Monday, November 17, 2014

Broken Minds, the silent treatment.

I would like to mention some things that have happened in the realm of evangelicals and the treatment of mental illness. At the risk of sounding like sour grapes, I decided to write this blog after continually being disappointed with the lack of media coverage for our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, published by Kregel Publications.
Broken Minds was one of the first  books to be written on the Christian and mental illness in our modern times. It was nominated by Foreword Magazine as the best non-fiction book of 2005.  This magazine is not evangelical but secular. Zondervan's at the same time came out with a book, New Light on Depression. It was written by a medical doctor and a  psychologist.  No doubt it is worth reading.  Another book that was published about the same time was Darkness is My Constant Companion.  It was written by a female Episcopal Priest who knows the deep pain of mental illness.  Since that time many books have been written on the subject of mental illness from a Christian perspective.

Now, I am not saying that Broken Minds has not gotten good reviews.  It has been heartily recommended by those who do reviews for a living.   I don't expect attention from people like Frank Minnerth and Paul Meir. In Broken Minds we deal with their neo-freudian approach of the treatment of mental illness. The  title says it all; it is called  Happiness is a Choice We also use a polemic approach in dealing with the misguided  ideas of Nouthetic Counseling.  This group continues to stand on their no medicine approach.  There are Nouthetic Counselors who try to modify this stance but still do not have a proper view of depression or any other mental illness.

Finally, I understand why Neil Anderson might not appreciate our book since it exposes some of the fallacies of the "spiritual warfare movement" and their erroneous perspective on mental illness. Since the year 2005 there have been numerous evangelical books on mental illness which undoubtedly been influenced by Broken Minds.

I have sought out  Focus on the Family backing but they rejected my attempts numerous times.  Perhaps it is because I am not a psychologist. (Though I studied under one of the most famous psychologists of all times, Dr. Marsha Linehan at the University of  Washington).  I am a certified Dialectical Behaviorist.  I also was a clinical case manager for people who suffer from a severe and persistent mental illness. I worked with psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and even parole officers.

I was also rebuffed by the 700 club.  This may have been in part because we believe in the cessation of sign and revelatory gifts. Robyn and I had close contact with the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention.  For some reason (and it wasn't because I did not try), they never followed through with our invitations for ministry.

One of the reasons why I am writing this blog is that our non-profit, Heartfelt Counseling Ministries is grossly underfunded. This is because of a lack of exposure. I believe in our ministry but I do wish that I could do more toward supporting my family.

What precipitated my recent discouragement was this:  Some time ago, I was interviewed by a journalist who was writing an article on "Biblical Counseling" (also known as Nouthetic Counseling)  for public consumption. The interview lasted about an hour.  I felt that it was about time the article was to be published, so I put the subject in a search engine and  the name of the  magazine which published it. There is was.  It is a good article and I believed that some of the information I shared was in the article, but Broken Minds was never mentioned.
These are some of the frustrations we face in ministry. We know one moment, one contact can change everything. Are you that contact for Heartfelt Ministries?

Here is a link for  the article on line. It will take some time to read it.
Rev. Steve Bloem


  1. You are fighting an uphill battle. However, you are not Sisyphus (Albert Camus, 1942), and the Lord will not frustrate your efforts at educating His people, and correcting misperceptions. You are swimming upstream against the current like a strong salmon. You are not floating downstream belly up, going with the flow. The reception, or lack thereof, of your book and ministry should come as no surprise given your premises. A couple of reminders: "... he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith." (Gal. 6:8b-10) "...continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of..." (2 Tim. 3:14)

  2. Thanks, Pastor Jack,
    I mistakenly posted this blog before I proof read it. So there are many errors in this.
    I appreciate your encouragement and I am trying to apply the Scriptures to my life. I need to work on this blog and be clearer in my presentation of the subject.

  3. Dear Steve,
    I think Kathryn just ran out of space in that article. I made sure to mention your book as an important early text on evangelicalism and mental illness in the The Failure of Evangelical Mental Health Care. I really did appreciate what you tried to do in it, even if I come from a slightly different viewpoint.

    John Weaver

  4. Thank you Anon for contacting me. I was impressed by the amount of books you have written. And I am thankful that you included Robyn and me in one of your latest books; The Failure of Evangelical Mental Health Care. Robyn and I are writing a book about the death of our daughter Lindsay and her child Emily Hope. Her car was hit head and killed by a drug addict, who was shooting up heroin. It was the night of September 11, 2001 Please see my wife's blog: God's blessings, Steve

  5. Steve, thanks so much. Actually, some of the books listed as John Weaver are by another John Weaver. For some reason Amazon and co. get us confused. I did write Evangelicals and the Arts in Fiction before this one. I will pray for your family, Steve, and thanks for all you've done for those suffering from mental illness in the evangelical community.


    P.S. Sorry I would have replied to this sooner, but I'm home on Thanksgiving break.

  6. Hi Anon, Thank you for contacting me. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your advocacy with those who have mental illness.


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