For decades, millions of Christians in America have turned away from conventional psychology and psychiatry—and toward biblical counseling. These Christians believe that all remedies, even for severe problems such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, are best treated with counseling based on the Bible alone. Under this approach, medication and secular therapy are eschewed in favor of self-examination, repentance, and prayer. When biblical counseling began in the 1960s, it was a reaction to the excesses and overconfidence of secular mental health professionals. But, today, biblical counseling stands accused of the same fault of overconfidence. Critics say it disregards evidence of mental problems beyond a person’s control, encourages victim-blaming, and leaves patients worse off rather than better. Kathryn Joyce traces the rise—and looming identity crisis—of a movement that has affected millions of people.
What does it take to understand others? Do we remain closed off due to the informational foundations we have built beneath us and our need to defend it? How can we practice more “intellectual humility”? What matters most are not the data, facts, and beliefs that we adopt to maintain our points of view, but rather our willingness to shift our perspectives and think about them in new ways, under different angles, to see and interpret them in relation to wider and more complete contexts. In other words, it is possible to study the assumptions behind our assumptions. It also enables us to improve our communication regardless of what others’ points of views may be, thus bettering our relationships among the diversity. This kind of understanding is supported with respect, while putting our guard down, and temporarily disengaging our egos. This is the real way of listening, of understanding. This is what connection is all about.