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Deceptive Diagnosis: When Sin Is Called Sickness Paperback – May 1, 2006
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As a psychologist AND Christian, I was troubled by trying to see mental illness and psychotic behavior from both a psychology and Christian perspective.
Many Christians think all mental illness (depression, anxiety, psychotic behavior, etc) is spiritual attacks from the devil or demons. There is the story about Jesus casting evil spirits out of a man who was cutting himself and the evil spirits were cast into swine/pigs.
However, there are so many Christians who are suffering with depression, anxiety, psychosis etc who aren't being treated because they refuse to see the psychology component to these illnesses.
Reading this book helped me formulate a better perspective on this topic. A must have for any therapist who is Christian. Good to read books from both arguments then develop your own conclusion.
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An entire book needs to be written to diagnose their misdiagnosis, but I will briefly mention a handful of key problems I have with this kind of thinking.
(1) These (types of) authors seem unaware that there is so much more to the field of psychology than the counseling psychology they like to beat on.
(2) In fact, biblical psychology--an attempt to understand psychological issues within a Christian worldview--(and more recently "Christian Psychology") has been discussed for more than a hundred years. Check out the Society for Christian Psychology. Tyler, Grady, and their ilk appear woefully ignorant of all the good work done by other Christians who share their concerns about secular psychology, work that is more circumspect, informed, and carefully considered.
(3) While this writer shares Tyler and Grady's criticisms of the DSM and the general diagnostic approach of psychiatry and clinical psychology (I have read more than forty books on the topic in preparation for my own book on a Christian approach to diagnosis), I find their assessment of Christian counseling filled with caricature and straw-man arguments built on dated notions of counseling theory. For example, anyone who accuses integrationist Christian counselors of being indebted to Freud's theory is just plain--what's the best word?--stupid. Since the development of the DSM-III, Freudian theory has been in steep decline, even in psychiatry. I doubt if even one Christian school with graduate level programs in counseling psychology trains its students in Freudian psychoanalytic theory. Sure, Freud will be discussed--and partially appreciated, as is fitting, but few Christian counselors are Freudian, so why bring that up in criticisms of integrationist Christian counseling today? I am not an integrationist theoretically, but a proponent of "Christian Psychology", yet I am careful not to accuse integrationists of being disciples of secular theorists simply because they appreciate some of the thinking of secular theorists. On this point, I feel amused when critics of Christian counseling (that is non-biblical counseling) appeal to secular writers to defend their bible only perspective.
(4) This book, like all in this cultic genre, cannot recognize its own inconsistencies. For example, in addition to the common use of secular sources to argue against the use of secular sources in Christian counseling, the "sufficiency" of Scripture never seems to be sufficient enough to prohibit the publication of these biblical counseling books that are determined to set everyone straight. Why, I wonder, if Jesus and the Bible are sufficient, do these biblical counselors publish their books?