I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis

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Author: Ed Welch


What Does the Bible Say?

A psychiatric diagnosis can be heavy burden—for you or someone you love. These struggles can be life-dominating. But we know this: God is not silent when his people struggle. What does God say? Experienced counselor Edward T. Welch helps you answer that crucial question by exploring how God’s Word speaks in ways that can help you find wisdom, rest, and hope in Jesus, even with a psychiatric diagnosis.

What do you do when you recognize yourself or someone you love in descriptions like “OCD,” “bipolar disorder,” “borderline personality disorder”? The DSM can give you a detailed description, but what next? We listen to God and to his people.

I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis will guide readers in listening to God who has compassion for those who are struggling in these painful ways. Listening to God in the Bible reshapes psychological descriptions and functions as a corrective lens that opens our eyes. As you listen to Scripture and God’s people, you will understand the struggles of those with a psychiatric diagnosis better and will be able to receive and offer words of help and hope. Welch includes case studies on panic attacks, PTSD, depression, and narcissism to aid in practical application to your situation.

I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis is part of the Ask the Christian Counselor series. This series walks readers through their deepest and most profound questions. Each question is unpacked by an experienced counselor that gives readers the tools to understand their struggle and how the gospel brings hope and healing to the problem they are facing.


About the author:

Edward T. Welch, MDiv, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). Ed has been counseling for over forty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions. His biblical counseling books include Shame Interrupted, When People Are Big and God Is Small, Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave, Depression: Looking Up from the Stubborn Darkness, Running Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest, A Small Book about a Big Problem, A Small Book for the Anxious Heart, A Small Book about Why We Hide, and I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis.


“When I’m looking for balanced thoughtfulness with counseling issues, I regularly turn to Ed Welch. Once again, he’s provided a valuable resource for the challenging issues faced by hurting people. This book charts a course through the most common psychiatric diagnoses with compassion, grace, and biblical truth. In a world of 'either-or,' Welch offers a wealth of wisdom. I’m grateful for this practical and timely book!” ~Mark Vroegop, Lead Pastor of College Park Church, Indianapolis, IN; author of Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament

“When I was previously diagnosed with a mental disorder, it felt like my entire world was being redefined. I struggled to find biblical resources that spoke to my lived experiences in an approachable way. This book is what I needed to read in those early days. It gently addresses common questions, empathizes with the sufferer’s nuanced problems, and offers practical encouragement for walking forward with Jesus on a challenging post-diagnosis journey.”  ~Christine Chappell, Author of Help! I’ve Been Diagnosed with a Mental Disorder; outreach director and Hope + Help Podcast host, Institute for Biblical Counseling & Discipleship; certified biblical counselor

“Diagnostic categories can either seem competitive with biblical understanding or used to justify inexcusable behavior. Ed Welch clearly explains the meaning behind common psychiatric diagnoses and brilliantly offers redemptive and restorative perspective to address these maladies. His championing of biblical categories doesn’t create a false divide between biblical wisdom and psychological reflection. Instead, he irenically brings the lens of Scripture to intensify our need for Jesus.”  ~Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology

 "Ed Welch has tackled this delicate and challenging area of the Christian life with characteristic wisdom and kindness. He walks closely to Scripture and to Christ and shows rich, nourishing connections with anxiety and panic attacks, depression and trauma. This will feed the soul—for sufferer and carer/counselor—over the long haul, with many short sentences of distilled, sweet grace. The final chapter breaks glorious new ground, teaching and modeling love, grace, and understanding for people with narcissistic qualities. If narcissism is a problem of our age, then this book offers Jesus and his gospel to his people in new ways we most desperately need."  ~Andrew Nicholls, Director of Pastoral Care, Oak Hill College, London, UK; coauthor of Real Change

“Ed Welch’s book I Have a Psychiatric Diagnosis: What Does the Bible Say? is an important contribution to the field of wise biblical counseling. Welch stresses the importance of a comprehensive approach to such issues as anxiety and panic disorders, trauma, depression, and narcissism, where God ‘speaks to every square inch of life.’ Too often, we address these issues in a piecemeal fashion and relegate God to the sidelines, but Welch challenges us to listen to God, engage His Word, seek support from the community of faith, and listen to and continually learn from the experience of others, particularly in terms of the benefits and limitations of medical and physical treatments. All problems have a deep and profound spiritual component, and all caregiving should respond in terms of both the immediate issue and the eternal consequences. Highly recommended for pastors, counselors, and people ministering to or dealing with such difficult and complex issues.”  ~Ian F. Jones, Professor of Counseling, Associate Dean, Division of Counseling, Baptist Community Ministries' Chair of Pastoral Counseling, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

“Psychiatric diagnosis defines much suffering today but can feel off-limits for churches. In this book, complex problems are masterfully distilled into biblical categories. Ed also imparts a humble confidence: humility to hear wisdom crying out in the psychological world and confidence to give God's wisdom the final word. This book advances my counseling and invites a hesitant church to care wisely.”  ~Dr. Andrew Collins, NHS consultant psychiatrist; biblical counsellor and tutor, Biblical Counselling U

“’Is it my biology or is it a spiritual issue?’ As a Christian psychiatrist, this is the most frequent question I get asked. And my answer is invariably, ‘Yes.’ I usually turn first to Ed Welch when I want to better grasp the spiritual dimension of the embodied soul. Here Ed gives us a robust and helpful accounting of our spiritual nature in situations when most only speak of our brains run amok. He shows us how the gospel speaks wisdom into every inch of God’s creation, how psychiatric disorders are fully spiritual problems as well as physical, and how the gospel provides the hope we need.”   ~Dr. John Applegate, MD, Executive Director of JA&A and the Philadelphia Renewal Network

“Written eloquently, Ed Welch shows us why the gospel matters for all of life, including psychiatric diagnoses. Whether it’s related to trauma or depression, he provides biblical wisdom that strengthens our trust in Jesus with practical guidance along the way. This book is hope-filled because the gospel is central.”  ~Lilly Park, Associate Professor, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Although psychiatric diagnoses are an important tool to identify important human struggles, Ed Welch effectively considers how the Bible helps us see beyond the struggles to a deeper and better hope. Effective medical treatments are necessary, but our peace and hope can only be found in Jesus Christ and the gospel. Nothing on earth completely rescues us from death or brings true peace.”  ~Eduardo Saladin, Pastor, Sola Gratia Biblical Church, Dominican Republic; certified biblical counselor (ACBC); board member, CCEF

“This is a book full of biblical wisdom, written with a biblical counselor’s heart for those searching for biblical answers. If you or someone you know has a psychiatric symptom or diagnosis, this book will help you find wisdom, rest, and hope in Jesus through Scripture.”  ~Dr. Chris Schofield, Consultant Psychiatrist, NHS, UK; involved in biblical counselling in the local church

“This is an accessible and much-needed resource written as much for those providing spiritual care as it is for those dealing with psychiatric diagnoses themselves. Ed Welch helps us appreciate the real struggles described by several common disorders while also showing pathways for spiritual growth in the midst of those struggles.”  ~Ben Lyon, Executive Pastor, Trinity Presbyterian Church, Norfolk, VA

“As a psychiatrist my safar (journey) started with this question: is there a divide between psychiatry and spirituality? Are they friends or foes? Dr. Welch has broken the walls of the illusionary divide in this book. Who are we? We are embodied souls before God. Thank you, Ed, for writing this guidebook for everyone who embarks on that journey.”  ~Dr. Raja Paulraj, Psychiatrist and Counselor, Landour Community Hospital, India