Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet

In today's society, many people (including those in the Body of Christ) seem to be struggling with mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on. There are different opinions about psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, even among Christians. Some rely too heavily upon psychiatric labels and medicines while others totally disregard them. Neither of these extreme positions are helpful. Descriptions and Prescriptions offers a Biblical perspective on psychiatric diagnoses and medications. It's well written with a Scripturally & scientifically balanced approach. Dr. Michael R. Emlet, a Christian counselor, author, and retired physician, presents this challenging topic with humility, compassion, and understanding. The book is divided into two main parts: 1. Understanding Psychiatric Diagnoses, and 2. Understanding Psychoactive Medications. The author addresses some misconceptions, explains difficult medical terms, gives clear examples of various cases from his personal experience, talks about pros (value & effectiveness) and cons (problems & pitfalls) of psychiatric diagnoses and psychoactive medications. I appreciate his emphasis on the relevance and significance of Scripture in helping the suffering because I, too, believe that Biblical wisdom is needed for soul care. From this book, you will learn about the different diagnostic categories found in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), a brief history of psychiatric diagnosis, classes of psychoactive medications, how suffering affects spiritual growth, how we should appreciate medications as God's gifts but not idolize them, and several excellent tips and advice. Descriptions and Prescriptions is a small book (only 100 pages long) but it's packed with valuable information and practical insights. Mental illness is a complex issue. Biblical counselors need to take into account spiritual, biological, relational, situational, and societal-cultural factors. Whether you are counselors, pastors, youth pastors, or laypersons who want to help those with mental distress, this book (first in the Helping the Helper series) is a useful resource for you! 

"This means that attention to both physical and spiritual aspects of our personhood is mandatory in ministry. It is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the 'heart'--our moral-spiritual disposition and the responsibilities that go with it; and it is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the body and the strengths and weaknesses that go with it." (p. 71)

"While relieving suffering is a kingdom priority, seeking mere relief without a vision for God's transforming agenda in the midst of suffering may short-circuit all that God wants to do in the person's life. Another way of saying this is that we should be glad for symptom relief but simultaneously look for the variegated fruit of the Spirit; perseverance in the midst of suffering, deeper trust in the Father's love, more settled hope, love for fellow strugglers, gratitude, and more." (p. 76)

"Even if we do view medication as a potential piece in a comprehensive ministry approach, we always seek to bring the riches of Christ's redemption to bear upon people's lives. Sinners will always need mercy, grace, forgiveness, and supernatural power to love God and neighbor. Sufferers will always need comfort, hope and the will to persevere. Ultimately, these blessings are found not in a pill bottle...but in the person of Jesus Christ." (p. 94)



About the Author:

Michael R. Emlet, M.Div., M.D., practiced as a family physician for twelve years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at CCEF. He is the author of many counseling articles and the booklets, Asperger Syndrome, Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control, Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength, and OCD: Freedom for the Obsessive Compulsive.


~I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own. To read other reviews, visit here.

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