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DSM-5 & The Bible

04.07.19

I was recently asked how I reconcile the teachings of my professional life as a mental health therapist with my personal life, as a Christ-follower. More specifically, I was asked how I respond to what the DSM-5* teaches, and what the Bible teaches. My short answer: I don’t view them as conflicting.

The Bible, God’s word, when contrasted or compared to good, appropriate, accurate science don’t contradict each other. Forensic science, for example, is a study of the evidence of a past event. Those pieces of evidence are also called “proofs.” A forensic scientist will piece together the evidence in a situation, such as a murder or an historical event, and decide a probable conclusion based on all the evidence.

The DSM-5 spells out the criteria for specific mental illnesses. If a person is diagnosed with Bipolar, for example, I often say, “God only knows how much is the illness and how much is the willingness.” In other words, God is the only one who judges the choices of the heart, mind or will. If someone is willing or able to take their medications as directed by their psychiatric provider, the likelihood of improving will increase. If someone follows the ideas suggested by a therapist, counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist, the client will likely improve. How much is the person able to do so, or willing to do so, is a matter between the client and God alone. Numerous techniques are used to increase the possibility that the client will be compliant with treatment, but day in and day out, the client has to want to change.

Perhaps you know someone who needs some counseling. Perhaps you are committed, as a Christ-follower, to guide that person to a Christ-following counselor. If so, I can help. Please give that person my phone number, and she or he can contact me to discuss the situation and start counseling.

Looking forward to serving you, or your friend or family member.
Sincerely,
J. Faith Gallup, LCSW
847-962-5234

*The DSM-5 is the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which is used by mental health professionals to make a diagnosis of their clients. A provider will assess a client and determine which diagnosis pertains, based on criteria found in the DSM-5. Here is a link for more information: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-5