Biblical Counseling Meets Secular Counseling

There are many theories about counseling.  Some people believe that we should only use the Bible as it is God’s deeply devoted love letter to His children.  There are others that believe that counseling needs to take a more secular approach to cure emotional or mental health issues as there are definite theories and therapies that seem to have had some successes.  I believe that both can and should be used if we are to have long lasting successes with any and all mental health issues and or concerns.

Let me explain with an example.  Depression by definition is a deep sadness or loss of hope for any good or change.  The Bible gives many examples of men and women of God who had lost hope or were looking at some of the worst odds.  There are some scholars or theologians that believe David had periods of deep depression.  This can be seen in the Psalms.

The Bible also gives some insights to depression and many other negative emotions.  For example, Psalm 30:5 “For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime.  Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  These verses talk about a deep sadness but also gives the hope that it will not last forever.

Then it gives an insight as to how we can “cure” or battle depression.  In Philippians 4:8 it says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”  In this verse, I believe He is pointing out our normal thoughts and focus tend to be on the negative as human beings and that in order to combat depression we need to change our focus.

The Bible is in agreement with studies that show when a person that has been diagnosed with depression begins to concentrate on “good” things in life, the chemicals in their brains begin to change.  Some therapists start with having someone try to come up with five things they can say are good about their life or people and circumstances in their life.  At first, this can be a very difficult task for someone with depression which is where a therapist can come in and help to reframe some of the things that the person is talking about and put them into positive light or help them to see them as good things compared to the negative or “bad” things about their life.

The therapists can also help the person to learn how to battle against intrusive thoughts that are not of God.  (This is not to say we do not have to look at issues and trouble so we can find answers… however, we should not dwell on them all of the time.)  This will take some time, but with practice the person will be able to push away intrusive thoughts by looking on that which is good and positive.

Now of course these aren’t the only things that can help with depression; there are many. They can be found in the Bible and in some of the secular practices that line up with Biblical principles.  However, by infusing the two; the therapist has a new toolbox she or he can use.  Biblical counseling along with secular theories and therapies can help a person with depression better than either type by itself.

God loves us so much that he does not want us to stay in a depression.  If you are having issues with a deep sadness or depression, please call us and let us help you find your path out of depression and into living the path of life God has planned for you to travel.

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