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There are no easy answers or quick fixes for the kind of brokenness that psychiatric disorders describe. People struggling with complex problems hurt deeply, feel socially isolated, and are often misunderstood. Diagnostic labels like OCD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder and ADHD have become commonly used in our culture, and many in the church live with the struggles these labels describe.
What do diagnostic labels mean for strugglers and for those who want to help them? How should we understand the use of medication in the care of psychiatric problems from a biblical perspective? What does it look like to move toward someone who is different than us with the love of Jesus Christ? How can we communicate our “sameness” in Christ, even as we offer help?
Helpers need a feel for the slow processes of change. They need to be willing to live with uncertainty and yet keep their spiritual bearings. This study will guide you through a meaningful understanding of people who have complex problems and how to offer biblical help.
Psychiatric Disorders Curriculum: Summary of Content (includes running times)
Lesson 1: Making Sense of Complex Problems – David Powlison (55:00)
David discusses the present state of psychiatry and Christianity’s points of contact with modern psychiatry. Christianity has a significant message to share: a rich identification with the troubled person, the ability to say something of essential importance about the human heart, and the ability to speak about how the heart interacts with life experience.
Lesson 2: What is Going On Inside: Understanding the Human Experience – Edward T. Welch (43:03)
Ed unpacks an important theological concept for understanding psychiatric disorders: human beings are embodied souls. This understanding provides us with a biblical method to approach people who are struggling.
Lesson 3: Understanding Labels and Diagnoses – Michael Emlet (39:13)
Mike discusses how we as Christians should understand psychiatric diagnoses, their limitations and benefits. Mike focuses on moving toward a balanced approach to psychiatric labels and diagnoses, neither too hot or too cold.
Lesson 4: Understanding the Use of Medication in Psychiatric Treatments – Michael Emlet (35:42)
Mike discusses the use of medication in the care of people with complex problems. He discusses the scientific perspective, the biblical perspective, and an approach to counseling ministry.
This lesson also includes 2 supplemental videos from Mike, provided for study and discussion:
Lesson 5: What You Can Do To Help – Edward T. Welch (37:35)
Ed builds this lesson on an expressed goal: to learn to seek out marginalized and isolated people and know them well enough to pray with them rather than for them. We can help others as we seek God’s thoughts and the Spirit’s power in response to what another person has to say.