Center Believes That Psychological Treatment Is Sin

By November 26, 2012

I have been in a Christ centered treatment center for seven months. I decided that it was time for me to leave the program. I have struggled with anorexia and bulimia for many years. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and now weigh *** pounds. While at the treatment center, I never saw a dietitian. The treatment center believed that psychological treatment was sin. I do not want to gain too much weight, but do not want to get too thin. My lowest weight was ** pounds. I want to stay healthy, but I am not sure that I can do it on my own. I do not know what to believe about therapy. I am just so confused right now. While in treatment I also accepted Christ as my savior. I do not want to sin against God. I have been told that taking a medication or going to therapy for “mental illness” or “sin,” depending on one’s view on this matter, is (like) choosing a pill or therapy over God. People have been putting food on my plate for seven months now and I am overwhelmed with trying to understand if I am eating too much or too little. The program I left was supposed to be a year long at the least. But I have decided that I will probably not return to the program because I feel God has called me away. I have no income at this point to seek accountability and guidance on my return into society. It has been six months without purging and I’m hoping to stay on the right track. Any advice would be great. – Andi

Dear Andi,

I think one of the best decisions we can make is to decide what we believe. I rejoice in your decision to accept Christ and to seek His Truth for you. I note you write the following: “I do not want to sin against God”. I believe you. And I believe that goal is deep in your heart. And I am thankful. Alas, you also wrote: “I feel God has called me away.”And I believe that too.

It is important a person not leave medical treatment if they are physically jeopardizing their health/life and/or are suicidal. Additionally, ending treatment is not advisable for a person that is just angry at the staff, not ready to do the work necessary for healing, or who wants to return to behaviors that feed the disorder. However, in your message, I read that you (1) feel called away and (2) feel as if you need a multi-treatment model. In other words, you want the assistance of a dietitian and other persons who might serve to support your healing. And I think that is a viable argument.

My personal opinion is that some Christian institutions (please note, I personally have a personal relationship with Christ) want to be very self-righteous and may throw the baby out with the bath water. I do not believe there is a trophy awaiting us in heaven if you go through life without ever taking a psychotropic medication. I would like to ask that particular facility if the approach they take also applies to childbirth. Is every Christian woman who has coped with the pain of childbirth guilty of “sin” if they had an epidural?

I appreciate the treatment center’s desire to point all persons to a higher power. There are different spiritually-based (Christian) approaches to helping/ministering to people. It is possible that this treatment center operates on a philosophy which believes that all answers are found in God and His Word alone and not necessarily with the “humanistic” society.

Listen to your inner voice. God will not lie to you. It is impossible for Him to lie. You will feel convicted if the decision is wrong. Consider some of the following options:

  • See our guidelines for Finding Treatment.
  • Check with local denominations you are comfortable associating with and see if they offer recovery groups that will offer emotional/spiritual support. Also, look into our Lasting Freedom Online Support program.
  • Understand you are not alone. At this very moment in many places someone is actively deciding to make food choices and live beyond what the scale says!

Remember that God’s grace is bigger then anything! Your seven months were not a waste. God can use that time, that treatment center, and those staff members to bring forward in your heart and mind what you need to do next. God’s revelation is progressive and paced in a way each of us can handle. He loves you. He is with you. And God created you with all you need to stay “on the track.”

Blessings to you!