Competent to Counsel (Publication)

Competent to Counsel (Publication)

By Lauren York

I. Overview

Dr. Jay Adams is widely respected as the Father of the Biblical Counseling Movement. Beginning his work as pastor, professor, and church planter, he has experience behind the pulpit as well as the desk. After studying counseling thoroughly both individually as well as under the supervision of a highly respected psychologist of the 20th century, Adams felt led to write about his findings. In the seventies when this book was written, counseling for the Christian looked too much like counseling for the non-Christian. Did God’s Word have a role in the specific lives of troubled believers? Or were they doomed to temporary solutions and stick-on bandages for soul-deep wounds? In his finest work, Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, Jay Adams explores the sufficiency of Scripture for all areas of life. He reevaluates traditional, secular approaches and instead teaches believers how they can become qualified to help others in the counseling setting through effectively wielding the Scriptures.

II. History

In the preface of Competent to Counsel, Adams discusses his background in ministry. Despite being prepared to lead in the church, he had a feeling of inadequacy when it came to the bigger problems of life—the areas psychologists were supposed to deal with. One day after and evening service, a man from his church approached him, burdened by some struggle. He grasped for words, but finally sent the man home with a still heavy heart. Less than a month later, the man died. Adams felt like a failure. After this tragedy, he saw a deficiency in his qualifications and devoted himself to the study of counseling. However, as he borrowed from secular textbooks and listened to recommendations from Christian counselors, he eventually found his way to one of the most influential psychologists of the 20th century: O. Hobart Mowrer.

A noted research psychologist, Mowrer was honored with the Presidency of the American Psychological Association for his radical perspective on learning theory. He challenged mainstream beliefs, questioned institutionalized psychiatry, and even ventured to declare current psychiatric dogmas to be false. By the late 1950s, Mowrer had abandoned psychology as a theory as well as practice. Instead of adopting and accepting the common Medical Model for understanding human behavior, he proposed the Moral Model. In Mowrer’s Moral Model, he showed how the assumption of personal responsibility usurped any ideas claiming mental illness as the culprit for deviant behavior. Having worked closely with the OSS, community groups, students, the severely troubled in mental institutions and many other control groups, Mowrer was exposed to the most “diseased” of society. He supposedly was plagued by severe mental illness as well. Yet, he held to his convictions that people are not sick in the head—they are behaviorally immoral.

In the summer of 1965, Jay Adams was privileged to work alongside of Mowrer in a sort of internship setup. Adams refers to this time as “an unforgettable experience.” Adams was pricked by Mowrer’s theory of personal responsibility in the face of guilt or clinical insanity. He began to feel challenged by this viewpoint which claimed the problem stems from within the man, not outside. Adams explains that it was this radical belief system which drove him to ask, “What do the Scriptures say about such people and the solution to their problems?” As a Christian minister, he stood in stark contrast to Mowrer. While their deep distaste for psychology was a connection, Adams’ adherence to Scripture as the ultimate source of truth set him apart from his superior. He was so stirred by his time studying under Mowrer that he launched his own counseling and education center the following year, and in 1970—within just five years of his “unforgettable experience”—Adams had written and published his first edition of Competent to Counsel.

 

III. Impact

The publication of this book was the subject of heated debate and broad controversy among churches. Since “widespread conservative and religious distrust of psychology persisted even into the 1960s,”[1] Adams’ theories were not quickly adopted by the church. However, Adams’ early exposure to a Mowrer “go against the grain” type of approach stuck with him and made an impact on the Christian community as a whole. Whereas he largely lost interprofessional acceptance, he gained followers among pastors and their parishioners overtime. Psychology had previously taken a transcendent role in the job of soul care, but now, the task was redelivered to the hands of ministers of the soul. The Father of the Biblical Counseling Movement essentially replaced the Father of American Psychology. In an interview with Tabletalk Magazine, Jay Adams quotes, “I never say that Christians are competent. I say that they ought to become competent. That’s why I have taught counseling both in writing and in classes for so many years.”[2] No longer is the realm of counseling set aside for trained psychiatrists; it is set aside for those who have answers for the soul. Through the comprehensive usage of Scripture to effect lasting change, he shows in this book just how intimate the counselor’s understanding of the Word must be in order to directly apply it to the counselee’s life.

After his revelatory experience working under Mowrer, Jay Adams’ sole goal was to take the truths he had gleaned about man’s need for responsibility and pair that with the Word of God. Thus, Competent to Counsel became a text dedicated to helping people learn how to be qualified for the task of instructing. In the book, Adams writes that he is not only fully aware of the problem of “old eclecticism with a Christian coating,” but that he attempts to reject it. This statement directly addresses the controversy about the medical versus the biblical that arose as a result of his publication. People were wary of Adams’ approach to the Scriptures and his claims about becoming “competent” to counsel. The role of the Pastor and Christian is to talk about religion, not mind or life problems, the culture claims. But his early exposure to Mowrer’s sharply contrasted belief system with that of the day prepared Adams for the unwavering stance of the Biblical Counselor. He credits his former teacher with driving him to the conclusion that the “mentally ill” can be helped with the Word of God.

Psychology is so engrained in the mind of the culture that it is hard to escape, but he thoroughly combats the assumption that sin issues are strictly mental issues.  The very idea of integrationism in counseling is appalling to him. The denouncement of these forms of instruction such as Christian Counseling helped to form a clear distinction between the truly biblical and unbiblical. His method of counseling focused on instruction, which is why he gave it the title of nouthetic counseling (nouthetic means to “admonish, correct, or instruct”).[3] As believers began to grasp the relevance of the Bible for life and the need for it in the counseling setting, the line was being drawn. There is no mistake now about the focus as well as the effects of Biblical Counseling which elevate it from any other type of “soul-care.” Adam’s derives his methodologies and instruction directly from the Word of God, and this is certain to have a deep impact.

 

IV. Works/Publications

Aside from Competent to Counsel, Jay Adams has authored over 100 books. Some of his most prominent works are as follows[4]:

  • The Christian Counselor’s Manual
  • Theology You Can Really Understand
  • Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible
  • Shepherding God’s Flock: A Handbook on Pastor Ministry, Counseling, and Leadership

 

 

 

 

V. Bibliography

 

Adams, Jay Edward. Competent to Counsel: Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publ. House, 2002.

 

“Adams, Jay E. 1929.” [WorldCat Identities], Last modified January 1, 1970. http://orlabs.oclc.org/identities/lccn-n50-36855/.

 

Bob. “Competent to Counsel?” RPM Ministries, Last modified December 9, 2009. https://rpmministries.org/2009/06/competent-to-counsel/.

 

“Competent to Counsel: An Interview with Jay Adams by Jay Adams.” Ligonier Ministries. Accessed May 5, 2020. https://www.ligonier.org/learn/articles/competent-counsel-interview-jay-adams/.

 

Gifford, Greg E. “Jay E. Adams.” The Encyclopedia of Biblical Counseling, Last modified July 11, 2019. https://encyclopediabc.com/2018/12/11/jay-e-adams/.

 

“Jay Adams’ Heritage: How Jay Adams Is Connected to the Father of American Psychology.” Biblical Counseling Coalition, Last modified May 3, 2019. https://www.biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/2019/05/03/jay-adams-heritage-how-jay-adams-is-connected-to-the-father-of-american-psychology/.

 

Powlison, David Arthur, “Competent to Counsel? The history of a conservative Protestant anti-psychiatry movement” (1996). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9712988.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI9712988

 

Page, C. (2017). Preserving guilt in the “age of psychology”: The curious career of O. Hobart Mowrer. History of Psychology, 20(1), 1–27. https://doi.org/10.1037/hop0000045.

 

[1] History of Psychology, Preserving guilt in the “age of psychology.” 1-27.

[2] “Competent to Counsel: An Interview with Jay Adams by Jay Adams.” Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Powlison, David Arthur, “Competent to Counsel?”

[4] “Adams, Jay E. 1929.” [WorldCat Identities].

 

Edward T. Welch

Edward T. Welch

By Elisa Hurley

I. Known for:

Edward T. Welch M.Div., Ph.D. or better known as Ed Welch, is known for being a biblical counselor and author of many well-known Christian books, his most popular being When People are Big and God is Small[1].

II. Biography

Dr. Ed Welch grew up in a Christian home with a believing father who struggled with depression and had to be hospitalized on and off throughout his childhood[2]. Although, Welch grew up in a Christian home, he was not interested in the Christian life. In an interview with IBCD, he said, “Throughout most of my life I believed that the facts were true, I believed that Jesus was the Messiah and I believed that He came to conquer death, but I didn’t want to follow Him.” It wasn’t until the end of his time in University, when looking at the life ahead of him, things seemed to have less meaning, purpose and depth than he anticipated. Between that and reading through the Scriptures, over the course of a few months he found himself confessing sin and coming to Christ.

Shortly after his conversion, he decided to go to seminary, not necessarily because he wanted a career in ministry, but he knew that no matter what he was going to do he wanted Scripture to be the foundation. “The bible changes people and I wanted to study it more.” His second year at CCF, he took a counseling course, and “it just took me.” Welch said, “I enjoy speaking with people individually, probably more than publicly. It was suited to me.” Because of his interest in counseling, he decided to take a detour into graduate school for a few years and then returned to CCF after that.

Ed Welch went on to earn a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and also a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. He has been working for Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) outside of Philadelphia since 1981, as a teacher, counselor, and writer[3]. About which he said, “I couldn’t imagine a better job. To consider how does this ancient text come alive in our present struggles… to have that as my job description for 35 years and to have people who come to me for counseling. I’ve always found that to be an odd thing that people to simply come to me not even knowing how I am and yet at the same time I’m honored by that and to have an opportunity to see the Spirit working in the details of people’s lives is just invigorating.”[4]

Welch and his wife Sheri have two daughters, two sons-in-law, and eight grandchildren[5].

III. Theological views

Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, that Ed Welch is a part of believes that:

  • “The triune God—Father, Son and Spirit—have always known reciprocal fellowship and unity, and he has created us to participate in that fellowship. He welcomes us to himself through Jesus Christ. The Spirit connects us to Jesus, and Jesus is the only way to the Father.”

“The Spirit presses the very word of God into our hearts. He reveals Jesus. In Jesus, we find all wisdom and goodness. No one else can so deeply nurture and sustain us.The Spirit applies Scripture to our hearts. “The Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God” (1 Cor 2:10)”[6]

 

IV. Works/Publications

A. Books

·      Men: Pursue Others Like Jesus Pursues You

·      Samson: For Us

·      10 Things You Should Know about the Priesthood

·      Desire for Approval

·      Is Scripture Sufficient for Counseling?

·      Listening is…

·      Faith as Sight

·      The Solid God

·      “A time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Eccl 3:4)

 

  • Desiring God

·      Two Underused Strategies for Addiction

·      Doubt Your Own Anger

·      Six Ordinary Lessons for Mental-Health Issues

·      Darkness Does and Will Descend

·      Does God Really Love You?

D. Interviews

·      CCEF for Pastors with Ed Welch

·      Anger with Ed Welch and Myriam Hertzog

·      Pathological Liars with Ed Welch

·      029 Interview with Ed Welch

 

E. Audio

V. Influence on Biblical Counseling

Edward Welch as an author has written books that are very widely used throughout the biblical counseling movement. He is also a speaker at biblical counseling conferences and assists in training younger biblical counselors.

 

VI. Bibliography

CCEF. “About us.” https://www.ccef.org/people/ed-welch/. Accessed April 23, 2020

CCEF. “Ed Welch.” https://www.ccef.org/people/ed-welch/. Accessed April 23, 2020

Welch, Edward T., “Interview with Ed Welch.” Interview by Jim Newheiser and Bob       Goudzwaard, IBCD Website, Date accessed: April 23, 2020.

 

YouTube.  “CCEF’s Ed Welch shares why he studied depression.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLugnOKNlVA.  August 22, 2013

 

  • External Links

https://www.bookreporter.com/authors/edward-t-welch

https://www.ccef.org/people/ed-welch/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/18168.Edward_T_Welch

https://smile.amazon.com/Edward-T-Welch/e/B001H6QS02?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1587774476&sr=8-1

 

[1] CCEF. https://www.ccef.org/people/ed-welch/

[2]“CCEF’s Ed Welch shares why he studied depression”, YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLugnOKNlVA, (date accessed: April 23, 2020)

[3] IBCD. https://ibcd.org/029-interview-with-ed-welch/

[4] Edward T. Welch, “Interview with Ed Welch.” Interview by Jim Newheiser and Bob Goudzwaard, IBCD Website, accessed: April 23, 2020.

[5] “About us,” CCEF, accessed April 23, 2020, https://www.ccef.org/people/ed-welch/.

[6] Ibid.

The Master’s University

The Master’s University 

by Rachel Miller

 

I. Overview

In 1991, The Master’s University became the first school to offer a Bachelor of Arts degree in biblical counseling.  The program is, “designed to prepare God’s people to meet counseling-related needs wherever they exist with the sufficient and superior resources God provides.”[1]   Students at The Master’s University may obtain a B.A./M.A. in biblical studies with an emphasis in biblical counseling as either traditional or online students.

The biblical counseling program seeks to equip students to accurately understand and apply, and instruct others through God’s Word.  They are committed to the authority and sufficiency of God’s Word to address all of man’s problems.  They hold that, while secular psychology may provide helpful observations, only God’s Word can provide accurate interpretation and bring about effective hope and change.  They affirm biblical counseling because they are, “committed to the Word of God as being authoritative Truth; because the only means of authentic change begins with faith in Jesus; and because the ultimate jurisdiction of counseling falls within the church.”[2]  They assert that while outside sources can be helpful, everything man needs to live a God-honoring life is contained within God’s Word.

TMU is connected with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and holds to the same biblical counseling model, as opposed to the integrational model of counseling.  Students who receive their B.A./M.A. in Biblical Counseling have completed much of the work necessary to receive their ACBC certification.  TMU also offers further study in biblical counseling through their Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling.

 

II. History

In 1991, Dr. John MacArthur authored Our Sufficiency in Christ in which he asserts that, “to possess the Lord Jesus Christ is to have every spiritual resource,”[3] and that Christ is sufficient to provide for all man’s needs.  That same year, as president of the university, he hired Dr. Robert Smith as the first biblical counseling faculty member at TMU.  Dr. Wayne Mack was then hired in 1993 to head up the program at the graduate level.  The departments have seen several changes in leadership at both the graduate and undergraduate level.  The MABC program is now led by Dr. John Street, while Dr. Greg Gifford heads up the undergraduate counseling program.  Dr. Ernie Baker is the online biblical counseling department chair.[4]

III. Resources

A. Leaders

Undergraduate Faculty:

Greg Gifford

Shelbi Cullen

Adjunct Undergraduate Faculty:

Jamaica Groover-Skelton

Robert Somerville

Tom Sugimura

Adam Tyson

Ed Wilde

Former Undergraduate Faculty:

Ernie Baker

Joe Keller

Wayne Mack

Bob Smith

Robert Somerville

MABC Faculty:

Stuart Scott

John Street

B. Publications

1. Journals:

The Journal of Biblical Soul Care https://www.masters.edu/jbsc.html

2. Books

The Master’s University Biblical Counseling faculty have written several books contributing to the field of biblical counseling, including:

How to Counsel Biblically – Master’s University Faculty

Think Biblically! – Master’s University Faculty

Marry Wisely, Marry Well – Ernie Baker

Helping Your Family Through PTSD – Greg Gifford 

Christian Life Issues – Wayne Mack

Anger and Stress Management – Wayne Mack

 To Be or not to Be a Church Member – Wayne Mack

 God’s Solutions to Life’s Problems – Wayne Mack

 Preparing for Marriage God’s Way – Wayne Mack

 Strengthening Your Marriage – Wayne Mack

31 Ways to Be a “OneAnother” Christian – Stuart Scott

Counseling the Hard Cases – Stuart Scott and Heath Lambert

Men Counseling Men – John Street

C. Blog Posts

https://www.masters.edu/news/biblical-counseling-v-pyschology.html

D. Counseling

The Master’s University does not practice counseling, but equips students for the work of counseling.

 

E. External Links

 

Bibliography

[1] https://www.masters.edu/programs/biblical-counseling.html

[2] “Biblical Counseling v. Psychology,” Dr. Greg Gifford, February 7, 2018, https://www.masters.edu/news/biblical-counseling-v-pyschology.html.

[3] John MacArthur, Our Sufficiency in Christ, (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1991), 11.

[4] Greg Gifford, “History of Biblical Counseling at The Master’s University,” Dec. 11, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sebP4aVxrU&feature=emb_logo.

 

Elise Fitzpatrick

Elyse Fitzpatrick

by Julie Carroll

Fitzpatrick

1. Known for

Elyse Fitzpatrick is known for her work in the area of biblical counseling—writing and speaking on the subject.

2. Biography

Fitzpatrick was born in 1950 with the place of her birth is unknown, although she currently resides in Escondido, CA.

A. Parents

Fitzpatrick’s parents are unknown, but Fitzpatrick has stated that she grew up in a ‘marginally Christian home.’

B. Education

She holds a bachelor’s degree in theology, a master’s degree in biblical counseling from Trinity Theological Seminary and was the first person to be certified through the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation. She also became a member with the National Association of Nouthetic Counselors (now the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors) in 1989.

C. Significant life events that impacted person

Elyse Fitzpatrick was raised in a secular home; therefore, she never really heard the Gospel message until right before her 21st birthday. She was befriended by a woman named Julie who is still her friend today. Julie shared the Gospel with Fitzpatrick, and the message was revolutionary since she was saved shortly after hearing it for the first time. After becoming saved in June of 1971, she began bible school in September of that same year. The Gospel revolutionized her life once more just recently as she was realizing that it had become secondary in importance to her counseling work. This took place during the writing of Because He Loves Me.

In her book Home, Fitzpatrick talks about several tragic events that impacted her greatly. A ministry she had involved herself in fell apart. Her home church went through certain issues that brought her great pain. Two acquaintances left their pastoral positions. Then her uncle, who had been a father figure in her life, died.

III. Theological Views

Fitzpatrick’s believes in the Trinity—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God is the Creator of the universe; Jesus is the One Who died for our sins and offers us free eternal life; and the Holy Spirit is the One Who empowers us.

Fitzpatrick believes that the Bible is ‘God’s revelation of truth.’ It is ‘the only book that can correctly diagnose our sin problem.’

Fitzpatrick has stated that man is sinful: ‘We sin. Others sin against us. We live in a sin-cursed world.’

IV. Works/Publications

A. Books

Elyse Fitzpatrick’s books can be found at this link:

https://www.christianbook.com/page/christian-authors/elyse-fitzpatrick?event=Christian-Authors|1002162

B. Pamphlets

C. Articles

Elyse Fitzpatrick’s own website is a great resource for her writings:

https://www.elysefitzpatrick.com/blog/

Some of her articles can be found at The Gospel Coalition:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/profile/elyse-fitzpatrick/

Another great resource for finding articles written by Fitzpatrick would be the Revive Our Hearts website:

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/authors/elyse-fitzpatrick/

D. Interviews

Interviews with Elyse Fitzpatrick can be found at this link:

https://ibcd.org/?s=elyse+fitzpatrick

E. Audio

Video references can be found at RightNow Media:

https://www.rightnowmedia.org/Content/Speaker/999693

F. Influence on Biblical Counseling

Fitzpatrick, being the first certified counselor by Christian Counselor’s Educational Foundation, has had a great influence on the area of biblical counseling. From the very start, she has been very influential to the style in which counselors are taught. She is an outspoken supporter of women counseling women; she believes that women should seek degrees and certification in order to counsel solidly.

G. Bibliography

A list of her books are as follows:

Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety

Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone

Comforts from the Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time

Love to Eat, Hate to Eat: Overcoming the Bondage of Destructive Eating Habits

Worthy: Celebrating the Value of Women

Answering Your Kid’s Toughest Questions: Helping Them Understand Loss, Sin, Tragedies, and Other Hard Topics

Good News for Weary Women: Escaping the Bondage of To-Do Lists, Steps and Bad Advice

When Good Kids Make Bad Choices: Help and Hope for Hurting Parents

Finding the Love of Jesus from Genesis to Revelation

Home: How Heaven and the New Earth Satisfy our Deepest Longings

The Afternoon of Life: How to Find Purpose and Joy in Midlife

Helper by Design

A Steadfast Heart: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Life’s Storms

Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises

You Never Stop Being a Parent: Thriving in Relationship with Your Adult Children

Women Counseling Women

Comfort from Romans: Celebrating God’s Word One Day at a Time

Will Medicine Stop the Pain? Finding God’s Healing for Depression, Anxiety, & Other Troubling Emotions

Because He Loves Me

Giving Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus

Found in Him: The Joy of the Incarnation and Our Union with Christ

Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family

 

Anorexia

By Hannah Walsh

I. Definition:

Eating Disorder: the habitual misuse of food, characterized by severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Anorexia Nervosa: an eating disorder characterized by extreme weight loss.

Biblical Perspective

A person ought to bring glory to God in all that they do, including eating and drinking (1 Corinthians 10:31). Eating disorders are a misuse of God’s gift of food, and are contrary to God’s design for human beings. God created food to be enjoyable and nourishing. Unfortunately, sin affects the proper use and enjoyment of food. A person may misuse food by overeating, undereating, or having the wrong attitude about food. This is a result of being controlled or enslaved by wrong desires (1 Corinthians 6:12-13). Indwelling heart idols such as control, pride, or vanity may lead an individual to develop an eating disorder. Actions are sinful when one does them primarily to satisfy one’s own desires instead of to please God.[1] 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that one ought to honor God with one’s body. A person’s body does not belong to themselves, but to God (Romans 14:7–8). It is clear that someone with an eating disorder is not glorifying the Lord in the way that they are treating their body and the provisions that He has provided, nor with the desires that initially brought on the eating disorder.

Secular Perspective:

The National Eating Disorders Association states that there is a growing consensus that eating disorders are caused by a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors.[2] More than merely a lifestyle choice, eating disorders are considered serious and often fatal illnesses.[3] Someone with an eating disorder is often described as having an abnormal eating pattern, stemming from mental or emotional issues. Signs of eating disorders may include an unhealthy obsession with food, body weight, and shape. The three general types of eating disorders are known as anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating. [4] It is commonly accepted that eating disorders most often stem from incorrect thinking, and in particular an incorrect view of self.

Generally, people suffering from anorexia nervosa obsessively restrict calories and foods. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers states that, most commonly occurring in young females, anorexia is characterized by a refusal to maintain normal body weight, a fear of gaining weight or becoming obese, a disturbance of body image, an unwarranted reliance on body weight or shape for self-evaluation, and amenorrhea.[5]

Secular treatments for eating disorders include nutritional rehabilitation, individual psychotherapy, reinforcement and cognition, inpatient and residential, group therapy, and family interventions, and medication.[6]

II. History

In the 19th century, a French psychiatrist named Charles Lasegue studied anorexia from a social and psychological standpoint.[7] In time physicians agreed that eating disorders were medical conditions and physical diseases, and later it was come to be accepted that they were not merely physical, but emotional and mental matters. In 1980, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) added an eating disorders section for the first time.[8] Since that time, eating disorders have come to be considered serious issues stemming from mental illnesses.[9]

III. Etiology

Eating disorders are both spiritual and physical matters. It is important to understand both the spiritual and physical aspects.

Physical evidences of eating disorders depends upon the particular disorder. A person with anorexia nervosa will exhibit certain distinguishable behaviors The DSM-IV outlines four major criteria for diagnosis of anorexia nervosa, which include a refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for their age and height , an experience of intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese even though they are underweight, a misunderstanding of the seriousness of their weight loss provide and a demonstration of disturbances in the way their body weight and shape is experienced.[10] Obvious symptoms may include abnormal blood count, fatigue,  dizziness/fainting, anxiety and depression, insomnia, thinning hair, discoloration of skin, osteoporosis, or low blood pressure. A person with an eating disorders may isolate themselves from others or exhibit compulsive behavior.[11]

The spiritual side of the matter is of even more importance, as it is of eternal importance. Even secular psychologies state that eating disorders are not merely physical. The disorders stem from internal desires, and result in further spiritual issues. A person may, for example, desire to be in control of every aspect of their life, or desire to be beautiful or perfect. These desires, when desired above God, lead to sinful behavior. The eating disorder may lead to further sinful responses or attitudes, such as anger, depression, or anxiety.

IV. Examining the Heart

It is important that a believer thinks about the issues of eating disorders through the lens of Scripture. There are two emergency situations involved in eating disorders – the first is the physical life-threatening emergency, and the second is the spiritual eternal-soul threatening emergency.[12]  Both must be dealt with in the proper way. The goal in counseling an individual who is dealing from an eating disorder is not merely to help restore them to a place where they are physically healthy and out of danger, but ultimately that the individual would experience true biblical change that can only come from the truth of God’s Word and the work of the Spirit impacting their heart and mind. Ultimately, as in all matters, the goal is that Jesus Christ would be glorified.

A counselee should be led towards a better understanding of who God is and why He made man. This will lead into a better understanding of how one ought to live in response, and how that affects even the way that one eats.

Once determined, the heart issues need to be addresses. Common heart themes in regards to eating disorders are control and vanity.

Control: A person who idolizes control is not trusting in God’s sovereignty. There desire is, essentially, to try to be God instead of trusting and living in submission to God. This idol can lead to eating disorders, such as anorexia, because the person desires to control every calorie they intake or every pound they weigh to the point where is becomes unhealthy and obsessive. They may pride themselves in having control over their feelings of hunger. The desire to be in control can lead to obsessive behavior in regards to food.

Vanity: Vanity is another common root of eating disorders. Many secular counselors will tell their counselees that they need to think more highly of themselves, that there self-esteem is too low. This is not the case. On the contrary, a person is thinking too highly of themselves when they so strongly desire to look a certain way that they are willing to hurt themselves to get there.

V. Biblical Solutions

When it comes to eating disorders, many biblical counselors use what is sometimes called the Three-Pronged Approach to care for their counselee in the best possible way.[13] This refers to the team approach that should be taken, as eating disorders are both a physical emergency as well as a heart issue. The three-prongs are: Medical doctor, Nutritionist, and Biblical Counselor. A biblical counselor needs to care for the counselee’s soul and mind, while encouraging her to be heeding the instructions of her doctor and nutritionist. Eating disorders are unique counseling issues as the spiritual and the physical aspects of eating disorders correlate. As in any counseling issue, the goal is that a counselee would move towards Christlikeness. The purpose is promoting genuine, lasting change in the life of a counselee, for the glory of God. Ephesians 4 demonstrates that sin needs to be put off, and righteousness needs to be put on. In some cases, the sin of control or vanity needs to be put off, and trust in God and humility need to be put on. Sinful behaviors and actions, such as the misuse of food, need to be put off, and godly behaviors need to replace them. This can only be done through a work of the Holy Spirit in one’s heart. A counselee needs to be led to heart-altering truth of God’s Word in order to experience change.

 

Recommended Sources:

“How to Help People Change” by Jay Adams

“Love to Eat, Hate to Eat” by Elyse Fitzpatrick

“Redeemed From the Pit: Biblical Repentance And Restoration From The Bondage of Eating Disorders” by Marie Notcheva

“Counseling as if Life Depended on It” by Martha Peace (audio)

“Eating Disorders: Hope for Hungering Souls” by Mark Shaw

“Eating Disorders: The Quest for Thinness” by Ed Welch

 

 

Recommended Homework Sources:

“A Homework Manual for Biblical Living” by Wayne Mack

“More Than Bread: A Workbook for Women Who Struggle with Eating” by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Discovering Wonderful Things Worksheets

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • Matthew 6:33

Self-Talk Log Worksheet

Daily Prayer Journal

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

[1] Fitzpatrick, Elyse. More than Bread. 19.

[2] https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-are-eating-disorders

[3] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/index.shtml

[4]National Institute for Mental Health, Eating Disorders: About More Than Food.

[5] Dorland, W. A. Newman. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Health Consumers. 91.

[6] Mental Health: American Addiction Centers, Inc: “Eating Disorder Professional Treatment

[7] https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/historical-understandings/

[8] “DSM-IV-TR Classification.” Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR)

[9] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/symptoms-causes/syc-20353591

[10]https://www.psycom.net/anorexia-and-depression/

[11]https://iocdf.org/expert-opinions/expert-opinion-eating-disorders-and-ocd/

[12]Peace, Martha. “Counseling as If a Life Depended on It (Anorexia).”IBCD Institute for Biblical

Counseling and Discipleship, 13 July 2017, ibcd.org/counseling-as-if-a-life-depended-on-

it-anorexia/.

[13]https://www.biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/2015/03/03/a-three-pronged-team-approach-when-caring-for-people-with-eating-disorders/

Bi-Polar Disorder

By Kelsey Trainor

I. Definition        

Secular Perspective

Those diagnosed with bipolar disorder are characterized by intense mood expressions that cycle from very up (manic) to very down (depressed). These moods typically last for weeks at a time. While there is great variation in secular approaches to treating and explaining bipolar disorder. There is overwhelming consensus that it is in fact a real physical disorder and not merely a habit pattern that the counselee falls into.

DSM-5: Bipolar is placed between Schizophrenia and depressive disorders, in DSM-5 because it is thought to relate to both and appears practically to be a cross between them. Since a bipolar diagnosis requires the counselee to experience both manic and depressive episodes, there must be criteria for qualifying these states, and that is what the DSM-5 tries to do.[1] Continue reading Bi-Polar Disorder

Post-Partum Depression

By Andrea Johnson

I. Definition

Postpartum depression (PPD) refers to the intense sadness women sometimes experience after giving birth.[1] It must occur within the first four weeks of giving birth and last for a period of two weeks or longer.[2]

II. Secular Perspective

The DSM IV was the first resource to place postpartum depression under the category of major depression. Therefore, PPD is viewed/treated similarly to major depression, with the exception of the use of medication, because some anti-depressants are not recommended for mothers who are breastfeeding. PPD has a prevalence of 13% amongst new mothers[3], and it generally self-resolves within two weeks to three months. PPD often disrupts the mother’s interpersonal relationships, and can even harm child development.[4]

Those who are a part of the feminist camp do not approve of PPD being a specific category at all. PPD is offensive to them because they do not want women to have a specific disorder that does not pertain to men, as this would cause women to potentially appear weak. They argue that because men do not have a specific label for any hormonal or emotional imbalances, neither should women.

Secular treatment for PPD includes interpersonal psychotherapy, short-term cognitive behavioral therapy, pharmacotherapy, hormonal therapy, and in extreme cases, psychiatric hospitalization.

III. Biblical Perspective

Postpartum depression affects both the inner and outer man. Body and soul are distinguished, but they cannot be separated (2 Corinthians 4:16). PPD affects the woman as a whole – her physical body is experiencing hormonal changes, lack of sleep, shock to new motherhood, and physical pain due to childbearing, meanwhile her thinking, attitude, motivations, desires, and reactions are all being affected. Where there is a physical problem, there will also certainly be a spiritual problem.[5] Therefore, a woman who is experiencing PPD should care for both her physical body and her inner heart. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. So the woman experiencing postpartum depression should be cared for as a whole person, both the physical outer man and the spiritual inner man.

Depression/anguish is not seen as a sin in and of itself in the Bible. We see this in the examples of David (Ps. 42, 2 Sam. 12:15-24), Job (Job 2:9, 4:9), and even Jesus (Isaiah 53:3, Luke 22:44). Postpartum depression means that a woman is experiencing real pain that is both physical and spiritual, and she should be cared for equally in both areas.

IV. Evidence of the Problem

Common themes and patterns for women experiencing PPD are lack of sleep, transitional shock, hormonal withdrawal, and previous depression[6]. Common expressions of PPD are crying spells, insomnia, depressed mood, fatigue, anxiety, poor concentration, lack of interest in daily activities, increased or decreased appetite, hypersomnia, phychomotive behavior, feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy about being a mother, guilt about being depressed, and recurring thoughts of death regarding either her or the baby.[7] Women experience these expressions in varying degrees ranging from mild (i.e. the “baby blues”) to severe (i.e. postpartum psychosis). There are several risk factors that greatly contribute to a new mother’s chance of experiencing PPD[8]. These include previous depression, prenatal depression, prenatal anxiety, life stress, poor marital relationship, lack of social support, child care stress, and temperamental or sick infants.

There are consequences for both the mother and the infant that can arise from the presence of PPD, such as behavioral and cognitive development in the child[9], disrupted mother-infant bonding, disruption of interpersonal relationships for the mother, and disruption to the mother’s marriage[10].

V. Examining the Heart

It is important to investigate each scenario to find out what each woman is struggling with individually. PPD is looks different for different women, both physically and spiritually. Sinful heart themes that may be present are: pride in the unacceptance of physical weakness, a wrong view of motherhood, false expectations for motherhood, resistance to connecting with the local church/asking for help. Women who are new mothers may want to prove to themselves and others that they are a capable mother. In addition, their view of “capable/good motherhood” may not be biblical. This may contribute to a depressed state because women will never live up to an unrealistic and unbiblical standard of good motherhood. Motherhood must be learned, it is not simply known. Women experiencing PPD will often ignore their own physical pain in an attempt to focus on their child, when they should also be caring for themselves physically, and asking for necessary help. Sleep deprivation has been found to be one of the leading factors of depression[11], but women are often not aware of the implications of their sleep deprivation and other physical stress they are experiencing. This could be rooted in the pride of not wanting to accept their physical limitations, and not wanting to look like an incapable mother by asking for assistance.

VI. Biblical Solutions

A woman experiencing PPD must ensure she has a biblical perspective of motherhood, humbles herself to admit her physical weakness, and ask for help from the local church. She also needs to understand that it is good to take care of her physical body, as this will impact her inner soul as well. Heath Lambert and Stuart Scott recommend that a woman with PPD should seek help from her husband/friends/the local church, so that she is able to tend to her immediate physical needs of sleep and food. She should study Romans 5:1-5 to be encouraged that her suffering is not pointless, and she has the opportunity to see the Lord’s hand through her depression. She should confess sins of pride and any unrealistic expectations she has placed on herself. Finally, she should gain a biblical understanding of motherhood by learning from other women who have gone before her, as Titus 2:3-5 commands.

Homework would include prayer, studying Romans 5:1-5, meeting with an older woman from church, and setting a daily schedule. Setting a schedule will help the new mother ensure that she is getting rest, food, and daily tasks accomplished, and will help her to find out what areas she specifically needs help in (i.e. meal prep, laundry, house cleaning, etc.)

Recommended books include: Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elise Fitzpatrick; Women Counseling Women by Elise Fitzpatrick; Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness by Edward T. Welch; and Lies Women Believe by Nancy Lee DeMoss.

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Anderson, Gary R. 2017. Postpartum Depression: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes.         Health Psychology Research Focus. Hauppauge, New York: Nova        Biomedical. http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=shib&db=n  ebk&AN=1453453&site=ehost-live&scope=site&custid=s8898283.

Andrews-Fike, Christa. 1999. “A Review of Postpartum Depression.” Primary Care         Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1 (1):        914. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181045/.

Asher, Marshall and Mary. The Christian’s Guide to Psychological Terms, 2nd ed. 2004.

Bernard-Bonnin, Dr. Anne-Claude. “Maternal Depression and Child Development.” US National Library of Medicine. October 2004. Accessed April 13, 2019. https://www.ncbi.      nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724169/.

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC:    American Psychiatric Association, 2000.

“Interview with Charles Hodges & Jim Newheiser {Transcript}.” 2017. IBCD. March 24, 2017. https://ibcd.org/004-interview-with-charles-hodges-jim-newheiser-transcript/.

O’Hara, Michael W. 2009. “Postpartum Depression: What We Know.” Journal of Clinical           Psychology 65 (12): 1258–69. https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20644.

STUART, SCOTT, and MICHAEL W. O’HARA. 1995. “Interpersonal Psychotherapy for           Postpartum Depression.” The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research 4 (1): 18        29. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3330386/.

 

[1] Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV-TR. Washington, DC: American

Psychiatric Association, 2000.

[2] Asher, Marshall and Mary, The Christian’s Guide to Psychological Terms, 2nd ed., 2004, 149.

[3] Anderson, Gary R. 2017, Postpartum Depression: Prevalence, Risk Factors and Outcomes, Health Psychology Research Focus, Hauppauge, New  York: NovaBiomedical, http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&AuthType=shib&db=nebk&AN=1453453&site=ehost-live&scope=site&custid=s8898283.

[4] O’Hara, Michael W. 2009, “Postpartum Depression: What We Know,” Journal of Clinical Psychology 65 (12): 1258–69, https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20644.

[5] “Interview with Charles Hodges & Jim Newheiser {Transcript},” 2017, IBCD, March 24, 2017, https://ibcd.org/004-interview-with-charles-hodges-jim-newheiser-transcript/.

[6] Asher, Marshall and Mary, The Christian’s Guide to Psychological Terms,

[7] Andrews-Fike, Christa, 1999, “A Review of Postpartum Depression,” Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1 (1):914, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181045/

[8] O’Hara, Michael W. 2009, “Postpartum Depression: What We Know,” Journal of Clinical Psychology 65 (12): 1258–69, https://doi.org/10.1002/jclp.20644.

[9] Bernard-Bonnin, Dr. Anne-Claude, “Maternal Depression and Child Development,” US National Library of Medicine, October 2004, Accessed April 13, 2019, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724169/.

[10] STUART, SCOTT, and MICHAEL W. O’HARA, 1995, “Interpersonal Psychotherapy for Postpartum Depression,” The Journal of Psychotherapy Practice and Research 4 (1): 18 29, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC3330386/, 20.

[11] “Interview with Charles Hodges & Jim Newheiser {Transcript},” 2017, IBCD, March 24, 2017, https://ibcd.org/004-interview-with-charles-hodges-jim-newheiser-transcript/.