How Can I Minister to Someone Who is Completely Irrational?

See them as Fearful, Not Paranoid

Fear can grip us all. We are afraid of changing jobs, confronting our friends, or running out of money. But what can you do to minister to someone with paranoia?  Dr. Mike Emlet, counselor and faculty member at CCEF, talks about paranoid people and what it looks like to help to someone with irrational fears. 

Mike practiced as a family physician for 12 years before joining the CCEF. He holds an M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania as well as a Master of Divinity degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He has authored Asperger Syndrome, Help for the Caregiver, OCD, Angry Children, and CrossTalk: Where Life & Scripture Meet.  

Mike listed two types of people who are irrational. They are either a danger to themselves or others, or they are not a danger to anyone. He focused on people who are not a danger to anyone, but he said to always get help if someone’s paranoia puts themselves or others in harm’s way. 

Did you learn anything about fear and paranoia? If so, what did you learn?
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Have you ever encountered someone with paranoia? What were they like? How did you respond?
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Mike said it is best to see irrational people as fearful people. He encouraged us to point them to Scripture about fear and anxiety to counsel them. 

Why is it not helpful to try to convince a paranoid person that their false beliefs aren't true? What Bible verses come to mind about fear that you could share with an irrational person?
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Has your attitude toward irrational people changed as a result of Mike's input? If so, how?
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If you were to counsel an irrational person, what could you do to minister to them? What passages could you use to point them away from fear and toward the love of God?
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Combat fear with truth and love. When ministering to someone who is paranoid, focus on Scripture that points out God’s good character. And if an irrational person is a threat to themselves or others, always seek help.

This video is a publication of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). All content is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced in any manner without written permission from CCEF. For more information on classes, materials, speaking events, distance education and other services, please visit