Today (6/10/13), I heard a discussion on American Family Radio regarding the secular mental health system that triggered my impetus to write this article. In years past, some secular counselors would help people work through their emotional issues by encouraging the counselee to process their painful emotions regarding painful events in their lives. This process is a challenge to the counselee to go through the greater pain of change than to stay in the pain to remain the same.
It is prevalent today by some in the secular counseling realm to defer to a doctor to offer drugs to relieve the feeling of depression, etc. In my 21 years of being a Certified Pastoral Counselor, I’ve had many seek my help who had been on drugs for years and were still depressed and having difficulty in life with relationships with God and others. This is one reason counseling in some Christian circles is still questioned because it is thought that counseling is a bunch of psycho-babel.
This year I received a phone call from a psychiatrist. One of her clients had a pastor who requested the person come to me for counseling. The psychiatrist wanted to know what type of therapy I use for people who were deeply troubled emotionally. I told her that people who have suffered any type of abuse or painful events in their life have their own interpretation about the facts of their lives. Because it is so painful, their interpretation is packed with negative self-destructive thoughts. They define who they are today through the pain of their past and it is never positive. I shared, “There is a scripture that says we are transformed by renewing our minds. I help the emotionally wounded people look at the facts of their lives through God’s interpretation. We cannot change the facts of the painful events, but we can change our thoughts and feelings about those events through the power of God’s Word and His Spirit. We process our thoughts through God’s truth then our feelings and our actions become healthy through a process of renewing our minds.” The psychiatrist responded, “I’ve never heard of that type of therapy. I would like to know more about it.”
In today’s discussion on AFR, they were talking about the increasing use of drugs to numb the emotions of hurting people. Once they are continually given drugs, they are labeled people with mental health issues and that diagnosis remains in their health records. (There have been recent news stories of this label being used to take away the gun ownership rights of veterans of our armed services).
An analogy would be if a person suffered a major physical wound and all that was given to them was pain medication. If the physical wound was not thoroughly cleansed and antiseptic medication applied to stop an infection, the wound would start to fester and poisoning would spread throughout the entire body and cause physical death. This is what happens in the emotional realm when a drug is given to numb emotions. The person feels hopeless and helpless and is in a downward spiral that can lead to attempted suicide. Drugs for depression only deal with symptoms, not the root cause of the depression. There must be an emotional/spiritual cleansing and renewal of the thoughts and feelings from the pain of the past through God’s truth.
I am not advocating non-use of drugs at any time. There are certain chemical imbalances in the brain, etc., that may require the use of a drug. But drugs per-se do not help people heal emotionally. The drugs numb the emotions of a person. They feel neither joy nor sadness. They tell me, “It feels like I’m in a fog or a dark hole and I cannot find a way out.” I’m not an expert in the field of drug use, but I want to share with you the transformation I witness through the application of God’s truth to the mind and heart of an emotionally wounded person especially when it is coupled with praying in the Holy Ghost by the counselee in their private daily prayer life.
In 21 years of counseling, I’ve had thousands of people come to me from a background of all types of abuse – sexual, emotional, physical, verbal, abandonment, etc. – most experience all of these jumbled together. Many of these men and women had the abuse happen in their childhood. They stuffed their painful emotions in their VAT (the invisible organ in your body that contains all of life’s events healthy or unhealthy – drawing a word picture). If many of those events were painful and have never been processed to healing, they churn in the VAT like the ‘belly’ of a volcano. Every day thoughts, feelings and actions are unconsciously processed through that inner emotional pain. This creates problems in all types of relationships – with God first and with others. The message coming out of the VAT says, “I’m hopeless, useless, unlovable, helpless, without a future, can’t be used of God, etc.” The devil delights in suffocating people’s relationship with God in their distorted thinking that causes depression = one definition: anger turned inward.
A person can have a glorious salvation experience and God removes and forgives and forgets their sins, but God does not remove a person’s emotions or memories. The pain in the VAT keeps churning and from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. If there is hurt and pain in the VAT, the mouth speaks hurt and pain to others. Isaiah 61 promises salvation plus healing to the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives (of ‘stinkin thinkin’), and opening of the prison to those who are bound from the pain of their past or present!!! Hallelujah!!!!!!!
I counsel the Word of God. The emotionally wounded person must know that God fully loves them, fully forgives them and fully accepts them. Their past does not define who they are now in Christ. There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We are God’s royal priesthood, His holy nation, and His special treasure that He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light. We can be transformed by renewing our minds with His truth!!! Feelings are just feelings! We base our emotional and spiritual healing from the truth of God’s Word, not on how we feel about what happened to us.
The wounded person must learn how to forgive their past. Forgiveness is a gift we give ourselves in an act of obedience unto the Lord. We can forgive the pain someone did to us to set us free! God is the only one that can forgive the sinful actions of a perpetrator. Forgiveness is allowing God to be our avenger in His timing. Forgiveness is releasing the emotional pain to God and asking Him to help heal those memories. The wounded soul must be challenged with this question, “Do you want the power of your emotions in someone else’s hand?” If you do not forgive, then you are allowing others to control you emotionally!
When we process our feelings through God’s truth, we can be set free from our distorted thinking. Another definition is cognitive behavioral therapy. Let me define it: cognitive is our thinking process, behavior is our actions and my ‘therapy’ is using God’s Word. When we know the truth, we can be set free! God’s truth has the power to change the way we think that will change our feelings and then our actions will be God-centered.
I will add this article to my book I plan to publish soon, God’s Healing for Hurting People. I have ‘live’ teaching DVD’s on the subject: Jesus, the Healer of Our Brokenness & I Must Be Spiritually Healthy available now through on my website: www.carolclemans.org. Taking drugs for depression will not bring healing to broken, wounded hearts. Only God’s truth brings lasting deliverance. It takes time and the willingness to do the work of taking ownership of distorted thoughts and processing them through God’s Word. God promises transformation by renewing our minds with His truth!
I provide nationwide counseling by phone and web cam – (636) 448-0121. I teach seminars for churches/conferences from God’s Word for healing and growth spiritually, emotionally and relationally. One of my goals is to help educate the church of the living God how to become ‘healing helpers’ through teaching, writing and counseling. God’s truth brings salvation and healing to our body, soul and spirit!!
© Carol Clemans – June 2013 – firstname.lastname@example.org (636) 448-0121 – counseling or schedule speaking