The combination of theology and psychotherapeutic methods have been uneasy bedfellows in the church. Some pastors reject any move to use secular therapy / counseling methods claiming that they have no place in the church. A pastor, they say, is neither qualified nor called to be a therapist to his congregation. Others argue that it is imperative for pastors to be aware of the counseling methods available in order to effectively carry out their role as pastoral counselors.
This makes Richard Winter’s book very interesting. Winter makes a distinction between the christian understanding of reality and that of science and psychotherapy. He walks well, and effectively, the tight rope between the spiritual and the physical – the causes of sorrow which are rooted in the fall and sin, and the causes of sorrow which may be medically induced and lead to anxiety, worry, guilt, shame and even suicide.
Regardless of your view of the place of therapeutic methods within the church, pastors, leaders and others must be discerning of patterns of behavior which, while rooted in rebellion to God, might lead to something physically dangerous, both for the suffer and for others around them.
As a professional psychotherapist, counselor and christian professor of practical theology, Dr Winter helps the reader navigate the issue of depression both from a concrete spiritual reality and from a medical, psychotherapist position.
I believe pastors will find this book valuable in their role as shepherds to their people who may have family members or even spouses battling depression.