The medical model may discover chemical imbalances and try to correct those imbalances with the introduction of medications. However, most often the model does not fully address the cause or what precipitated the chemical imbalance. Furthermore, when a chemical is introduced into the body, the body will, itself, try to compensate for the change produced by the medication. This often calls for stronger or additional medications to maintain the balance. It becomes a juggling act which is difficult for the physician to monitor. It is not uncommon that when clients come to me that they are so medicated, that they have difficulty thinking or communicating clearly. An additional problem that many physicians acknowledge is that medication is used to stabilize clients or to control the disorder rather than bring a lasting solution to the problem. Medications always produce the potential of adverse and sometimes dangerous reactions. Some medications or chemically addictive are also psychologically addictive. There is a tendency to return to anything that reduces the psychological pain.
Modern psychology text books often state that electroconvulsive therapy is archaic, dangerous, and relative ineffective. However, I have discovered a number of clients that have experienced this horrible treatment. Two notable side effects are considerable memory loss and confusion. Cognitive or pictorial memory may be erased, but often the emotional memory may remain in tact. Therefore, the individual may continue to feel the emotions surrounding the hurtful even, but have no cognitive memory of the event.
Another problem with the medical model is that since it places emphasis upon the physical, it negated one's responsibility for his or her own actions. For example, you may continue to stay angry as long as you take some medications to keep your blood pressure down. Another example could be, "Take such and such medication so that you don't feel guilty about what you have done", rather than look at how you may resolve the guilt.
Is the medical model totally invalid? Absolutely
not! One may need to have a surgery to remove a tumor on the brain.
However, one should also look at the cause for the tumor. One may
need to temporally take some medication to help stabilize the chemical
imbalance. However, one should also look at what caused the chemical
The cognitive approach places its emphasis upon reason or understanding. The philosophy is that if the person comes to understand the mechanics or dynamics of his situation, that he will change his thinking and thus change his behavior. Therefore, this model places emphasis upon explaining and education. The problem is that knowledge does not resolve all issues. For example, I once had a physician who knew the dangers of overeating and smoking, but continued to do both and died of a heart attack while he was in his 40's.
We often deceive ourselves even when we have knowledge of what is hurtful. We think that we will get away with it this time. Furthermore, we may, by reason, come to understand why someone was abusive to us; however, reason dos not remove the emotional pain. Neither does reason remove the anger, bitterness, or desire to get revenge. Reason does not change the desire of the four year old child that wants his older brother's toy. A parent may argue reason with the kid all day and never win. Generally, the argument usually just intensifies the desire for the toy. The illustration applies to adults as well as children. For example, "How many times have you tried to break a sin habit on your own?"
Furthermore, reason does not get rid of any evil spirits that one may have. I have tried it. It doesn't work. The spiritual strongholds must be torn down, the spirits bound, and cast out in the name of Jesus based upon the word of God.
Should we do away with the cognitive model?
No! However, all reason must have a solid foundation. Furthermore,
we also must move from reason to faith based upon the Word of God.
The psychological model place its emphasis upon drives, events, memory, and emotions. There is a big emphasis upon "suppressed" drives of sex, nurture, and fulfillment. One may feel frustrated because his wife turned her back on him when he wanted to make love. The wife may feel hurt and angry because her husband does not appreciate her. The dynamics of this approach is that where there is a human need, then there is a strong drive to meet that need. If the individual is unable to meet that need then the individual faces a crisis.
Therefore this approach often puts the individual into the victim category and leaves him there. Here are a few examples. You are depressed because you lost your job and such and such happened to you. You act out your anger because you watched your parents act our their anger. You are fearful of dogs because that little dog bit you when you were a child. You have nightmares about war because of the emotional trauma that you experienced when you were in the military. Since you believed that others were once against you, you now perceive that everyone is against you.
This approach also relies heavily upon the interpretation of feelings and memories by the the counselor and can become quite subjective as to how the counselor feels about the client. Discovery is deemed to be the solution. However, discovery often just intensifies the problems rather than resolving them. Again, the trap is "once a victim, then always the victim." Other associated subjective techniques are dream interpretation, ink blot interpretation, and various psychological tests.
Should we totally throw out this approach?
No! Objective discovery of cause and effect is important, but one must
go beyond this to resolution, freedom and healing in Jesus.