Toward a true Christian Psychiatry

Healing consists of more than caring. Knowledge is needed.

When I attended Bible college many years ago, when were taught “Christian Psychiatry.”  More specifically, we were taught that Christians did not need psychiatry.    Following the theories of Jay Adams “Nouthetic Counseling” we were told that everything that science had learned through the last 200 years was wrong and hostile to God.  We were told that we, as Spirit-led pastors, were better able to counsel people than someone who spent their lives and their careers finding out the best methods to heal mental disease.

The book that we were given taught us that all mental disease was the result of sin.  When people came to us for counseling, we were to find the “sin” in their lives and confront them with it.  If they continued to have problems with depression, anxiety, psychosis, mania, then it was because they were hiding their sin.

As should be obvious to anyone, the result of such counseling methods was to drive many good Christians either away from the church or further into despair and finally, suicide.

Mental health is much to complex to describe with a single human theory.   Yes, the Bible does support the idea that hidden sin can cause anxiety and despair.  The stories of Saul and David show what happens when a man knows that he is at odds with his creator.

But this is not the only reason for neurosis.  The apostle Paul wrote in II Cor. 1:8 “For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life.”

Furthermore there is simple mental disease.  Anyone who has worked in a hospital ICU for any time realize that more than a third of people get “Hospital Psychosis.”   They start imagining things, hearing voices, seeing people that aren’t there.  This is simply a function of being sick and in a strange place.

And what about Alzheimer’s?  Shall we condemn everyone who has dementia to hell for unrepented  sin?  God forbid.

On the hand, psychiatry which is hostile to traditional religion and traditional morality can also lead one into error.   Some psychiatrists have a tendency to treat religion, itself, as a mental disease.  This is foolish, for man is naturally desirous of being on good terms with his creator.  To deny this relationship, or to attempt to talk our patients out of it – or to secretly despise them for desiring it – is to deny the very nature of man.

So, let me make it clear that I am an integrationist.   In my professional life I see, constantly, to bring my patients into health.  The healthier the mind, the better able the individual is able to find his proper relation with his creator.  It is not my job to lead them into Godly habits, but rather only to bring them into health.  When that health is accomplished, then someone else can do the work of the evangelist.  I am a doctor.

Is everything we know about depression wrong?


Edit:   I see that the Guardian has published an article by a neuroscientist taking apart the silly argument made in the article talked about below

Here is the takedown article :  Is Everything Johan Hari knows about depression wrong

End Edit


We have another submission to the long list of “Doctors are Idiots” articles.  In the Guardian, an author proclaims that all you have to do to conquer your depression is to follow his new life-style miracle cure of 9 steps.

Sigh, how wonderful that this author has found out another way to blame patients for their sickness.  If they will just get out in the sun, exercise more, form relationships with people… Blah blah blah, then they will cure their depression.

Sir, If my patients could do these things then THEY WOUNDN’T BE DEPRESSED.  The whole point about depression is that it deprives people of the ABILITY to “snap out of it.”  They can’t get up in the morning and go out into the sun. They can’t go to work and meet new people.  They can’t form relationships.  They can’t find new fun things to do.  They can’t eat healthy and sleep regularly and exercise and do fun things.

Oh, I know, you can’t imagine that can truly be impossible for a person to feel this way.  In feeling that way, you join the long list of friends and family of the patient who blame him for his own sickness.  You look at him from your high perch of self-righteous health and sneer because he lacks the emotional ability to approach your great healthy state.

You will feel that way until the day that it actually happens to you.  Then you will come running into my office for help.

I am glad you came.  Because I can help you.  I hope that you didn’t read a bunch of articles like this clueless authors.  I hope that you don’t believe his foolishness and fail to seek help.  Because the longer and more often you are depressed, the harder it is to help.

The author sets up a straw-man.  He claims that all psychiatrists just believe that depression is a serotonin problem.

GRRR.  No we don’t.  That is only one of the things that we believe.  We also believe that it is a norepenephrine problem and a dopamine problem and a 5HT1A problem and a host of other receptors and a relationship problem and a behavioral problem and a historical trauma problem.  I’m sorry that we can’t explain all of this to you in a 15 minute visit.   The books on depression are hundreds of pages long.  We are doing thousands of studies to find out more about it.

Just because it is not simple enough to explain in 3 minutes doesn’t mean we don’t know anything about how to treat it.

Let me put this simply.  If you or your loved one is unable to get up in the morning.  If they are talking about hurting themselves and quitting their jobs and isolating themselves,   If anyone start acting this way.  GET HELP NOW.

Don’t go running to your local pop-psych idiot who thinks he knows everything because he found out a little.  Go to a doctor.  We are actually keeping up with the literature and have a host of treatments that can help.


Psychiatrist wants to force Trump to get his head examined. She needs her license examined.

She needs her license examined

A Yale Psychiatrist wants to overturn Constitutional government using civil commitment laws.  I wish that this were not being taken seriously by the democrats, but it is.  She has even been interviewed by MSNBC.

As a psychiatrist who takes his job, and his license, seriously.  Let me explain how many things are wrong with this.

Psychiatrists have an awesome and frightening power.  We can take someone, against their will, lock them up for a couple of days and force them to undergo psychiatrist evaluation.  We can then ask a civil judge for permission to continue holding this person and for the authority to force them to take medications.  This permission is almost always granted.  The court gives a lot of weight to the psychiatrist’s opinion.

This is frightening.  I don’t like doing it.  These people are American citizens and have the right to life and liberty.  The idea of taking this away – on my say so – even for a couple of days seems unamerican.   The reason that we have these laws are that some people are so mentally ill, so capable of violence, that we cannot just wait until they commit some horrific act before we take away their power to do so.

But there are a lot of limits on this power.  Thankfully.  We are not the communist Soviet Union.  They defined all political opposition, all religious belief, as mental illness.  They locked people up for “thought crimes.”

The authority to deprive someone of power requires

  1. A statement by someone who PERSONALLY WITNESSED behavior or statements that psychotic or violent.  This cannot be second hand statements.
  2. The Behavior cannot be Personality driven. It must be what we psychiatrist call “Axis I” or true mental disease, not just a bad character. If we could lock people up for bad character, then we could simply go out and get everyone who is a career criminal (Antisocial personality) and lock them up for life instead of for the term of their sentences. We could lock them up for having the PROPENSITY to commit crimes instead of for crimes.

Clearly, Dr. Lee knows that Donald Trump does not meet these conditions.  Firstly, she has not witnessed any of these supposedly psychotic behaviors by the President, nor does she have an SWORN statements  of people who have.

One cannot simply go solicit statements against someone that we dislike.

Every psychiatrist knows these limitations, or they should.  If a psychiatrist attempts to use his or her awesome power with which we have been entrusted for our personal agenda, then we should be brought before the licensing board of our state and have that power rescinded.

I wonder how many people Dr. Lee has committed under her expansive ideas of what constitutes “dangerous behavior.”   Does she lock up religious people who believe that God has authority in the affairs of men?  Does she lock up conservatives who don’t have politically correct views of “scientific” global warming?   She is clearly willing to use her power in the service of politics.  This may only be the most public example.

Dr. Lee has violated the ethics of our profession and brought us into disrepute. She is in repeated violation of the Goldwater rule, a fact of which she has been informed, repeatedly. She is attempting to use the power of her medical license and psychiatric board certification to enact a political agenda. She needs to be brought before her state licensing board and have her license examined.