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  • Writer's pictureNavita K.J. Johnson

#Psychology or Biblical Counseling

Growing up in small town Clio, Alabama, my grandmother, mother, and father instilled the importance of knowing and trusting Jesus Christ and our Father, God. Whether it was attending vacation bible school in the summers, choir rehearsals on Monday nights, bible study on Wednesday nights, Sunday school on Sunday mornings, afternoon services in the afternoon, and attending regular sangings (yes, sangings, not singings, that's the country in me) and revivals, one thing I knew for sure, even as a child, was that Jesus Christ and God was important. My father would tell me stories of his mother and her faith because I was very young when she passed away. Fortunately, I was able to watch my maternal grandmother and my mother live out theirs. Before I ever understood who Jesus or God was, as a child I was drawn in through gospel music. I could be playing with cousins or friends in church, but if someone would sing, I would immediately stop and that person, group, or choir would have my undivided attention. It's unexplainable, but I always felt a spiritual connection. Throughout my life, even from my youth, I always had a different perspective on things, my heart was always with broken people, maybe because they reminded me of myself, either way, I always wanted others to be happy (sometimes to my detriment...). I would use my voice throughout my life to encourage and help others. Although, there were definitely some challenging years throughout my life, however, I still relied on my faith to push me forward. Over ten years ago when I entered the field of counseling and begin learning about theories and modalities for counseling, I immediately began to wonder, why weren't these theories founded on biblical principle. The bible is truth and from what Proverbs 1 states, it's good "for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young..." (v 1-4), so why were we as counselors using information that was developed by atheist and God's creation to help us heal our brokenness? I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes say in a sermon before, "If you have a Toyota and the Toyota breaks down, would you take it to Nissan? No. You would take it to the place that built the car, because they would know what was wrong and would have the tools to fix it." We are God's creation, made in his image, his chosen people, yet instead of turning to Him and his Word, to find the answers to our brokenness and healing, we have allowed the world to convince us that God's creation knows better than God, the Creator. Even his creation that did not believe in him (Sigmund Freud, known as the father of psychology, and others...). For centuries, before there was an academia known as psychology, there was Jesus Christ, God, and the bible. People who struggled with all of the mental illnesses that we face still today, relied on the undeniable healing power of God through his Word. People sought out pastors and spiritual healers and many were healed because there was no psychology. But today, even many of our pastors have been bamboozled by the advertising and current trend of mental health. So much so, that they refer God's people away from his Word, to therapist, counselors, psychologist, and psychiatrist, that uses theories based on men's view, many who are atheist and who were using cocaine when developing these theories, for the healing of God's children. No wonder so many people continue to seek the fluff of treatment. People are in need of a deeper understanding of their problems and concrete healing, and it is being proven through our high rate of suicides that simple, surface, behavioral changes is not enough. Mental health has always been a concern for people. In Mark 5; 1-20, the bible even speaks of Jesus healing a "demon-possessed" man, undoubtedly a man with mental illness. However, with the development of psychology as an academic discipline, society has watched the creation of terminology and codes that gives natural human behaviors, reactions, and some natural tendencies and experiences a categorization in the Diagnostical Statistical Manual, 5th edition (most current edition-book used by clinicians to make a diagnosis), which now causes people to believe that they have conditions that are incurable, and that their symptoms can only be managed by prescription medications that destroy their physical health and exacerbate at times their mental health to worse conditions. And this is great for pharmaceutical companies who are making billions of dollars each year, but I hear my God saying, "Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!" (Jeremiah 23;1) As counselors, therapists, psychologists, psychiatrist, social workers, etc..., we have been called for such a time as this. Do you feel that your current strategies are truly helping to make forever-changes in the lives of your clients? Do you observe your clients still needing the same help a month or so later? Do your clients have real peace, real joy? What will you do differently to help them? We do not help others by enabling negative behaviors. We have to speak truth to our clients. Where does your truth come from Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, etc. or God?

I was given a book over ten years ago, at the beginning of my counseling journey by Mr. Jerry Johnson, who was my mentor and owner of Directions of Recovery, Inc. He knew I was a spiritual person and I spoke with him about biblical counseling. He gave me a book one day, that he explained had been given to him, but he never had a chance to read it. The book name was, "Counseling, How to Counsel Biblically" by John MacArthur (2005). I put the book aside vowing to read it one day, but never got around to it because of my busy schedule. However, the COVID-19 epidemic provided me with the time I needed. I came across the book ten years after it was given to me and decided to read it. This book has changed my counseling perspective and I will never counsel the same again. I have always known the truth, but I am just learning that there has been so many others that have stood in this truth as well. I am not advocating against people getting the help that they need; I just happen to know a way that can help them completely heal if they are willing to do the soul-work of changing. God is not a man that he should lie! The bible has been around for centuries, changing the lives of people globally, but I don't need to look around the world, I just have to look at my own life and know without a shadow of a doubt, I will choose biblical counseling.

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