Review: Modern Psychopathologies

28268494Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (second edition) by Barrett W. McRay, Mark A. Yarhouse, and Richard E. Butman brings together the most recent and up-to-date material in psychopathology, and presents it to the reader in as an ideal point of reference for both pastors and clinicians. This second edition builds upon the effectiveness and success of the former edition, while at the same time aligning the content with the most recent editions of the standard references in the field of psychopathology (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [DSM-5] and the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems [ICD-10]). This is a full volume that is both sensitive and informative to issues that color the increasingly relevant world of mental disorders.

Like the first edition, this second edition of Modern Psychopathologies is divided into three major sections. The first section tackles the issues related to “Christian” psychopathology. This section provides a basis for recognizing the placement of psychopathologies in the history of pastoral care, classification of mental disorders, and the relationship between sin and psychopathology in the Christian worldview. This section is absolutely imperative to the reader approaching this volume for assistance from a Christian perspective. The second section comprises the bulk of the book and will function as the most used section for most readers. It is here that classifications of psychopathologies are discussed in detail, including problems in childhood and adolescence, anxiety, the development of self, problems of arising from trauma, sexuality and gender, addiction, and more. This section does well in equipping the reader with the “nuts and bolts” of each classification and provides excellent suggestions on pastoral care. The final section is comprised of a single chapter that functions to cast a forward vision for the study of psychopathology in a world plagued with imperfection, but also redeemable in Christ.

I would consider myself to be no more than an interested bystander to the conversations in this book. That said I am hard pressed to critically engage with the content of this book from the perspective of psychopathology. I simply have to nod and agree with those that have devoted their lives to such pursuits. Nevertheless, I would consider myself equipped to analyze the worldview implications of such conclusions, especially for a volume that claims to be a “comprehensive Christian appraisal.” As a layman it is here that I found the most benefit of this volume. It was easy to read, interesting, informative, faithfully balanced, and sensitive to the end user. Moreover, the organization of the volume is perfectly situated to achieve the authors’ goal. As an integrated approach, Modern Psychopathologies is clearly written, expertly informed, and unashamedly biblical.

This is a volume that both pastors and clinicians will enjoy and use often. If you are either, and you are looking for an up-to-date evaluation of this increasingly relevant field of study from a Christian perspective, Modern Psychopathologies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal (second edition) by Barrett W. McRay, Mark A. Yarhouse, and Richard E. Butman is the first, and maybe even the only volume you will need. It comes highly recommended!


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