Counselor, Beware!

How NOT to counsel a bulimic Christian:

"Secular counselors advise you to only be supportive and not confront any sin. They claim that the depressed person is already feeling so guilty about many areas of [her] life, that dealing with sin will only make it worse. Of course this view ignores the very purpose of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Following this advice allows the counselee to believe there really are no answers and takes away any hope he has to solve his problems.

The biblically victorious solution is to deal with sin through repentance and forgiveness, and then begin to deal with life from a biblical perspective. Rather than a further piling on of more guilt, it is removed through the cross of Christ. Then the spiral can be reversed. This gives a counselee great hope for the future, no matter how [she] feels. Being merely supportive encourages the person to continue in [her] miserable condition.

Just being supportive and failing to give one biblical answers for sin issues and [her] hopeless view of [her] life actually removes biblical hope. When real hope is gone, the person gets deeper and deeper into despair, concluding that there are no answers and that life is not worth living...Medications may change the feelings, but they do not deal with the real issues. Only the principles given to us by the Creator of life will really help a person change [her] actions." -- Dr. Robert D. Smith, M.D. (quoted from "The Christian Counselor's Medical Desk Reference", pp. 213-214


  1. I picked this book up at a Biblical Counselor's Conference in East St. Louis back in 2007. It has some really excellent stuff in it. I highly recommend it.

  2. It is required reading for the "Medical Issues in Counseling i & II" course I just completed for the Institute of Nouthetic Studies certificate program. The chapters on ADHD and depression are particularly illuminating!

  3. I don't think this is an accurate description of secular counseling. I've seen at least 20 different secular therapists at many different facilities, and I have not come across any with this approach. They have all identified my behaviors as bad and wrong. They are not "supportive" of my wanting to use the behaviors but instead help me understand why they are NOT good behaviors. Of course they do not use the word "sin" or point me towards the cross, but I do that myself in my personal God time. I do not favor secular counseling over Christian counseling and never have. However, I feel as though many Christian counselors look to it like it is the antichrist (not literally) when it really can be very helpful to a Christian struggling with a life-dominating sin or psychiatric illness. I'm sure this MDR is a wonderful book, but I sincerely hope this is the only inaccurate information containing it.


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