How do we view Psychology?
A rather common question that we get from people who visit GRACELIFE is “How do you guys view psychology? Are you guys for it or against it?” That is a great question and it takes a bit of explanation because most Christian Counseling tends to fall into 1 of 2 extremes.
First – there are Christian Counselors who fully embrace secular Psychology – and basically claim that “All Truth is God’s Truth.” These folks tend to view Scripture and Psychology as equals – and they sort of have a tossed salad approach to counseling with a little bit of Sigmund Freund and Jesus mixed together. The danger with this approach though is that it unquestionably embraces psychology without carefully discerning where the Bible contradicts psychological theory.
On the flip side – there are Christian Counselors who go to the other extreme and basically say “The Bible is sufficient for every problem you will ever face - and therefore we don’t need anything but the WORD. Just give us the WORD!” And when people come in to get counseling from such people they are told: “What you need is greater faith in Christ and greater trust in God’s Word in order to overcome whatever you are dealing with.” This is what we call at GRACELIFE the “Take 2 Scriptures and call me in the morning” approach to counseling. The danger of this approach though is that it shoe-horns all personal problems into the “sin” category and as a result – it turns counseling into nothing more than identifying sin and exhorting people to change. Not only is this type of counseling ineffective in treating certain conditions – but it’s also extremely dangerous because it treats certain conditions like postpartum depression as a moral problem instead of a hormonal problem. And I would say that heaping more guilt and condemnation upon a person who is suffering as a result of living in a fallen world – and not as a result of their own personal sin – is not really counseling at all - but rather spiritual abuse.
The 3rd Way – the Gracelife way
That is why - at GRACELIFE – we think there’s a better way – a 3rd way. At GRACELIFE we prefer a more WHOLISTIC approach to the counseling process – and we seek to weigh carefully the entire person. The Bible is clear that not all personal suffering is a result of our sin or unbelief (take for example the man born blind in John 9) and therefore we seek to evaluate the whole person. If a person isn’t sleeping well – we do want to probe to see if there might be a sin issue in their life that is jacking up their sleep cycles – but we also want to probe other common sense areas like diet, exercise, maybe even things like excessive inflammation levels due to food allergies. In other words – we don’t want to be ignorant of common grace in the counseling room because not every person who has sleeping problems is sinning.
Further, although we do believe that the Bible is infallible and inerrant when it speaks about our human condition – we also believe that you can learn a lot about people from careful observation – and therefore areas like psychology, psychotherapy and also emerging fields like neuroscience - offer extremely helpful insights about how we function. Therefore – at GRACELIFE - we are open to areas of psychology and neuroscience and other means of common grace – as long as they do not contradict the Bible.
So that’s where we stand - the video below will go into a little bit more detail - if your curious - give it a watch :)