Todd Friel and Biblical Sufficiency in Counseling

-by Kathi


Todd Friel of Wretched recently had this to say about use of the Bible in counseling:

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 5.43.58 PM

Todd Friel’s text reads:

Whether one believes the Bible is sufficient or not is put on display in the counseling room. If the counselor uses the Bible AND anything else, he/she does not functionally believe in sufficiency.

To make it clear, Todd Friel follows up with:

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 5.44.19 PM

Todd Friel’s text reads:

We can use secular sources to UNDERSTAND a malady, but the Bible is our only source for helping the struggling saint. Here is an excellent article on the dangers of incorporating secular sources (we will be discussing this on Monday in detail on radio)

*Link is to Rick Thomas’s article, “Why All Other Psychologies Bow at the Foot of the Bible.”

Both Friel and Thomas are affiliated with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Counselors who practice biblical counseling believe that the Bible is sufficient and authoritative in helping people work through their problems. Biblical counselors also tend to use the route of finding the source of sin in a person’s life to deal with problems.

The role of a counselor is to help people work through emotions, trauma, and mental health issues by providing therapy and skills coaching. A good secular or faith-based counselor will respect that faith can play an important role as well as be a source of strength in a person’s healing. However, to say that the Bible alone should be the reference for treatment in the counseling setting can cause problems for the client.

A biblical counselor who fails to recognize the value of secular sources in understanding and treating clients hinders the healing process. While the Bible may offer hope and assurance, but it does not address the treatment of mental illness, domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma, addiction, chemical imbalances of the brain, eating disorders, child abuse, phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.

The brain is a beautiful and complex organ. Because of the complexity of the brain, people respond differently to counseling treatments. Counselors should be open to differing techniques when working with a client to bring about effective healing and change.

Unfortunately I have heard more negative stories about biblical counseling practices than positive stories. I would encourage anyone who does not have a positive experience with biblical counseling to seek another counselor who utilizes different treatment methods. No, you are not sinning by seeking other treatment. Yes, God will still love you.


Todd Friel, Biblical Counseling, Sufficiency in Scripture