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Treating Depression

An Integrated Approach

by Dr. Brian Campbell



As you proceed to try to integrate psychology and Christianity, you will need to keep in mind the powerful influence of biology on psychological disorders.  Once again, here is a maxim I use:


"When Biology Meets Psychology, Biology Wins!"

With every day that passes, the biological basis of more and more psychological disorders is being discovered.  In addition, the complex interaction of medications and their influence on disorders is being studied.  I have taken time to develop some tools for you and handouts for your clients that are highllighted in the following email.  Please print out the documents provided and consider making them into a handout for your clients.  

Enjoy!  Dr. Campbell

Watch Video

Depression: Christian Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Duration: (12:24)
User: doctoisin - Added: 4/19/14


Why Do Christians Get Depressed?

(By, Dr. Brian Campbell


Experts disagree about the causes of depression.  Some feel that it is essentially a biological problem.  Some feel that it is primarily a psychological problem.  Others feel that it is a behavioral problem.  Advocates of Christian Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CCBT) feel that is a problem of irrational beliefs and faulty thinking.  Below, some of the biological concomitants of depression are explored.

Irrational Beliefs Associated with Depression

In my expereince, depressed people often come from families where one or more of the parents was depressed.  Does this mean that depression is biological (genetic), or psychological?  The correct answer may turn out to be both in many instances.  Depressed parents often pass on their depressogenic way of thinking to their children, by their negative, hopeless, attitudes toward life.  Depression is often driven by "all-or-none" thinking; this type of thinking is termed "dichotomous" thinking.  This thinking style is often one of the main sources of depression.


In order to help identify irrational beliefs associated with depression, I have developed a form called: "Discover the Lies."  Christian counselors can use this form to help them "Identify Irrational Beliefs" that may be "driving" the depression seen in their clients.  After identifying these faulty beliefs, counselors can help clients "Challenge" the irrational beliefs and replace them with "Biblical Truths."  Ultimately, it is the Truth that will set them free.


Is Depression a Biological Problem?


Medical research has clearly established a relationship between certain biological factors and depression.  Evidence for the relationships comes from several sources.


Heredity:  Research has shown that depression tends to “run in families.”  Basically, you are somewhat more likely to suffer from depression if one of your biological parents or a close relative suffered from the disorder.  However, just because a member of your immediate family has/had the disorder, you are not “doomed” to have it also.  Many people with close relatives who suffer from depression never experience the problem themselves.


Associated Medical Conditions:   Symptoms of depression often appear secondary to known medical diseases or disorders.  The following medical conditions have been shown to be associated with symptoms of depression:




Cancer of the pancreas


Cirrhosis of the liver

Post-viral infection

Infectious mononucleosis






Heart Disease

Multiple sclerosis


Brain tumor


Prostate Cancer/Breast Cancer


Medication Side-Effects Symptoms of depression can also be the result of side-effects of medications an individual is taking.  Before assuming that a client’s depression symptoms are the result of faulty underlying beliefs and/or faulty thinking, the counselor should evaluate whether or not the individual’s symptoms may be the result of medication side-effects.


I have prepared a Table of  Medications that, when taken, may have depression side-effects.  I strongly recommend that you use this form with every client.  The table is located on my internet site and can be downloaded.  If the client is taking of the listed medications, it is recommend that you suggest to the client that he should discuss the medication with his medical doctor.


Drug Interactions:  Medicines do not always work properly when you combine them with other medications (or, even vitamins).   I would strongly recommend that you have all of your clients enter information of vitamins, over-the-counter medications, and prescribed medications into the website located on my internet site:  “Check Drug Interactions.


Let me give you an interesting example.  I once had a woman in counseling who was depressed and was taking an antidepressant.  She was doing well in counseling and we were progressing nicely.  However, she suddenly started to get severely depressed and suicidal.  I did a careful analysis of her medications, only to find out that she had recently started taking Metamucil for constipation (a side-effect of her antidepressant). 


After doing some snooping around, I discovered a warning in the literature on her antidepressant that cautioned taking any high fiber medication because it could seriously interfere with the effectiveness of the antidepressant.  I asked her to talk to her doctor about this.  When she did, he acknowledged the problem and recommended she stop taking the Metamucil.


Depression Information Handout:  I have just finished spending a lot of time preparing a Basic Information Handout for clients who are suspected of having major depression.  You can download a PDF copy from my internet site and hand it out to clients.  You have my permission to use this document with clients for counseling purposes.


I will continue to develop and publish clinical tools to my website.  Even after you finish the course, you may want to stop back to find tools for your counseling practice.  The only thing I ask in return is that you tell your clients about the helpful scriptures and other information on my website:


Overcoming Depression Audio:  I have put together a number of scriptures that "argue against" derpession from a Christian perspective.  These scriptures, with background music, are available on my internet site.  They are also available on your course spreadsheet.




Dr. Campbell