Over the last 100 years, or so, a New and Destructive philosophy has been firmly entrenched in the human psyche. That is: We are animals driven by our needs and desires, governed by by our environment, our needs and values, controlled by the vagaries of our mind.
This “mind” is defined as our brain. A completely artificial construct, designed to lift practitioners of clinical psychology out of the cultural hole they’ve dug for themselves.
There is very little respect for ‘shrinks’ in our society, despite their intelligence and training. Even those who resort to them seem to have little trust in their ability to fix whatever problem vexes them, no matter how long they try. The jokes are legion. The impression is they may be able to fix the ailment, but it depends on which psychologist or psychiatrist we see and how long it takes. Often, we’re told the counseling must continue as long as we are alive, if we want to live a normal life.
No medical practioner would last 5 years, doing what a psychiatrist does. The local governing authority would lift their license! Why? Because, if it’s medical, it MUST conform to a standard of ordinary practice. Every Medical Doctor in America will treat malaria the same way or risk losing his/ her license.
In the psychological community, it appears almost anything goes! It has long been a standing joke that 10 psychiatrists, confronted with the same set of presenting symptoms, will offer 11 different diagnosis. The ‘joke’ is supported by every test, of this sort, the psychological community has mounted. It seems they have stopped doing it, in the last decade or so.
Their Problem? They are not treating a physical organ. They are treating a series of symptoms; symptoms that have a multitude of differing causes, most of which are not measurable under a microscope.
To gain some degree of credibility, they hit upon the idea that the brain is the mind. They then applied medical terminology, calling the psychological problem a disorder. Since most people are impressed by a physical disorder, they have been able to operate without nearly as much criticism and mocking.
But, is the brain our ‘mind?’ Or is it an organic system for translating the decisions of the mind into actions? The rise of psychiatric drugs answers the question for the psychological, pharmaceutical and clinical societies. If we can manipulate the brain chemistry or influence the brain’s electrical pathways, we can cure our depression?
There are a number of serious problems with this hypothesis, not the least of which is the chemicals we are introducing into our system to ‘solve’ the problem. History records the danger of those chemicals, especially over long periods of time. Very often they can cause the same symptoms they are designed to heal. Any edition of the Physician’s Desk Reference [PDR], that records a chemical compound’s value and side effects, will demonstrate this reality.
WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?
To Be Continued…
The alternative is to consider the God Who created us and Who tells us ‘The Mind’ is a function of the ‘Heart.’ The heart being an inanimate part of our being, our soul.
The alternative is to listen to God as He tells us we cannot have peace until we have peace with Him.
The alternative is to believe God when He says there is only One Way To Live if we want peace.
The alternative is to accept His moral code. Attempts to create alternate realities, mask our feelings with drugs, live alternative life-styles and imagine whatever tickles our fancy will always end in moral, social and emotional disaster!
THIS IS WHERE BIBLICAL COUNSEL ENTERS THE PICTURE!
Biblical Counseling is not telling a Trained Professional all your intimate feelings and sins. It is not about telling someone how terrible your wife or husband or parents or children are. It’s not about venting or gossiping or ‘getting it all out’ in one big rant, so you will feel better.
Biblical Counseling is also not simply about confessing known sin to another person, so you have evidence of your submission to God, that He might then have mercy on you and heal your mind.
In short, Biblical Counseling is not like anything you have ever seen or read about or been told about….even by Christian Counselors!
The Biblical Counselor has not shut out all there is to know and learn from the science of psychology. Our ‘beef’ is not with the science of observation and application. Our ‘beef’ is with Clinical psychology! The idea that science can isolate psychological norms in people and then rate everyone normal or abnormal, based on those norms.
Laboratory psychology has provided a wealth of valuable information about the human psyche. It has also taught us a great deal about how people respond to the various stimuli in our world. It is the application of this data, as well as the methodology of the ‘Therapy Session,’ that causes great concern.
The Biblical Counselor is measuring our responses to life against The Bible [God’s revealed Word to mankind]. Psychotherapy is “utilizing insight, persuasion, suggestion, reassurance and instruction so that patients may see themselves and their problems more realistically and have the desire to cope effectively with them.”
Listen to the jargon: “cope effectively.” What, exactly, is that? What does it mean to ‘cope?’ What if you don’t do it ‘effectively?’ Who decides what ‘coping’ is and what ‘effective’ is? Who’s “insight?” Who’s “persuasion?” Who’s “suggestion?” The Therapists? What’s his / her moral, spiritual value system?
You can readily see the minefield psychotherapy presents, both in the techniques and the person applying them. The morals and values of the Therapist, of the 1950’s, is significantly different than today’s Therapist. Does that mean human beings have changed? Have the definitions of various ‘problems’ changed? Have we learned so much about the human psyche that we can now freely suggest that people live according to their own values, and be healed? [excuse me: be better able to cope?]
Some people have a depressive personality; more melancholy. David, in the Bible, is an illustration. Other people are spontaneous and out-going, like Peter, in the New Testament, who jumps out of a boat to walk across the water, before realizing he can’t do that! What would Therapy have done for/to them?
BIBLICAL COUNSELING IS NOT THERAPY
To Be Continued…
Therapy is from a Greek word that simply means ‘curing’ or ‘healing.’ We have therapeutic medicines, treatments and procedures. Some of these are one-time events, others take more time and are monitored by various professionals.
The psychological community picked up this medical term and applied it to what they were doing with the ‘mind.’ In some cases, the therapies are medical [drugs, electro-shock treatments, etc.]. The most popular and well-known therapy, however, is Talk-Therapy.
For 45 / 50 minutes a Session, the “Therapist” will sit with you and listen to your problems, offering possible suggestions [Cognitive-Behavioral] or simply guiding you through the maze of your own realization [Rogerian]. There are a myriad of other therapies, but it just gets confusing to try and discuss / explain / analyze them all.
Suffice it to say, in the 20th Century, the term “psychotherapy” became not only popular but almost all-inclusive, as a description of what a psychological and/or psychiatric counselor was doing. At the risk of beating the horse to death, keep in mind they are using a term identified with the human soul [pseuche], all the while denying there is such a thing! In the world if psycho-therapy, the emphasis is on the physical: intellect, emotion and will, even though two of the three are not physical.
The secular therapist is working from a Standard of Behavior established by psychological testing and regulated by a worldly value-system. Psychological testing has revealed what appears to be normal for the majority of people. Those norms are then considered healthy, while behaviors outside these norms are unhealthy.
In counseling, the therapist seeks to guide the patient toward normalcy, by several differing modalities. There are a large and growing number of these modalities, which affords the patient a great deal of flexibility. If one therapist isn’t helping, there are always others.
Biblical Counseling is something of a misnomer, in that we’re really not doing ‘counseling,’ in any normal understanding of the term. The phrase is an accommodation to the world’s understanding, for brevity. The biblical counselor is listening for the value-system, the behavioral patterns, the philosophy of life that has guided the sufferer into the turmoil they are now facing.
Once identified, the suffering soul is pointed toward the One Who gave him / her that soul. God has made human beings with a soul: an immaterial part of our being. That soul cannot find rest in anything or anyone other than it’s Maker. Efforts to do so, following feelings, desires, pleasures, emotional satisfactions, medications, drugs, sex, etc., are short-lived and fraught with destructive possibilities.
Folks who want biblical counseling already know what their problem is. They are seeking to live a life contrary to / away from / without God. Any effort, on the part of the counselor, to minimize or down-play that reality is doing no one a favor.
Biblical counseling brings the whole person into the equation. The problem is not that you have feelings of despair. The problem is you are running away from God or neglecting God, or what you know is right. God gives a satisfaction the world does not / cannot comprehend. You are not satisfied. You are running from God.
The problem is not that your wife or your husband doesn’t appreciate you. The problem is you are not loving your wife or your husband, as you should. Admittedly, this one’s a hard-sell. When a married person feels there is not love coming from the other person, they automatically begin to think the marriage is over. It takes two to tango, doesn’t it?
No! In a marriage, both parties have promised to love the other, no matter what! That one or the other has ceased, doesn’t mean you can cease. You promised. You promised him/her. You promised God. Your promise was forever: for better or for worse, in sickness / health, richer / poorer, until death separates you.
Are you a man / a woman of your word? Do you keep promises? Promises made in the presence of God? Vows before God? Yes? Then do it. Love is a verb: action not feeling. Love gives, expecting nothing in return. If you do not feel love for a person, nothing has changed about you or your promise or your responsibility. That you no longer have feelings for that other person means you have stopped loving them.
The solution to your problem is not drugs; not a divorce; not a technique for getting him/her engaged, again. The solution is to repent of your sin and go back to loving that partner the way Christ loves His Church — His stubborn, unresponsive, self-orietent, sinful Bride.
Do you see the difference between therapy and biblical solutions?