What's the difference between traditional psychology and Biblical counseling?

I believe that psychology is the study of human nature and behavior, which is extremely useful to reveal Why people do the things they do.  However, psychology is unreliable on guiding people with What do to about their behavior because it is based on a humanistic view of right and wrong which changes with each and every situation. 


When people from different backgrounds are facing difficult situations- they tend to justify their decisions and excuse their choices to fit what is most comfortable for them.  God's Truth, as described in the Bible, is always the same and never changes.  Having faith in Christ provides the main foundation for a person to view and consider every other element of their lives.  As a Believer in Christ, my perspective on everything is changed, especially on how to provide wise counsel that is consistent to a Biblical world-view instead of from an ever changing secular world-view that tends to follow the advice or trends from different experts and authors who may be popular at the time.  

Let me describe it differently through a word picture of a coffee-maker. 


Psychology is like ground coffee sitting in a coffee filter.  It comes in different flavors, consistencies and from different parts of the world. The amount you put into the filter may be slightly different each time, which gives you a different 'brew' each time.  Sometimes its' too strong, other times it's too weak.  When you open up the coffee container and take a big whiff, it might smell really good or it may smell really bitter.  It may be expensive like StarBucks, or have special flavors like Barnies, but in the end, it's just coffee. 


Human behavior is like the water that flows into the mixing area. It may be bottled water from a spring, or it may be tap water that has been treated with chlorine to be safe for drinking.  Water is different if it's been flavored or has been mixed with chemicals or additives depending on where it came from in the world, (like the very good, but very expensive Evian water from the Swiss Alps!) But no matter where it may come from, it's just plain old H2O, just water.


Faith in Christ and His Word is the coffee filter.  That tiny paper filter is the most important part, because it sorts and strains out all the ground up yucky stuff from Psychology mixed with whatever contaminants are contained in the Water.  You usually don't ever even see or notice a coffee filter, but who would want to drink a cup of all the stuff that it filters out? 


Coffee filters are simple things that have an important purpose- Safety & Comfort.  

The safety is from not choking on the grounds. The comfort is what makes a cup of coffee enjoyable.  You need both.  Just like psychology needs Biblical Truth to provide a safe and comfortable place for people to build better lives.


-Dwight Bain, Author, Speaker & LMHC


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