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Mental Health in the Church

laintpe

Summer
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Dec 9, 2008
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How has your church or faith community responded to mental health?
 

Lark

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Jun 21, 2009
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The priest gave a good sermon on it the other day but I barely remember it now.

It was based on a lot of the life affirmation, being mode, opposing death drives thinking that Erich Fromm was big on, even though Fromm was a non-theist and Jewish there's a lot of similarities in some of the thinking, at least so far as this life goes etc.

I bought a book written by a monk yesterday called Freedom from Evil Spirits, its pretty much a play on words as it discusses psychological health, then it discusses over coming addiction and then it discusses "spirit" in the sense of pervasive beliefs that can possess someone if they are unwary, like being possessed by a zeitgeist or something like that.

There was a time that I worked closely with a group of Jesuits in Dublin, their order requires them to have a profession besides the priesthood, many of them were teachers but they were also doctors (medicine) and psychotherapists or analysts, there were some similarities with confession, Freud even said so himself in one of his books.
 

Abcdenfp

Terpsichore
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Mental health and the Church do not go together. When a religion is based on the premise that all people are born bad and are in constant need of redemption from even their most basic urges, how can it be anything else but maddening.

Give me nature, give me cycles and an understanding of the true essence of man and his behavior.
 

тень

Eclipsing
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Religion didn't really impact me at all. I grew up Christian for most of my life. I personally never took religion literally based on the fact it is an imperfect interpretation of lessons passed down from our ancestors, and over time altered to suit people more. Of course there are flaws, and part of that is laziness on the part of the priests etc to get to the wisdom nuried beneath those archaic words. There is much timeless wisdom to be learned, if you approach it from that angle.

I have also converted to a couple other religions in my time as a teen and adult, as I sought the wisdom in each actively. It neither harmed, or helped my mental health. Religion is simply a tool, and it must be used voluntarily, or it will not be impactful in any meaningful way. I eventually settled on Buddhism as my go to religion. But on a path I walk myself.
 

tinker683

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I have two rectors at my church, both have totally different attitudes.

The assistant rector is an older gentleman who has a faith healer approach to it: Pray, trust in God, all will be good. No real counseling or psychotherapy techniques. Which is fine, btw, I wouldn’t expect that from him.

The head rector was actually a counselor for a time so he has an approach a little more grounded in traditional counseling techniques, with a dash of prayer.

Ultimately, both were helpful to talk too but also would advise you manage your expectations. Priests can be counselors but if you’ve got a serious mental issue to resolve, best to take it to a professional I think.
 

Red Memories

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Mmmm I think we should not naturally put the two together. Naturally, God can be an aid, but ultimately, God gave us brains to actively choose. I am aware many traditional Christians do feel God to heal mental health, and in some ways I can see how God can be part of finding healing, but God is not the end all. God can help take some of the weight but your belief in God is not going to remove your anxiety disorder. I do not think you can pray a mental illness away. Personally, my original church did not handle mental health well, speaking generally because I ended up in a psyche ward and that youth minister was bleh. I got better treatment from Protestant sects. But just a penny thought.
 

ceecee

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There is mental health care and therapy with mild religious overtones. I wouldn't use them personally but I know people who have and been satisfied with the care. But I certainly would never put serious mental health issues at the feet of a priest or a pastor. It's not their function and they are unqualified, sometimes significantly unqualified. Maybe for a health care reference or something but otherwise no.
 

Mole

Permabanned
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Mar 20, 2008
Messages
20,299
'Psyche' is Ancient Greek for the soul. So psychology is the study of the soul.

Most churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples, enchant the parishioner, and entrance the parishioner, to control them. While most of psychology seeks to free the patient from their suffering.
 
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