18 August 2014 "A break from a pampered ego..."
[A reader in Germany who read my counselling articles on my website and ordered our book "Breakdowns are good for you" made the following comment -]
"I’ve been having trouble with pretty nasty symptoms of depression more and more dominating my life - all the while being born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. Your talk on depression has been the best I ever heard about the subject and I am very much looking forward to receiving more light and growing in the resolve to walk in it. I want to break with all those miserable notions of my pampered ego and become the blessing I am supposed to be.
Thank you so much for presenting truth in such a helpful way.

I recently received a response to the "Five Cases Challenge" I set readers of my website. In the subsequent correspondence he said that he had emerged from depression after finding my website. He was looking for evidence for geocentricity and came across my articles on True Biblical Counselling (TBC). He had been diagnosed as Bipolar Manic Depressive and had been prescribed Lithium Carbonate tablets in 1995 for life. He is now 71 and I paraphrase his reply.
I read your article on TBC and decided to test it. I slowly reduced my medication over 2 years. I had some setbacks and was severely reprimanded by my doctor but I persisted.
I have not taken the tablets for 2 years and now lead a normal life - Praise God! I have written a book entitled "Out of Darkness" that will be published by Austin Macaulay in London.
"Since ceasing taking Lithium Carbonate tablets, I have succeeded in reaching 6th grade piano and passing 4th grade piano theory examination. I have also been taking part in local preaching in churches, and helping with my wife Pauline, as musical entertainers at a nursing home in Adelaide.
Malcolm I truly thank God for you and your website, because He has really caused you to completely change my life, and my service for Him.
Thank you so much."
[All this took place several years ago without my knowledge, and from simply reading the articles on my website. He asked for my "Counselling Course" and is thinking of becoming a TBC Counsellor.]

Receiving an order for three BAGFY, I enquired of her interest in the subject. I received the following email -
Dear Malcolm,
I can't tell you what an impact your book had on me. I first came across it whilst browsing your website about October 2009, and the description of what it contained struck a chord with me straight away. I knew I had to get hold of a copy! [She then quotes an extract from a letter to a friend-]
"..having had my life transformed by a remarkable book I read last Autumn.
It was a book by Malcolm Bowden, entitled 'Breakdowns are Good for You' which I came across 'by chance', and read with amazement and ever increasing joy and delight. This book represented the first real breakthrough that I've had re 'mental illness', and enabled me to finally break the cycle of depression that has dogged me for years. Although the book appears to be revolutionary in its approach, I would have to say that its basic premise is one which I instinctively 'knew' before reading it, and what I read simply confirmed what I had suspected all along, but had never dared believe or to implement. You could say that mixed up with the wonder that I experienced as each page unfolded was an immense relief. It was so liberating. Basically, he takes the view that all so-called mental illnesses stem from self-pity and pride. Usually there will be a 'seminal' moment, a point in one's life where a decision was made not to deal with a particular problem in a healthy way. Unforgiveness was nurtured and resentment set in, setting up a cycle of pathological self-pity, which in turn can take all sorts of unhealthy routes, ranging from the ubiquitous depressive illness, to self-harm, perfectionism, workaholism, violence and even murder and suicide.
It all made perfect sense to me, and I took the teaching on board wholeheartedly, and started to put into practice the counter-measures prescribed in the book." (End of her quote)

It would take too long to go into my background, but roughly speaking, I began to develop 'mental illness' when I was a child, as I was so unhappy, and it grew steadily worse (as these things do) until by my teens, I was constantly depressed, intermittently suicidal and fairly self-destructive. Having been born in 1951, I grew up smack bang in the middle of the hippy era, and embraced all that philosophy, adding to my poor mental and emotional state by drug-taking, and taking foolish risks with my personal safety. Although I did manage to complete University (coming out with a lousy degree) I soon dropped out and later became a New Age traveller with my future husband.

We were both wonderfully saved in 1986, but were involved in the Charismatic movement for ten years before being catapulted out of it by the Toronto Blessing, which seemed to plunge us back into the same experiences we had witnessed whilst in the New Age movement. To cut a long story short, it was my disillusionment with the post-Toronto church scene that led me to investigate my faith, and the end result was that, in the infinite kindness and grace of God, I at length came into a full knowledge of the Sovereignty of God, the Doctrines of Grace and the rejection of the false gifts of the spirit, dispensational teaching, erroneous eschatology and Arminianism.

Now, somehow, even in the very early days of my walk with the Lord, I had always clung to the idea that if the Lord sets you free, you will be free indeed. Because of my travelling lifestyle, I had never gone down the psychiatry route, though I do know myself to have been severely depressed, and verging on paranoid schizophrenia. The Lord providentially arranged that none of this was diagnosed or documented, and even after my conversion, I stubbornly refused to have anything to do with doctors or drug treatments (though sadly I know many Christians who do).
Gradually over the years, my condition steadily improved, and we were able to raise a healthy family of three wonderful sons, but there was always this undercurrent of proneness to falling apart, going on crying jags and feeling uneasy or threatened around people. It was your book that provided the last piece of the jigsaw and accomplished the final release from bondage. I am forever indebted to you.
I gave my original copy to a friend that the Lord brought along, to whom we have been ministering these last 4-5 years, and I told her to hang onto it. I guess I've been meaning to order a new copy all that time! Now I am back in touch with another old friend who has gone down the mental hospital route, yet is a shining Christian, and I want to give her a copy of your book. There is someone else as well, who is not a Christian, so I'm not sure about that yet, but we shall see. And the final copy is for me, as I would like to read it again.
Thanks once again for your kind enquiry,
in Christ,
5 January 2011. He realised the real cause of his mother's "tantrums"
"I recently watched your presentations on schizophrenia and depression on the Internet and have no doubt that you are right. Sadly, most believers appear ready to turn anywhere for help except the Holy Scriptures.
My mother suffered a nervous breakdown in her mid-forties and spent twenty years in a mental hospital, abandoning me as a child of twelve. After a spate of 'clinical depression' myself in my early twenties I was led into the saving knowledge of Christ. I stopped 'being nice' about my mother's tantrums. I recognized them for what they were"
[He also said that he watched her having a "tantrum" for the benefit of the Social Workers who were saying "Poor thing" and flapping around her.]
He offers to help anyone suffering from depression.

One of the criticisms that I have received from depressants, particularly Christian depressants, is the challenge “What right have you to advise on depression if you have never known what it is like?”
My reply is firstly; they do not know what pressures I have undergone in my life and that at one crisis point I had to say to myself “You are either going to make a go of life or you are going to go under”.
Secondly, they seem to overlook the fact that if they are only wanting to be counselled by someone who has experienced depression, this rules out 99% of ministers - and depressants are not the best counsellors for other depressants!
In February 2007 I received the email given below which is self explanatory. This email is a very clear example of the self-inflicted nature of depression and the subsequent victory over it that the writer achieved without any help from the medical profession, which had, in fact, had only prolonged his agony with their mind-numbing drugs.
What is different about this email is the desire of the writer, HC, to help others trapped in the self-made prison of depression. He dearly wants to help others who are suffering and invites those who are willing to go through the difficult process of self-examination to contact him first by email on -

Click here to email HC direct -

If the enquirer is genuine, he is prepared to give them his phone number and is very keen to help them out of their terrible situation.
May I recommend sufferers to contact him for his help and advice as he has been in exactly the same seemingly “hopeless” (?) position as yourself. From his experience he is only too willing to help you through the difficult path of emerging from your self-made prison of depression into victory over it and into the joy of a full and free life - hopefully onwards further to have the love for others as a reborn Christian.
Dear Malcolm
May I send you my most heartfelt thanks for writing BAGFY with Dr Law.
For 8 years I was a miserable, almost utterly self-centered depressive Christian. I was in psychiatric units twice, at the age of 22 and 25. During this time I was convinced that I was ill, and doctors gave me many different medications to try. I also received Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and many forms of counselling from fellow Christians. None of this worked; in fact, I actually seemed to become more depressed and anxious as time went on. People despaired of me and I despaired of ever finding freedom from this 'illness'. Sometimes I would cut myself in an attempt to ease the suffering, and suicide was frequently on my mind as a way out of the prison in which I found myself. Then I was given a copy of BAGFY.
It was this book, alongside a couple of Christians who challenged my behaviour, which God used to turn me around. It was a brutal experience, a time in which I perceived the Lord's hand of correction but also forgiveness heavily on me. It was as if a blindfold was being removed and I was forced to see myself as God saw me, rather that through my own self-pitying eyes.
I felt like I was dying, as all my firmly-entrenched patterns of appalling behaviour were exposed and repented of; my excuses for the terrible state of my life were all blown away, leaving me naked. I realised that I had been an extremely hateful and angry person, but unable to face up to this, I had hidden it all away under a fragile, smiling facade. I was revealed as an incredibly selfish young man who only cared about his own precious feelings, who had not really bothered with anyone except himself. I had also been intensely proud; my appearance was vitally important and I hated looking stupid or incompetent; in my efforts to achieve perfection in all aspects of life, I drove myself to extraordinary levels of stress, often to the point of exhaustion. Yet this was almost always so that I would look good, not to help anyone else. In my depression, I was determined to prove that my behaviour not been in the wrong and that I was a victim of other people's wrongdoing and my terrible 'illness'; if anyone questioned my true motives for behaving as I did, I would fly into a rage.
Oh, how I regret those lost years! What a fool I was! I not only wasted my 20s but I hurt many people, not least my poor parents, over the years of misery and self-punishment. But perhaps most importantly, I was only interested in taking from God. I could not see my own sin, such was my self-righteousness; therefore, I went to God not in repentance, as a beggar thankful for forgiveness, but as a poor victim who proudly thought he deserved to have God take his pain away.
Ultimately, I had never before submitted to God. It was always "My will be done". Yet in His amazing mercy, God led me through a tremendously difficult process of repentance, and in the end I bowed to Him. I gave up denying His goodness and decided to try to love Him and others no matter how I felt. I agreed that I was a sinner, and that I had been the author of my own downfall. This was perhaps a key turning point.
Now, 2 years on, I have been married for over a year, I have been given a second chance at a career and am beginning to serve the Lord properly in church. I am no longer shy and I am no longer at the mercy of 'bad moods'. I still struggle with the old patterns of sin - especially pride and self-centredness - but I am undoubtedly a new man; more of a worshipper than a rebel, and becoming genuinely concerned about others rather than just about myself. My feelings no longer control me, and instead I have a solid foundation in Christ which does not collapse at the first sign of trouble.
May the Lord be praised! He is compassionate! Glory to God in the Highest - for "those who walk in pride he is able to humble." (Daniel 4:37)
Now I want to help others who were in my previous position - how can I do this? People are SO resistant to this message, as I once was. I'm desperate for other people who have been deceived by depression to reclaim their lives! I just wish I knew what to do about it.
Anyway, thanks again, I am so grateful for the message of BAGFY.
May God bless you richly in your walk with Him and in all that you do in His name.
[MB comment. In a subsequent telephone conversation, he admitted that he hated reading BAGFY. He would read a portion and then put it to one side to digest what it was saying, and then come back to it. He had also read Welch’s book “When People are Big and God is small” which is referred to in the testimony below concerning the young minister.
He had undergone Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). This is the nearest secular equivalent to TBC, but he did not find it much help. I said that in a way, he was preferring his depression to the idea of changing his attitude - to which he agreed. At one stage he spat and hated God, but then realised what he was doing. He said the fear was incredible as he was coming out - but that it was clearly well worth the effort. So you see, breakdowns are good for you!
In a later email he said he met his brother who had also suffered from depression "..and we were laughing at how we used to walk around with slumped shoulders, sighing loudly, trying to make sure everyone realised how hard done-by we were and how everyone else should be feeling sorry for us too"
Can I urge those suffering from depression to contact HC who is willing to help you all he can.
I just watched the first 20 minutes of your video. Great work!!!! I am going to wait and show it to my husband when he comes home from work tonight... Since I have gotten to the root of my problem (hidden pride) and changed the way I think, many people have mentioned that they have noticed a change in me.
I am so happy to have met you dear brother, you have helped me to find the way to the narrow path once again!
I received a request for the DVD of the three talks on TBC which was forwarded. I then received the following -
"Dear Mr. Bowden, Thank you for sending your DVD...I have viewed it, and think it is....the TRUTH. I have recently been seperated from my wife, and we were planning on divorcing...we had very bad marital problems from the start...and I was just depressed, and lonely. I read your book, and watched the video, and realized that I was just being self centered, and angry that I was not getting my way. That being a great marriage, feeling good about myself, etc... It really changed my outlook..I was so focused on myself, that I had no time to focus on God, and hence my "depression".
I looked back at all my times of "trouble", and realized the same pattern...self centeredness...and anger, although it masked itself as something more palatable, namely depression and sadness.
Just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it, and am very thankful you are letting people know the "root cause" of these "illnesses"...and that it really is sinful. Once you focus on God, everything else falls into place, and although times might not always "be great", God never promised us that...but you will have a peace and a joy. Thanks again."

I enquired whether they were intending to part or might possibly get together again-

"Malcolm, First off, my wife and I are getting back...she and my son, are coming (back from the US...that is were I am originally from...I moved to the UK one year ago) next week. We both realized that we were being self centered, and were not being grateful to God for all we have....especially the forgiveness of our sins. We decided to focus on God, and stop living in the flesh...and your insights will help us do that...the truth does set people free. There were many things working, but I would say the book, and its revelation about our nature was definately the turning point and major reason for our reunion. It made us look at things in a new and sustainable again many thanks."
[UPDATE JUNE 2010] "Thank you for the links. The marriage is going well...once you accept the fact that we were created for his pleasure and not ours things fall into place. Thanks again. (second email - "P.S. We have another child who just turned 1...)
From Rev. Dr. X - (April 2008)
"Dear Mr. Bowden,
A few years ago I read (and utterly adored) your True Science agrees with the Bible, but have only just come across your excellent website. I loved listening to your lecture on depression, which was immensely helpful, and which I am now pointing many others to. Given what you have said there, I wonder if you might be able to help me: I have just learnt that a (Christian) friend of mine is suffering from severe --------. Do you have any material that might help?
With many thanks and warmest best wishes for a most appreciated ministry,
"Many thanks for your email, your wisdom and the time you took to respond..... I have to say, there is something ironic about the fact that your material on depression and psychology always leaves me especially joyous. I think it is the fact that you are so clear that depression is a departure from the healthy norm that works as a helpful reminder of the joy of being a Christian. So thank you for that."
[Regarding the opposition to TBC and creation books] Given the state of the church in this country, I am not altogether surprised, but that is a condemnation of the church and not your books. It is the difficulty when serving up such strong counter-cultural meat. I have encountered extraordinary hostility when I have voiced certain conservative theological opinions (especially those that revolve around the issues of creation), though I am optimistic that the younger generation are increasingly suspicious of the claims of science, enabling many of the younger Christians I teach to be more happily and radically counter-cultural on such issues.
The people I have pointed to your material have been pastors who have no vested interests; instead, their gospel-concern has meant they seem generally to have received your material warmly (in fact, more often, very warmly).
I would love to have a disc of your talks if that would be OK, and also a copy of BAGFY, which, you guessed rightly, I have not read. I wonder also if you might be able to send me some spare copies of that and True. There are a number of people I would be keen to baptise in these waters. Anything you are happy to send could be posted to:-----
I must say thank you, not only for the research and work you have done, but for your bravery in holding out our foolish message so clearly when all around I see the wisdom of the world being taught in the church. If a generation of pastors and Christians can be raised who are more sola scriptura (as I am seeing in some places), then I am sure that truly biblical counselling has a more popular future. For that I will work and pray.
I received this from a missionary working Europe in May 2006.
"We have a psychologist called P who needs our prayers ; she is reading BAGFY and is going through a crisis as she realises that she has been systematically lied to. She is applying BAGFY principals in her work but faces severe resistance from psychiatrists who are reluctant to disemploy (?!) themselves!
P is a Serious Christian who has sussed the antichristian thinking behind the PSY-industry ( for that is what it is ) and wants to awaken others to the heinous misinformation. I am hoping that she will eventually offer to translate the book as we have several Christians involved in her kind of work and there is a mission field out there."
Comment - she is not the first person involved in the psychiatric/psychological professions to realise after reading "Breakdowns are good for you" that they have been "systematically lied to"! All our counter arguments are suppressed, but one day there may be a "breakthrough".
In February 2006 I was emailed by a lady whose mother was schizophrenic. The mother had lived with her grandparents who had turned her against her parents, saying her parents did not love her. This had resulted in anger against her parents but the guilt involved seems to have developed into schizophrenia, which the daughter had only recently recognised.
How she came across my website was intriguing. She had been fasting and praying the whole day wondering what to do about it, but -
" i was praying, i had this pressing need to go online - i tried to ignore it thinking surely i should spend more time in prayer but the urge grew more & more - it was almost as if God was telling me to stop praying & get moving for he had things to show me...i went online & typed 'christian counselling + schizophrenia' & yours was the first site to come up & the keywords that were thrown up on Google were 'schizophrenia does not exist' or words to that effect - i was intrigued & that is how i discovered your site & i praise & thank God for that."
I found the way in which she was directed to my website very moving as that has never happened to me before.
She bought BAGFY and fully agreed with its views. I also sent the DVD of the three talks. She visited her mother who at first denied everything, but then started to make excuses for her behaviour. What was interesting was - "She also mentioned something very interesting - she said that she knows there is something wrong with her brain because it was whilst she was in university that she first felt her brain 'give way' under the strain of studying intensely coupled with a night of rigorous coffee drinking to keep awake whilst studying. I mentioned to her about what you said - schizophrenic cases usually surface in young adults in university etc.( i was glad i read the book otherwise i would never have made that connection). She didn't seem to agree that it was all a result of her own choice to act mad to escape the responsibilities of university life."
[MB comment. This may have been just a chemical reaction within her brain -stress and coffee? She finished her course and studied further successfully. Whether this had a long term effect resulting in schizo is difficult to say.]
She watched the DVD with her mother, but she said she "felt tired" and left the room. She has asked her father to watch the DVD and follow it up as best he can. Unfortunately, she could not stay with her mother, and there has been no significant improvement so far. I have suggested that her father should continue the pressure to get her to behave responsibly and maturely."
MB-This highlights the major problem of TBCounsellors dealing with schizophrenia - the difficulty in getting the person to face up to their past guilt - as mentioned on p.33 of BAGFY. This is the absence of having any "control" over a person - we can only advise. As schizophrenics have been living a lie for many years, we cannot force them to change and there is little to tempt them to start on the hard work of facing up to their responsibilities. You can lead a horse to water, but ...
I have asked to be kept up to date to see if there is any improvement. We can only pray that now her daughter has confronted her with her guilty feelings that are the root of her problem, that she will meditate on this and "come to her senses" at long last. She now knows that her secret is "out".
UPDATE FEBRUARY 2010 (It actually took place about 2007-8 but I thought I had added it!)
The daughter contacted her mother by phone (they were on different continents) but the family had persuaded her mother to take the medical treatment. She had one session of Electroconvulsive Treatment (ECT) and was MUCH better afterwards. (I rethought my views on ECT as a result of this and another article). She then spoke to her mother over the phone, during which her mother actually admitted that she was "playing games" and "faking her behaviour"
Unfortunately, it took several weeks before the daughter could get the travel documents sorted out, by which time the family had got the mother to have more ECT and drugs, and she relapsed back to her former state and would not cooperate with her daughter.
I do feel that if her daughter had been with her after the first ECT, she could have had a frank discussion with her and get her to admit that she was "play acting" openly and bring her on from there. This would have been a huge "break through" and hopefully a full cure. I felt that we were "so near (spiritually and psychologically) yet so far (distance wise!)" from getting a good result!

May 2006 - Minister's first use of TBC is successful.
I was contacted by a minister who was keen to use TBC. The subject of fear of other people was raised and he said he had found great benefit from reading Edward Welch's book "When People are Big and God is Small" (Presbyterian and Reformed 1997). I bought this and found it an excellent study on how to lose a fear of people AND WHAT THEY THINK OF YOU! I strongly recommend it to all who have a problem of being timid and fearful of the opinions of other people. Quotes "We never expect that using people for our desires leaves us enslaved to them" and "The person who fears God fears nothing else". I said how highly I thought of the book. He answered -
Hello Malcolm
I am glad you found Welch's book useful. It really helped me. I am slowly ploughing through BAGFY. It has been so helpful. The man I have been counselling using the techniques has made amazing progress. I was able to face him up to three areas in his life where he was basically selfish. He went home and a few days later confessed it all to the Lord asking for forgiveness. When he came to see me next time he was like a different person. He is regularly reading his bible and now praying for his wife to come to the Lord. He is also attending the church every week. I am still meeting with him and we have been looking at how God reveals himself in the Old Testament. It is amazing to see what God has done for him and to be able to be instrumental in that by God's grace.
God willing I will be starting the course soon. I have just had rather a busy period. What do I need to do about joining the ATBC?
Every blessing
Hello Malcolm
Obviously this is the first time I have used TBC although I do know of another lady in Wales who was helped using it.
What is interesting to notice is how the 'moderen counselling' methods have affected the churches understanding of the bible. It seems we put the cart before the horse and allow secular trends to determine our interpretation of the bible. I have also had trained counselors, who are Christrians, saying that not every case can be cured and that this is a very simplistic approach. I am convinced that when Paul wrote to Timothy and said that scripture was given that we might be complete and equiped for every good work, that he meant it. We do hold in our hands a rich treasure from God, who loves us and has given us all we need that we might live joyful Christian lives.
Please be encouraged to continue.
Every blessing
18 February 2006
It is rare that I am asked to help with schizophrenic cases as they are immediately taken into medical care, given powerful drugs and are then considered well beyond any help from counselling. I was recently emailed by a lady who had read my website comments on schizophrenia and had told a friend classified as one, who is keen to discuss her case with me. She also related an incident that took place several years ago - as follows;
"I told our Bible study about your site last night, and two of the gals wrote down your address, and you'll likely be hearing from them. One of them is on medication for schizophrenia, and we've been praying for her healing. I approached the subject gentle, not wanting to insult her, but she was very open, having suffered so long. I prefaced your site information, telling her about this before the others arrived, and found she was willing that it be part of an open discussion with them. I'd had some good experience with nouthetic counseling [effectively the same as TBC] Jay Adams-style of my own, one with a neighbour, that I shared with her."
The contact with a neighbour was related as follows -
I had seen my neighbours' son Tim outside their house standing with a broom in hand, staring vacantly at both the start and at the end of a four hours of errands. I checked with another neighbour and found that Tim was going "crazy" was the family's consensus. He was selling all his belonging, would speak of pink elephants he was seeing, and ask others if they saw them, and asked a lot about "what time is it," not good signs of mental health. Tim, had graduated from college, landed a dream job as a recreation director, but then lost it before it began after the manager died.
This other neighbour said that he was bitter toward his parents anyway, and somehow blamed them in general for his life's problems (a pretty cold couple - I've been friendly with many of our neighbours through the years, but even after living next door for several decades, they were still very distant. Peter the husband was vice-president of the company that owns still our town paper - and they know I'm Christian which I am sure is far from a plus with their extreme left views).
I went over and brought a piece of cake to Tim, and shared Jay Adams experience with the mental ill, particularly that story of the catatonic 30 year old man who was set free after 10 years of catatonia after Jay and Mowrer together told him he had a choice whether to waste the next ten years of his life like he had these years, having chosen this state over dealing with the extreme stress he felt of being pulled between pleasing his parents and his college friends when his grades vs his play part pulled him two opposite directions.
I also told Tim my story of being born again, of the glory of Christ, the joy and adventure of being one of God's Kingdom ambassadors, and assured him that God had great plans for his life, and urged him not to waste it letting bitterness and devastation of his job loss mess his own life up for the next umpteenth years of his own life. I said I heard how he was going crazy, even as he exhibited those behaviours (he'd asked me the elephant and time questions frequently during our two hour talk) - which I verbally connected to him as signs of this choice he was presently making. I told him that I could still see some lucidity in his eyes, and urged him to make a better choice than that other young man had, before he ended up wasting years of his life, too.
His Mom, Christine, called me after I left and asked me what on earth I had talked to Tim about, as no one had been able to talk to him in weeks. After I told her, and she briskly thanked me for my concern, but said that their friend, who was a psychiatrist, had had dinner with Tim the night before and they were having him committed that very week. I told her that God doesn't waste my time, and that I was expecting to see a miracle happen with Tim, that he would hear and make a better choice. She thanked me again, repeated her opinion and hung up.
But the next day Chris' Dad came across the street to where I was sitting outside with another neighbour, and said, "Lynn, I don't know what you told Tim, but we do know that he turned the corner last night, and that we will not have to commit him now, and I want to thank you." It was one of my life's more awesome wondrous experiences. Tim moved to CA, and they were estranged for years, but since Peter died a few years ago, Christine told me she has made several trips out to visit with Tim since. I still pray for her, him, and the other son. This story awed Helen, and will be part of why she will likely write you soon."
In December 2005 I was contacted by an American who suffered from depression asking for the free sheets on TBC and the free disc. In my reply email I said -
"If I may say very briefly that the key to curing depression is to forget yourself and become TOTALLY involved in helping others! Depression is really thinking about yourself too much - how people react to YOU, whether they like YOU etc."
He replied - "Thanks for your very quick reply. I agree with you 100% about depression being overly pre-occupied with self. I guess too often we want to blame something or someone else for our failure to take responsible for our decisions and behavior. When I came across your web site the other day and read some of the articles it hit me right in the face that I'm really the problem. There are several others in the church I attend who are struggling and they have turned to medications, but the meds have only made things worse. I'll use these materials to help others. Thank you for your help and God bless you for helping others." In a subsequent email he said he had ordered BAGFY from WesleyOwen. "I think it'll be a great help."


"Reading this book has helped me to see myself in a proper light. It's not nice being accused of self-pity, but an honest consideration of my circumstances has forced me to confess this. I have since such realization found peace and a positive outlook on life. You have spoken the word of God."


"Dear Sir, I am from Kwasizabantu Mission in South Africa. A few years ago I was given a copy of the book "Breakdowns are Good for You" by Rev. Dr. R.J.K. Law. I was extremely excited, as it corresponded with my personal view on mental illness. A view which very, very few [sic "many"?] people, even Christians, didn't share. I am a missionary and the wife of a missionary. As we come into contact with thousands of people yearly, I have lend the book to many other Christians, including pastors. Many of the Christians and pastors were touched and blessed by the book. Many, many of them wanted to get hold of copies thereof for themselves. In spite of numerous efforts - requesting different bookshops to order it for us - etc., we have been unable to buy any more copies....
[I replied that there are many copies here.]

The following was received in May 2004.

"I am qualified as a psychiatric nurse and as a nurse teacher but only taught psychiatric nursing care for a few years preferring to stay with general health care because I had difficulty accepting the mainstream dogma of a biological basis in mental illness. My earliest concerns were generated by not finding mental illness in the Bible coupled with the realization that most of what I observed on the psychiatric wards was sinfulness and selfishness. It was often remarked by nurses that so-and-so learned this or that symptom from another patient.

I also noticed the undercurrent of guilt in many personal histories and the Freudian guilt-avoidance techniques of carers. Indeed many patients, including those with depression and schizophrenia, had an easily demonstrated sinful (often shameful) background. The dominant sins relating to sexual, financial and religious anomalies.

As you suggest, the cloak of mental illness appears to be too convenient. However, I do believe that under certain conditions we may experience strange and disturbing behaviours. In this I would include sleep-deprivation and chemically induced disturbances of the mind – e.g. from hormonal, electrolyte or drug imbalances."

[MB- I agreed with his last sentence, but pointed out that they were chemical/metabolic imbalances that can result from extreme depression, and were not directly due to stress which is the major cause of depression.]

BAGFY p.53 - Nurse working in a psychiatric ward -

"Another Christian psychiatric nurse found that Dr. Law's lecture and chart completely changed her view of mental illness. She challenged her patients and was amazed by the number who admitted they were responsible for their behaviour. This nurse was desperate to leave the profession, referred to the sexual orientation of many of the staff and commented, "The Devil is having a field day in psychiatry."

A manic-depressive - "My recent experience has been of a mini-breakdown based on selfish behaviour and exhaustion from having sent out my project MH AT CH [MB - the leaflet I received that he had sent to 8,900 churches!]. I rebelled, quit, seemed to have no purpose. This whole experience can be seen in the perspective of your book to be fully a self pity "party" and a resentful reaction. Your book was like reading the script of a play after once again going through a breakdown. God allows us to go through these things to bring us to a new place, a new commitment.

From America -
Dear Mr. Bowden:
After finding a link to and reading your excerpted article from, "Breakdowns Are Good For You!", I purchased the book, and "True Science Agrees with the Bible."
I devoured the first book quickly. This book was a great help to me, Mr. Bowden, and I wanted you to know what a blessing it has been in helping me to understand things I have grappled with for years.
My mother has been receiving disability for "mental illness" for 25+ years. It has been obvious to me for a long time that she is merely spoiled, selfish, and devious, but I could never quite grasp and articulate with 100% surety what it was I was seeing in her...
Mom is still in the gall of bitter self-deception, but I did talk with her on many occasions before she got so sick, and your book was a tremendous help. I also gave her a printed out copy of your on-line article [Dr. Law's article "Breakdowns are good for you"]
I am currently reading the second book, and I am really enjoying the history.
Thanks so much for your efforts, Mr. Bowden. I really appreciate you and Dr. Law.
Sincerely in Christ,
S.B. Florida USA
From M. Story (Finland) "When I marked up the important parts of one copy for a Finnish friend to read, the reaction was IMMEDIATE and TERRIBLY positive The reader works with homeless alcoholics and has seen an immediate change with the application of HIS new attitude... I will let you know more as soon as I hear more!
In correspondence with one member, they related their local experience of friends reading BAGFY as follows;
"She thinks every Pastor ought to read it, and has used the book to tell their people her own story confirming self-pity as the cause of her own past behaviour and the Lord Jesus and His word as Being the Only Cure for sin and the overcoming of these matters."
[NOTE; It is one thing for a counsellor to claim that their method had "cured" a person, but when that person themself gets up and admits IN PUBLIC that the root of their problem had been self-pity, then the effect is far more powerful, and encourages others to look at their own problems very carefully.]

(Also-) "when I first showed her the cover of Bagfy and pointed my finger at the bottom line question, "Is self-pity the cause of "mental illness"?" it was C**, who as soon as she read it looked up and said, "V**, I know it is!"

( Also - )She saw the book for the first time on Wednesday and is ordering a copy to send to the Christian people who trained her in counselling. Her comment: "How, I wish we had this book when I was training!" I gather she is thinking of sending a copy of the tapes to all the people she trained with. The chart has already been handed out among their church mid-week meeting people with plenty of 'talk'.

(Also-) " ten minutes or so before their evening meetings, she had got a call from one of their people who had nearly succeeded in killing herself last year .... She was in a state and C** said something to her to which she got the reply 'I am only human.....' The next day this lady turned up (as she later admitted ) 'hating' C**'s 'guts' but after the two of them had sat down and drawn pictures in silence for about twenty-minutes, the questions began to come beginning with 'How dared you speak to me like that?' C** showed her the book and began reading her a bit out of it. She picked it up for herself and it opened up at the page where the heading comes 'I'm only human!' C** said she screamed 'that's what I said to you!' They went to the Bible references and started reading them. She said, 'I want this book.'

Letter - "I left my copy with the * church... As it has already proved so beneficial in my life I trust it may have an input on theirs, but I would also like a replacement copy. I do hope you have had a positive response - I expect you either love it or hate it. I am in my 70's and have led an up and down existence for years, despite becoming a Christian and having had endless, endless ministry over many years. Your no hold barred approach was what I required to set me finally on the starting line. A lot of running still to do but thanks to your writing I am off to a good start. My thanks indeed - when we meet I shall thank you both personally!

One counsellee said "I wish I had read your book earlier. It would have made me realise how badly I was behaving all that time."

Letter - "I sent copies to my Vicar son... and my barrister grandson-in-law... I also gave a copy to ... Dr.... You are touching on a raw subject... for a doctor. Stress is a "niche market". Income would vanish if your book was taken to heart!" C.S.

[The suggestion had been made that after hearing all about the problem, and seeing where root cause lay, the counsellee(s) could be asked "What do you want first - the good news or the bad? The bad news would be that the problem basically lay with themselves, NOT OTHERS. The good news is that because THEY have the problem, THEN THEY CAN NOW ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING ABOUT CURING THEMSELVES. This raised some discussion and the following incident was related by one of the members in the ATBC issue No. 9]

Now let me mention a small coincidence. I had got out my laptop to reply to your email when the phone rang. Could I see a couple whose marriage (of 3 months only!) was in danger of collapsing? I went round immediately. I listened for about 25 minutes when it quickly became obvious what the real problem was. Following that, I made all the major points that are given in Bagfy. I did not actually say "Do you want the good news or bad news?"; as I suggested, but I can assure you that had I actually put this to them it would have been fully acceptable. Several times I had to stop the man and point out that he was blame-shifting, excusing himself or simply trying to be "one up" on his wife, and he fully accepted it. A retired doctor present who had counselled in much the same way agreed that I had made all the major points that should have been raised for them to act on. I found that when I faced both of them with their responsibility, they both responded very positively and agreed.

I think that if people can see that you are personally interested in them and really keen for them to improve, they will accept a very great deal of "straight talking". There is also the subtle acceptance of authority of the counsellor which I became conscious of during the meeting. This can be very heady and needs to be handled with very great care. I several times referred to God and His standards for people's behaviour to show that it was His requirements not mine that I was presenting to them to follow.

Four days later, they were talking to a visiting speaker and I sat and listened as the man repeated to him all the things I had been saying verbatim. Particularly he said that if he has a problem, it is his responsibility - not anyone else's! I said nothing, just sat there quietly and smiled inwardly a little. (I have just returned from meeting them a second time and they want to see me once or twice more. They have really improved their attitude.)


The nurse (p.53) also confronted her patients that they were responsible for their behaviour and she was astonished that they all agreed! Robert confronted the "post natal depressed mother" (p.26) with a very unacceptable diagnosis but she admitted that he was right and did not walk out!


Well - so much about the "confrontational" aspects of TBC. Please - would members respond about this very important subject. It is the major stumbling block in the eyes of those anti-TBC, yet I still think that handled properly it can give a major breakthrough where conventional counselling has had minimal effect in making a lasting cure. I would hope that we can counsel in such a way that THE COUNSELLEES DO NOT NEED TO RETURN. They can be given clear guidelines on how to behave in an unselfish, unself-centred and outgoing manner that will not only get them out of their present problems but will last them the rest of their lives.

_____________________________________ End of ATBC issue 9


I have had an exchange of emails with a reader of BAGFY in America as follows;
On 3 Nov 2003, at 22:30, MB wrote:
[MB- Dear A, It is so encouraging to have emails about the book such as yours! I find that people are either strongly against (psychiatrists, conventional evangelical organisations etc.) or very enthusiastic. It has had a lot of opposition from organisations but when it does get through to individuals they are usually bowled over by it.]

Hello Brother!
Please forgive me for taking so long to email you.
I am absolutely loving your book. I just can't thank God enough for it. I had actually been coming to the same conclusions on my own but have been a bit confused and probably fighting against the truth. It's easier to blame my mother's behaviour on illness than to make her totally responsible for her behaviour. Incidentally, my mother has always insisted that she is not sick, that there's nothing wrong with her mind. She has been hospitalized against her will about 3-4 times with the consent of family members. I have wrestled for years with what's going on with her. I do know one thing, and that is that she took a real turn for the worse when she got involved with Pentecostals and Charismatics. She became too interested in demons, listening to God "speak" to her and so on. This didn't even happen until she was in her 40's. I got involved in the charismatic movement as soon as I was saved and I can kind of understand how a person can go off the deep end with what they teach. I went the charismatic route of blaming everything on demons and generational curses. It was such a relief when I realized that I was responsible and could through the power of the Holy Spirit change, and also not worry about my children being possessed and cursed because of something I did as far back as when I was a kid! I'm now in a Reformed Presbyterian Church of America church and life is so much better.
I've spent hours reading your web site. I just love it and have been passing some of the articles on to family members. I also want to get BAGFY and send it to my mother and sister. My mother might throw it away, but I want to send it to her any way. My sister is in college and is starting to take psychology classes. She wants to try to figure mom out. My sister suffered the worst of mom's behaviour. It breaks my heart when I think of what my sister went through. She was so young, and now she's all messed up.
[MB-how did you get BAGFY?]
I'm sure B [MB - a member of ATBC] won't mind me telling you that she sent me the book. She also sent 2 others, The Reign of Error by Lee Coleman, M.D. and Life At The Bottom. I met B through an email list and I know God led me to a gem. I think the only reason I was on that list was so that I could meet her. She shared your site on the list and I went there and started devouring what you wrote. Awhile back I had discovered the Psycho-Heresy site and was just blown away with what I was reading. I am just so excited to have your book along with the 2 others she sent that I just can't even put it into words. I can't bless you enough.
[MB - I ask this as there is a blockage on sales in the UK and USA!]
WOW, that's absolutely amazing! That book should be in every single book store in the world, on Pastor's shelves, in churches, etc... But you know, I got your book. The enemy cannot stop God's people from learning the truth. They can block and scream all they want, God will not be stopped.
I personally have never been in any kind of counselling. I know that some of my mother's doctors said her problems were because of my step-father. He does do a lot to cause her distress. He will even lie to her just to upset her...... Basically mom is just VERY angry, bitter and will slice you to pieces with her tongue. She used to get messages from God about her marrying... To me, mom is just an extreme charismatic, though she will quickly warn you to stay away from that movement. She is anti-intellectual and brags about being led by her feelings. I'm only telling you these things because of who you are. I love my mother dearly and would never want to harm her reputation or beat her down with my tongue. I'm not mad at her because of what she's done, but I do want her to repent and learn good doctrine. It will take a mighty move from God because she is a very proud, stubborn woman.
Thank you so very much for the back issues of ATBC. I want any and everything you write. It's also helping me to be more responsible for my behaviour. The book is convicting me of my own sinfulness and I praise and thank God. I pray for blessings upon you, your family, and all those in your life. I so look forward to hearing from you again.
God-speed, Your Sister, Y :-)

A correspondant sent the following;
"Dear Malcom Bowden, My name is N. P. writing to thank you for the Biblical Truths on Schizophrenia as it is encouraging to read how we are going on with a precious woman (48yrs) who was entrusted into our home.... K. came from a home rejected from her natural Mum at 4 years old. then her Dad married again. I believe God is working in K's life and has released K for His purposes..... At one stage I thought I was being harsh with K, but now realise with what you have shared here on site that it's been true. So I thank the Holy Spirit for giving me the right words to speak out in love and with authority also.
I appreciate these truths about Schizophrenia, also K has a psycotic condition. Have printed out the information on Depression also. It is helpful too. .... Hope to read or hear more. Thank you again Malcom. Thank God He is control of our lives because we couldn't do this without His strength, love, compassion, grace and mercy.
Kindest regards

"thank you for the quick response to my letter Malcom....May God Bless You abundantly. Just to share with you, recently a brother in Christ Jesus and I come together in prayer as a woman above him was also classed as being schizophrenic. Had met her previously. She came down that day and shared her heart / history of abuse etc and has come to know Jesus as her Saviour and Lord. Received the Holy Spirit. She is being transformed, it's just amazing grace. How Great is the Father Almighty, Everlasting God, Oh, what a merciful God we serve. Jesus Christ is so faithful and just. Amen.
Kindest Regards,

[MB-Sooo, schizophrenia CAN be cured! (But don't tell the psychiatrists)]