A friend of this ministry, Dr. Holly Oxhandler, is Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and an Assistant Professor at Baylor University and one of the hosts of the CXMH Podcast. A couple of years ago, she wrote an article that was published in the Social Work academic journal, titled “The Religiosity and Spiritual Beliefs and Practices of Clinical Social Workers.”[Read more…] about How Religious and Spiritual Are Social Workers?
For those who are counselors, pastors, or have gone through any kind of Christian leadership training, you may have come across any number of formal or informal articles about diagnosing people from the Bible with mental illness disorders. We see Job as depressed, Peter as anxious, or Saul as bipolar or schizophrenic. Some go blasphemous by diagnosing God as antisocial or narcissistic.
As a Christian, I have never felt comfortable with this. But from a professional standpoint, this is wrong on several levels. Here is why:[Read more…] about Why Diagnosing Bible Characters Is Wrong
For those that have not heard about Grace Alliance, they are a Christian mental health ministry designing curriculum and creating structure/training videos for peer support groups to put into your church. We love Grace Alliance so much we use it in our church and last week’s lesson we did was on renewing your mind. (Clinical counselors, think Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with cognitive distortions within cognitive restructuring.)
When the shelter-in-place began with COVID-19, Joe who founded Grace Alliance gave a great webinar on this topic that I encourage you to check out. It was great for entering into this scary time of coronavirus, but honestly is a great topic even when it is the day to day stressors.[Read more…] about Renewing Your Mind [Video]
One of the most important populations a counselor can serve is those who are on the front lines of difficult situations where emotional and mental issues are common. This includes police officers, firefighters, nurses and doctors, our own counselors, and pastors. With the coronavirus pandemic happening right now, the mental health field undoubtedly will see a significant spike even beyond the already projected increase in domestic violence, child abuse, trauma from hospitalization, grief from loss, divorce, and substance use cases due to shelter-in-place, deaths from COVID-19, and the need for quaritine.[Read more…] about 10 Signs You Are Emotionally Exhausted or Traumatized
As a licensed professional counselor, I live within the world of recovery and restoration as individuals who have been struggling with life’s problems for months or years come for relief. Most of the time, I’m teaching coping skills, healthy living choices, or improving support systems like getting to sit down with a pastor and pray for a spouse for a much needed conversation. But I ways need to remind myself that mental illness is very much a medical issue and therefore need to member how medical conditions can affect mental illness.[Read more…] about Medical Conditions Can Affect Mental Illness
I do not take it for granted that there are a lot of Christian counselors in our audience who have a heart to see the Church grow in its efforts towards mental health. I want to issue a challenge to these Christian counselors. What can you do to support churches in their growth of understanding and integrating mental health into their ministry?
I believe we are all given a unique set of talents that can help serve pastors across the world. So to help, I want to share 5 ways counselors can support pastors as a diving board into this conversation. Next month, with KeyMinistry, I have an article scheduled to talk about the flip of this, 5 ways that pastors can help support counselors.[Read more…] about 5 Ways Counselors Can Support Pastors
Today I’d like to write to the Church and why we should not only be aware of the mental health struggle of Religious OCD but also ask ourselves some hard but necessary questions.
I’m writing this as someone who has gone to church since before I could even walk as well as someone diagnosed with Religious OCD. And while Religious OCD is a diagnosis given to people around the world, to people of different religious beliefs, I can only write from my own personal experience attending Evangelical Christian Churches.[Read more…] about 5 Ways The Church Perpetuates Religious OCD
Last week we had the precursor discussion on when it is appropriate and the barriers that can come up about discussing the theological implications of suicide for an individual and their eternal salvation. Today is when we try to answer if suicide is an unforgivable sin.
I want this more to be a resource for pastors and counselors than for people who are actively suicidal or have questions about God. Further, if you have any clarification questions or want to add to the discussion, join in in the comments below.[Read more…] about Is Suicide An Unforgivable Sin?
Sometimes motivation looks at the philosophical understanding of goals, other times we need to get practical. This article is going to be the latter. We are going to look at the cost of everything from budgets, to emotions, to lost opportunities, and if we had never made a change.
We are stuck in a life where bills are weighing us down at home and carrying over into work, employee cuts are really hurting work culture, or someone in your congregation just hit a personal wound for you as they scolded you on something you had taken great pride in. We shut down, clam up, or want to quit. We know it’s not right, but how do we move forward?
What has this cost us so far and what is it going to cost us to change?
We need to create a pros and cons list. Go ahead right now and come up with a list. Then I’ll help you add some ideas you may have forgotten. If you are honest about your list, fully honest, it will show you what next step is appropriate. Here are other items to consider:
Costs Are More Than with Money
When we look at the cost of something (a new hire, buying a piece of tech, taking on a new ministry, having a side hustle), we are paying for it with much more than the mighty dollar. We pay with our time, our energy, or our devotion. Yes to a piece of tech is no to other opportunities with that money. Side hustling is saying no to family, friends, and life. The cost is only partially about money.
What If We Changed?
If we decide to change, it’s going to cost us something. If we say yes to this, we say no to the next thing. Or if we decide to say yes to two things, we say no to giving our all to that one thing. A yes to a new project on Thursday night may not mean totally abandoning your family and friends, but the stress it brings upon you may make it difficult to fall asleep or not take away from that big talk you needed to have with your spouse.
What If We Stayed the Course?
If we do not change, we may risk the opportunities that come with the new adventures. That extra money we could earn, a distraction from life which we are avoiding, or satisfaction from creating something good and giving us purpose are all outcomes we could have but decided against. Staying the course means not trying something new with many chances to learn.
We Are Wanting to Improve, We Have to Remember That
Ultimately this is the reason, right? If it was an easy decision, we wouldn’t need this much of a strategy to be motivated. These lists help us remember why we must make decisions that require a steady stream of effort. It will help us when we need to push past some of the cons that come with changes we make or decisions to not.
And in the end, it’s the goal we work for. Our faith looks at salvation, sanctification, and glory for God. Our family inspires us to do more in life. Our friends encourage us to be better versions of ourselves. If you shared your pros and cons list with someone else, would you be open to additions and critiques?
The topic of suicide is not a new one. I want to say up front there are resources if you or a loved one is struggling with suicide: Suicide Prevention Lifeline Website 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a Christian suicide prevention program for teenagers, and why the Church should take suicide seriously. If your church does not have a suicide prevention policy, get this one for free. If you need free training on suicide prevention, check out this free resource from DYMU. And check out these articles to address myths of suicide as well as a bunch of statistics and ways the church could prevent suicide in their ministry.
We are not taking this lightly. But we also have not addressed the theological question, is suicide an unforgivable sin? We won’t answer this question in this article, it needs its own post. Instead, we want to do a precursor discussion on how pastors can talk about suicide and sin.[Read more…] about How Can Pastors Talk About Suicide and Sin?