate the person from the problem

Continuing from the last, Insel and Patel both recommend avoiding language that identifies people only by their mental health problems. Says Insel, speak of “someone with schizophrenia,” not “the schizophrenic.” (Although, he points out, people with autism do often ask to be referred to as “autistic.”) Making this distinction clear, says Patel, honors and respects the individual. “What you’re really saying is, this is something that’s not part of a person it’s something the person is suffering from or is living with, and it’s a different thing from the person.”

Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all

Sometimes it just starts with speaking up. In Solomon’s words: “Wittgenstein said, ‘All I know is what I have words for.’ And I think that if you don’t have the words for it, you can’t explain to somebody else what your need is. To some degree, you can’t even explain to yourself what your need is. And so you can’t get better.” But, as suicide prevention advocate Chris Le knows well, there are challenges to talking about suicide and depression. Organizations aiming to raise awareness about depression and suicide have to wrangle with suicide contagion, or copycat suicides that can be sparked by media attention, especially in young people. Le, though, feels strongly that promoting dialogue ultimately helps. One simple solution, he says, is to keep it personal: “Reach out to your friends. If you’re down, talk to somebody, because remember that one time that your friend was down, and you talked to them, and they felt a little better? So reach out, support people, talk about your emotions and get comfortable with them.”

Recognize the amazing contributions of people with mental health differences

Says autism activist Temple Grandin: “If it weren’t for a little bit of autism, we wouldn’t have any phones to talk on.” She describes the tech community as filled with autistic pioneers. “Einstein definitely was he had no language until age three. How about Steve Jobs? I’ll only mention the dead ones by name. The live ones, you’ll have to look them up on the Internet.” Of depression, Grandin says: “The organizations involved with depression need to be emphasizing how many really creative people, people whose books we love, whose movies we love, their arts, have had a lot of problems with depression. See, a little bit of those genetics makes you sensitive, makes you emotional, makes you sensitive — and that makes you creative in a certain way.”

Humor, some say, is the best medicine for your brain. Says comedian Wax: “If you surround [your message] with comedy, you have an entrée into their psyche. People love novelty, so for me it’s sort of foreplay: I’m softening them up, and then you can deliver as dark as you want. But if you whine, if you whine about being a woman or being black, good luck. Everybody smells it. But it’s true. People are liberated by laughing at themselves.”


Baha’i Perspectives on Mental Illness

If I was to summarize the Baha’i quotes on mental illness, and try to put the ideas into my own words, this is what I’ve learned.

Mental disorders fall on a continuum from so mild as to be almost undetectable to very severe some may improve or worsen over time and some people may suffer from more than one mental disorder or complicating medical condition at the same time:

As with many health conditions, mental disorders fall on a continuum from so mild as to be almost undetectable to very severe. The degree to which a particular individual’s conduct may be affected varies accordingly and may improve or worsen over time, depending on many factors. Some individuals may suffer from more than one mental disorder or a complicating general medical condition at the same time. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 13)

Substance abuse combined with mental illness may further disrupt brain chemistry and affect behavior:

Sometimes, in response to overwhelming trauma, individuals resort to substance abuse, which can complicate or exacerbate the problems. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Problems of personality disorder may be complicated by medical conditions, substance abuse and/or mental illness. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Furthermore, persons with mental disorders may have difficulties with substance abuse, which further disrupts brain chemistry and affects behavior. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 13)

Personality disorders may interfere with proper functioning in personal, social and work relationships.

Personality disorders differ from personality change in their timing and the mode of their appearance. They are disturbances in character development that may interfere with proper functioning in personal, social and work relationships. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

God alone knows the reasons for mental illness:

I beseech God to obtain prosperity unto thee in this world, to confer favour upon thee in His Supreme Kingdom, and to heal thee from the illness which has befallen thee for some hidden reason which no one knows save God. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 59.)

It’s not true that only the spiritually ill experience psychiatric disorders:

The statement that ‘only the spiritually ill experience psychiatric disorders’ is entirely without foundation. (From a letter dated 2 February 1994 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual)

Mental illness can be caused by being without the love of God in our hearts:

With the love of God all sciences are accepted and beloved, but without it, are fruitless nay, rather the cause of insanity. (Abdu’l-Baha, Tablets of Abdu’l-Baha v3, p. 687-688)

Or by trying to attack the Cause of God:

The worst enemies of the Cause are in the Cause and mention the name of God. We need not fear the enemies on the outside for such can be easily dealt with. But the enemies who call themselves friends and who persistently violate every fundamental law of love and unity, are difficult to be dealt with in this day, for the mercy of God is still great. But ere long this merciful door will be closed and such enemies will be attacked with a madness. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of The West, Vol.6, No.6, p.45)

It can be part of the polish God uses to draw us closer to Him.

Suffering, of one kind or another, seems to be the portion of man in this world. Even the Beloved ones, the Prophets of God, have never been exempt from the ills that are to be found in our world poverty, disease, bereavement, -they seem to be part of the polish God employs to make us finer, and enable us to reflect more of His attributes! No doubt in the future, when the spiritualized, a vast amount of our present ills and problems will be remedied. We who toil now are paving the way for a far better world, and this knowledge must uphold and strengthen us through every trial. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 603)

Although emotionally and physically painful to be burdened with it at times, mental illness only affects our minds, and not our spirits or our soul.

But in this world such illness is truly a heavy burden to bear! (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

It is very hard to be subject to any illness, particularly a mental one. However, we must always remember these illnesses have nothing to do with our spirit or our inner relation to God. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Though its effects might hinder us or be a burden in striving towards spiritual progress, still we know that our spirits are healthy and close to God, and that in the next world we’ll be free to enjoy a happy and normal state.

Mental illness is not spiritual, although its effects may indeed hinder and be a burden in one’s striving toward spiritual progress. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

You must always remember, no matter how much you or your others may be afflicted with mental troubles and the crushing environment of these State Institutions, that your spirit is healthy, near to our Beloved, and will in the next world enjoy a happy and normal state of soul. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Treatment for mental illness, as for all diseases, consists of seeking the best medical advice you can find, even if it means travelling to a bigger city to find it, and then following it.

It is incumbent upon everyone to seek medical treatment and to follow the doctor’s instructions, for this is in compliance with the divine ordinance. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 155)

Regarding your question about methods of healing which involve temporarily re-experiencing or remembering events, these are complex medical matters and as stipulated in the Teachings, believers should seek the best medical advice which is available and follow it. (Universal House of Justice, 1985 Dec 02, Child Abuse, Psychology and Knowledge of Self)

It is not easy to be burdened with long years of mental illness such as you describe. And plainly you have sought aid from many persons of scientific and non-scientific training backgrounds, apparently to little avail over the years of your prolonged illness. Possibly you should consider, if it is feasible, consulting the best specialists in a medical centre in one of the major cities, where the most advanced diagnosis and treatment can be obtained. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

Psychiatric treatment is still a growing rather than a perfected science, and psychiatrists are not always wise or right, but even so, we need to avail ourselves of the best they have to offer.

There is nothing in our teachings about Freud and his method. Psychiatric treatment in general is no doubt an important contribution to medicine, but we must believe it is still a growing rather than a perfected science. As Bahá’u’lláh has urged us to avail ourselves of the help of good physicians Bahá’ís are certainly not only free to turn to psychiatry for assistance but should, when advisable, do so. This does not mean psychiatrists are always wise or always right, it means we are free to avail ourselves of the best medicine has to offer us. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

The science of the mind, of normality and of the disabilities from which it may suffer, is in its relative infancy, but much may be possible to aid us to minimize our suffering and make it possible to live an active life.

The science of the mind, of normality and of the disabilities from which it may suffer, is in its relative infancy, but much may be possible to aid you to minimize your suffering and made possible an active life. The last ten years in the therapy of mental disorders has seen important advances from which you may well benefit. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

Discovery of the Faith, with its healing have brought us a powerful force toward a healthy life which will sustain us on a higher level whatever our ailments may be:

Your discovery of the Faith, of its healing Writings and its great purposes for the individual and for all mankind, have indeed brought to you a powerful force toward a healthy life which will sustain you on a higher level, whatever your ailment may be. The best results for the healing process are to combine the spiritual with the physical, for it should be possible for you to overcome your illness through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined effort. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 283-284)

The best results for the healing process are to combine the spiritual with the physical, for it should be possible for you to overcome your illness through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined effort.

In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: “Such hindrances (i.e. illness and outer difficulties), no matter how severe and insuperable they may at first seem, can and should be effectively overcome through the combined and sustained power of prayer and of determined and continued effort.” (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians, including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause flood your mind with their grace and positive power.

In a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to a believer there is this further passage: “That effort can include the counsel of wise and experienced physicians, including psychiatrists. Working for the Faith, serving others who may need you, and giving of yourself can aid you in your struggle to overcome your sufferings. One helpful activity is, of course, striving to teach the Cause in spite of personal feelings of shortcomings, thus allowing the healing words of the Cause flood your mind with their grace and positive power. (Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

The Writings promise us that madness, incurable otherwise, can be cured through prayer:

Madness, incurable otherwise, can be cured through prayer. (‘Abdul-Bahá, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments:

Spiritual feelings have a surprising effect on healing nervous ailments. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 150-151)

As the world becomes more spiritually minded and scientists understand the true nature of man, more humane and permanent cures for mental diseases will be found.

It is a great pity that as yet so little is really known of the mind, its workings and the illnesses that afflict it no doubt, as the world becomes more spiritually minded and scientists understand the true nature of man, more humane and permanent cures for mental diseases will be found. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 281)

There are a great many as you know mental diseases and troubles at present, and the one thing Bahá’ís must not do is take a defeatist attitude toward them. The power in the Faith is such that it can sustain us on a much higher level in spite of whatever our ailments might be, than other people who are denied it.

There are a great many as you know mental diseases and troubles at present, and the one thing Bahá’ís must not do is take a defeatist attitude toward them. The power in the Faith is such that it can sustain us on a much higher level in spite of whatever our ailments might be, than other people who are denied it. (Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 284)

When trauma reactions are severe and go on for some time without treatment, they can cause major problems for the person and his or her family:

Because the symptoms of PTSD and other trauma reactions can impact how a trauma survivor feels and acts, traumatic experiences that happen to one member of a family affect everyone else in the family. When trauma reactions are severe and go on for some time without treatment, they can cause major problems for the person and his or her family. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

Assemblies who have people in their communities whose mental health issues cause problems for them and for others, may wish to seek professional advice.

At any time, the Assembly may wish to seek professional advice for dealing with a believer who has been diagnosed with, or appears to suffer from, a personality disorder. (USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 14)

For More Information:

Additional advice and insight may be found in “Some Guidance for Spiritual Assemblies Related to Mental Illness and Its Treatment”, available through the American Bahá’í Distribution Service at (800) 999-9019.


Athlete Mental Health Considerations

The mental health of athletes is an area of emerging concern, or at least it seems to be getting more media attention than in the past. In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10 – 34 year olds (3). A recent study on suicide at the collegiate level was a retrospective examination of the rate of suicide among National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes (22). Over the nine-year study period, 35 cases of suicide were identified from a review of 477 student-athlete deaths during that time (22). Suicide represented 7.3% of all-cause mortality among NCAA student athletes (22). Additional noteworthy results from the study were that NCAA male athletes have a significantly higher rate of suicide compared with female athletes, and football athletes appear to be the greatest risk (22).

Suicide would be considered the most serious concern for an athlete’s mental health due to the high potential for mortality, but it is not the only behavioral health concern that is seen in student-athletes. Many athletes believe that disclosing a mental health concern could be construed by coaches or teammates as a sign of weakness or failure (9). College athletes, coaches, and staff, out of their own lack of understanding of the seriousness of some behavioral health conditions may tend to ignore or discount symptoms, due to stigma, as it is antithetical to traditional sport culture values of mental toughness and resilience. An additional factor that might influence an athlete’s decision to seek mental health attention is their own lack of education about the continuum of mental health concerns compared with normal mood adjustments as part of customary stress responses. A third factor is the student-athlete’s personal biases and views regarding mental health professionals and ideas about how a mental health professional will view their problem, which includes a lack of understanding of how services will be kept confidential and whether or not coaches or other school officials will be privy to such services (18). Finally, athletes may believe that disclosing a mental health concern could result in loss of playing time, scholarship, changed relationships with teammates, and disapproval from coaches (5).

Athletes present unique risk factors when it comes to early identification of mental health symptoms and their willingness to access resources (15). The NCAA has put forward specific recommendations for best practices providing consistently updated data and education modules (17). One of the NCAA’s key recommendations is ensuring athletes are referred to qualified mental health providers in the case that services are needed. This early identification and assisting with referrals to professionals is a main point of this article.

In order for an athlete to be referred to a mental health counselor, someone needs to notice the athlete is in need, and actually take action to help that athlete. The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s (NSCA) most recent standards and policies document specifically charges the strength and conditioning coach with participating on an allied team of professionals to enhance athlete performance (18). That allied team of professionals may, and probably should, include clinical and applied sport psychology consultants. Strength and conditioning coaches are often the athletic department staff members that come into contact with athletes most frequently. Yet, the typical academic training paths of a strength and conditioning coach leaves gaps where psychosocial skills are concerned, highlighting the need for that type of professional development (23). A recent article promotes these psychosocial skills being added into academic training programs for strength and conditioning coach (7). Moreover, the most recent International Sport Coaching Framework parallels the NSCA’s continuing education requirements and highlights the need for all coaches to make lifelong improvement to their craft (14).

There is no possible way to create an exhaustive list of all the things athletes may say or do that warrant a follow-up question or specific action from a strength and conditioning coach. However, similar phrases, both in their actual content and likely responses to them, can be collated and are possible to establish. The phrases included in Table 1 were received from a full-time strength and conditioning coach. In order to improve the applicability of this paper, strength and conditioning coaches at multiple NCAA Division I and II schools, as well as a private high school-aged training facility, provided examples of athletes’ words and behaviors they have personally experienced. The aggregate of those responses populates Table 1.

One way to categorize these phrases was to group them on immediacy of need. The most immediate being “emergent threats.” The two middle categories were “mental health” and “applied performance” concerns with the final category being simple “banter” between athlete and coach or even simply among the athletes in a group. The point to be stressed is clarifying the athlete’s statements, and then assisting with the most appropriate referral based on the severity of threat of the athlete’s statements. Several evidenced-based trainings do exist to develop individuals who work with athletes in this including “Mental Health First Aid” and “Question, Persuade, Refer” (16,21). The physical safety of athletes training with a strength and conditioning coach is always a key consideration (18). That level of safety should extend to the mental health of athletes too.

Table 1. Example Athlete Statements

Mental Health Concerns

“I wish my alarm did not go off.”

“There’s just so much pressure from everyone. I am totally overwhelmed.”

“Is any of this really worth it?”

“I don’t remember last night. I woke up in a strange bed, in a strange room.”


There are 61 Comments

Sanctification

Do you sense there is a significant difference in their understanding and presentation of sanctification between Adams and the CCEF guys? Was the idols of the heart question an example of this?

Idols of the heart

I actually can't remember where I first encountered the "idols of the heart" emphasis so I can't speak to CCEF's connection with it. But either way, I don't think it has all that much to do with folks' official view of sanctification, though it does impact the practice. I do believe there are such things as idols that are not statues ppl bown down to (and NT is sometimes very broad about the "idol" concept. equating in one place with greed, if I remember right).

My only gripe w/the "idols of the the heart" thing is that some want to attribute every single problem to one particular idol or other. and since, as Jay pointed out, there isn't much Scripture to guide that, it breaks down into speculation and very unclear almost mystical language. Wish I had examples handy, but I don't.
I've promised to do an article on sanctification one of these days and dig into it, but not sure when I'll get to it. it just seems that there are a variety of approaches (as opposed to "views") to sanctification these days that make it very difficult for believers to understand what they are supposed to do (some even say there is nothing to "do"). I don't believe the NT is unclear about that at all. and I think sometimes we are taking something easy-to-understand but hard to do and trying to turn it into something hard-to-understand but easier to do (because you can always say "I'm trying" or "I'm making progress" when the goal is extremely vague and mystical).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

A Story

Can I share a neat story? My husband's brother, an MD in a town near where Dr. Adams lived at the time, was thrown a surprise party about a dozen years ago for a "big" birthday. We went early to help, and my husband ended up parking cars for over an hour, hiding them behind a neighbor's house, with a really nice man with a beard. When they returned to the house, I enjoyed a brief conversation with the same very friendly and kindly man. Neither one of us asked his name at the time. It wasn't until about a half hour later that we realized that my husband had parked cars for an hour with Jay Adams. We ended up eating near him and his wife at the party, and they were delightful dinner companions. I had read several of Dr. Adams' books - had used them as college textbooks as well - and it was nice to see that in real life he was the "real thing."

Thanks for sharing

Close encounters of the nouthetic kind.
I'm not surprised. I found that he is quite emphatic about what he believes but always gracious.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

NOUTHETIC COUNSELING IS DANGEROUS IGNORANCE.

Jay E. Adams states the following in the book “The Big Umbrella”:

“In this country, because of a prestigious alliance with the A.M.A., a psychiatrist is required to have an M.D. But you will soon agree that Freud was right if you read the articles written by some psychiatrists complaining about the necessity to take medical training that they never use in their work and soon forget. The point is this: there is nothing a psychiatrist does with his medical training that a physician couldn’t do just as well, or better. And the physician could do it in conjunction with a pastoral counselor. The psychiatrist may write prescriptions for tranquilizers or other pills now and then, but a physician does that all of the time. There is no need for a specialty in order to prescribe pills.”
The Big Umbrella, p.6, Presbyterian and Reformed, 1972.

This statement reveals one of the major problems with the Nouthetic counseling philosophy. Psychiatrist is a medical specialty that involves special and continuous training in those aspects of medicine and research that involve the brain and neurology and the various diseases that affect them. In actual practice they have left Freud far behind. They are specialists who through knowledge and research are able to diagnose a cause and when necessary prescribe proper medication. There are now over 70 anti psychotic drugs available. Only the specialist physician (Psychiatrist) can accurately and safely prescribe them. Most all physicians in general or family practice will not get involved in prescribing anti psychotic drugs or treating mental problems. They may prescribe mood elevation drugs in some cases. If you have a serious medical problem you most likely will be referred to a specialist who understands a specific area of medicine. When it comes to genuine mental illness, the general practice physician or Psychologist will not treat the mentally ill without a psychiatrist being involved. It is a medical problem requiring a medical specialist.

This statement by Jay E. Adams appears to indicate a great deal of prejudice against the psychiatrist and very little knowledge of how they practice. It is a statement of monumental ignorance. This foundation assumption regarding psychiatry continues today in the second generation of Nouthetic counselors. They talk of physician referral but not psychiatric referral. They speak of mental illness but then start talking about depression. Depression alone is not mental illness though it may involve a medical cause.

Those who would be classified as genuinely mentally ill can only be properly cared for with the help of psychiatry. The drug prescription medication is almost always needed. With the mentally ill the proper drug is usually the only answer. The Schizophrenic or Bipolar person will suffer delusions, paranoia, and uncontrolled attitudes and moods without proper medication.

Chemical imbalance is today often diagnosed based on medical testing. Brain scans show the differences in function of a normal brain and a brain with chemical imbalances. This is now well established verifiable medical science.

In the interview, the person with J.E. Adams gives three problems with psychology (psychiatry). They are “agenda, diagnostic, and the chicken and the egg.” His statements are filled with errors and serious ignorance of modern psychiatry.

Most mentally ill people are not in the office of the private psychiatrist or psychologist. They also are not attending church even though they may be a Christian. They are being seen by a psychiatrist at the public health centers and are on SSDI or SSI. They are also on Medicaid. They get about 600 to 800 dollars to live on each month and do not have adequate shelter or care. If they have families that care they may have a place to live. They often do not take their medication and become confused. You see them pushing their shopping carts with their belongings. Those who have help and take their medication can often live fairly normal lives. The difference is the modern medicine available for treatment and getting them to take it regularly.

I would recommend that everyone see the movie “The Soloist.” It is a true story and parts of it are filmed at Christian run shelters in Los Angeles that specialize in sheltering the mentally ill. Those of us who have family members who suffer from mental illness and who are caretakers, understand the reality in this film.

Those of us who are caretakers of mentally ill persons view J.E. Adams as a seriously ignorant and dangerous person and training in Nouthetic counseling as a joke. The whole field of Nouthetic counseling as a false intellectual discipline built on contrived reality and selective biblical truth. A degree, usually a D.Min., in Nouthetic counseling is a degree in a made up field that pretends to have answers by ignoring the real problems.

Nouthetic counseling is as integrationist as other approaches to Psychology and counseling. They will use many of the statistics and findings of studies done in clinical Psychology. It seeks to derive a system of truth for counseling from scripture and the impose this system on scripture.

Biblical counseling recognizes the priority of truth is established by scripture and will endeavor to screen all principles and methods that ar expressly contrary to scripture. However, it will recognize and accept that if something is discovered and known from sources other than scripture and is reasonably verifiable as true. All truth is God's truth. No truth can conflict with the truth of scripture that is clear and properly applied.

One truth that is improperly applied here is the concept of the sufficiency of the scriptures. The scriptures are sufficient for the purposes intended. To use both scripture and other disciplines together in gaining an answer to a specific problem does not diminish the scriptures. The scriptures give answers for the soul. They give no instructions in human anatomy or diseases of the body. Man is a living soul and has a body. His soul works with and through the body. If we have a problem with the brain our soul will be effected in the way we express ourselves and behave. Integration of truth is essential to have a proper understanding and arrive at a proper spiritual interpretation of cause and effect.

Nouthetic counseling is a recently derived and invented system that diminshes real bibilical counseling. It was invented out of thin air. It was not part of historic approaches to sanctification or part of historic Fundamentalism. True Fundamentalism seeks to protect the church from dangerous movements. and trends. Nouthetic counseling should be looked upon as being in the same intellectual catagory as the KJVO movement.. It has an improper view of the the application and intent of scripture and has created a dangerous cultic mindset which has an improper view of the relation of Revelatory truth and non revalatory truth. Six day creationism is a clear on the face scriptural teaching. Nouthetic counseling has no such clear scriptures for its foundation principles. Its name and many of the scriptures used are misapplied from the original intent. It was improper to compare this non acceptance of Nouthetic counseling with acceptance and non acceptance of evolution. However, that statement reveals the cultic false epistemology that this system rests upon.

I do not believe I have ever met Bob T so I have no way of gauging whether or not his comments about Dr. Adams are intended to be tongue in cheek or not. Either way, he has given SI readers a good example of the kind of vitriol Dr. Adams has attracted for over 40 years. For Bob T, a man who I gather from his posting is somehow invested in the mental health industry, Jay Adams is not a fellow believer and follower of Christ whose views are to be debated and evaluated. Instead, he is “dangerous,” “ignorant,” and “cultic.” His views are “a joke,” “invented out of thin air,” “in the same category as the KJV only movement,” “prejudiced,” “misapplications of Scripture,” and (amazingly) “integrationist.” I am not sure how the ad hominim pejoratives contribute to the discussion.

I thought I had heard all the criticisms of Dr. Adams that could be raised but Bob T presents one that is new to me. He is quite correct that today most psychiatrists “have left Freud far behind.” The quote he posts is from a book Dr. Adams wrote in 1972, a time when Freud was still revered in the psychological world. But for Bob T, Dr. Adams is to be faulted for not being prescient enough to know what the secular psychological landscape would look like 37 years later in 2009. Still, the point Adams made in 1972 is even more true today. Most psychiatrists do not do truly medical work. They prescribe drugs philosophically, not medically.

The term “mental illness” is at best, a metaphor. It is not a reality. The mind is not a biological organ and therefore cannot be “ill.” The brain (a biological organ that can be treated medically) is not the same thing as the mind. In the Scriptures, the terms “mind,” “heart,” and “soul” are used interchangeably to describe the inner person where one thinks and lives before God. We will continue to think long after our brain is buried and decayed.

Donn, A quick philosophical

A quick philosophical point you are fallacious in your reasoning about the mind.

Besides the fact that there are Christian non-reductive physicalists (a view I do not support or think well of, but it exists and is cogent), one can be a dualist and still think "mental illness" is a reality. Besides the fact that your point about metaphor is of dubious relevance and meaning (almost everything can be shown to be metaphorical this is major issue in studies of "metaphor" and the "literal" sense), and the fact that your idea of "illness" is rather reductive, one can still argue that the mind is numerically distinct from the brain yet claim, as any responsible dualist that I know of would (e.g. Alvin Plantinga), that the proper functioning of the brain is a necessary condition for the proper functioning of the mind. Thus, brain functioning corrolates, quite obviously (hence the otherwise inexplicable attraction of reductive physicalism/materialism in neuro-science), with mental functioning.

This point alone indicates the fallaciousness of your reasoning, but beyond this point, one can note the fact that one of the dominant strands of dualism, one based on Aristotelian/Thomistic hylomporphism (the body is the matter that is informed by the mind, which is the form), would also support the idea of mental illness, because this tradition, quite influential in Christianity, argues that though mind and matter are distinct, they are inseparable, at least in this life, and therefore they function together.

It's simply basic ignorance of neuro-science to not acknowledge what everyone knows: that brain states corrolate with incredible precision to "mental states," and even if this erroneously leads some to reduce the latter to the former, it should lead no one to deny the corrolation and inseparability of the two.

Donn R Arms wrote: I do not

I do not believe I have ever met Bob T so I have no way of gauging whether or not his comments about Dr. Adams are intended to be tongue in cheek or not. Either way, he has given SI readers a good example of the kind of vitriol Dr. Adams has attracted for over 40 years. For Bob T, a man who I gather from his posting is somehow invested in the mental health industry, Jay Adams is not a fellow believer and follower of Christ whose views are to be debated and evaluated. Instead, he is “dangerous,” “ignorant,” and “cultic.” His views are “a joke,” “invented out of thin air,” “in the same category as the KJV only movement,” “prejudiced,” “misapplications of Scripture,” and (amazingly) “integrationist.” I am not sure how the ad hominem pejoratives contribute to the discussion.

I thought I had heard all the criticisms of Dr. Adams that could be raised but Bob T presents one that is new to me. He is quite correct that today most psychiatrists “have left Freud far behind.” The quote he posts is from a book Dr. Adams wrote in 1972, a time when Freud was still revered in the psychological world. But for Bob T, Dr. Adams is to be faulted for not being prescient enough to know what the secular psychological landscape would look like 37 years later in 2009. Still, the point Adams made in 1972 is even more true today. Most psychiatrists do not do truly medical work. They prescribe drugs philosophically, not medically.

The term “mental illness” is at best, a metaphor. It is not a reality. The mind is not a biological organ and therefore cannot be “ill.” The brain (a biological organ that can be treated medically) is not the same thing as the mind. In the Scriptures, the terms “mind,” “heart,” and “soul” are used interchangeably to describe the inner person where one thinks and lives before God. We will continue to think long after our brain is buried and decayed.

First, please note that there are no ad hominum attacks of Jay E. Adams. The attacks are of his ideas and outlook and that of Nouthetic counseling. However your post does involve an ad hominem attack.

Second, as noted by the remarks, and those of his assistant in the interview, his views regarding psychiatry are essentially the same today. Also, this view can also be seen in some of the recent books by second generation Nouthetic counselors. Edward T. Welch and others will talk of physiological causes but then go no further than depression and the over prescribing of drugs. They will mention Schizophrenia or bipolar but never deal with them or other mental illness. Their acquaintance appears to indicate almost no understanding of psychiatric illness (the latest PC label).

Third, I am familiar with the Biblical terms for the soul and would differ that Soul, mind, and spirit are exact synonyms. Man is a living soul. That immaterial soul has a spirit aspect and a mind aspect. However, the term used is not "mind illness" referring to the immaterial aspect of the soul but "mental illness" which refers to the process and result of thinking. It refers to the mental process which involves the mind and the brain and the result. The mind is not able to function properly through the Brain when the organ of the Brain is not functioning properly. The result is "mental illness". It is "mental" and it is "illness" as there is physiological disease involved. The aversion of Nouthetic counseling to this term is most likely due to their agenda. This agenda involves false concepts of the sufficiency of scripture and of epistemology or how we know truth. All truth is God’s truth. However, non revelatory truth can be wrong and therefore non truth. This does not preclude the reasonable verification and acceptance of non revelatory truth. We do this every day of our lives. We repair our automobiles, repair our electronics, and are healed through medical science. All such truth is God's truth. This does not diminish scripture as th priority truth source to which all truth must be compared and that no truth can contradict.

Fourth, my characterization of Nouthetic counseling may seem overly harsh but expresses the true feelings and opinions of many Christians who are caretakers for the mentally ill. Once one is critically confronted with those mentally ill, the ideas and literature of the Nouthetic counseling movement appear as a cruel joke. There is a Christian care center in Grand Rapids, Michigan that focuses on the mentally handicapped or ill. They do not allow Charismatic or Nouthetic oriented Christians to be involved in their ministry. The charismatics cannot differentiate between physiological illness and Demonization. They also want miracle healing on demand. The Nouthetic Counselors have insufficient appreciation of the psychiatric diagnosis and necessity of prescription drugs. They often diminish the need for drugs and this can be dangerous for the mentally ill who are hard to deal with in this matter. Both are extremely dangerous to the well being of the genuinely mentally ill. The Christian care centers in L.A. County are of the same opinion. I heard a Nouthetic counselor who has a regular Radio progrem speak many time overly harshly of anti psychotic drugs and their use. On one occasion he advised a caller who by admission had been under hospital care several times and who did not like taking hes medication to "stop immediatly because this may be your problem. " He was advised to seek Biblical counseling and to "get off drugs." To the care taker, of this person this was dangerous advice. When off of medicine some mentally illness can become dangerous, especially to those close to them.

Fifth, your accusation that psychiatrists do not do medical work, and prescribe drugs philosophically rather than medically, is not what is occurring today. This is the kind of opinion that makes Nouthetic counseling dangerous. This is why most Nouthetic counselors do not refer to Psychiatrists. Only the psychiatrist can deal with the reality of the medical problem that is mental illness. It is the general practitioner Physician who is likely to prescribe a mood drug without proper medical consideration. The psychiatrist gains vast experience in dealing with the mentally ill. The local psychiatrists in the L.A. county mental health dept. see from 8 to 10 seriously mentally ill a day. They can recognize symptoms with little problem. However, they will also order all necessary and pertinent testing. Everyone they see is on disability due to mental illness. These are not just depression or behavior cases. It is estimated that 1% of the adult population has such serious mental illness. This has nothing to do with the kind of problems the Psychologist or Christian counselor deals with.

Sixth, there are many Fundamentalists who are able to fully honor scripture by rejecting that which is contrary but recognize the blessings of truth gained from different intellectual disciplines. Such disciplines as Psychology have a history of many theories that were, and are, contrary to biblical truth. However, the progress of knowledge has still been blessed by many of the findings in this field. Christian counselors with insufficient theological discernment and Biblical commitment can be a problem. True Biblical based counseling is based upon the foundation of a good theological knowledge, practical experience, a willingness to learn from many sources, and a willingness to recognize limitations. Humility should make us thankful for established truth and increased affectiveness in psychiatric medicine. Nouthetic counseling theory and methodology have presumptions that interfere with true biblical counseling and dealing fairly and affectively with genuine mental illness.

Broad brushes

I do think Jay sometimes paints with an overly broad brush. But, Bob, you're doing the same sort of thing in dismissing nouthetic counseling entirely and in such over heated terms. Let's look for a few things we agree on.
1. People do sin
2. Many of their problems are due to their sin
3. The Bible specializes in dealing with sin
4. Many of the problems in item 2 are seen today as "belonging" to the fields of psychology and psychiatry and their methods rather than the Bible's

So what's going to happen? Sometimes sin problems will end up medicated or "talk therapied" when what they really require are new birth, knowledge, faith and repentance. For sake of argument, let's suppose that sometimes biblical counselors incorrectly identify items as belonging in #2 when they really have subtle "organic" causes (or at least major contributing factors).
Each of these is going to tread on the others' turf sometimes. And opinions will vary widely has to how often each of these scenarios occurs.
But all who believe the Bible should be able to recognize the truth of 1-3, and anyone paying attention should be able to recognize the truth of #4.
So.. maybe these would form a good place to being a conversation rather than a rant?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Very Good post Aaron. To add

Very Good post Aaron. To add to it, there are many within the psychatric community that are unwilling to deal with the short falls. On more than one occassion, I have referred someone who needed to be hospitalized (they were a danger to themselves or someone else or both). It was clear to everyone (police, EMTs, me) that they were going to hurt themselves or others. They were home withing two hours b/c they talked a good game. In my area that happens often, but I still refer.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

NO RANTS JUST FACTS AND REALITY.

My opinions regarding Nouthetic counseling are expressed in terms giving reasons why it is not considered a valid counseling philosophy. I do not believe these would normally be characterized as a rant.

Before Nouthetic counseling was proposed out of thin air, all Biblical counseling recognized your items 1 through 3. Most recognized your item no. 4 in various degrees.

A very serious problem exists within the Nouthetic counseling philosophy. This problem is that all true and genuine mental illness is physiologically based and can only be treated by Psychiatrists. The accepted, and medically effective treatment, is with anti psychotic drugs. Nouthetic counseling simply cannot accept this and in various ways seek to diminish this need of such treatment. In their scenario of the "Chicken and the egg" they even seek to propose that there may be some responsibility upon the mentally ill because they choose their thinking and behavior and this then changes Brain chemistry. This has been the subject of much research and is thoroughly discredited by all legitimately recognized studies. After the fact change does occur in some cases because such conditions as Schizophrenia often continue to deteriorate, especially if medication is not taken regularly. Yet this middle ages philosophy was stated in the interview with you. Nouthetic counseling is based upon defective research, pooled ignorance of those wishing to uphold some sort of Biblical accountability for all behavior, and a paranoid attitude toward culture and society that includes an aversion to science that involves the mind and human behavior. In this respect the anti intellectual tendency toward knowledge by Fundamentalists has produced the embracing of a counseling theory that is dangerous. It is like the mentality of some groups that advocate faith only healing and are against the intervention of medical treatment. In the same way, Nouthetic counseling presents a false anthropological view of man and mental problems. It is defective both philosophically and theologically.

There are two dangers to the historic Fundamentalist ideas. One is the KJVO movement. The other is the Nouthetic counseling movement. Both are built upon pseudo intellectualism and extra biblical dogmatism.

We certainly can agree on items 1 to3 and with some of item 4. However, it is the extra baggage of the Nouthetic counseling movement that is the problem. They have philosophical assumptions that are not only extra biblical, but in the case of their view of th constitution of man, are contrary to scripture. A big step would be their at least being aware of what medical science now knows with regard to the human brain and behavior. It would also be good for them to acknowledge the need to treat mental illness with anti psychotic drugs and being thankful that such drugs are now available. Just 30 years ago the drug treatment picture was severely limited. 50 years ago we had to lock up the mentally ill as the only way of keeping them safe. Nouthetic counselors continually misrepresent the drug prescription treatment picture and the methodology of Psychiatrists. Until they can present knowledgeable and truthful picture of this necessary and effective aspect of medicine they are guilty of negligence based on ignorance and being a stumbling block to the treatment of the mentally ill. We are not talking here about the thousands who receive counseling for various problems. They can be handled by knowledgeable laymen and trained biblical counselors. We are talking about the "mentally ill." Such have physiologically based problems.

I have not painted with broad strokes. I am not giving a rant. I am telling you that thousands of people, many Christians included, deal with mental illness daily. Nouthetic counseling is an enemy to them. Many Christian families with loved ones who are mentally ill look at Nouthetic counseling advocates like those advocating a flat earth. Their Fundamentalist mentality is seen as prjudice based on ignorance.

Nouthetic counseling does not adequately display the love of God and the compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ. This has been stated to me in various ways by both mentally ill Christians and their care takers. How right they are. This is seen even in your interview with Jay E. Adams. They appear to receive those who criticize as persecutors of their stand for biblical truth. In reality they bring turmoil and misunderstanding based on false biblical views to many who suffer and are in need of a truly biblical and Christ like approach to their problems.

Bob. rewind

Bob,
Let's try again.
Can we agree that.
1. People are sinners
2. A lot of their problems are the result of their sins
3. The Bible specializes in dealing with the sin problem
I'll skip the fourth point for now since it might muck up the possibility of finding some common ground. Finding the common ground is important here because I think we need to be clear about we disagree with and why. and try to get away from vast sweeping generalities (mostly negative).

I'm pretty sure we agree that everything that is a sin problem should be dealt with as a sin problem and the Bible is the best tool for that. wouldn't we?

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Nouthetic counseling

Aaron
Your list (1-3) is where it seems the church lost its way at one point, and the "nouthetic" world is seeking to reclaim to the good of the church. I do think many "Bible believing" churches still chalk most aberant and even sinful behaviors to imbalances and emotional sicknesses, that are simply the long term affects of sin.

Bob
Your experiences reflect two things. One is just like the term fundamentalism, those claiming "nouthetic" represent a wide spectrum of beliefs and practices. Sometimes a good idea is practiced imperfectly, thus to some impugning the idea. Your experience is/was real, but my experience with the nouthetic world has been far different, particularly on the compassion side and the medication approach. Most instruction I have been given has emphasized that since we are not doctors, refer any counselee to a doctor and don't attempt to play doctor. Focus on the spiritual issues that are present and leave the physical to those who are trained.

Secondly, the question you have raised seems to deal with severe situations that do bring both medical professionals and the Church to a place of humility and some uncertainty. Obviously, you have experience with a situation that has greatly affected you and those close to you. Even the work of medical professionals in these case does not bring "healing", but may allow someone to exist and live. These drugs may indeed be needed mercies, but to everyone's sorrow they do not result in a return to lasting health.

In my experience, these cases are not the majority of people that are being ministered to in churches. Most who are needing help in the church today do struggle with clear issues of obedience and trust. Some have been under the care of psychiatry and have not received the "therapy" to address the heart struggles that are present. They feel like they have "stabalized" emotionally, but they lack the knowledge and hope to really change their relationships, attitudes, affections, and actions. That is where the nouthetic world is aimed, returning care of the immaterial man to the Church.

Aaron, I do not know what

I do not know what your point is? What I have posted has nothing to do with counseling regarding problems that may involve sin. However, it would appear to me that Nouthetic counseling is wrong in many instances in this sphere of counseling. The well taught biblical pastor may be more effective than the trained Nouthetic counselor in dealing with normal counseling problems. Many so called Nouthetic counselors are merely part of a new pseudo profession that has little legitimacy. It is like Chiropractic or Naturopathy is to medicine. We have people running around with doctor degrees that represent questionable course content and philosophy of healing. In this case the healing of the soul.

Mental illness is not a sin caused problem other than being part of the physical curse of the fall as was my two time bout with Cancer. It is a medical problem with necessary medical treatment.

Of course we agree on items 1 through 3 as do all the Evangelical Psychologists that I know of. The Charismatics would also agree as would Wesleyans and Dispensationalists. However, these groups all have a differing view of the sanctification process. Nouthetic counseling is built upon the theology of the Reformed view of sanctification plus other additional concepts.

Getting to the essence

Well, now we're getting somewhere because now I know what you accept and what you don't. and thus where the beef mostly is: the "Reformed view of sanctification."

The spirit of nouthetic, though, doesn't depend on these things. The spirit of it is "Let's not leave to social scientists and medical doctors what belongs to the Spirit and the Word" coupled with a pretty expansive view of what that includes.
We all have different opinions about where the lines should be drawn in that area, but the using the Bible for all it's worth was the driving force behind the movement. Of course, along that scale of "just how much is the Bible worth in dealing with these things," there are extremes and the differences become major. But anyone passionate about not short-changing the Bible is closer to nouthetic than to most of the alternatives.
But I don't know anybody (besides Jay himself and probably Donn) who agrees with all the details of "nouthetic." Certainly Welch doesn't (I don't think he claims to be "nouthetic" at all, though I could be wrong).

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Quote: Mental illness is not

Your view is dangerous in that it ignores the relationship between material and immaterial. There are physical illnesses that are sin-caused and physical illnesses that are not. And sometimes, it isn't even a true physical illness. Sometimes physical symptoms are the result of sinful thought patterns as well as thought patterns that turn into actions.

Your view that mental illness is not sin caused does a great disservice to those who desperately need to be confronted about their sin but instead are given a free pass because it is "mental illness." This type of oversimplification is as dangerous as the kind of oversimplification on the other side.

Aaron Blumer wrote: Well, now

Well, now we're getting somewhere because now I know what you accept and what you don't. and thus where the beef mostly is: the "Reformed view of sanctification."

Larry, your post does not

Larry, your post does not deserve a long answer. You need to get beyond your Fundamentalist Bible College education before you accuse someone who is a care taker for a mentally ill person and involved with research on the subject for over 10 years as being naive. I have been involved with this subject in teaching law and in court. Your arrogance is only exceeded by your appearant ignorance. Opinions like yours are exactly why Fundamentalism looks so bad to educated Christians. Why has Fundamentalism lost the younger generation? Look in the mirror.

If you properly define what and who is genuinly mentally ill, then you have a medically based cause. All Schizophrenia and Bipolar and adult autism has been so classified based in many studies. So have other catagories. You can probably still get the Canadian dept. of health study on Schizophrenia online. I do not have the time to find the address for you. Read and learn before you offer opinions!!

Bob, My post deserves more

My post deserves more interaction than you are willing to give it. But I understand it is easier just to accuse me of ignorance. First, I don't even have "fundamentalist Bible college education." Second, knowing some things about the issues is enough to offer a contribution. Third, I have dealt with these issues in ministry for a number of years. So I am not sure why you are calling me arrogant.

If you truly are a care taker for a mentally ill person, and if you have truly been involved with research for ten years, then your comments are even more inexcusable. How does someone with that kind of background possibly make the charges you have made? It is inconceivable to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of both mental illness and the Bible. I am not familiar with your caretaking responsibilities, so I won't pretend to pass judgment on that. You, in return, not being familiar with my experience should not pretend to pass judgment on it either. If you want to quit making personal attacks and read what I actually said, then you can offer a congent and coherent response.

I will sum it up for you again.

1. Some mental illness is physiological. No one should dispute that.

2. Not all mental illness has been shown to be physiological or caused by physiology. No one should dispute that.

3. Physiological mental illness has not been shown to be completely disconnected from sin. We know for a fact that much of what is diagnosed as mental illness can be traced to sin based on the diagnostic standards used by psychiatrists. No one should dispute that. Sometimes, sinful habits can bring on physiological changes.

4. It is naive and simplistic to say that all mental illness is physiological. We simply do not know that. Even a cursory reading of the relevant material will bear out the fact that we simply do not always know what causes things like clinical depression. If you read the DSM and compare it to Scripture, you will see very quickly that many of the things they consider as mental illness can in fact be traced directly to spiritual issues. That doesn't mean they all are. But it means that a psychiatrist who does not explore that realm is not dealing with the whole realm of possible contributing factors. He is doing a disservice to his patient not to consider what else might be contributing to the problem.

You don't seem to admit any other possibilities, even though the Bible and human experience gives us plenty of reason to I think your biggest problem revealed here is that you do not show any interaction at all with the interaction of the body and the spirit. The fact is that the human is complex. Spiritual matters, such as sin, do affect the body, and our response to the world around us. You are ignoring that fact.

Take, for instance, clinical depression. Let's assume there are physiological indicators (which, as you know, generally are not tested for). Are those physiological indicators the cause of depression? Or are they the result of depression? You see, that is what psychiatry does not fully interact with. If a person is involved in habitual sin, and they exhibit "clinical depression," we should immediately suspect that the sin habits may be the cause of the clinical depression. Surely even you admit that, don't you?

So, Bob, you may know more than you are saying here, but based on what you have said here (and said previously) you do not demonstrate a good handle on the complexity of these issues.

You have some valid concerns with the nouthetic counseling movement. But you also have some severe problems with your position, at least as you have laid it out here.

Aaron, my problem is not

my problem is not with Reformed sanctification here. This is with Nouthetic counseling and is not my problem alone. As J. Adams admits, he has received harsh criticism from many. Much of it has been very specific and has handled the issues better than I have here. It must be understood that most Evangelicals reject Nouthetic counseling. I know several who are very conservative and reject many of the concepts from secular Psychology but also reject Nouthetic counseling. It is a shame that many in Fundamentalism have accepted it. When at a Fundamentalist seminary in the early 1970s we had a class on counseling. However, it was not oriented toward Nouthetic counseling as that was not yet popular. As a "True Grace Dispensationalist" I would not agree completely with the Reformed view of sanctification. However, that is not the focus here at all.

I know you are seeking a common ground on the issues. I appreciate that.

WAS IT SIN OR THE DEVIL THAT MADE YOU DO IT?

Larry,
your reference to the DSM indicates where you stand on these issues. The DSM is used for billing purposes for insurance and government. It provides broad category information and description. It is not a primary or secondary source for information and knowledge as to the state of Psychiatric medicine.

Today we actually have mental illness studies indicating that it is physiologically based. Clinical depression is not part of that classification. It seems like every time Nouthetic counselors talk about mental illness they digress to using depression or clinical depression as some sort of example or excuse. You say that "we simply do not know that all mental illness is physiological." Who is we? Only physiological or medically based mental illness is so classified. You are possibly confusing the fact that Psychologists do not consider all psychological problems, including depression (which some loosely call clinical depression) as physiological. They will endeavor to use "therapy." Some will refer to a Psychiatrist for a prescription. These are usually not classified as "mental illness." The use of Brain scans is now wide spread. Physiological problems are the essence of mental illness within the mental health system.

Your claim for ministry acquaintance with the issues is very interesting to me. Pastors and church staff usually have almost no interaction with real mental illness. All I can say to you is to get the DVD for the movie "The Soloist." You will quickly understand what I am talking about. The subject in this film is typical of mental illness problems. It is a true story. Many caretakers have been through what the reporter in the movie goes through. You do not spend time trying to figure out what sins you can find. You try to keep them on medication and just care and help them move forward and alleviate symptoms. Some will improve if kept on the proper path of medication and later improve their executive functions and possibly work. Some will have symptoms subside in their forties. A Psychiatric nurse at a local hospital was in the mental health system from age 21. She went back to school in her forties and finally obtained her Phd. at age 70. She is still working in the behavioral medicine unit. Schizophrenia shows itself in males in the late teens and early twenties. In females it shows up in the twenties and even starts in the thirties in some. This is when the last 5% of the frontal lobe develops. If a person had the knowledge and experience to diagnose they could often see some odd symptoms in childhood years even though the child functioned mostly normal. When the onset does occur the first symptoms are usually word salad (mixing word order in sentences) and obsession with journaling which may be done with very small writing. The journaling will become increasingly nonsensense sentences. Eventually they may start hearing voices and may reply when alone. These and other onset symptoms are common in all schizophrenia onset. If diagnosed early, progression to more serious problems may be alleviated. However, because of parental and public ignorance most early symptoms are not understood and are over looked. Bipolar has its own set of onset symptoms. Some overlap with Schizophrenia. Studies indicate the causes to be genetic or birth or pregnancy trauma, such as an automobile accident. Studies indicate that twins separated at birth and brought up separately but one becomes Schizophrenic, the other has a 50% chance of also becoming Schizophrenic. These studies, and countless other studies, have given us a vast new resource of understanding regarding the different classifications of mental illness. The Brain is a mystery but we have made progress in understanding and treatment of mental illness. This includes the fact that all that is classified as mental illness has a medical etiology.

I took the time to give the above information so you will understand that much is known about mental illness causes and etiology. If someone wishes to allege that sin may be the cause of the presence of such illness then please show the study information. As you should realize no such studies can really be done. It is after the fact speculation. Also, in light of studies indicating a physical onset such speculation is simply avoiding what we do know.

The genuinely mentally ill deserve our love and care. It is sin to seek to make them accountable based on theories. Some medical experts have indicated that man's attitude and behavior may effect their physiology. However, none indicates that such could have such a severe effect as to initiate, contribute to, or cause actual mental illness. Nouthetic counselors like to use any such statements beyond their context and intent to construct a theory of sin causation. This is soundly rebuked by both secular and Christian behavioral science.

Your statements about mental illness are not accurate, old information of the 1950s to 1970s theories, and not in accordance with sound medical science of today. It is information found in books advocating Nouthetic counseling. Such books are not written by qualified medical science researchers and practitioners.

I have now interacted with you more than I should have . Larry, you need not do the somewhat extensive research I have done in this area as you do not have the motivation I have. Most Pastors do not have the time or necessity to do so. However, you should refrain from giving your opinions which are not based on accurate information and valid sources. I am going to give another post tomorrow in which i will give the ten best and latest books that can be a real help in understanding this subject today.

Thanks Bob. That’s a

First, your title to your post is part of the problem and it indicates that you are not interacting with what I have actually said. I never said anything that could remotely be implied as saying that it was sin or the devil that makes people do things. You need to get past what you think other people are saying and deal with what I am saying. I have intentionally not been dogmatic because I don't know. But you don't either.

With respect to DSM, it is not used only for billing purposes for insurance and government. The APA disagrees with you, according to their website. The DSM is routinely used in legal cases to assert mental illness. It is also used as a diagnostic tool to increase the likelihood that two psychiatrists will diagnose the same person in the same way. So your explanation was simplistic and inaccurate.

With respect to depression, clinical depression or major depressive disorder is a recognized mental illness, and is frequently attributed to physiology. I am sure you know that. But I am sure you know a lot of this and it makes your statements very confusing.

With respect to physiology, as I have said several times, there is no doubt that at least some mental illness is physiological. However, you are failing to interact with the cause/effect relationship. Does the mental illness cause the physiological symptoms or the other way around?

With respect to dealing with mental illness, I can’t speak for other pastors. And I certainly don’t need a movie about it. I have, for the better part of seven years, dealt with it. I have been through the episodes. The whole hearing voices thing, going through strange behavior, major mood swings, etc is all familiar. I could tell some incredible stories. And yes, bipolar people still sin and you have to try to find the sin issues and deal with them. They do need to stay on their meds. But they still have a heart and will still stand before God and give account, and we will stand before God for how we discipled them. The one thing I have been very careful to do is stay out of the medical end of it. I tell him to stay on his meds. He has no choice about that.

With respect to love and care, you cannot biblically love and care for someone without ministering to them in their sin. Ignoring their sin is not “love and care.” It is helping them along the road to damnation. Even mentally ill people still make choices.

Finally, I don’t advocate nouthetic counseling as you speak of it here. Furthermore, you haven’t actually shown anyplace that I have been wrong. You disagree with me, which is fine, but that doesn’t establish who is right and who is wrong.

So Bob, I appreciate the attempt you made here. I find it inadequate to support the charges you have made. I will look forward to seeing further interaction of substance that will help to clarify the issues.

Bob, I understand this is

Bob, I understand this is subject that is close to your heart. I agree that sometimes the nouthetic viewpoint goes too far, and that mental illness is a very complicated subject.

But let me make sure I understand you. after decades and decades of theories first being championed and rejected in the areas of psychiatry and psychology, you are 100% sure that NOW they have it right?

I'm looking forward to your reading list. Let me suggest a book for you to read: American Therapy: The Rise of Psychotherapy in the United States by Jonathan Engel. It is not written by a nouthetic counselor but from a completely secular perspective. He shows the complete failure of psychotherapy. He does advocate the use of drugs to a greater or lesser degree in current therapy of mental illness, but his history should be a warning to be so dogmatic about the causes of or solutions to mental illness.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Bob, You are right that real

You are right that real mental illness can only be taken care of by psychatrists. But, by your own admission that is less than 5% of the population. For the other 95% there are Biblical alternatives (I have had alot of NANC training, but I don't follow the whole model either).

You also said that in some cases they prescribe drugs for depression. I don't know what it is like in Southern California, but here in rural illinois, it is the other way around. In my small church of 40, i have had as many as 10 on a script for depression at a given time. Like I said earlier, that is the common thing to do here.

I refer and I never tell someone to stop taking their meds. I think those who tell people to stop taking there meds are nuts and I would venture that that is a very small minority who would do that. I have dealt with real mental illness before. But not with a family member as you have (I greatly sympathize and have prayed for your family often). I do have a son with regressive autism, but he is getting better. We have been fortunate that he has not had to be on meds, but if it were needed he would have been on medication.

Let me give you a real life story of my other son. When he was in first grade, he started twitching. His teacher noticed it and so did we. It got worse and we took him to the pediatrition. His Dr.'s response was to automatically refer him to a psychiatrist for medication for terets (medication that at the time was not FDA approved for kids, BTW). Before we did that, I took him to a Biblical Counseling Center. Before we went, I had talked to him and knowing him well, I knew he had some mild fear issues. The counselor at the center asked if he had scene a neurologist.

We made an appt with a pediatric neurologist in Chicago. After he examined him, he asked if he had problems with sore throats. We told him that he had strep twice that year. He told us that he needed his tonsils out. There was cutting edge research that showed there was a connection between the chemicals in infected tonsils and mimicking teret like symptoms.

We made an appt with a local ENT DR. We told him what the neurologist said and he agreed and also told us that children who need their tonsils out will often twitch because they are not sleeping well even when they appear healthy.

Within weeks of having his tonsils out, the "tick" disappeared. We were willing to put our son on teret medication if it were necessary. But how many children out there are on psychotropic drugs that are not even approved for minors because they have "terets" when all they need is there tonsils out? I am not saying there are people who have don' terets. What I am saying and what you would agree with is that whenever a recommendation for medication is necessary is that investigation needs to be done.

If I had your opinion of assumming medication was always the answer my son would be on medication for 4 years now and still would have the underlying problem. You accuse Larry of being simplistic and misguided. Bob you seem to be as well. There are MANY who need to be on medication. But there are MANY who do not. People need to investigate before they are put on meds. People need advocates that are seeking the best thing to be done for someone who cannot do it for themselves. Sometimes are needed, sometimes they are not necessary, and other times (like in the case of my son) meds will make the situation worse.

Roger Carlson, Pastor
Berean Baptist Church

Defining terms

There are two major difficulties to discussing these subjects.
1. Personal investment in one view or another
2. Use of terms

As for the first, when someone we are close has had needs that have required us to arrive at some answers and act on them, it's very uncomfortable to consider the possibility that we might not be handling things in the best possible way. This is true regardless if which side of a question you're on. Having had to make some tough choices in that area myself to a degree, I can sympathize. But the more we have personally invested in an idea the less objective we can be about its weaknesses.

As for the second, for many "mental illness" means illness based on brain chemicals. So sometimes the sides of the issue talk past each other because of the lack of shared terminology. So one says "mental illness can be caused by sin" and another says "no way" while simultaneously granting that "many of the problems people have in life are due to sin."
So most of the conflict is--in a way--over what "mental illness" is. And that's very hard to boil down to an essence folks will agree on even in the secular arena. But those who define "mental illness" very broadly in terms of thought and behavior and also define it narrowly in the area of cause (always chemical), are furthest removed from the "nouthetic" approach and--I believe--short changing Scripture (and not helping people as well they might otherwise).
And when "illness" is defined broadly in ref. to behavior, it invariably includes alot of stuff that has not been proven to have chemical causes (though there is much more evidence of chemical correlations) or even really be an "illness" at all.
So it really is necessary to be as precise as possible in defining terms. But not easy.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Quote: So one says "mental

So we need to be more cautious about the topic. The dogmatic statements from either side are not helpful, and I think that is what is most frustrating to many. Bob T makes some good points, but in doing so he ignores some other issues, and he makes those points with dogmatism that is not warranted. That is why I say that is simplistic, naive, and dangerous.

Any dealing with the issues of life must include a rigorous spiritual and biblical evaluation. We may find that there are no spiritual issues that we can determmine and thus proceed onto other ways of dealing with things. We may find that there are spiritual issues which must be addressed in conjunction with physical matters. And we may find that addressing spiritual matters is all that is necessary. But we must not rule out an option.

It reminds me of the congressional debate about social security. I remember one democrat saying, "All options are on the table, but we will not allow privatization." Well, that particular Senator is not the brightest bulb because if you take one option off the table (privatization), then all the options are not the table.

In this case, once you deny the possibility of anything spiritual, then you have illegitimate taken one possible explanation off the table. If the situation is truly connected to the spiritual, you have done the patient a gross disservice, and one that has eternal consequences. So let's take this matter more seriously.

Brain Disease

I practiced psychiatry until my son was diagnosed with autism 18 years ago. I left my practice to direct his treatment program and never returned, because in the interim I discovered biblical counseling. My current ministry includes psychiatrically informed biblical counseling. I've kept up with the psychiatric field and still subscribe to the journals. I like the term "brain disease" better than "mental illness" because today's psychology/psychiatry has muddied the distinction between painful emotional states and real physical illness of the brain. I counsel people with severe brain diseases like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, autism, psychotic bipolar, and traumatic brain injury, I'm supportive of the use of meds in a variety of circumstances, and I consult with pastors and biblical counselors on their difficult cases. I'm not able to engage in a dialog, and I'm not willing to address every issue that's been brought up in this forum, for reasons of time, but I would like to respond to a few of the assertions that have been made here.

Jay Adams is a brilliant man whose books have done much good, but he is, like all of us, a product of his times. When he first began writing in the late 1960s, psychiatrists were exclusively psychoanalytic. They held to an unbiblical model of personality development, and believed that they could cure everything, including schizophrenia, through talking. His books were directed at this worldview, and he initially spoke more approvingly of psychologists because he received some training in psychology by a university research psychologist (O. Hobart Mowrer). But this was before psychologists in large numbers abandoned university research for clinical practice and took over the same psychotherapeutic ground that psychiatrists later abandoned for the current biomedical model. When he taught biblical counselors to send their counselees to their family doctors instead of psychiatrists for medical screening he was attempting to keep Christians away from psychotherapists espousing unbiblical views, not demonizing psychiatrists. He later had the same problem with psychologists. It was primarily an issue of worldview, not medication use.

Adams left open the possibility that proof of organic causation for some problems could be discovered in the future, and spoke about how we would understand such a development biblically if it should happen--which, of course, it has for brain diseases like schizophrenia. On this subject, I think that he was amazingly prescient, and it's to his credit that his biblical theology was inclusive enough to leave room for this possibility. Overzealous followers asserted that he taught that there was no such thing as schizophrenia and therefore serious brain disease did not really exist, but he never actually said that. His argument was with the label "schizophrenia," not with the potential for existence of conditions that could impair the ability to accurately perceive reality, but many biblical counselors have in the past believed that to be biblical they have to take a "no such thing as schizophrenia and no meds ever" approach.

The biblical counseling movement has been swinging away from this view in recent years. I've had a public ministry for some years now on this subject, and have found unfailingly that biblical counselors are quick to correct their misperceptions about brain diseases when they understand the issues involved more clearly. I encourage biblical counselors to refer those with brain diseases to psychiatrists for medicine, and agree that they are the most competent physicians to prescribe these potentially dangerous medicines. But I also encourage biblical counselors that they can counsel even those who have serious impairments with reality, because even those who are seriously ill also have a sin problem. We can't escape this, since every human being ever born except our Savior is a sinner, and all sinners sin (Romans 3:23). I've found that even very seriously impaired people's function improves when they are in an environment where they are encouraged to take their meds, surrounded by a church community that loves them and holds them accountable, and helped to structure their lives to minimize the kinds of things that work against stability (substance abuse, chaotic living situations, wrong friends, not keeping regular hours, etc). In fact, I'd love to see the church take seriously the deep needs of people who are currently in the community mental health system--not to get them out of it, for many need the free care and practical support it provides, but to supplement it with a much-needed biblical worldview, personal, loving Christian charity and real relationship.

But it's essential to see clearly the distinction between real brain disease and what is referred to as "chemical imbalance." There is much functional brain scanning research linking the brain's chemical status to the thoughts and feelings of experimental subjects. Nobody is arguing with the fact that functional scanning demonstrates the brain's activity when a subject is having thoughts and feelings. But there is not, and cannot be, any research proving that the brain's chemical status arises de novo and produces thoughts and feelings on its own. The belief that it does has to be considered to be religious/philosophical in nature, because it's not possible to determine causation where the immaterial mind is involved. It is possible to experiment on the brain, but it's not possible to delineate via experiments the precise relationship between activity in the immaterial mind and corresponding brain activity. This is not a problem for the many secular psychiatrists who are also materialists, denying the existence of an immaterial mind. But for those of us who want to be biblical, we have to go beyond what the brain is doing to seek to understand how the mind (whose existence the Bible clearly teaches) is involved in cases where physical brain disease is not the primary issue. We also have to insist that even those whose relationship with reality is seriously disordered have thoughts and emotions that are tainted by their sinful nature, and can learn to respond biblically to areas of sin in their lives (as well as learn not to listen to their voices!). But as we do this we need to step very tentatively, understanding that there is much we don't know about the relationship between the physical brain and the nonphysical mind.

Biblical counselors look to biblical anthropology and insist that the mind (soul, spirit, heart) is the source of our thoughts, feelings, and choices. This means that bad feelings, by themselves, do not constitute brain diseases, even though the brain's chemical balance is involved in the expression of those feelings. I don't believe that this means that it's wrong to take medicines for overwhelming feelings. But when people do, they should be aware that what they are doing is suppressing those feelings, not curing them. This is somewhat analogous to what morphine does for the pain of appendicitis--it decreases the pain but does not solve the underlying problem. I've been practicing psychiatry or biblical counseling for about 25 years now, and have not found medicines to be curative in any case by themselves, although they can be a useful adjunct for those who are struggling with very overwhelming emotions, and are essential for those who have true brain diseases, since all we can do for manifestations like voices is to suppress them using medicines.

Biblical counseling is a biblically consistent intervention that gets to the heart of the painful emotions. When I counsel those with brain diseases, I work to get them to understand that they will need to continue to take their medicines to remain stable, as well as teach them how to deal with temptations and struggles in their lives that rise from their sin nature. As they walk in increasing stability, they also begin to understand themselves and their problems better and are able to lead a more normal life. As for those who are not suffering from these devastating diseases, but are struggling with painful emotions, many who begin seeing me while already on medicines over time find them to be no longer necessary because they get to the heart of their struggles. I've also had counselees who don't respond to counseling alone, because they're already in a deep emotional hole by the time they come for counseling. I refer such counselees to a psychiatrist for medicine, and usually find that they do well in counseling with this additional physical support, and later are able to stop the medicines. It should go without saying that when a counselee is considering harm to self or others, I always recommend a trip to the emergency room and hospitalization with medicines, to protect a sufferer when he is too vulnerable to do so for himself.

This is not the only way to slice this pie, and I don't think that you have to see it the way I do to be biblical. This is just the way that I do it. I respect very much the passion that Bob T. brings to this discussion. I am passionate about this topic too, as I have a close relationship with a dear one who has had a very severe case of schizophrenia for almost 20 years, as well as a son who was born with severe autism. But I believe that it's possible to be biomedically informed and biblically consistent at the same time.