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Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  60 reviews
OCD, ADHD, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder . . . these are not just diagnoses from the DSM; they are part of our everyday vocabulary and understanding of people. As Christians, how should we think about psychiatric diagnoses and their associated treatments? We can t afford to isolate ourselves and simply dismiss these categories as unbiblical. Nor can we afford to accept the entire ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 2017 by New Growth Press
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4.5 stars

Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications by Michael R. Emlet wasn't exactly what I was expecting - especially not in the first quarter or so of the book. But it had good information to impart, and I feel like I've learned a lot. I received some things to ponder, and now have an overall more balanced view of medications and how to help those dealing with mental struggles.

For a long time, I've wanted to know more about the struggles
Shannon (Mrsreadsbooks)
I was initially hesitant to read and review this book. I am both a Christian and someone who has multiple mental illnesses. I wasn't sure which way this was going to go, as some Christian's opinions about mental illness are not particularly helpful for those who suffer from those illnesses. This book is broken down into two sections; Understanding Psychiatric Diagnoses and Understanding Psychoactive Medications. Then the sections are further broken down into smaller chapters. The first sections ...more
Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)
Before I go further with the review, I need to make clear that this is a book written primarily for people involved in ministry – breaking down info and applying wisdom to the situations they would find themselves in. It’s not meant as a patient reference or really even for someone whose loved ones suffer from mental illness of some sort.

There are several things I really liked about Emlet’s approach. While he remains mostly neutral, he achieves a great balance between advocating for the
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
As Christians we often view mental illness incorrectly and either dismiss medicine completely, or forget the faith that plays such an integral part in our lives. Some people feel that taking medications for a mental illness is of the devil, while others take or advise taking the medicine blindly without any regard as to the side effects, reasons for needing the drugs, etc. The author has taken a Biblical approach to show both the benefits and downsides of both approaches. His desire in writing ...more
Anthony Locke
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a short and helpful book on a topic that, in my experience, is not discussed enough by church members or their leadership. Emlet suggests a "just right" approach rather than the "hot" (rush to use medication/psychiatry as first option) or "cold" (avoid medication/psychiatry at all costs) approach. He reminds readers that the body and the soul are often intertwined and that a counselor/pastor's approach to an individual varies at a case by case level. Emlet doesn't emphasize one at the ...more
Todd Miles
Jun 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A seriously helpful book. I highly recommend to all who are in pastoral ministry. Strong balance rooted in Scripture.
Adam Calvert
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book I've read regarding a Biblical view of psychiatry and its practice.

This book is aimed toward pastors and other Christians involved in abundant counseling ministry; but really any Christian could benefit from it. He seems uniquely qualified to write it (having both an M.D. and an M.Div); and the church can benefit greatly from that.

While he rightly doesn't support the use of drugs for something that is a legitimate sin issue, he certainly shows that there truly are issues
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, non-fiction
Michael R. Emlet draws on his years of experience both as a family physician and counselor to present a tool for people in ministry everywhere. Whether you are a pastor, church leader, or lay person interested in learning more about psychiatric diagnoses and the uses of medication, you will enjoy Emlet's balanced and Biblical perspective on this difficult topic.

In the first half of the book, Emlet discusses the what the DSM is, how it has changed over the years, and what a diagnosis may or may
Heath Salzman
Sep 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: counselling, science, 2019, mac
This book introduces a helpful conversation for Christian pastors and counselors to engage in. Emlet offers some helpful resources for those wishing to navigate this conversation.

I was disappointed by Emlet’s perspective, however. He presented his position as the mid-point between those who are too cold toward prescribing medication for mental sickness and those who are too hot. He does not seem to be very self-aware, writing from CCEF’s perspective, which in my experience is too cold. His
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very insightful book that I think can and should be a resource for believers, so as to understand the psychiatric world and the perpetual labeling of problems that people have with living life in a broken, sin-cursed world. Although the author is a little more favorable of the medical model than I am, I think he gives a fair treatment of what is the problems with the medical model for counseling issues. He also provides helpful insight into an answer for peoples' problems, showing how God and ...more
Molly Jaber (Cover To Cover Cafe)
This won’t be a long review since this is a short book. If you are a pastor or church counselor, this book would be a great addition to your shelves or office. It’s a book that is filled with great information for those seeking help with their mental illnesses. It’s filled with Biblical sections and will help them better understand ways to help. The pages within give you a better understanding of the illnesses and what psych meds are used to help them.

Since I am not a pastor or a church
Becky Van Daniker
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Before I begin my review, it is important to mention that Descriptions and Prescriptions by Michael R. Emlet is geared towards pastors and those who work in the mental health field. It is not written for patients with a diagnosis seeking answers.

Now I can begin my review. I originally picked this up because this is a huge topic amongst Christian counselors. Or at least it was the Christian college I attended and received my counseling degree. The main reason that I was able to understand what
Danielle Williamson
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant. I want to return to it again and again. Since Emlet is a physician, he has a lot of knowledge, coupled with Biblical doctrine and experience, that is helpful in this perspective on diagnosis and medication. I love the fact that he treats diagnosis and medication as different entities and analyzes them in their own categories. Not only that, but he goes straight to the source of current research on the brain and psychiatric medication and that is refreshing. He highlights ...more
DeAron Washington
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book had me squirming most of the time because I have my preference it was made very clear. I think he gives a fair critique to both sides of the issue. This book could be so much longer, but I believe he used the 99 pages wisely. No matter what your preferences you should read this to join me in my amens and ouches.
Brett Barnes
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: seminary
I am not an expert in this area, but this seems to be a really helpful, concise overview on how to navigate the complexities of emotional health, treatments, medication, counseling, etc. for the people you are ministering to...or for yourself. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is in a position to lead, counsel, or minister to others.
Shane Williamson
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Carefully balanced and hopeful. A brief but vital resource for pastors and those ministering to others. Thankful for the wisdom of Michael Emlet for charting a nuanced course in which persons and their sufferings are considered holistically. A must read.
Jake Bishop
Mar 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very helpful!!
Cole Brown
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A simple, clear, balanced wise and brief overview of the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Thus far, the best overview on the subject I’ve encountered from a Christian perspective and the book I’d give to anyone seeking insight on the topic.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balanced, compassionate, and wise. And all that in less than 100 pages, succinctly compiling so much of CCEF's way of doing ministry. Highly recommended.
Jennifer Wilson
Nov 03, 2017 rated it liked it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I studied psychology in college. I didn't expect this book to be anything new to me, but I wanted to read it to see how the concept was presented to pastors and other church leaders in helping those who are mentally ill. Mental illness is a real -- it's not something we can say to them everything would be fine if they just pray more -- in fact instead of helping, that can be harmful in discouraging the truly sick to
Lauren DuPrez
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Descriptions and Prescriptions is the latest book from doctor and Biblical counselor, Michael R. Emlet. This book is unique in that author has a background in medicine yet is also a Christian who affirms the sufficiency of Scripture. In college, my major was psychology and I once had someone ask me how I could be a psychology major and a Christian. At the time, I didn’t understand how the two might conflict and was confused and a little hurt by the question. After being introduced to the ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses and Medications is a resource for Christians written by Dr. Michael Emlet. It's written primarily for pastors, Christian counselors, small group leaders, and ministry facilitators, but I believe any Christian can benefit from reading this. We all have a sphere of influence within our friends, families, and churches, and undoubtedly, we all know at least one person who struggles with mental illness. Dr. Emlet was a ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Descriptions and Prescriptions is a short book building a biblical framework to understand psychiatric diagnoses and the use of psychoactive medications using scripture as the groundwork to build upon. The book is set up with two parts. In Part 1, the author presents a balanced assessment of psychiatric diagnosis. In Part 2, he uses case studies for illustration.

The book lists several concerns with the psychiatric diagnostic system. One being: …some psychiatric diagnoses “medicalize” sinful
Deana Dick
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
At first I wasn’t going to read this book because it is geared toward pastors and Christian counseling. My curiosity got the best of me and I decided I wanted to see how the author stood on this issue. I was pleasantly surprised to see how he balanced what the worlds view and the Christian view is. This is a very tough topic for many to talk about, but is much needed as many suffer from mental disabilities.

There was a time when someone was diagnosed with a mental illness and it seemed like
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
In today's society, many people (including those in the Body of Christ) seem to be struggling with mental health problems such as Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, OCD, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and the list goes on. There are different opinions about psychiatric diagnoses and treatments, even among Christians. Some rely too heavily upon psychiatric labels and medicines while others totally disregard them. Neither of these extreme positions are helpful. Descriptions and Prescriptions offers a Biblical ...more
The Book Girl
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Previously posted on. The Young Girl Who Loved Books

This is such a powerful little book. When I first read that this was going to be a biblical view of psychiatry, I would be lying if I wasn't a little nervous about it. I have to say that this is the best book I have read regarding psychiatry and it's practice from a biblical perspective.

With that said this book is geared toward people in the counseling ministry, perhaps pastors or Christian therapists. I am neither but I am a psych student
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Descriptions and Prescriptions : A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnosis and Medications by Michael R. Emlet is one of the most practical books I have read thus far in 2017. A small book just over 100 pages yet in this book Emlet takes a counselor, trained or not, through the important and trying task of understanding psychiatric no cheese and psychoactive medications. I myself am not a government licensed counselor but I do my fair share of biblical counseling inside the church. This ...more
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Michael Emlet's Descriptions and Prescriptions: A Biblical Perspective on Psychiatric Diagnoses & Medications to assess the benefits and limitations of psychiatric diagnoses and medications. Emlet breaks these two concepts down into different parts of the book, attempting to give concise but substantive introductions and explorations of each. So, part one gives ten chapters on "Understanding Psychiatric Diagnoses". Here, Emlet gives a brief survey of the history of psychiatric diagnoses, an ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
It's not sinful or an indication of a lack of faith if someone uses psychiatric medications. I agree with Michael Emlet that their use is a wisdom issue, with a mixture of pros and cons. However, I think he is trying too hard to be "neutral" about their use. There are serious adverse effects with antipsychotics, antidepressants, ADHD stimulants, and others.

For example, the ineffectiveness of antidepressants when compared to placebo is well established, especially in the research of Irving
Mike Fendrich
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a very good and useful book, an introduction into the mysterious world of mental illness, its diagnosis and "cure". I am persuaded that our medical profession more often treats symptoms with prescription drugs and spends little time searching for root causes in order to prescribe more holistic solutions. Obviously, there are situations where medications are necessary and helpful. However, I wonder how much of our "health crisis" is caused by diet and lifestyle choices, with people ...more
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Michael R. Emlet, M.Div., M.D., practiced as a family physician for twelve years before becoming a counselor and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF).
“It is important to remember that we exist as body-spirit creatures. We are simultaneously body and soul. ... This means that attention to both physical and spiritual aspects of our personhood is mandatory in ministry. It is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the "heart" - our moral-spiritual disposition and the responsibilities that go with it; and it is profoundly dehumanizing to ignore the body and the strengths and weaknesses that go with it.” 0 likes
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