Friday, October 27, 2017

Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet - REVIEWED

About the Book:

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.

Purchase your copy HERE.

My Thoughts:

At the end of the day, the goal is not to confirm or condemn a given diagnosis but to carefully, persistently, lovingly, and biblically bring God’s redemption to bear upon people who struggle with the problems encapsulated in a diagnostic description.”  (p. 48)

I have to admit, that when I first saw this offering, I almost passed on the opportunity to review the book.  I’m so glad I chose differently!  This book, although written by a physician/counselor, is a fantastic tool for anyone to use as they walk in any type of ministry setting.  I would think pastors that do any type of counseling would find this to be an invaluable tool in the library!  I lead women’s small groups for my church, and I can tell you that in the four years since I began serving my church family, I would have love to have the knowledge and explanations in this book at my disposal!  Mental illness, or a diagnosis along the spectrum, presents a unique and challenging problem in today’s world.

What I appreciate most about this book is that a layman can understand the concepts.  Dr. Emlet tackles a very controversial topic with compassion and empathy.  He doesn’t hide the facts about how little is still know about both the physical function of the brain and its chemical components, nor the medications currently used to treat people who suffer the effects of mental illness.  As I read, I couldn’t help but be both thankful for the relief given to those suffering the effects of a mental issue, but I was also left feeling a little fearful about the way folks might have to suffer through a trial and error type path to find the help they need.

I have been prescribed and taken medications for depression off and on over my lifetime.  I have been fortunate to have physicians who approached this in a holistic way and listened to and responded to my concern over the course of treatment.  I’ve also been blessed with really fantastic counselors, and I see the value in both.  I’ve also had friends who have suffered the effects of mental illness to the point of almost leaving this world prematurely.

In short, I feel this book offers a significant amount of information for anyone in ministry on any level.  This issue affects more people than you can imagine, and must be dealt with in biblical truth and love.  I highly recommend this book!

About the Author:

Michael R. Emlet, MDiv, MD, practiced as a family physician for over ten years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He is the author of the book CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet, the minibooks Asperger Syndrome; Chronic Pain; Angry Children: Understanding and Helping Your Child Regain Control; and Help for the Caregiver: Facing the Challenges with Understanding and Strength, and many counseling articles.

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