Tedd Tripp

Tedd Tripp

by Matthew Jones


  1. Known for
    1. President of Shepherding the Heart Ministries (shepherdingtheheart.org)
    2. Books on children and parenting centered on heart change, juxtapose behavior change by itself
    3. Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Hazleton, Pennsylvania since June 1983 – 2012 [9].

II. Biography

A. Early life

    1. Tripp was born in in 1946[2] in Toledo, Ohio.[10]

B.  Education

    1. Bachelor of Arts in history from Geneva College [2]
    2. Master of Divinity from Philadelphia Theological Seminary [2]
    3. Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Theological Seminary [2]

C. Significant life events that impacted person

    1. Prior to seminary, Tedd worked in industry and building trades [10]
    2. Tedd married Margy in 1968 [9]
    3. Tedd and Margy have three Children born in 1969, 1972, and 1973. [10]
    4. Tedd and his wife, Margy, founded Immanuel Christian School in 1979. Tedd served as a teacher and principal for four years and continues to serve on the school’s board.[10]

III. Theological views

A. Tedd Tripp holds to the view that people were created as worshippers. Humans were created to worship (Romans 1:18-25), either God or something else. Further, he would affirm people are born into sin and therefor have hearts that creates “idols” in place of God-. Therefore, exchanging proper worship of God for created things. Behavior- that is- outward and seen, is an outflow of one’s inward worship.

B. As noted above, Tedd Tripp formerly pastored at Grace Fellowship Church. This church is affiliated with the Reformed Baptist Network [5]

IV. Works/Publications

A. Books:

    1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart
    2. Instructing a Child’s Heart
    3. Hints for Parents

B. Articles

    1. “Communicate with Teens”, written July 13, 2010 [11]

C. Interviews

    1. Tedd was interviewed by Tony Reinke for a consecutive week on the, The Ask Pastor John Podcast (Desiringgod.org), on the following ideas and titles: Is Parenting Complicated or Simple? What is the Greatest Threat to the Christian Family? Helping Children Discover Heart Idols, Why Parents Spank, and lastly, Why Parents Don’t Spank [6]

D. Audio

    1. Drive By Parenting: A 31-Part Conversation about Shepherding a Child’s Heart, hosted by Todd Friel [2]
    2. Rejuvenating the Gospel in Your Marriage and Family– an audio recording in 2010 of seven Shepherd Press authors. The authors shared, “biblical wisdom with the power to renew your life and marriage”. Tedd Tripp contributed two lessons titled: Rejuvenating the Gospel in Your Marriage, and The Empty Nest Season of Marriage [7]
    3. Three lessons from Tedd Tripp: Shepherding Your Child’s Heart: Ages 0-5, Ages 6-12, and Teenagers [10]
    4. Sixteen various sermons and teachings from Sermonaudio.com [9]

E. Video

    1. Shepherding a Child’s Heart: A 12-Part Video on Parenting [2]
    2. Instructing a Child’s Heart: A 13-Part Video Series on Formative Instruction [2]


V. Influence on Biblical Counseling

    1. The greatest impact Tedd Tripp has contributed to Biblical Counseling is his best-selling child rearing book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Tedd proves that children as adults, live out of their heart, and need to learn to worship God and not idols [12]. Since 1994, Tedd has devoted most of his time and energy as a conference speaker. He primarily presents seminars related to his book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart [10]. Tedd applies years of experience in applying the principles of Biblical Counseling specifically to parents and children.


VI. Bibliography

[1] “About Shepherding The Heart Ministries.” Shepherding the Heart Ministries, 6 Dec. 1970, shepherdingtheheart.org/about/. Accessed 30 Nov 2019.

[2] “Author: Tedd Tripp.” Shepherd Press, 21 Nov. 2019, www.shepherdpress.com/store/authors/tedd-tripp/. Accessed 30 Nov 2019.

[3] “Beliefs.” Grace Fellowship Church, www.gfchazleton.org/about-us/beliefs/. Accessed 5 Dec 2019.

[4] “A Note from Dr. Tripp.” Shepherding the Heart Ministries, shepherdingtheheart.org/about/note-from-dr-tripp/. Accessed 30 Nov 2019.

[5] “REASONS FOR RBNet.” Reformed Baptist Network, reformedbaptistnetwork.com/about/.

[6] Reinke, Tony, and Tedd Tripp. Desiring God: Ask Pastor John Podcast, www.desiringgod.org/authors/tedd-tripp. Accessed 3 Dec 2019.

[7] “Rejuvenating the Gospel in Your Marriage and Family.” Shepherd Press, 20 Nov. 2019, www.shepherdpress.com/products/rejuvenating-the-gospel/. Accessed 3 Dec 2019.

[8] “ShepherdPress.” YouTube, www.youtube.com/channel/UCvjwUyZIScwmx_JHoKt1Wzg. Accessed 5 Dec 2019.

[9] “Tedd Tripp Sermons.” SermonAudio, www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?keyword=Tedd_Tripp&SpeakerOnly=true. Accessed 5 Dec 2019.

[10] “Tedd Tripp.” Monergism, www.monergism.com/topics/mp3-audio-multimedia/family-and-marriage/tedd-tripp. Accessed 1 Dec 2019.

[11] Tripp, Tedd. “Communicate with Teens.” Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, 22 Feb. 2019, http://www.ccef.org/communicate-teens/.

[12] Tripp, Tedd. Shepherding a Child’s Heart. Shepherd Press, 1995.




Fear of Man

By Brianna Klassen

I. Definition: 

Fear of man is defined as an epidemic of the soul that can be characterized by peer-pressure, worry, and codependency. It is the act of placing others before God in one’s life.

II. Biblical perspective

Fear of man is expressed biblically as a “snare” in Proverbs 29:25. In the book When People Are Big and God Is Small, Edward Welch best describes fear of man as, “Fear in the biblical sense…includes being afraid of someone, but it extends to holding someone in awe, being controlled or mastered by people, worshipping other people, putting your trust in people, or needing people.” This problem is severe and must be combatted with the truth of God’s Word. All throughout Scripture we are commanded to fear God and not man. Scripture is sufficient and superior than any other form of help and comfort. It is the only means by which biblical change comes about.

We are given two clear examples of fear of man in the Bible. The most well-known case of this is one of Jesus’ beloved, Peter. After Christ had been taken and questioned, Peter repeatedly denies Christ three times. This was the fear of man inside Peter that caused him to fear others instead of his Savior. This trial later leads Peter to write to encourage others in 1 Peter 3:14, “…have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” Another example of fear of man in God’s Word is the story of the Pharisee named Nicodemus. John 3:1-2, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Nicodemus was a powerful ruler that met Jesus under the cover of night in order to prevent anyone to know he was there. Nicodemus and Peter were both ruled by the fear of man and it manifested in both of their actions and thinking.

Secular perspective


  1. The term “fear of man” does not exist in the secular world and culture. Based upon the physical and emotional symptoms that fear of man can have on a person, the most commonly probable diagnosis would be a Borderline Personality Disorder, specifically the Avoidant Personality Disorder or Dependent Personality Disorder.
  2. The Cleveland Clinic characterizes the Avoidant Personality Disorder as being a condition included in the anxious personality disorder group. This group, they claim, includes disorders marked by feelings of nervousness and fear. People with avoidant personality disorder have poor self-esteem. They also have an intense fear of rejection and being negatively judged by others.

The Cleveland Clinic describes the Dependent personality disorder as the need to be cared for by others. This condition results in submissive and clingy behavior, a fear of separation, and difficulty making decisions without reassurance from others.

Diagnostic criteria for Avoidant Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder based on DSM-IV:

  1. avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection
  2. is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked
  3. shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed
  4. is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations
  5. is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy
  6. views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others
  7. is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing
  8. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
  9. Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval.
  10. Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on their own (because of a lack of self confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy).
  11. Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant.


Symptoms according to DSM-IV:

  1. Feelings of inadequacy
  2. Feelings of consistent anxiety
  3. Fear of rejection
  4. Easily hurt by criticism
  5. Lack of close friends
  6. Reluctance to become involved with people
  7. Avoidance of activities or occupations that involve contact with others
  8. Shyness in social situations out of fear of doing something wrong
  9. Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
  10. Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of their life.


The Avoidant and Dependent Personality disorders, in the secular world, are sometimes characterized as “incurable” and those who are diagnosed with it are encouraged to pursue ways of keeping it maintained and manageable.

  • Therapies recommended to those with avoidant or dependent personality disorder:
  • Psychotherapy
  • Cognitive-Behavioral therapy
  • Desensitization
  • Medications recommended to those with avoidant or dependent personality disorder:


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI)


  • Recommended specialists:
  1. Clinical psychologist
  2. Psychiatrist
  3. Primary care provider
  4. Emergency medicine doctor

III. History  

 The phrase “fear of man” is a term that was first mentioned in Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” This sin often goes unnoticed in most because it is a sin that all are tempted in. This issue hasn’t been widely covered and there are not many resources that are directed to this exact problem. The research on this history of this phrase is not very evident. One of the first books that has directly covered fear of man is Edward Welch’s book, When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. This book provides a very clear and beneficial perspective on fear of man. It has been significantly helpful in laying out the theology behind this struggle and promoting growth and change.

IV. Evidence of the Problem

Fear of man is evident in everyone’s life in some way or another. The extent of this struggle will appear different in most. We all struggle with how we view ourselves in compared to others. We base our choices and decisions on whether or not others will think highly of us. Welch describes this perfectly as, “We are more concerned about looking stupid (a fear of people) than we are about acting sinfully (a fear of God).”  We become consumed with how others view us, and we forget how we look in front of the One who created us. The fear of man is captivating and controlling and will run our lives if we do not fight it. Galatians 1:10 declares, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

V. Etiology

Fear of man is integrated into every person because of our sinful nature. Everyone will struggle with fear of man at different times and in different ways, both spiritually and physically. This sin has definite consequences that can represent itself in both physical and spiritual symptoms. Spiritual causes of fear of man will come from an inner sinful attitude or thinking. Physical symptoms of fear of man will represent itself in the outward actions that flow from the heart.

Spiritual symptoms

  1. Discouragement
  2. Lack of peace
  3. Ungratefulness
  4. Anxiety
  5. Envy

 Physical symptoms

  • Unclear of shifting self-image
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Emotional mood swings
  • Ingenuine behavior
  • Fickle
  • Insomnia
  • Insecure
  • People-pleasing
  • Discontentment
  • Lack of self esteem


VI. Examining the Heart

  1. Heart themes
    1. Incorrect view of the sovereignty of God
    2. Incorrect view of self
    3. Fear of others
    4. Lack of understanding of Scripture
    5. Lack of love for others
  2. Idols of the heart
    1. Self-image
    2. Pride
    3. Others’ opinions
    4. Control
    5. Envy

VII. Biblical Solutions

 Counseling Agenda

Fear of man is the most common struggle that we all face. We ache to feel connected to others and to feel a sense of belonging. In order to feel that way we do everything we can to please those around us, even at the cost of ourselves and God. In order to face this inner battle of worship we must turn to God’s Word. Scripture will remain as the only way to be truly renewed and changed by the Holy Spirit. Therapies and medications can be helpful and can erase some of the physical symptoms of fear of man, but it will never get to the heart of a person, only Jesus Christ is capable. There is a reason and a purpose for the struggle of the fear of man. As Edward Welch states the truth that, “Jesus did not die to increase our self-esteem. Rather, Jesus died to bring glory to the Father by redeeming people from the curse of sin.”  In order to be changed and renewed from our desire to please man instead of our Creator, we must turn to Christ and Scripture.




  • Bloom, Jon. “Lay Aside the Fear of Man.” Desiring God, September 16, 2016. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-fear-of-man
  • Mack, Wayne A., et al. Courage: Fighting Fear with Fear. P&R Publishing, 2014.
  • Welch, Edward T. When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. P & R Pub., 1997.



Recommended Resources:



Adams, Jay E. What Do You Do When Fear Overcomes You? Nutley, NJ: Presbyterian & Reformed Pub., 1975.


Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Overcoming Fear, Worry and Anxiety: Becoming a Woman of Faith & Confidence. Vereeniging: Christian Art, 2002.


Fitzpatrick, Elyse. Idols of the Heart: Learning to Long for God Alone. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2016.


MacArthur, John F. David C Cook, 2012.


Mack, Wayne A., and Joshua Mack. The Fear Factor: What Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know. Tulsa, OK: Hensley Publishing, 2002.


Mack, Wayne A., Joshua Mack, and Jerry Bridges. Courage: Fighting Fear with Fear. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2014.


Mellinger, Jared. A Bright Tomorrow: How to Face the Future without Fear. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2018.


Smith, William Paul. Living in a Dangerous World: Moving from Fear to Faith. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2011.


Welch, Edward T. When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man. Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub., 1997.


Welch, Edward T. Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2007.


Welch, Edward T. When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety. Greensboro, NC: New Growth Press, 2010.





  • Bloom, Jon. “Lay Aside the Fear of Man.” Desiring God, September 16, 2016. https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lay-aside-the-fear-of-man
  • Jones, Robert D. “Getting to the Heart of Your Worry.” The Journal of Biblical Counseling 17, no. 3 (1999): 21-24.
  • Andrew H. Selle, “The Bridge over Troubled Waters: Overcoming Crippling Fear by Faith and Love,” Journal of Biblical Counseling.




Recommended homework resources


Edward Welch recommends completing various homework assignments that can accurately assess where one lies spiritually.



(taken from Edward Welch’s book, When People Are Big and God Is Small: Overcoming Peer Pressure, Codependency, and the Fear of Man.)


Example 1:


  1. In your own words, what is fear of man?
  2. If the fear of others is as prevalent in our lives as the Bible suggests, make a list of the ways it is expressed in your life.
  3. Answer these questions to uncover a fear of man,
    • What thoughts or actions do you prefer to keep in the dark?
    • Have you noticed times when you cover up with lies, justifications, blaming, avoiding, or changing the subject?
    • Do you show favoritism?
  4. What are some word pictures that describe you?
  5. Try to interpret the descriptions of codependency and see the idols that lie behind them.


Another beneficial homework assignment to combat the fear of man with a godly fear would be as follows,


Example 2:


David’s psalms are not illustrations of the fear of man. His fear was within godly parameters. In his fear he consistently turned to his King. He is an illustration that ad experiences don’t have to provoke the sinful fear of people. But notice what David did. He was constantly reminding himself that he stood at the crossroads between faith in god and fear of people. He was always alert to his vulnerability to the fear of people. It is a slippery slope between normal fear and an idolatrous fear of man. To stay on track and to keep yourself accountable, meditate on the Psalms with faith and follow David’s example. Try to align your heart’s desire with Psalm 27


The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?

When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes,
it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple.



Example 3:


A simple but effective homework assignment is writing down these verses on notecards and placing them in areas that you see often, (ex. mirror, car, etc.)


  1. 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
  2. Galatians 1:10, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
  3. Isaiah 51:12, “I, I am he who comforts you; who are you that you are afraid of man who dies, of the son of man who is made like grass”





Other useful resources for homework















Reactive Attachment Disorder (RADs)

By Julie DeVore

I. Definition:

The Reactive Attachment Disorder (RADs) is characterized by a difficulty in forming healthy attachment in relationships.

II. Biblical Perspective

The Reactive Attachment Disorder is marked by a lack of attachment and trust which leads to destructive behavior. Children who struggle with RADs must learn to trust God. They must be comforted as sufferers and held accountable as sinners.

Scripture speaks to the child who has experienced great neglect and emotional pain. Scripture comforts the sufferer through the attributes of God. The pain children experience from neglect is not their own fault. However, when pain from neglect leads a child to not trust God, be self-autonomous and disobedient, they must be called to repentance.

The counselor must distinguish suffering from sin, and counsel each accordingly. One suffers because he struggles to attach due to neglect; however, one sins when he allows this detachment to cause him to disobey.

Scripture that comforts the sufferer:

  1. Psalm 139 – Promises that their birth was purposeful and planned by God.
  2. Genesis 1:27 – Created valuable in the image of God.
  3. 3 Corinthians 1:3 – God Comforts us
  4. Psalm 10:14, 17-19 – God defends the Fatherless; God is the Perfect Father.
  5. Romans 8:27-29 – God works all things for good.
  6. Romans 8:31-39 – Nothing can separate us from God’s unconditional love.
  7. Hebrews 4:14-16 – God grieves and sympathizes with our weakness.
  8. Philippians 4:6 – God is our peace.

Scripture that challenges the sinner:

  1. Romans 3:23 – Everyone has sinned in some manner.
  2. Proverbs 3:5-6 – God is to be trusted.
  3. Psalm 37: 3-7 – Confess sin of self-reliance.
    1. Trust in the Lord
    2. Delight yourself in the Lord
    3. Commit your way to the Lord
    4. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently
  4. 1 John 1:9 – Confess sin, God forgives.

III. Secular perspective

Definition: Reactive Attachment Disorder is defined in the DSM-V as “[1]a consistent pattern of inhibited, emotionally withdrawn behavior toward adult caregivers…” A child diagnosed with RADs “[2]minimally seeks comfort” and “Minimally responds to comfort.” The DSM explains that they have “[3]Persistent social and emotional disturbance…” The lack of relationship and attachment forms because a “[4]child has experienced a pattern of extremes of insufficient care…” This is insufficient care from neglect, and lack of basic needs such as food, comfort and stimulation. RADs may be [5]described as “persistent” if it has been present longer than 12 months. The [6]DSM describes this condition as uncommon, occurring in less than 10% of neglected children. Therefore, not every neglected child has RADs, but neglect is the definitive factor of someone who may be diagnosed with RADs.

In 1994, the DSM divided Reactive Attachment Disorder into two specific phenotypes:

  1. Inhibited – [7]persistent failure to initiate and to respond to most social interactions in a developmentally appropriate way.”
  2. Disinhibited – [8]Predominant disturbance in social relatedness is indiscriminate sociability or lack of selectivity in the choice of attachment figures.”

There are [9]three criteria that distinguish RADs from other disorders: Attachment, Timing & Cause.

  1. Attachment – “[10]There is a lack of attachment, exhibited by disturbed social relatedness.”
  2. Timing – The “[11]onset of symptoms of abnormal behavior begins prior to age five.” RADS is distinctive because it stems from abuse and neglect that occurred before the age of 5 years old.
  3. Cause – The cause of RADs is rooted in neglect.

Secular Therapy Methods: 

Because the problem with RADs is attachment, the therapy goal is relearned attachment. Catherin Cain, author of Attachment Disorders: Treatment strategies for traumatized children teaches that “[12]children with RAD need to go through these developmental stages [Trust and Autonomy] a second time in order to experience them in a healthy way…”

  1. Dependence and Love Therapy: The American Psychiatric Association teaches that “[13]Children with RAD need to become as dependent upon the adult as a newborn infant is, in order to rebuild the bonds of trust … ” Linda Rice explains that “[14]the child with RAD needs to return to this state of dependency and rely on the caregiver for everything. The caregiver should decide what the child will eat and what the child will wear … ask permission to eat, sleep, use bathroom, or play.”
  2. [15]Holding Method – In this method, therapists encourage forced attachment by encouraging the caregiver to hold the child until child resists. They encourage pressure which creates discomfort in the infant. They are seeking to force a response from the child.
  3. Re-Birthing Method – Reenact giving birth for an adoptive child to promote attachment with the foster mom. However, Candace a [16]10-year old girl died by suffocation in the “rebirthing” method.

IV. History

The Reactive Attachment Disorder is a newly recognized Psychological Label. It was first described in 1980 in DSM-III as “pathogenic care.” In 1994 the DSM-IV Subdivided RADs into inhibited & disinhibited phenotypes. Then in 2013 the DSM-V broke the category into two different Disorders: Reactive Attachment Disorder of Infancy and Early Childhood and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.

V. Evidence of the Problem

Linda Rice, author of Parenting the Difficult child explains that RADs children are some of the hardest people to counsel. Rice synthesizes some of the common [17]characteristics of RADs:

  1. Lack of eye contact
  2. Lack of ability to give and receive affection on parents’ terms
  3. Demanding, clingy
  4. Indiscriminately affectionate
  5. Superficially engaging and charming
  6. Lying
  7. Poor friendships
  8. Abnormal eating
  9. Theft
  10. Destructive to self or others
  11. Learning delays
  12. Cruel to animals
  13. Poor impulse control
  14. Intense control battles
  15. Hypervigilance/hyperactivity

VI. Etiology

            The main spiritual problem that must be addressed is the child’s lack of trust in God. Then the counselor can begin moving the child to put off his old habits and put on new as their life is being renewed (Colossians 3). However, trust in God must be first. Otherwise, we are encouraging behavior modification instead of internal heart change (James 1:16).

While there are some physical causes that affect RADs, they do not excuse the spiritual need of trust for God. Neglect has caused it to be difficult for a RADs child to trust God and others. However, this does not excuse their lack of trust in God.  

Studies have shown that the neurons also play a quintessential role in the development of a child. Catherine Cain, author of Attachment Disorders: Treatment Strategies for Traumatized Children explains that, “[18]the more the child is exposed to during the early years of life, the more the brain structure the child will have to work with in later years. This is why early childhood experiences are so important. If not used, the neurons are eventually depleted. By the time the child is ten, half of the original one thousand trillion neurons are gone. It is as if the brain is preprogramed with more neurons than we could ever possibly use so that the brain has the ability to adapt to whatever environment it is born into and then discard what it does not need.” Cain further explains that learning is accomplished through patterns in the brain. However, “[19]a chaotic environment, or one that is not predictable, makes it difficult for the brain to figure out patterns it needs in order for these behavioral patterns to form.” Because of this, “[20]a young child left in a poor environment with minimal stimulus during the first two years of life does not stand a chance against a child raised in a rich environment with lots of experiences and sensory input.” Therefore, neglect and neurons do in fact play a major role in the physical causes of RAD.  However, while they should be considered, they should never be the sole resource. A counselor must take in both the physical and spiritual elements of an individual.

VII. Examining the Heart

Possible Heart Themes:

  1. Lack of Trust
  2. Self-Preservation
  3. Autonomy
  4. Fear
  5. Disobedience
  6. Anger
  7. Bitterness

Possible Heart Idols:

  1. Control
  2. Self – Reliance

VIII. Biblical Solutions

The core of counseling must be rooted in Scripture. As Biblical counselors we believe that Scripture is sufficient to counsel every need (1 Timothy 3:16-17). Linda Rice, in her book Parenting the Difficult Child describes five common factors in Reactive Attachment Disorder. Using these 5 labels can help inform our biblical counseling (see Appendix 1).

She recognizes that RADs stems from Neglect. When a child suffers from neglect, Biblical counselors must emphasize the comfort and love of God. The counselor teaches identity in Christ (Psalm 139 & Genesis 1:27) and God’s sovereignty. He is Comforter (1 Corinthians 1:3), Perfect Father and Defender (Psalm 10); He works all for good (Romans 8:27-29), and nothing can separate us from his love (Romans 8:31-39). God comforts the sufferer.

The next stages are Lack of Trust and Self Preservation/Autonomy. The child has “learned” from their neglect experience that people are not trustworthy. Therefore, they trust themselves. We must lead them to the perfect, trustworthy God. He will not fail them. We are commanded to trust Him (Proverbs 3:5-8). Failure to trust God is a sin that must be addressed.

The final stages are Emotions and Habituation. The RADs child lives off emotions and forms destructive habits. Change must take root from within the desires of one’s heart (James 1:16). Old habits must be put off, they must be renewed, and new habits must be put on. (See Colossians 3:5-17).


This cycle of Neglect to Lack of Trust/Autonomy to Emotions to Habituation forms habits that are hard to break. Rice explains that it is [21]difficult to change because:

  1. If desire doesn’t change, we don’t change
  2. Because its hard/uncomfortable
  3. Habits are hard to break

But we believe that hope for change is possible through the power of Christ and Scripture.  (Ephesians 5:8 and Jude 1:24-27).














[22]Appendix 1:






Recommended Resources:

Asher, Marshal and Mary. The Christian’s Guide to Psychological Terms. USA, 2014.

“Biblical Answers for Attachment.” n.d. Faith Therapy. https://www.faiththerapy.org/answers-by-topic/attachment/. 19 February 2019.

Cain, Catherin Swanson. Attachment Disorders: Treatment Strategies for Traumatized Children. Lanhand : Jason Aronson Publishing, 2006.

Emlet, Michael R. “Loving Others as Saints, Sufferers and Sinners (Part 2).” The Journal of Biblical Counseling (2018): 40-65.

Hollinger, Kevin. Rative Attachment Disorder: Helping Adoptive Parents Think Biblically About Attachment. Westminster Thological Seminary, 2007. Thesis.

Rice, Linda J. Parenting the Difficult Child. USA: SeedSown Press, 2012.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington: American Psychiatric Association, 1994. Fourth edition.

—. DSM-V. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Publishing, 2013.

Cain, Catherin Swanson. Attachment Disorders: Treatment Strategies for Traumatized Children. Lanhand : Jason Aronson Publishing, 2006.

Hollinger, Kevin. Rative Attachment Disorder: Helping Adoptive Parents Think Biblically About Attachment. Westminster Thological Seminary, 2007. Thesis.

Rice, Linda J. Parenting the Difficult Child. USA: SeedSown Press, 2012.

The Holy Bible – ESV. Illinois: CrossWay, 2011.

Wilson, Samantha. “Attachment Disorders: Review and Current Status.” Journal of Psychology (2001): 37-.


[1] (American Psychiatric Association) 265

[2] (American Psychiatric Association) 265

[3] (American Psychiatric Association) 265

[4] (American Psychiatric Association) 265

[5] (American Psychiatric Association) 266

[6] (American Psychiatric Association) 265

[7] (American Psychiatric Association) 116

[8] (American Psychiatric Association)116

[9] (Rice) 15

[10] (Rice) 15

[11] (Rice)15

[12] (Cain) 151

[13] (Cain)151

[14] (Rice) 151

[15] (Wilson) 11

[16] (Hollinger) 40

[17] (Rice) 51

[18] (Cain) 27-28

[19] (Cain) 31

[20] (Cain) 34

[21] (Rice) 51

[22] (DeVore, 2019) & (Rice) – This figure I created while reading Parenting the Difficult Child.