My approach would be first to just let me help you from the bible. That’s what I’m equipped to do. I can use the bible to help you with your spiritual struggles. Then often it’ll be the counselees saying, “You know, maybe I don’t need these anymore.” I would say, “Well, tell your doctor that, ask your doctor if it’d be possible for you to cut back or to go on a process of getting off of the med under his supervision, and do that as a test case to see if you’re okay without it.” I’ve had people who have done that and have gotten off of the meds. The doctors aren’t always thrilled, but it’s not my decision, it’s the counselees decision. Then sometimes they may be afraid to get off of the med, and while in my opinion maybe I wish they’d try, I view that as a matter of their liberty to make that decision.
I just had someone that I was working with the other day who there are lots of marriage struggles that we’d been wrestling with, and kind of having worked through some of those. Then the question came up of, “Hey, I’m on these meds, and they help me with this, but the side effects are this.” Realizing he and his wife kind of never had really talked through that. So it seemed like my role was a lot just to help them think through wisely the pros and cons of using those and the hard issues behind it. Do you think does that seem like a reasonable approach or …?
Sure. There are cons. We’ve already mentioned the side effects. Many of them are undesirable, and some of them go beyond the emotional side effects, the physical side effects. But I would do it in a way where it’s interactive, not, “Get off of this,” but, “How do you feel about this? What do you think about this? How does it affect you?” I would try to point them more also to, “As you grow in learning to trust God more, as you grow spiritually, do you think that some of what you may be causing you to use this may diminish so that you could consider trying without it?”
- To listen to this episode: 002 Christians, Psychotropic Drugs, and Biblical Counseling
- Medical Issues and Biblical Counseling (SS16)
- Hodges, Charles, Good Mood, Bad Mood (book)
- Newheiser, Jim, “Influences on the Human Heart” chapter in Christ-Centered Biblical Counseing (book)
- Hendricksen, Laura, Will Medicine Stop the Pain? (book)
- Welch, Ed, Blame It on the Brain (book)
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You don’t have to have a counseling center to be effective in your community. In fact, you know, I would argue from scripture that it’s you know, as you go you’re preaching the gospel so you know, the church is gathering together to be equipped, to be encouraged, and then we disperse, right? We go to our work places, we go to our schools, we go to our neighborhoods. That one-on-one ministry, where now we have some equipping to be able to address some of those life issues, you know I think as a pastor I’m thinking I want the average person at our church to be able to you know, talking to their neighbor next door that evening and a life issue comes up. You know, a teenager that’s addicted to something, or you know, they’re having marriage problems. I would hope that a believer at that point wouldn’t say, “Well hey, let’s go to our community counseling ministry,” although they could do that, but that they would engage them wisely and in a loving way from the scriptures to give them gospel hope in that moment.