A Reformed conversation on nouthetic and biblical counseling

I just had a very fruitful exchange with a dear brother, Philip, who is Reformed like me, and who suffers from serious mental illness like me, on the topic of my recent blog post on Jay Adam’s nouthetic counseling. If you’d like to read the blog post to see what precisely he responded to you can find it here:

Here are his comments in response to my blog post:

My reply is below:

I see. Thanks for your thoughtful reply brother. I shall do some more reading on biblical counseling, meditate on these things, and seek the Lord’s guidance through prayer. I know Scripture can really help with mild cases of anxiety, excessive worrying, nervousness, scrupulosity, mild cases of depression, etc. But I am thoroughly convinced that it is less effective and sometimes is an utter failure in treating more severe mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc. I literally cannot function with biblical counseling alone. I would literally be committed to a mental hospital, as a danger to myself and others due to my aggressive psychosis, if I didn’t have the benefit of psychiatric medication. We have to remember that Scripture was written when we had a very primitive understanding of mental illness, brain function, psychosis, etiology of hallucinations and delusions, etc. We have gained such a wealth of knowledge in the past 2,000 years. I believe that this very body of knowledge and expertise is a gift from God to mankind. God often uses natural means in His dealings with man. And I believe psychiatry need not be antithetical to biblical counseling. I know myself better than a biblical counselor. I’ve lived with severe mental illness for 22 years. So this isn’t new to me. I can accurately gauge what my life was like before being medicated, and how it’s been since being medicated, and the difference is remarkable. My life is much better with psychiatric medication.

My reply is below:

I agree brother. God’s Word is absolutely primary. I see now that there is a proper place for biblical counseling. Thanks again for the conversation brother. I appreciate it.

2 responses to “A Reformed conversation on nouthetic and biblical counseling”

  1. Why is there such prejudice against mental illness? So many times I have encountered people who say that it’s all in my mind , or they tell me to shake it off! Mental illness is a physical illness! Would a person say to someone who has a heart condition or cancer that it’s all in their mind? Why is there so much disrespect and disregard for mental illness? Psychiatrist medication is a gift from God, it has made my life and so many lives so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

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