Edward T. Welch, I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis: What Does the Bible Say? (Greensboro, New Growth Press: 2022), 88 pages.
Edward Welch, a well-known biblical counselor, and gifted writer provides the church and believers a wonderful resource for a hotly debated topic: psychiatric diagnoses. Many churches and pastors have, with the advancement of psychiatric and psychological research, shied away from anything connected to mental health and flourishing. Choosing to leave it to the “experts,” many Christians, both in leadership and in the pew, have treated mental health in a way that divorces it from God and His Word. There are those who throw out the baby with the bath water, though and reject anything that comes out of the psychological or psychiatric fields, even though it may be true and helpful.
Ed Welch, though, combines the Bible with the appropriately evaluated research and findings of psychology and psychiatry, benefitting both the soul and the body of believers. His work is compiled in this short, easy-to-read, and easier-to-understand book.
The book contains five chapters. The first chapter, “Bridging the Divide,” seeks to connect the body and the spirit. Some biblical counselors do not view the body as important in the counseling process. Some psychologists or psychiatrists do not view the spirit as important. Welch, rightly and biblically, connects the two when he writes, “Careful observations, like those of the mental health sciences, help us to see important things; Scripture reveals what is most important.” Welch, in other words, acknowledges that we are “embodied sou[s]” in which our minds, bodies, and spirits are all interconnected.
The second chapter, “Anxiety and Panic Disorders,” addresses one of the leading issues facing mental health. Following the same pattern he will use for the rest of the book, he first seeks to “listen and learn from others.” He defines both words and adds helpful comments. One example is when Welch writes, “Because the physical symptoms are so intense, your first instinct is most likely to ask for help from a physician.” Next, Welch seeks to listen to God’s Word. He notes, “Your anxieties and fears remind you that you cannot control the smallest of details.” This directs the individual to God, to speak to God and to listen to God. He then returns to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Providing ongoing counseling, Welch ends with encouragement to continue learning, listening, and asking. He ends the chapter with a set of questions for reflection.
Chapter 3 addresses “Trauma.” “It has become one of the most common psychological words for past misery that follows us into the present,” writes Welch. Welch raises several examples of individuals who experienced trauma, both through physical or sexual abuse. He writes, “The body is not interested in a careful analysis about who is safe and who is dangerous, or who is good and who is bad. Better to assume that danger lurks everywhere, and no place is truly safe.” Moving on from listening to others, though, Welch encourages the individual to listen to God and his people. “The gospel proves that God loves you,” writes Welch. Welch walks through the life and sufferings of Jesus Christ to provide hope and help for those facing trauma.
Chapter 4 focuses on “Depression.” He changes the order from listening and learning to hear God. Part of the reason, I think, is wrapped up in his statement, “We are short on understanding and empathy.” Listening to the Word of God helps overcome that “lead-cased room.” After the Lord is sought, Welch encourages listening to reliable sources.
Chapter 5 centers on “Narcissism.” Returning to his original structure, he encourages the individual to listen to others. Statements like this one are a summary of this portion, “Narcissism has been called narcissistic personality disorder. A personality disorder simply means a stubbornly enduring and pervasive pattern is in someone’s life.”
Overall, I really appreciated Welch’s book. It is balanced, which seems terribly lacking in some biblical counseling circles. He does not reject outrightly all the research and findings of psychology. He brings those findings under the scrutiny of God’s Word. Additionally, I appreciated his contribution to the physical body. Especially from my background, biblical counselors can and often neglect the importance of the body in spiritual development. Welch beautifully balances the body and the spirit.
I would recommend this book to any Christian interested in counseling, psychology, or a biblical understanding of the human being. You may not agree with everything he writes, but I think you will appreciate his work.
 Though I do not agree with all of his assertions and conclusions, Jay Adams describes this transition well. See Jay E. Adams, Competent to Counsel (Grand Rapids, Zondervan: 1970), 1–19.
 Edward T. Welch, I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis: What Does the Bible Say? (Greensboro, New Growth Press: 2022), 12.
 Ibid., 9.
 Ibid., 19–32.
 Ibid., 20.
 Ibid., 23.
 Ibid., 33.
 Ibid., 37.
 Ibid., 39.
 Ibid., 53–69.
 Ibid., 53.
 Ibid., 57.
 I found it interesting that it is only this chapter that adds the word “reliable” as an adjective modifying “sources.”
 Ibid., 70–85.
 Ibid., 71.