Philosophy of Counseling Mental Disorders
Unfortunately, the mental health industry has ruled and the church has submitted in the most dangerous way. As a result, many Christians feel ill-equipped to help women who have some sort of mental disorder. What originally began as a label to help define people’s struggles has now turned into a label that defines *them* and, instead of offering freedom through the diagnosis, only serves to hold them captive.
In the years that I worked with Lifeline, I met well over a thousand women who came to us for help, and nearly all of them had at least two mental disorders. As I worked with them, I quickly discovered that many of them received the diagnoses on false pretenses: they had other complicating issues (such as a drug addiction) that tainted the diagnosis. They also were vastly over-diagnosed – and the reason for that, sadly, is that the only way for services or insurance to cover those services is to have a diagnosis. In meeting so many women, I’d say less than a dozen had severe mental disorders that actually prevented them from functioning normally.
My starting point in helping someone with a mental disorder is to help them find hope – and that begins with personal responsibility. Instead of teaching them (as the world does) that they are not responsible for their actions and are incapable of overcoming their diagnosis, I bring women to the Word of God, which contains the promises of God’s power, which is available to us who believe, to overcome any obstacle that we face in our challenge to follow Him. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says that God is able to make all grace abound to us, so that in all things, at all times, having all that we need, we will abound in every good work! Scripture also makes it clear that no one can make us sin. We are each responsible for our attitudes and actions. While some of us struggle more in certain areas, God does not exempt us from the calling to life through obedience. Instead, we need to find out how to access His power in our lives so that we can strengthen those weakness and find victory even over our mental disorders, whether they be clinical depression, seasonal affective disorder, multiple personality disorder, or schizophrenia.
One of the tools available to us is medication, but more often than not, the disorder is not severe enough to require it for stability. I’ve met many women who were able to overcome emotional and mental struggles without medication. But other times, it’s critical to have the stability that medication can bring so that a person can truly learn and begin to practice those right attitudes and behaviors that are found in Scripture.
Most often, what a person needs is understanding, support, teaching, and training. In my work with counseling women, I use the model from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which says,
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
I believe the starting point is God’s Word – whatever we face, God has the answer! I don’t adhere to secular counseling philosophies because I believe God is sufficient.
This scripture has four key components to how we apply scripture:
1 - teaching:
This is where I show the counselee what God has to say – about Who He is, What He does, and what His standard is for us.
2 - rebuking:
Inevitably, we fail to measure up. There is always an element of rebuke when we study scripture, because we are all still growing, and in counseling, this is an important part of the process. Without identifying where the counselee has failed to meet God’s standard, how can there be hope to not go through this cycle again, or to overcome the awful emotions that accompany our sinful choices?
3 - correcting:
This is where we identify what the counselee should do differently – it’s not up to us to guess! God tells us how to think, believe, and act better so that we don’t have to fall back into a cycle of bad choices and feelings.
4 - training:
It takes practice! This is where I come alongside my counselee and offer her help and support as she learns how to live according to God’s word in this area of her life.
This process is more than just counseling;
Who am I? In a word: passionate.
About Jesus, church, ministry, music, reading, family, friends,
and sometimes even iced skinny soy mochas (don't judge me).
Biblical counselor, teacher, and mentor to women of all ages.
Music is wonderful, studying is fun, and relationships are the best.