A biblical view of human beings begins with an understanding that we are both body AND spirit. From this reality flows a nuanced pastoral approach to suffering and sin in a person’s life that takes seriously both the physical and spiritual aspects of the struggle at hand. In this class you will look at issues such as traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, OCD, bipolar disorder, and other problems that require discernment of physical and spiritual components of the struggle. You will also gain an understanding of the role of psychoactive medications and psychiatry in caring for others. Through lectures, group discussion, and case studies you’ll learn how to wisely help those who struggle with problems in which both attention to physical and spiritual aspects are paramount.



Week 1: Course Introduction
Week 2: Biblical Anthropology and its Counseling Implications
Week 3: Chronic Pain
Week 4: Case Discussion: Asperger Syndrome
Week 5: Psychopharmacology I
Week 6: Psychopharmacology II
Week 7: Biblical Perspectives on Psychiatry
Week 8: Biblical Perspectives on Psychiatry (continued)
Week 9: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Case Discussion
Week 10: Bipolar Disorder
Week 11: Neurophysiology of Addiction and its Counseling Implications
Week 12: Criteria for Medical Referral and Student questions/cases



About the Professors

Mike Emlet is a faculty member at CCEF where he has served for more than fifteen years. He holds an MD from the University of Pennsylvania and an MDiv degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He worked as a family physician for twelve years before joining CCEF. Mike has counseled for many years and is the author of CrossTalk: Where Life and Scripture Meet, which explores the use of Scripture in counseling. Mike is married to Jody, and they have two children. He is active in his urban church and enjoys gardening, camping, and creating wheel-thrown pottery.


Required textbooks

Students must purchase separately, any other required reading is provided with course access. If you would like to borrow these books please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to check availability.

  • DSM-5 by the American Psychiatric Association (pp. 47-59, 123-188, and 235-264 )**
  • Asperger Syndrome (booklet) by Michael R. Emlet
  • Darkness Is My Only Companion: A Christian Response to Mental Health Illness, revised ed. by Kathryn Green-McCreight
  • Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability by Stephanie O. Hubach
  • Collected Writings of John Murray: Lectures in Systematic Theology by John Murray, pp. 14-33
  • Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer & Life in Christ by Todd J. Billings*
  • Where is the Mango Princess? by Cathy Crimmins*
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon*
  • Second Forgetting: Remembering the Power Of the Gospel During Alzheimer’s Disease by Benjamin Mast*

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* Not all subject are available every term. Please visit here for to view upcoming courses.