Thursday, January 04, 2007

How does psychology work with Biblical counseling?

Question: "How does psychology work with Biblical counseling?"

Answer: Psychology as a whole does not fit into Biblical counseling. This is not to say that some research that has been done within the realm of psychology is not useful - some can be. However, it should be viewed carefully, for even research and what psychologists and psychiatrists would call hard data can be skewed to make it say what they want it to say.

Psychology is humanistic in nature. Humanism excludes God. Humanism at its core says that man is the center, and there is nothing beyond him. Psychology is man's way of trying to understand and repair the spiritual side of man without being spiritual. Psychology removes God and spiritual things from the picture.

One result from the teachings and philosophy of the well known psychiatrist, Sigmund Freud, has been what is known as a Freudian ethic. From this ethic, the term "mental illness" arose. Once a person's problems are deemed to be an illness, they are no longer responsible. Psychiatry has let mankind off the hook - he is no longer responsible. This is why some people commit murder and enter an insanity plea - so they are not held responsible.

Another major contributor to humanism and psychiatry is Carl Rogers, the father of Rogerian counseling. Roger's basic presupposition was that mankind is basically good and the answer to a person's problems lies within himself. The psychiatrist who has adopted this form of counseling is little more than a good listener. He merely reflects back to the patient what the patient has been saying.

The Bible paints a very different picture of man than Rogers or Freud or any other form of psychiatry or humanism. The Bible declares that mankind had a different beginning than any other created thing. Man was made in the image of God and God breathed into man (and only man) the breath of life, and man became a living soul (Genesis 1:26; 2:7).

Man was created in innocence, but he was disobedient to God - he sinned against God - and this sin changed the first man, Adam, and all who came after him. Adam, and all who came after him are sinners, with the result being physical and spiritual death (Genesis 2:17; 5:5; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:1). The answer to man's spiritual problems is to be born again - to be made alive spiritually (John 3:3, 6-7; 1 Peter 1:23). Man is born again by trusting in Jesus. To trust in Jesus means to understand that He is God's only Son, and God the Son (John 3:16; John 1:1-3). It means to understand and believe that Jesus paid for your sins when He died on the cross, and that God demonstrated that He accepted Christ as a sacrifice for you by raising Jesus from the dead (Romans 4:24-25).

God has already provided for our deepest needs - our spiritual needs. Why then would He not have also provided for our emotional and psychological needs? He has. 2 Peter 1:2-3 says, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence."

Note in this verse that God has provided "everything" we need for "life and godliness." God's Word is sufficient for our needs if we are obedient.
Recommended Resource:
Competent to Counsel by Jay Adams.


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