Friday, September 25, 2015

The Fourth Revolution in Psychiatry

What is meant by the term Revolutions in Psychiatry? So far, there have been three of these revolutions.

 Philippe Pinel

The first was inaugurated by the French psychiatrist, Philippe Pinel around the year 1791.  Pinel vigorously attacked cruel treatments foisted on the insane by the 'mad' doctors of the 17th and 18th centuries. Pinel stopped the use of chains, bloodletting, vomiting, cold water dunkings etc., in his psychiatric Salpetriere Hospital in Paris.

 Image result for sigmund freud
The second revolution of psychiatry was around the year 1900.
This was ushered in by Sigmund Freud (1856-1936). Freud was a neurologist like Pinel. He never gave up the idea that all psychological illnesses were due to organic causes.  However, realizing that there was no cure, Freud turned to hypnosis and "psychoanalysis". He became convinced that all neuroses stemmed from sexual problems and childhood experiences. Getting past this revolution was horrific but necessary.

Our book Broken Minds, Hope for Healing When You Feel Like Your Losing It demonstrates that a number of leading figures in Christian psychology and therapy owe their origins to Neo-Freudians and Freudians.

 John Frederick Joseph Cade (1912-1980), by unknown photographer, c1970
 John Cade, discovered Lithium  

The third revolution in psychiatry was in the 1950's when those with mood disorders and psychosis were given access to and treated with psycho-tropic medication. This revolution included the more wide spread of use of ECT, (Electro Convulsive Therapy). There have been many medications to treat the major mental illnesses since Cade's discovery. Various  drug companies did their own research and found new cures by modern medicine.

Lithium was the first line treatment for those with bipolar disorder.
Haldol was one of the first drugs for treating schizophrenia, and tricyclic antidepressants helped many with severe depression.  Prozac was first in line of what was to be  known as Serotonin Selective Re-uptake Inhibitors.  Many of those class of drugs and classes of drugs have been put on the list of drugs that treat mental illness. 
Some Christian organizations have denied the use of medications for mental illnesses but the next revolution has been very powerful regarding the biological origin of mental illness.

 Psychiatry is reinventing itself thanks to advances in biology
 Thomas Insel, National Institute of
Mental Health.

The fourth revolution in psychiatry is in the present, which is shifting from psychology and psychiatry to genomics and the neurosciences. This is connected to advances in DNA sequencing and functional imaging.

The next decade should see all of these strands intertwined into a more holistic approach. People are beginning to recognize that depression and schizophrenia, for example, are brain disorders related to physiological changes rather than simply behavioral ones.

What does it mean to think of mental illnesses in this way? Is psychiatry really just part of neurology? Many disorders of neurology, such as stroke, involve damage to a specific site in the brain. But psychiatric disorders may be more usefully thought of as brain circuit problems – what researchers have called “connect-opathies." We can make an analogy between mental illness and a heart condition. The behaviors and ways of thinking seen in a mental illness are symptoms of an underlying disorder; one that involves faulty brain circuits – a brain "arrhythmia," whereas a neurological disorder could include a heart attack- Thomas Insel

Broken Minds,(Kregel Publications) is not just any book on mental illness. It emerges from the deep suffering of Steve and Robyn Bloem that comes with a severe depression. The authors go into  more details about the failure of the  church to embrace mental illness.It is especially seen in chapter 15, A History of Mistreatment, pp. 171-180. 

If you wish to support our ministry for a donation of $25.00 or more you will be sent a signed copy of Broken Minds Hope for Healing When
You Feel Like You're Losing It. Our link to our web site is
Please click the donation button. You can also donate by sending a check to the address on the top of our website.  We appreciate our donors very much! Please contact us if there is any way we can help you with these issues or for counseling. We also need more monthly partners to help support this important ministry. If there are gaps in the Christian community, which we see evidenced, then who is going to help the struggling sheep? An ordained pastor who has suffered, studied and lived it! Please prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you do to enable us to keep this ministry afloat.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Foxe's book of Martyrs, an amazing book

  Persecuted Church

Hebrews 3:3-- Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them    which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

In every century there are examples of courageous Christians who were willing to lose their lives rather than deny their faith. One history-making book gathered many stories of martyrdom and through its pages has inspired Christians for generations.
In 1563, Englishman John Foxe published his Acts and Monuments to give a universal history of God's work at building His church. Often called Foxe's Book of Martyrs, the history has become a Christian classic.     There was a time when the Bible and Foxe's work were the only two books many Christians ever read. 

John Foxe was born in 1516 in Boston, England, just as the Reformation began to dawn. The year Foxe was born, Erasmus published his New Testament in Greek; the year after Foxe's birth Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in Wittenberg. In 1534 Foxe went to Oxford to study theology. As Foxe read extensively in the Greek and Latin church fathers and compared them with the Roman church of his day, Foxe concluded the church had departed from the faith of the earliest Christians. At Oxford Foxe began to adopt Reformation views and also met the reformers Hugh Latimer and William Tyndale, two who would later become martyrs. Because he could no longer accept the theology of the Roman Church, Foxe lost his position at Oxford and could not be ordained to the priesthood. He married Agnes Randall of Coventry and for a time found work as a tutor in the household of William Lucy in Warwickshire. Then he moved to London where he sought work in vain.
More at

Please go to the link below and press prisoner alert.


For the  Foxe's book of Martyrs  

 You can read it for free on

For Kindle, Broken Minds

Did you know you can get a kindle edition of Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Are You S.A.D.? Winter is on its way.

Image result for all cloudy

 Copyright 2015

This is  re-posted because our readers (all over world) need to be reminded of this painful disorder.
I live in the United States of America. I grew up in Michigan and lived there until I was twenty three years old.  In 1978 I moved to Florida where Robyn and I were married. You may or may not be familiar with all of the states in our country but Michigan has warm summers and cold, cloudy winters.  Robyn and I lived in Florida for a number of years before deciding to move our family to Michigan. While living there, I worked in one of our public mental health agencies in Grand Rapids. I was a case manager for persons who had severe and persistent mental illnesses. 

A local psychiatrist had an article published in our newspaper on SAD, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. I talked to our agency supervisor about our need for getting more information on this disorder. She said we could go ahead and have the psychiatrist come and speak to us about this little known illness.  SAD is quite prevalent in Michigan because of the lack of sunlight we experience especially in the winter time. The psychiatrist came to our agency and lectured us on the on the disorder. As I was studying his material and the diagnostic criteria for SAD;  I had a "light bulb moment."  Robyn, who is known for being vivacious and funny, met many of the criteria for SAD since we moved to Michigan. The lack of sunshine was mostly in the fall, winter and spring seasons. Some of the symptoms were tiredness, fatigue, over-sleeping, depression, crying spells, irritability, decreased activity and craving food, especially carbohydrates. She also presented with a 'grim' facial expression and it looked like the normal luster of her eyes was gone.

 Image result for the beaches, florida

As I have mentioned, Robyn did not know she had SAD until she moved from Florida to Michigan. She was brought up in West Palm Beach, FL which is about as far south as you can get in the USA. Florida is known as the sunshine state and it has plenty of it.

The psychiatrist told us the standard treatment for SAD, especially in the North, was a special light which puts out 10,000 Lux or more. Our mental health agency in Grand Rapids bought a light for our clients and I bought one for Robyn. The results were remarkable; Robyn's symptoms disappeared.  In Michigan she sat in front of the light for about two hours each day. If we took a trip to Florida during the winter months, she obviously didn't need her light; the sun brought her right up and out of the SAD.

We now live in Florida and now she doesn't use her light. (You still can have the disorder if you live in Florida, but the more North you live puts you at a higher risk). These lights are available online through many venues or you could just bring your seasonal brain south for the winter. You know the song, Home on the Range? The words, "O give me home where the buffalo roam ... and the skies are not cloudy all day." I guess cloudy days without sunshine are appreciated by very few of us. When we lived in the North, Robyn would tell our snowbird friends to tell the sun she said, "Hello" and she would go back to her light until Spring. It worked and I saw the marked difference in her. It probably will take a few days before you notice the change but if you are like her, you will perk up and you'll feel like your batteries have been recharged. In the meantime, remember Spring is coming!

You can also go to the Mayo Clinic website below.

The great Charles Spurgeon ministered in London, England in the 1800's. We make a case that he suffered from SAD. After the age of forty he had to travel from London to Mentone, France six months out of every year until his death. Why? Mentone had plenty of sunshine. If you wish to have more information about SAD, or you have depression and think it may be SAD, the best thing to do is visit a mental health professional..

In our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications) we discuss Seasonal Affective Disorder.
It is a comprehensive, personal, Biblical and clinical look at mental illness.
For reviews on our book see

Thanks,Steve Bloem


Friday, September 11, 2015

Two More on 9/11/2001, The Lindsay Emily Story

To our Precious Lindsay,
You lived your life to the fullest while on earth. On the horrible tragedy of September 11,2001; The last thing you did was to pray to a God that you knew and then after that act of worship, you were ushered into Heaven by angels, along with your baby Emily Hope.We miss you terribly and we miss Emily Hope. We miss what was and what could have been.

Your testimony continues to bear fruit and we are left behind to share with others what we have learned in the school of suffering. We will see you in a little while. We will then have eternity to worship and enjoy with you both, on a perfect and new, Heavens and new Earth, where there will be no curse and where the Lamb of God and His throne will be.

Revelation 22:1 -3 Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
There will no longer be any curse ; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him;
Love, Mom Dad,

I cannot tell you how often I have read the poem below, which was written by my wife Robyn.  It is a perfect blend of grieving but not without hope.  Please also scroll down and you will find at the end of the poem a link to a video was was made on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of Lindsay's and Emily's home going.

Somethings happened in my heart
That words cannot describe;
Life on earth has changed for me
Since my precious ones have died.

The angels were attending,
Their wings were closed to wait;
The "accident" that took your lives,
We're left to contemplate.

Your purposes completed
"Early" seems so true-
For life is long and grief is ours
Continuing without you,

Plans for future, plans for us-
All stopped the day you slept,
Two little souls now rest in Christ;
We know His Word's been kept.

We, wet and somber clay,
This world does not entice.
Our happiness does not grow here
And grief is shared with Christ.

Meeting you again my Loves,
A day I think of often,
The curse so great and cumbersome.
Reunion thoughts do soften.

You both eternal rest enjoy,
Willing, loving servants;
Our prayers no longer needed
But our love is just as fervent.

The saints you've met we cannot know
Being so completely earthbound;
Consigned humanity we live
Traverse on curs-ed ground.

Soon, I pray, reunion's song
We'll sing with heaven's tune,
We'll cry no more for loved ones missed,
Nor visit grassy tombs.

For just a twinkling will you wait-
Without the fear and dread?
For then together raptured up,
The living and the dead.

O Come, O come, Emmanuel
With angels' wings extended,
The joy, reunion, no more strain;
Heart-gripping pain is ended.

We'll shout for joy as heaven claps
Eternity begins-
With tears of joy unspeakable
As He cups our weary chins.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lessons from the Darkside

Copyright, 2015,

Lessons from the Dark Side (or Observations in Grief)

Robyn Bloem is the co-founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries.  She also co-authored the book,  Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel like You're Losing it with her husband Steve. It was published by Kregel Publications in 2005.  It continues to sell in the U.S. and across the world.  Robyn is a gifted poet and writer.  Robyn and Steve lost their daughter Lindsay and grand-daughter, Emily Hope in an instant when a heroin/cocaine filled drug addict hit her car head on.   Robyn, Steve and two more family members were the first to run up to the scene. Below are twenty one lessons she learned after losing her daughter and grand daughter on September 11. 2001.

1.   You don’t die from a broken heart

2.   We are social beings; we need one another. Some are equipped to sympathize 

      and do;  some are not and don’t.

3.      If you don’t answer the phone the house doesn’t collapse.

4.      Asking God “Why?” doesn’t really get you anywhere.

5.      Losing a child is not the same as losing a parent

6.      Some people go to the cemetery to jog.

7.      Creditors and electric companies expect you to keep records and pay bills.

8.      Elementary schools still keep track of tardies even though grieving kids and

         parents  can hardly get out of bed.

9.      (…and on that note, I don’t like rigidity).

10.  Other people’s lives go on.

11.  Holidays still roll around and we are expected to celebrate with anyone and everyone.

12.  Others get over your loss a lot faster than you do.

13.  Even when you can hardly walk from grief store personnel are still rude.

14.  You can’t be expected to call a person if you “need something” because you 

       have no idea what you need.

15.  My records indicate in severe trauma or grief, we lose 50% of our friends. I had two

      “organ-donor-type-friends” and wound up keeping one and falling off the radar 
      of the other one.

16.  Happiness must not be as important as it seems.

17.  The postal service delivers mail to the cemetery office. As I sat there every day, 

       I found myself wishing our daughter, Lindsay, would have sent me a note.

18.  When you are in severe grief, it is not a good time to work on a relationship that 

      was rocky in the first place. There is just not enough energy in the emotional bank.

19.  Grief is completely exhausting.

20.  We joke about being spiritually prepared for future trials, but preparation is exactly that. Knowing and experiencing God is always a benefit.  It is like having a large emergency fund in the bank.

21. And a baker’s dozen of sorts to my list of 20 things: I am very glad to have married a spiritual leader. We had to grapple with pain on our own in some ways, but neither one of us cursed God or turned away from Him. To carry an ungodly person through something like this would have been a very heavy burden to bear.

If you would like to give to our not for profit agency, Heartfelt Counseling Ministries; please go to our web site.  For your  gift of $25.00 or more we will send you our book,
Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.  Please scroll down to the donation button.
You can also send in a check made payable to Heartfelt Counseling Ministries. You can give your address in a box on the same donation page. Thank you, we would love to hear from you. SB

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Check out this short mental illness stigma buster

Are you selfish? Are you sinning? Are you sick?

  I don't know if you are acquainted with anyone who has schizophrenia
(or for that matter any other type of mental illness).
I don't know if you avoid talking about mental illness.
I don't know if you or a family member has a mental illness.
I don't know if you feel embarrassment or uneasiness at the mere mention of mental illness.
I don't know if you fear someone may uncover the truth about you or a loved one.
Well, what is the big secret about this anyway? I mean, is mental illness a sin?

Is it a moral flaw?  Is it the same as demon possession?
Is it something about which we should be ashamed?
Is God mad at you because you suffer from it?
Let me answer that question for you:

At Heartfelt Counseling Ministries we are all about fighting the stigma of mental illness.  Robyn and I have done numerous blogs on the subject.  Another way we deal with stigma is in our CAMI support group at our church. Please watch the sixty second video below which features the nephew of Glen Close.
We are deeply burdened for people with mental illness. We advocate for people who are afflicted with these diseases through seminars, education and counseling. Another way we have defended the sick is b being honest about our own family struggles. We chronicle our journey in our book, called Broken Minds.

                                                          Recommended by a reader:
 "This is a candid and spirit affirming story of a family's personal struggle, not only with mental illness, but also in finding where they fit into the body of Christ and His ministry. Considering that 10% of the world's adult population suffer from some form of mental illness, this book could well be required reading for pastors, elders, and Christian counselors or for anyone who is called to minister with understanding and unbiased care. The book is solidly based on a scriptural foundation with ample clinical information to appeal to the lay person or anyone in a counseling capacity. Informative, honest and helpful, this work shatters the old stigmas and perceptions of mental illness and depression. It is well written with enough heart and hope to balance the seriousness of the subject. Interesting reading." (Sandra Thayer Author's Choice Reviews 2005-12-01)   It was nominated the Best Non-fiction in 2005  and continues to sell. It does not follow  mental health  fads but rather has staying power based on Scripture, personal testimony, and biology of the brain.

How can you get a copy? In the U.S. we will send you a signed copy for 15.00 including S & H.Please go to an d scroll down to donations. You can also send a check payable to Heartfelt Counseling Ministries.
Let us know if you need counseling, if you would like us to come to your town and do one of our seminars or if there is any other way we can help.

When we say we are passionate about people who struggle with mental illness, we are and we work in this ministry to make a difference in our world as we intersect with yours! God bless! See the place for our support group in Boca Raton, Florida.

Steve and Robyn