Can Nouthetic counselors deal with mental illness?

Yes, they can help in those problems that some mistakenly call "mental illness." In instances of true illnesses they will not attempt to counsel, but will refer you to a physician to treat the organic causes.

You need to understand that apart from injuries, tumors, and other brain problems, there is no such thing as mental illness. Those who use this terminology—unless they are speaking metaphorically—are using words inaccurately. All true "illness" is organic. Yet, these people, by adopting medical terminology, cloud the issue. How could a non-organic entity (whatever it may be) cause a non-organic illness? The very idea is preposterous. It is the body that becomes ill. Don't be deceived by medical terminology used to describe a non-medical problem.

Such problems are, in reality, problems in living. Advocates of "mental illness" have all sorts of names for such problems that describe effects, not causes (etiology). Ask them if there is a bodily test that has determined that there is a true bodily illness, and they will be stumped.*

Christian counselors deal with all problems in living. These problems have to do with loving God and one's neighbor. They are solved by dealing with thinking, attitudes and the behaviors that result from them. When these are unbiblical, they need to be changed by the Spirit working through His Word as it is ministered prayerfully. Don't be deceived by terminology, and don't allow anyone to medicate you for anything other than a true illness. Otherwise, the medication may mask the real problem and lead to a life of dependency upon it. Be sure that there is a medical reason—nothing less—for calling something an illness, some problem affecting the tissue in the body, not merely attitudes and thinking.

 * For details, see Bob Smith, MD, The Christian Counselor's Medical Desk Reference.

 Jay E Adams

Institute for Nouthetic Studies

100 White Meadow Ct
Simpsonville, SC 29681

(864) 399-9583




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