Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael Emlet {A Review}

OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder . . . these are no longer just technical terms and medical diagnoses, they are part of our common vocabulary andculture.
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, andmedicines 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 andtreatments 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.
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,” andmany counseling articles.
Find out more about Michael at
My Turn
I was giddy with excitement over the opportunity to review this book.  As soon as it arrived in the mail I skimmed through it and couldn’t wait to dive in.
The church seems divided into to camps when it comes to mental health. Those who think medication is the only way, and those who think counseling/prayer/Bible study is the only way.
Dr. Michael Emlet writes Descriptions and Prescriptions to show people helpers, pastors, church lay counselors how the two can work together.  He writes the first part of his book to give us a quick understanding of psychiatric diagnoses. Is there any value in a diagnoses of our mental health? What is the value? Does it help or hinder the lay counselor? How?
The second part provides some understanding of  psychoactive medications. How do they work? How can they benefit the people we are called to help? What is their place? Do they have a place in Christian counseling?
I found this book to be incredibly informative and is one I will need to read and re-read. It appears to be written from an assumption that those reading it will have a degree in counseling, psychology, or related field. Most it was over my head, because of this I struggled through it.
A few quotes that stood out to me:
“Psychiatric labels don’t tell a story.”
“‘Be still, and know that I am God’ involves learning to quiet both our minds and our bodies.”
“Submit psychiatric diagnosis to biblical diagnosis.”
This book would be a wonderful addition to any pastor’s or people helper’s library.
I give this book 5 out 5 turning pages.
I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.

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