PTSD and Biblical Counseling

Post-traumatic stress disorder is not well understood amongst Christians, especially as it pertains to the doctrine of sin, fear, and neuroscience research. Many in the church who counsel Christians that present with trauma symptoms must consider both the material and immaterial realities of human nature to address the Fall’s effects on the dichotomous nature of man. There is much debate regarding the diagnostic term of PTSD, with many assuming it is a modern construct that has no Biblical basis. However, the etiology of PTSD can be observed immediately after the Fall and is part and parcel of original sin’s effects on the material quality of man. Trauma symptoms can be seen throughout history, despite recent developments in psychological research when psychologists began to study and document patterns of PTSD symptoms beginning in the late 19th century. The consensus is that PTSD symptomology results from an overactive nervous system and distorted sense perception. It is especially important for Christians to recognize that trauma symptoms are not a new modern phenomenon. Rather, trauma and its effects are a direct result of Adam’s disobedience. Using theological analysis and neuroscience language to explain a comprehensive contextual understanding of PTSD symptoms, this paper will argue that PSTD symptomology in professing born-again Christians is a result of implicitly living in sin-natured bodies due to a short-circuited nervous system that resulted in the fear response and not necessarily complicity in missing the mark of God’s standard.

Keywords: anthropology, fear response, PTSD, trauma, original sin, neuroscience

7 thoughts on “PTSD and Biblical Counseling”

  1. PTSD is misunderstood, true . . . but . . .
    I assumed this was a counseling student trained in the special discipline of trauma counseling; didn’t notice it was submitted to a THEOLOGY professor in a THEOLOGY course till I read Dr. Kreider’s assessment. Now, I’m nervous, too. Yeah — PTSD is “interesting” – but not something to take on in a paper without thorough training and/or experience in trauma counseling or both.

    Perhaps she’s close to someone and is living through it? . . . But I wouldn’t want to take the chance without knowing what her experience/expertise is. . . .

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