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Ed Welch

Queries and Controversies

Journal of Biblical Counseling 18:2

In this article, Ed Welch responds to the question, “How valid or useful are psychiatric labels for depression?” Welch argues that, overall, wise counselors prefer careful, concrete descriptions over one-word summaries. There is some benefit in being able to name something, and “depression” does suggest a significant and recognizable cluster of experiences. Welch argues that more technical and professional language — “clinical depression,” “depressive disorder,” “bipolar disorder,” “major depressive episode,” “dysthymic disorder” — tends to load description with “biological baggage,” with presumed medical explanations and medical cures. Instead, Welch argues that biblical categories like “suffering, groaning, hopelessness, etc.” can help make the issue more accessible to biblical counselors.

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