Mental Health And Ministry Let’s Talk About It
By: Samaria M Colbert MSW LCSW
There is an increase in awareness of the need for mental health treatment within the church and secular world. Unfortunately, it is not until tragedy strikes that we begin to understand the complexities of the human condition and how mental illness must be addressed in a more affective way. In 2018 the world was awestruck when designer Kate Spade was found dead in her home. It was reported that she had been experiencing depression for many years. Within days Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian was found dead from an apparent suicide. The church has not been immune to this epidemic. According to a 2015 article in Christianity Today, they reported that 1,500 pastors leave the ministry every month. According to the Schaeffer Institute, 70 percent of pastors constantly fight depression, and 71 percent experience burn out. Most recently a beloved pastor committed suicide. The church can no longer dig their heads in the sand and ignore those who suffer with mental health conditions.
As a Christian licensed therapist I am increasingly aware of how what I do as a practitioner means so much. I was recently asked “how does counseling fit into the ministry of Christ? ” Here in lies the answer to what mental health and ministry is. The ministry and mission of Jesus Christ is mental health and ministry.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NKJV)
The Good News of Salvation
61 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to [a]heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To [b]console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
If you look at the language that Isaiah used to explain the mission of Christ it shows us that His assignment was also to bring wholeness to those who had mental health conditions. Look at the wording; “Broken hearted” He wasn’t just referring to those who have a physical heart condition. “Captives” He wasn’t just referring to those who were being held physically captive. When you experience psychological warfare you are being held captive in your mind. Mourning is a form of depression. A spirit of heaviness is a form of depression. So all along from the beginning, the mission of Christ was to help those who experience emotional, mental, spiritual and physical captivity.
Typically the church has used this healing scripture to focus on physical healing but God always had a plan to all along.
When we talk about mental health and ministry therapist simply, integrate our clinical knowledge and scripture foundations to treat mental health conditions. In my study as a clinician, I have found that most mental health interventions were founded in the Bible. Philosophers and theorist, who are known as the founders of mental health treatment removed the ministry of Christ because most of them were not believers in Jesus. Therefore most secular mental health strategies although helpful can only maintain your symptoms, not break cycles. Holy Spirit and the finished work of Christ should be incorporated into treatment. A mental health treatment that doesn’t incorporate healing of the soul and spirit doesn’t work. We are now no longer separating the lines between your mental health and your Christian beliefs. Healing is found in Christ Jesus and through the ministry of counseling. If you would like to be referred to a Christian based mental health therapist www.psychologytoday.com is a great resource. Look for Christian based therapist who have the following credentials behind their name, LPC, LCSW, LICSW, PsyD. If you are a practitioner who would like more information on how to be trained in integrative counseling strategies go to my website at www.samariacolbert.com.
About the Author:
Samaria M Colbert is a licensed therapist, author, entrepreneur. She is the owner of a private practice, Kingdom Creative Counseling a Christian mental health practice dedicated to assisting individuals to recover from trauma and mental illness. Samaria also offers training and resources to Christian based mental health practitioners who want to learn integrative strategies to implement into their own counseling practices.
Samaria M Colbert © 2018