Guest post by Johnzelle Anderson: Faith & Mental Health


I’d like to start by thanking Torie for inviting me to do a guest post today. As we discussed a topic that would appeal to our readers, we both resonated with the relationship between spirituality and mental health. So let’s jump in, shall we?

Humans are bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings. I learned this as I attended graduate school online from a Christian university to get my professional counseling degree. Problems and misunderstandings about how to respond to mental health issues often occur when people focus solely on one of the components of biopsychosocialspiritual. 

My journey towards becoming a therapist began when I was a junior in undergrad. I was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder and went through my own counseling and psychiatric process. As I am also a Christian, I looked to my faith to help me through that time as well. 

Would you believe during the time that I was at my worst, having upwards to 10 panic attacks daily, that my pastor chose to go on a rant about how people who take psych meds don’t have  enough faith in God!?

His words were damaging and detrimental because it implied that the biopsychosocial components were not important and that the spiritual component was all that was needed. His words led me to discontinuing my medications AMA, which later had negative consequences for my mental health. 

As a licensed therapist, I can certainly attest that there are a lot of mental health conditions that can’t be prayed away. I still take my Prozac, work out, meditate, see my doctor, a therapist, use homeopathic remedies IN ADDITION TO attending church and practicing spiritual disciplines. Attacking mental health illness from all sides is the gold standard for living your best life with a mental illness. 

Conclusion

The takeaway from this post is this: Humans are complicated multidimensional creatures (biopsychosociospiritual); therefore, mental health must be treated in the same fashion. Focusing solely on one approach is less likely to significantly improve quality of life. 

Take care!

You can find me on my mental health blog over at https://www.panoramiccounseling.com/blog. I’m also on Facebook at https://m.facebook.com/PanoramicCounseling/and on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/PanoramicCounseling/panoramic-counseling-blog-posts/

3 thoughts on “Guest post by Johnzelle Anderson: Faith & Mental Health

  1. That story about your pastor’s rant is such a great example of how not to do things. There can be such power in supporting’s someone spiritual practice if only it’s approached in the right way.

    Liked by 1 person

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