What is “mental illness”? We contend that “mental illness” is a misnomer that is not only confusing, but misleading. People do have physical illnesses and disorders that affect the mind, but these should not be referred to as “mental illness” because the mind itself, though seriously affected, is not literally ill. Christians need to remember that the brain is tremendously complex in itself and further complex in its relationship to the rest of the body, to the extent that a person may be suffering horrendously because of a brain condition for which the bodily cause cannot be found. It is too simplistic to think that a person’s emotional misery is not related to a bodily problem just because a “thorough physical exam” does not reveal a problem. People who are suffering mentally from biological conditions need love, care, and compassion as well as medical help. No one should make light of these serious debilitating conditions that involve much suffering.
The term “mental illness” also ends up being a catch-all for all kinds of problems of living that have little or nothing to do with illness. Moreover, the term “mental illness” opens the door wide to psychotherapy in the world and to the Trojan Horse we call “psychoheresy” in the church. This confusion between brain and mind has led the church into much error, as psychotherapists have convinced pastors that pastors and fellow Christians cannot minister to people with serious problems. These therapists rarely confess that all psychotherapy has to offer is conversation that is steeped in secularism. Christians who are psychologically-trained counselors are limited by their State licenses. Therefore the most they can do is to educate and motivate the natural man, rather than teach the Word of God, build the faith, and nourish the spiritual life. Let’s face it: most therapy is full of rehashing past hurts, complaining about other people, often not present, and engaging in other forms of evil speaking that nourish the flesh and prevent spiritual growth.
This Trojan Horse looks very helpful and kind, but is filled with the world, the flesh, and even the devil, who tempted Eve to question God’s Word. And this is exactly why Christians turn to the world of psychological counseling. They are questioning God’s Word regarding its sufficiency and what it says about itself and them. For instance, the Word clearly says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Think about the difference between the “inspiration of God” and the opinions of men. Psychotherapy and its underlying psychologies are based on human ideas organized into theories about the human condition. Consider the difference between the Word of God (truth) and doctrines of men (opinions) regarding how to live and how to change. What psychological system will bring people to spiritual maturity in this life and ultimate perfection in the next? What psychological system can equip anyone for the good works that Christ alone can accomplish in and through a believer. Yet, in spite of these vast contrasts, numerous pastors send their people out to psychological therapy and numerous Christians follow the psychological way.
We contend that psychotherapy, including all licensed psychological counseling professions, is the way of the world rather than the Lord’s way. Jesus himself is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Remember that psychological counseling is conversation, not science or medicine. Psychological counseling talks about the soul, but is incapable of truly transforming the soul and giving new life to the spirit. In fact, psychotherapy research does not support the faith that people put into it. Its help is limited at best, harmful at worst, and spiritually detrimental at least.
Psychotherapy is not medical science even though a branch of medicine, psychiatry, erroneously uses psychotherapy because of the influence of men like Sigmund Freud. For many years psychiatry followed the Freudian “conversation as cure” rather than investigating and treating possible physical causes of distressing mental symptoms. Thus, for years psychiatrists merely talked with their patients. They primarily talked about the patient’s Freudian early-life, psychosexual stages of development in their search for causes of symptoms. Although some early psychiatrists tried to fix people’s brains through horrendous frontal lobotomies, tooth extractions, cold baths, and other means, there was much harm and scarce success. The only seeming “cures” were those people who eventually recovered naturally, in spite of, rather than because of the treatment.
Research on the brain may bring forth some answers for those people who suffer from such difficult conditions now labeled schizophrenia, autism, bi-polar disorder, Huntington’s disease, and major depression. In the meantime, Christians should not send these people or anyone who suffers from problems of living out to psychotherapy. Minister Christ in His compassion, wisdom, mercy, and love to all who suffer. Minister His Word to those who seek direction and correction in life. Greatly encourage those who endure illnesses that seem to have no cure or end in sight. But discourage succumbing to psychological counseling.
PsychoHeresy Awareness Letter, September-October 2017, Vol. 25, No.5)