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The Myth of Psychological Labels

Article by Ed Bulkley

All around America are self-help groups that meet to provide mutual support for hurting people. Many of these groups meet in churches. One common factor in their discussions is psychospeak, a vocabulary composed by psychological experts and taught in books, magazines, radio, and television. Psychospeak uses labels to describe every human behavior. The labels are often presented in noun form: “an ill person,” “an adult child,” “an abused person,” “a handicapped person,” “an addict,” “an alcoholic,” “an enabler,” a “codependent,” “a kleptomaniac,” “a psychotic,” “a foodaholic,” “a schizophrenic,” “a nymphomaniac,” and an endless selection of other designations. In common conversation, these terms are often preceded by the confession “I am…” as a person accepts his assigned role in our “dysfunctional” society. The labels produce more confusion than solution.

“Untrue!” the indignant shout will come from those dedicated to psychospeak. “Labels help us to understand ourselves, so we can manage our problems. Unless you know what the disease is, you can’t treat it.”

But that’s just the problem. By avoiding the real issues, suffering people are prevented from finding an eternal cure.

Why are people drawn to psycholabels? Herbert Fingarette of the University of California, a critic of the concept of alcoholism as a disease, says, “Life is so puzzling and mystifying and obscure that giving something a name seems to give it clarity and power.”1 As Fingarette and others observe, however, psycholabels communicate two extremely serious and mistaken concepts: 1) the belief that anything short of perpetual happiness is a medical ailment that needs professional treatment, and 2) that since these disorders are actual illnesses, the individual bears no responsibility for their existence or solution.

Psycholabels do not reflect a consistent regard for scientific inquiry or professional integrity. As Goode suggests, one additional motivation for creating mental-illness categories is that “a new diagnosis gives doctors one more condition to treat.”2 Psycholabels are built upon personal observations of behavior and attitudes which are interpreted according to the biases of psycho-experts. Just because a psychiatrist or psychologist coins a new term does not prove that such a condition actually exists. As Bryna Siegel, a psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, observes: “People need to realize that these categories are not given by God.”3

“What’s the harm in labeling behavior as illnesses?” some people sincerely ask. There are at least four major problems with psycholabels.

The Excuse Label

The first problem is that psychological categories under the heading of “mental illness” provide crippling excuses for sinful behavior.

Dr. Thomas Szasz has said, “It is customary to define psychiatry as a medical specialty concerned with the study, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illnesses. This is a worthless and misleading definition. Mental illness is a myth.”4

In reply, integrationists ask, “Is mental illness really a myth? Is it a mind game that allows professional counselors to believe in ‘the myth of psychotherapy’ and gives their counselees an excuse to avoid responsibility while doing nothing about the problems of living?”5

Many observers on the outside would say yes. “What about physically caused abnormal behavior?” integrationists retort. “Distorted thinking, emotional disturbances, unusual behavior and many of the other symptoms we call ‘mental illness’ can and often do have a physiological basis.”6

Critics of psychology recognize that fact. Biblical counselors realize that there are complex interactions between the physical and spiritual aspects of human beings. We are aware that brain tumors, neurochemical imbalance, mercury poisoning, poor nutrition, hypoglycemia, fatigue, pain, and a host of other physical disorders have an impact on the thinking processes of human beings. Nouthetic counselors do not suggest that all mental and emotional problems are the result of sinful thinking or behavior.

The real debate is not over organically caused problems. William Glasser describes the prevailing concept of mental illness:

Those who believe in mental illness assume incorrectly that something definite is wrong with the patient which causes him to be the way he is. [This leads people] into the false belief that the doctor’s job is to treat some definite condition, after which the patient will get well. This attitude was graphically illustrated by a patient whom I treated some years ago, an imposing woman who sat down, looked directly at me, and stated in all sincerity, “I’m here, Doctor. Do psychiatry!”7

What then is wrong with the term “mental illness”? It is wrong because it communicates the inaccurate concept that the mind is synonymous with the brain. It reduces mental and spiritual processes to electrical/chemical interactions between the neurons of the brain. Psychiatrist Fuller Torrey writes: “The very term [mental “disease”] is nonsensical, a semantic mistake. The two words cannot go together except metaphorically; you can no more have a mental ‘disease’ than you can have a purple idea or a wise space.”8 He goes on to say that a “ ‘mind’ is not a thing and so technically it cannot have a disease. ‘Mind’ is shorthand for the activity and function of the brain. It is thinking, remembering, perceiving, feeling, wishing, imagining, reasoning, and all the other activities of which the brain is capable.”9

Some would argue that Torrey is exaggerating a minor semantical mistake. He says, however, that “the mistake is important. We must be very clear on what we mean by a mental ‘disease’ because our language shapes our thoughts. If we forget that ‘mind’ is only a metaphor, then it will shape our thoughts and determine our course of action.”10 Torrey points out that there are diseases of the brain such as tumors, meningitis, neurosyphilis, and epilepsy, but “the mind cannot really become diseased any more than the intellect can become abscessed”11 (emphasis in original).

The Alcoholism Label

The reason this part of the debate is so important is that the medical model of mental disorders has determined society’s attitude toward mental/emotional/behavioral problems. The current attitude toward alcoholism is a case in point. Herbert Fingarette writes in Heavy Drinking, The Myth of Alcoholism As a Disease:

What is the “classic disease concept of alcoholism”? First proposed in the late 1930’s, it goes like this. Alcoholism is a specific disease to which some people are vulnerable. Those who are vulnerable develop the disease if they take up drinking…those afflicted by the disease inevitably progress to uncontrolled drinking because the disease produces a distinctive disability—“loss of control,” a loss of “the power of choice in the matter of drinking”12 (emphasis in original).

Fingarette, a consultant for the World Health Organization, states that “no leading research authorities accept the classic disease concept. One researcher puts it quite baldly: ‘There is no adequate empirical substantiation for the basic tenets of the classic disease concept of alcoholism.’ ”13

In spite of the fact that alcoholism has not been proven to be a disease, “Almost everyone outside the scientific community still takes it for gospel that there is a scientifically proven, uniquely patterned drinking history peculiar to a disease called alcoholism.”14

The reason that alcoholism has been promoted as a disease is that a huge industry has grown up around the concept. Public hospitals and private clinics harvest more than one billion dollars per year in tax-supported payments and insurance claims for the treatment of alcoholism. The industry spends huge sums protecting their territory through public relations and legislative lobbying.

If the disease concept of alcoholism is incorrect, why hasn’t the public been alerted? Fingarette suggests a chilling answer:

Intimidation should not be discounted. The classic disease concept remains the cornerstone of traditional treatment and public opinion, the central premise of media coverage and social debate, such that anyone who publicly doubts or challenges the disease concept is likely to be ignored, dismissed, or ostracized…truthfulness can threaten, block, or ruin the truthteller’s career.15

Professional intimidation is not the only factor in keeping this information from the public. Self-serving greed must also be taken into account: “A second factor is that all program staff, paraprofessionals and professionals, have a stake in their organization’s financial survival. So in turn they have a stake in persuading government, private funders, and potential clients and families of the truth of the organizational doctrine.”16

The Disease Label

Fingarette’s assessment of the disease model for alcoholism applies equally to the mental illness model, and the consequences are enormous. As the public becomes convinced that they are suffering psychic diseases, the mental health industry can reap immense sums of money from insurance payments, government subsidies, and client fees.

And since the psychotherapeutic industry has labeled nearly every possible behavior as a disease, everyone is a potential patient needing their services. As Torrey notes:

[I]f we were to follow logically the medical approach, almost everybody would be mentally “ill.” The present official classification of psychiatric “diseases” is already so broad that there is a real question whether anybody can claim to not fit into at least one category. To do so, one would have to be free of everything from anxiety, depression, suspiciousness, and hostility, to ulcers, asthma, and hives, to tics and disorders of sleep, to acute alcohol intoxication. In short, all you have to do to qualify as “normal” under the present system is to be a bowl of Jello.17

The public is a willing accomplice to the charade of the mental illness medical model. After all, if alcoholism is a disease, how can we hold a drunk responsible for the crime he commits? If a person has “multiple personalities” and murders someone, he must receive psychiatric treatment, not punishment. As Glasser says, “Deviant behavior is considered a product of mental illness, and the patient should not be held morally responsible because he is considered helpless to do anything about it.”18

Garth Wood writes, “The concept of ‘neurosis’ has not helped the plight of ‘neurotics.’ For in truth, neurosis is the word we use in an attempt to explain the condition of those who have chosen to make a mess of their lives, to live unsuccessfully and to experience semi-permanent psychological pain.”19

The Addiction Label

All obsessive behaviors can be relabeled as addictions in order to include them in the medical model. Samuel Janis has determined that prostitution is an addiction.20 An Australian doctor treats jealousy with a drug.21 Incest, multiple lovers, mate-swapping, rape, and sexual assaults can all be defended under the heading of sexual addictions. There is even a National Council on Sexual Addiction. Gambling and overeating are now officially recognized as addictions over which the victims have no control.

Lawrence Frank has suggested that our entire culture “is sick, mentally disordered, and in need of treatment.… The conception of a sick society in need of treatment has many advantages for diagnosis of our individual and social difficulties and for constructive therapy.”22 There certainly are financial advantages for the mental health industry!

Some Christian psychologists seem to believe that bad habits are signs of mental illness. They say that such things as “perpetual procrastination, nail biting, overeating, masturbation, lustful thoughts, worry, overusing credit cards” may be caused by reasons that are “neither physical nor spiritual.”23 For the integrationist, the problems are psychological. One prominent Christian psychologist writes, “Perhaps many of the personal problems which people bring to counselors are completely unrelated to spiritual issues.”24

To understand such reasoning, you must remember that integrationists view the mind as a reality distinct from the spirit. Thus only psychologists and psychiatrists are qualified to treat it. This is the great divide between biblical and psychological counselors. Psychologists view destructive habits as behavior that is unrelated to spiritual matters, while biblical counselors view such things as procrastination, lustful thoughts, masturbation, uncontrolled spending, and overeating as sinful choices that can be corrected by obedience to the Word of God.

“Aha! You finally said it!” an integrationist is sure to shout gleefully. “You have simplistically and naively reduced all dysfunctions to sin.”

That simply is not true. As I have carefully stated, there are physically caused disorders that we readily recognize. But choices are mental and spiritual matters. The unproven psychological theories of unconscious drives over which a person has no control are simply mechanisms for excusing irresponsible, immature, and undisciplined behavior and thinking.

Victimization

A second major problem with psycholabels is perpetual victimization. When one accepts his label, he is forever categorized. Every experienced pastoral counselor has heard these ideas expressed: “I am an alcoholic…so it’s not my fault” or “I am a codependent…so it’s not my fault” or “I am an abused person…so it’s not my fault” so many times that it requires great personal discipline to keep from screaming, “Accept responsibility for what you once were and rejoice in what you now are in Christ! If you are in Christ, you are a new creation! The old things have passed away! All things have become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Two of the most liberating truths of the gospel of Christ are that God forgives us for our sins and we no longer have to remain slaves to the past! We can experience cleansing and total healing through the unlimited power of God.

It is troubling to know that many Christian counselors cling tenaciously to the labeling concept and consequently make their counselees slaves to the past. It is encouraging, by contrast, to discover that some secular counselors are coming to the conclusion that one does not have to remain a victim forever. William Glasser, a secular psychotherapist, rejects the concept of mental illness and the importance of past events and unconscious drives. In his practice, he says:

We do not accept the concept of mental illness…we do not get involved with the patient’s history because we can neither change what happened to him nor accept the fact that he is limited by his past.…We do not look for unconscious conflicts or the reasons for them. [Glasser refuses to allow a patient to excuse] his behavior on the basis of unconscious motives.25

It is plain, then, that nouthetic counselors are not alone in holding to this opinion. So far as I am aware, therapist Garth Wood makes no claim to being a Christian, yet he believes that a troubled person must assume responsibility for past choices and make appropriate choices to change his behavior. He writes:

The unsuccessful person with his low self-esteem can, like the sinner, return at any time to the correct path and can be helped to do so. But he will not be helped by a denial of his problem or by reassurances that he does not really have one, or again that if he does have a problem it is through no fault of his own.26

God has promised that for His children there is no such thing as a drive over which a person can have no control. He says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Some might argue that this verse does not apply to serious disorders and addictions, but merely to normal temptations that mentally healthy people experience. But the context shows that Paul is writing about obsessions, abuse of alcohol, overeating, and sexual “addictions”: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry. We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did” (1 Corinthians 10:7, 8).

Forever Children

A third result of psycholabeling is that it stunts the development of mental, social, and spiritual maturity. Some of the characteristics of childishness are an unwillingness to accept change, pouting or crying at disappointment, a preoccupation with self, a tendency to lie, shirking of responsibility, shifting of blame, demanding instant gratification, throwing temper tantrums, and a host of other symptoms that coincide with the labels of psychological disorders, such as “infantile regression.”

Psychologists tell middle-aged men and women that they are the “adult children of ________” (you fill in the blank). The theory is that since they suffered genuine torment at the hands of their parents or other authority figures, they must bear their psychic scars forever. The best they can hope for is to learn to cope. They can never be whole because they were eternally damaged. This is supposed to explain why they never learn to say no to alcohol, food, or drugs. Who can blame them if they become sexually promiscuous or if they get into extreme debt? It is to be expected that they too will abuse their children and perpetuate the cycle of violence. After all, they’re only children in big bodies.

Yet Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). With the power of God, no matter how horrible one’s childhood may have been—and I do not discount the incredible horror inflicted upon millions of children—one can experience genuine healing of wounded hearts and grow into full maturity in Christ.

The commands of God—His invitations to joy—are given to every human, whether one grows up in a loving Christian home or in a cesspool of hell. Thank God, Jesus did not make this offer only to those who had healthy childhoods: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). He makes that offer to everyone regardless of his past.

Endless Therapy

A fourth result of psycholabeling is endless therapy. If a person is forever a child in need of the guidance of a mental health professional, there will be an endless source of revenue for therapists. If he is now and always will be an alcoholic, he will need to continue his meetings at AA without break until he dies. Otherwise, he will inevitably slip back into drunkenness and destruction. If one is a schizophrenic—never mind that no one really knows what that means—he must continue swallowing powerful drugs to control his bizarre behavior. If he is an abused person, he must go back into the dark and frightening past, rip open his emotional wounds, and embrace his hurts—realizing that life will always be painful.

Few people ever address one reason that standard psychotherapy takes so long: Therapists often don’t have a clue as to what the real problems are. The moment one dismisses accountability to God and discards His Word, therapists are left to their own subjective guesses as to what a person’s root problems are. We could hardly fault the psychologist for not knowing what lies in the heart of his patient were it not for his claims to godlike knowledge.

The client, feeling temporarily relieved by a verbal confession to his secular priest, believes that therapy has helped. He returns to long-established habits of thinking and acting in the hours and days that follow and within a week needs another psychic fix. Some clients finally awaken to the fact that having invested hundreds or even thousands of dollars in psychoanalysis or other forms of counseling, the ones primarily benefitting are the therapists themselves.

New Labels

The mental health industry is seldom at a loss to create a new label for “abnormal behavior.” Erica Goode says that in 1917 only 59 distinct forms of mental disorders were recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. When the APA first published its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1952, the number of official labels had grown to 106. The third edition (1980) lists 292 specific disorders—a veritable smorgasbord to choose from —including “nicotine dependence,” “Self-Defeating Personality Disorder,” and the titillating “Hyperactive Sexual Desire Disorder.”27

Are these categories scientifically determined? Goode writes that—

psychiatric diagnoses rest mostly on description of symptoms. And deciding which diagnoses to include, and how to define them, has historically been a judgment call. Cynics question how heavily such decisions are influenced by factors that have nothing to do with science —for example, social mores, psychiatrists’ wish to be seen as “hard” scientists, economic motives or the idiosyncratic views of prominent experts. As one psychologist says, “It’s a very political process.”28

The rankness of such political influence became apparent in 1973 when homosexuality was removed from the manual as a disorder, since society had accepted the prevailing view that it is merely an alternative lifestyle.

Do we understand the human heart better now that we have created hundreds of labels? Has the general condition of psychic health improved noticeably now that we have the APA’s DSM to explain PMS? 29 I hardly need to answer that question.

Christian Psychological Labels

Some people may be surprised to discover that the four basic temperaments presented by a popular Christian writer are not found in the Bible. The writer admits that he is aware of the problems associated with such labeling. He says, “There is danger in presenting these four types of temperaments; some will be tempted to analyze their friends and think of them in the framework of, ‘What type is he?’ ” He tells his readers that the temperaments are to be used for self-analysis only.

Biblical Labels

I would suggest that instead of studying modern psycholabels we look to the Word of God. In the previous section I pointed out four problems generated by psycholabeling. Now I would like to suggest five biblical labels that have set millions of suffering people free from psychic bondage.

Child of God

The first is “child of God.” John 1:12 says, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Paul emphasizes this truth in Romans 8:14 when he writes that “those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

What a contrast to the enslavement of forever remaining a child victim of an abusive parent! Paul says that a Christian is “no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:7). In spite of the depraved environment one may have grown up in, we are told that we “may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe” (Philippians 2:15). What wonderful news this is for “adult children” who have been handcuffed to their tortured past!

Redeemed Person

A second joyful biblical label is “redeemed person,” in direct contrast to the psycholabel of “abused person.” I have personally watched people who for years enjoyed a clean and whole life in Christ but then allowed themselves to be led back into the bondage of their past sufferings. I watched a beautiful, victorious Christian woman, who in her childhood had been sexually molested by her father and brothers, turn into a bitter and hateful victim all over again under the guidance of a Christian psychiatrist. I watched a loving marriage disintegrate as a wife, who had been seduced in her teen years, was led back to “work out her past” according to the theories of a Christian psychologist who labels husbands who disagree with his therapy as “surrogate abusers.”

How I wanted to ask these suffering people, Why have they chosen to feed in the troughs of psychology when they have the pure milk of God’s Word available? When I hear Christians say, “I am an abused person,” I quickly remind them that they once were abused persons, but now they are redeemed persons! Isaiah promises that “the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away. I, even I, am he who comforts you” (Isaiah 51:11, 12).

I am reminded of the old gospel song that says, “Redeemed—how I love to proclaim it! Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb! Redeemed thro’ His infinite mercy, His child, and forever, I am.”

Forgiven Person

In addition to being a child of God who is redeemed from the clutches of hell, the Christian can assume the label of a “forgiven person.” David wrote, “He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases” (Psalm 103:3). No matter what is in one’s past, God can cleanse and forgive. Whether one was abused or the abuser, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). The victim of incest who mistakenly assumes that he or she must have deserved such treatment need not spend years in therapy to sort out blame or to comprehend why something so awful took place. A biblical understanding of man’s sinful nature removes much of the mystery.

Healing begins to take place when the victim learns to rest in God’s glorious love. Understanding God’s unlimited forgiveness for the sins he truly has committed can free an abused person to forgive those who sinned against him.

And what of the abuser? Because of the awfulness of what he has done to others, he may well assume that there is no possibility of forgiveness for him. The best he can do, according to the standard psychological view, is to undergo years of therapy so that he will never repeat his crimes. But psychotherapy will not change his heart, and the psychologized rapist, when released from jail, may well repeat his abuse whenever possible.

Compare that with the biblical view, which says that God loves the abuser, who can genuinely repent of his unspeakable wickedness, receive the cleansing forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ, and thereby have his heart radically changed. How can we know if someone has truly repented and is changed? Two indications will be his desire to ask the forgiveness of the ones he so viciously ravaged and his willingness to submit himself to close supervision and strict accountability.

New Creation

Is it possible for any thoroughly depraved person to be permanently transformed? Yes! The fourth biblical label that has freed so many people from their inner sufferings is “new creation.” Before Paul became a believer in Jesus Christ, he was guilty of incredible abuse of men, women, and children. What he did was so awful that he called himself “the chief of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15 kjv). Yet under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he wrote, “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 nasb).

You cannot truly reform a person through therapeutic techniques. What is needed is the miracle of transformation that is performed by the Holy Spirit. This process, called regeneration, is described by Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26). Titus calls it “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Anything short of this supernatural work of God will fail.

Victor

A fifth and final biblical label I suggest—a label that is an alternative to psychovictimization—is “victor.” We live in a victimized age. We are all casualties, to a greater or lesser degree, of a sin-cursed world. Whether you suffered at the hands of an alcoholic father, a drug-crazed rapist, a bitter stepmother, an unfaithful wife, or a violent husband, you have been victimized.

I want you to know that God cares about your suffering and is full of sympathy for your pain. Matthew quotes a portion of Isaiah that gives us a hint of Jesus’ compassion for the suffering: “A bruised reed he will not break, or a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory” (Matthew 12:20). Are you a bruised reed who has been trampled on by those around you? Jesus cares. Do you feel like a smoldering wick in a lamp nearly out of fuel? Take heart, my friend. Jesus understands.

You can choose to remain a victim the rest of your life, or you can choose the path of victory by following One who was abused as no other. We are told that Jesus was beaten nearly to the point of death, was spat upon, humiliated, dragged bleeding through the dirty streets of Jerusalem, and hung naked on a Roman cross. Yet Jesus did not curse those who tortured Him so cruelly or walked by laughing at His suffering. Instead, He prayed for them, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

How could Jesus love His abusers? By faith in a loving God. We are reminded in Romans 8:35–37 that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Not “trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword.” Though we suffer in a cruel world, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

That sounds wonderful in theory, doesn’t it? But how do we make it real? John says, “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith” (1 John 5:4). You can become a victor instead of a victim as you live by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you’re rolling your eyes, shaking your head in irritation, and muttering, “Another nothing-butterist is dispensing his simplistic solutions by quoting Bible verses.” Think what you will, but God’s holy Word has given you the key to your liberty.

I am not suggesting that it will be easy, for it involves a paradox: Living by faith is hard work, but the reward is unbelievable freedom and joy.

Living by faith doesn’t mean that you believe real hard so that nice things will happen magically. Living by faith means that you saturate your mind, soul, and heart with the living truths of the Scriptures. Then you submit to those precepts in your day-to-day existence. Living by faith simply means walking with our loving heavenly Father in humble, childlike trust and obedience, as stated in the old gospel lyric: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey.”

How can we be so foolish as to trade our glorious labels in Christ for the pathetic labels of secular psychology? We must never forget that we “were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

1 Erica E. Goode, “Sick, or just quirky?” U.S. News & World Report, February 10, 1992, pp. 49–50.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Gary R. Collins, Can You Trust Psychology? (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), p. 134.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid., p. 135.

7 William Glasser, Reality Therapy (New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1965), pp. 45–46.

8 E. Fuller Torrey, The Death of Psychiatry (Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1974), p. 36.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid., p. 37.

11 Ibid., p. 40.

12 Herbert Fingarette, Heavy Drinking (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), pp. 2–3.

13 Ibid., pp. 2–4.

14 Ibid., p. 22.

15 Ibid., pp. 23–24.

16 Ibid.

17 Torrey, Death of Psychiatry, p. 54.

18 Glasser, Reality Therapy, pp. 42–43.

19 Garth Wood, The Myth of Neurosis (New York: Harper & Row, 1986), p. 60.

20 Thomas Szasz, The Myth of Psychotherapy (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1987), p. 195.

21 Ibid., p. 196.

22 Ibid., p. 194.

23 Collins, Can You Trust?, p. 135.

24 Lawrence J. Crabb, Jr., Effective Biblical Counseling (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1977), p. 31.

25 Glasser, Reality Therapy, p. 44.

26 Wood, Myth of Neurosis, p. 62.

27 Goode, “Sick, or just quirky?” pp. 49–50.

28 Ibid.

29 I originally wrote about the DSM’s (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) designation of PMS (premenstrual syndrome) in partial jest, but I discovered that it does indeed list it under the category “mental disorders—not otherwise specified.” The task force reviewing PMS for the DSM of the APA (American Psychiatric Association) now calls PMS “premenstrual dysphoric disorder” or PMDD. Perhaps too many people understand what PMS stands for and the experts need a new code. See Newsweek, March 15, 1993, “Is It Sadness or Madness? Psychiatrists Clash Over How to Classify PMS,” p. 66.

Article From

Ed Bulkley "Why Christians Can’t Trust Psychology. Harvest House Publishers (July 1, 1993).

 

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2 Responses

  1. valerie says:

    to commment on neurosis as the outcome of self-destructive behaviour, it could be true in some cases. However, sometimes misfortune can cause an individual to turn to poor decisions.

    Psychological manipulation and intentional neglect of an individual can cause him to seek attention by doing or saying less than good things.

    • Admin says:

      Hi Valerie:

      Thanks for commenting.

      I prefer not to use “cause” but instead maybe “influence” a person. To say something ’caused’ someone to do something seems to remove personal responsibility for their action (i.e. it is not their decision… something made them do it).

      I would agree there are people and situations in our environment that can influence us to act certain ways. The individual may do negative things to seek attention, but that is a result of their sin nature and their wrong response to those around them.

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