Monday, November 6, 2017

Book Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions


Descriptions and Prescriptions:  A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael R. Emlet
"OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder . . . these are no longer just technical terms and medical diagnoses, they are part of our common vocabulary and culture.

As Christians, we shouldn't isolate ourselves from this discussion or dismiss these important issues. But we also should be careful not to accept the entire secular psychiatric diagnostic and treatment enterprise without question. What we need is a balanced, biblically (and scientifically) informed approach that neither blindly accepts nor harshly dismisses psychiatric labels, diagnoses, and medicines that are prescribed to help those who are suffering.

As both a Biblical counselor and medical doctor, Michael R. Emlet, MD, gives readers a Christ-centered approach to psychiatry and guides both lay and professional helpers through the thicket of mental health labels and treatments with a biblical lens. In a clear and thoughtful way that puts the person experiencing mental health issues at the forefront, Emlet uses Scripture to show how the Bible engages in the discussion of psychiatric labels and the medications that are often recommended based on those labels. The first book in the "Helping the Helper" series, Descriptions and Prescriptions will give readers a biblical, gospel-formed perspective to help them understand and minister to those struggling with mental health issues."

My Thoughts:

As a Christian woman with a Bachelor's degree in psychology and who maintains an interest in biblical counseling, I thoroughly enjoyed this concise read. Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses & Medications is fabulously focused and concretely concentrated on the issue at hand. I found it helpful to formally consider the strengths and limitations of the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) from a biblical perspective. I especially appreciated Emlet's references to our fundamental nature as image bearers and worshipers and how that influences our ministry to sufferers and sinners "...who struggle with disordered thoughts, emotions, and behaviors" (pg. 9). In addition to applicable Scripture references, there are a number of insightful word pictures to aid the reader in thinking through these sensitive issues. Most importantly, Emlet keeps the Gospel of Jesus Christ central to the discussion. In the end, Emlet doesn't offer a "one-size-fits-all" approach but helps guide the reader toward a careful wisdom framework.

*Many thanks to New Growth Press and Litfuse Publicity Group for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion!

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