12 Biblical Counseling Resources on Medication, Mental Health, and Mental Illness

A Word from Your FBS Team: We’ve developed this blog-resource post on 12 Biblical Counseling Resources on Medication, Mental Health, and Mental Illness  from The Annual Guide to Biblical Counseling Resources2019 Edition. This resource is produced by our FBS VP/Academic Dean, Dr. Bob Kellemen. It includes 690 resources on scores of biblical counseling and Christian living topics. The entire 160-page resource document is available here. You can also find links to eleven resource list blog posts here: https://www.rpmministries.org/writing/the-annual-guide-to-biblical-counseling-resources/


Emlet, Mike. Description and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnosis and Medications

As Christians, how should we think about psychiatric diagnoses and their treatments? We can’t afford to isolate ourselves and simply dismiss these categories as unbiblical. Nor can we afford to accept the entire secular psychiatric diagnostic and treatment enterprise at face value as though Scripture is irrelevant for these complex struggles. Instead, we need a balanced, biblically-informed (and scientifically-informed) approach that is neither too warmly embracing nor too coldly dismissive of psychiatric labels and psychiatric medications. Biblical counselor and retired physician, Mike Emlet, gives readers a way forward as he guides lay and professional helpers through the thicket of mental health diagnoses and treatments in a thoughtful primer in which the Bible informs our understanding of psychiatric diagnoses and the medications that are often recommended.

Hendrickson, Laura, and Elyse Fitzpatrick. Will Medicine Stop the Pain? God’s Healing for Depression, Anxiety, and Other Troubling Emotions

Twice as many women as men will experience depression sometime in their lives, and episodes for women are likely to start at earlier ages, last longer, and recur more frequently. Many women are given medication to treat the disease, but medication alone does not always address the underlying emotions which trouble the mind and spirit. Counselor Elyse Fitzpatrick and Dr. Laura Hendrickson provide biblical guidance on how to balance medical intervention with biblical encouragement.

Hodges, Charles. Good Mood Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder

Depression and bipolar disorder are two of the most common diagnoses made in medicine today. Good Mood Bad Mood examines whether we are in an epidemic, or if we have simply misdiagnosed common sadness as depression. Current research in the medical community seems to indicate that the criteria we use to diagnose depression has resulted in an increased and incorrect labeling of common sadness as depression. While medical treatment is now the commonly accepted way to deal with pain and sadness, its promise has not been fulfilled. In Good Mood Bad Mood, Dr. Charles Hodges offers an explanation to help the reader see the importance of sadness and the hope that God gives us in His Word.

Kellemen, Bob. Depression, Medication, and Biblical Counseling

This free PDF is a collation of an RPM Ministries Changing Lives blog mini-series interaction between Bob Kellemen and David Murray. Dr. Kellemen describes the purpose of his focus in this blog dialogue: “How we respond to people struggling with depression and struggling to know whether or not they should take anti-depressants is a serious and vital issue. That’s why I’m making the time to ponder what a compassionate and comprehensive response might look like.”

Welch, Ed. Blame It on the Brain: Distinguishing Chemical Imbalances, Brain Disorders, and Disobedience

Depression, Attention Deficit Disorder, Alcoholism, Homosexuality. Research suggests that more and more behaviors are caused by brain function or dysfunction. But is it ever legitimate to blame misbehavior on the brain? How can I know whether my brain made me do it? Viewing brain problems through the lens of Scripture, Ed Welch distinguishes genuine brain disorders from problems rooted in the heart. Understanding that distinction will enable pastors, counselors, families, and friends to help others—or themselves—deal with personal struggles and responsibilities. 

Mental Health and Mental Illness

Berger, Daniel. The Insanity of Madness: Defining Mental Illness

For much of the twentieth century, psychiatry, psychology and social theory have held that mental illness, historically known as madness, cannot be objectively defined. This fluidity of concept is especially striking in light of the dogmatism that continues to characterize these fields of study and practice. Could it be that mental illness is recognizable across all cultures and all eras, that it has a clear definition which was directly stated in the past and still is implied in modern psychiatry through the DSM-5? This book explores what mental illness or madness is; furthermore, it asserts that mental illness does indeed have a clear definition, a distinct cause, and a reliable remedy.

Berger, Daniel. Mental Illness: The Necessity for Faith and Authority (Volume 1)

Since the 1950s, psychiatry has controlled the definitions, theories, diagnoses, and suggested remedies for mental illness. Many intelligent, well-educated, and well-meaning people have blindly accepted the secular construct of mental illness without investigating the underlying theories or answering foundational questions necessary to form a construct of mental illness. The time for society and especially for Christians to logically and carefully examine the current mental health system is well overdue. This book begins that discussion, and the series on Mental Illness seeks to objectively challenge the current ideology while providing a proven alternative approach.

Berger, Daniel. Mental Illness: The Reality of the Spiritual Nature (Volume 2)

Two of the most pressing issues for any theory of mental illness to be established and accepted are to define the mind and to determine whether mankind consists of both spiritual and physical natures or exists merely as a material existence. Although many professionals argue that the brain is the most relevant topic of discussion in mental illness, the mind is the reason why the idea of mental illness exists. The mind must first be defined and understood before the brain-dysfunction theory can be evaluated and potentially applied. To believe in the classic medical model—which is today’s construct of mental illness—is to deny the spiritual nature of humanity. If we are to treat people’s minds, we must consider the reality of the spiritual nature as well as how to approach and heal it.

Berger, Daniel. Mental Illness: The Reality of the Physical Nature (Volume 3)

In spite of the fact that no biological etiologies, markers, or remedies exist, psychiatrists assert that mental illnesses are validated physical diseases. But are mental struggles truly biologically caused or are the observable and measurable physical problems simply effects of the mind? Many other relevant questions have arisen with the introduction of neuroimaging, and this volume seeks to answer many of those most pressing. For example, can the mind be observed both through scientific observation and through EEGs and fMRIs? Is there empirical evidence to prove or disprove the brain-dysfunction, genetic defect, and chemical imbalance theories? Does valid physical impairment ever cause moral failure? These questions and more are important topics that this volume explores.

Berger, Daniel. Mental Illness: The Influence of Nurture (Volume 4)

This book not only discusses the history of some of the most prominent psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar, PTSD, and anxiety, it also explains how every aspect/nuance of these labels is addressed in the Bible. For decades now, prominent Christian counselors have argued correctly that the Bible—as it claims—is fully sufficient to meet all issues of life and moral character. In issues, such as sadness, anxiety, and addictions, they have helped thousands to gain victory in life and draw closer to God. This book provides reliable and validated truth that can remedy the most complex mental condition and change the worst maladaptive behavior. These solutions are found primarily in Scripture, but that is not to say that objective research does not agree with God’s Word.

Kellemen, Bob. Mental Illness and the Church: Developing a Compassionate and Comprehensive Biblical Counseling Response

As the Body of Christ and as a biblical counseling movement, God calls us to respond compassionately and comprehensively to individuals (and their families) suffering with troubling emotions and thoughts. To minister Christ’s gospel to people compassionately and comprehensively, we need to reflect biblically and historically (church history) on several interrelated questions. How do we cultivate a gospel-centered culture of grace in our churches as we respond to sufferers struggling with deep, ongoing emotional distress? How do we become redemptive communities engaging in gospel-centered relationships with people diagnosed with mental illness? How do we respond to a Christian world that has, perhaps, accepted a definition of mental illness that is not always comprehensively biblical or fully compassionate? How do we speak wisely about mental illness and the complex interaction of the brain/body/mind/heart/soul? How do we address root causes of life struggles (heart) without being heard to say that we are ignoring the whole person or lacking empathy for social factors (nurture) and physiological issues (nature)? Download a free PDF of this manuscript here: http://bit.ly/MIandChurch

Lambert, Heath. The Gospel and Mental Illness

We live in a broken world, beset with overwhelming problems: disease, pain, death, sorrow, sin and mental illness—clinical depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and panic attacks. Our culture assumes people diagnosed with mental illness are stuck, doomed to struggle for the rest of their lives against a problem without ever experiencing real and lasting change. The world is broken, but God has invaded that world with the power, light, and hope of His Son. Whether you’re tormented with panic attacks or thinking of committing suicide, Jesus can help.

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