Clergy Rarely Address Mental Health Issues says new survey

Maybe it’s good that clergy do not address mental health subjects, since so many Christians (evangelicals in particular) harbor so many wrong ideas about it.

Despite the fact that spiritual means (Bible reading, prayer, faith, doing good deeds, attending church) cannot heal people of mental health problems, a lot of Christians wrongly believe that those methods can and do work (see “Over 50 Percent of Christians Believe Prayer, Bible Reading Alone Can Cure Mental Illness” – see also: “The Rise of Biblical Counseling – A Warning About and Criticism Of Nouthetic Counseling“)

In light of the fact that most Christians are ignorant about depression, anxiety, and other, similar issues, and have no clue how to effectively cure it, I say it might be a good thing that pastors don’t discuss it much.

If pastors did address mental health problems often, they would likely bring up the old cliches that don’t help anyone: “Pray more, trust the Lord, attend church weekly, and read the Bible more”

Protestant Clergy Rarely Preach About Mental Illness, Survey Finds

By Adelle M. Banks

Sept 28, 2014

(RNS) Protestant clergy rarely preach about mental illness to their congregations and only one-quarter of congregations have a plan in place to assist members who have a mental health crisis, a new LifeWay Research survey found.

The findings, in a nation where one in four Americans have suffered with mental illness, demonstrate a need for greater communication, said Ed Stetzer, executive director of the evangelical research firm, a ministry of LifeWay Christian Resources, which is an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention.

When it comes to mental illness, researchers found:

66 percent mention it rarely, once a year or never
26 percent speak about it several times a year
4 percent mention it about once a month
3 percent talk about it several times a month.

“When we look at what we know statistically — the prevalence of mental illness and the lack of preaching on the subject — I think that’s a disconnect,” said Stetzer.

Mental illness – the topic non grata in American churches

Mental health is an issue many Americans inside and outside of the Church experience … but does the topic remain mostly taboo within the Body of Christ?

Many Christians might find it hard to believe that nearly a quarter of pastors (23 percent) report that they have experienced some kind of mental illness, according to a recent studyof faith and mental illness conducted by LifeWay Research and co-sponsored by Focus in the Family.

As bastions of the faith for their congregations and communities, pastors are still human, after all, as this new survey reveals that they are far from being immune to mental health issues. The research also divulges that 12 percent of Protestant pastors indicated that they were diagnosed with having a mental health condition.

The statistic on pastors holds true for all Americans, in general, as one in four (about 25 percent) throughout the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mum’s the word?

Despite the prevalent problem with mental health that has plagued the nation, most Protestant churches remain mute on the topic.

“Many look to their church for spiritual guidance in times of distress,” the Nashville, Tennessee-based research organization points out. “But they’re unlikely to find much help on Sunday mornings. Most Protestant senior pastors (66 percent) seldom speak [once a year, rarely, or never] to their congregation about mental illness.”

…. Church of the open or closed door?

According to the experts in the field, condemnation and the silent treatment often accompany the church’s response to mental conditions.

“That silence can leave people feeling ashamed about mental illness,” Focus on the Family Counseling Services director Dr. Jared Pingleton argued. “Those with mental illness can feel left out, as if the church doesn’t care. Or worse, they can feel mental illness is a sign of spiritual failure.”

Pingleton says that churches continue to ostracize those who are undergoing serious mental challenges, as if such conditions are indications that they are not walking with God.

“We can talk about diabetes and Aunt Mable’s lumbago in church — those are seen as medical conditions,” Pingleton explained. “But mental illness — that’s somehow seen as a lack of faith.”

… Mental illness – the topic non grata in American churches

Michael F. Haverluck   (OneNewsNow.com) Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mental health is an issue many Americans inside and outside of the Church experience … but does the topic remain mostly taboo within the Body of Christ?

Many Christians might find it hard to believe that nearly a quarter of pastors (23 percent) report that they have experienced some kind of mental illness, according to a recent studyof faith and mental illness conducted by LifeWay Research and co-sponsored by Focus in the Family.

As bastions of the faith for their congregations and communities, pastors are still human, after all, as this new survey reveals that they are far from being immune to mental health issues. The research also divulges that 12 percent of Protestant pastors indicated that they were diagnosed with having a mental health condition.

The statistic on pastors holds true for all Americans, in general, as one in four (about 25 percent) throughout the U.S. suffer from some form of mental illness in any given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Mum’s the word?

Despite the prevalent problem with mental health that has plagued the nation, most Protestant churches remain mute on the topic.

“Many look to their church for spiritual guidance in times of distress,” the Nashville, Tennessee-based research organization points out. “But they’re unlikely to find much help on Sunday mornings. Most Protestant senior pastors (66 percent) seldom speak [once a year, rarely, or never] to their congregation about mental illness.”

Continue reading

Advertisements
Posted in anxiety anxious worry panic attacks, christian sanctioned sexism, christianity, church churches, clinical depression, mental health topics, preachers pastors | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Rise of Biblical Counseling – A Warning About and Criticism Of Nouthetic Counseling

This is a very long article linked to below but well worth the read, especially if you are a Christian who is leaning towards using “biblical counseling” if you have a mental health problem or family problem – I would caution you not to do so, but stick with a secular psychologist.

Most Christian psychologists and counselors, especially the ones who are into “biblical counseling” are not concerned with getting you healed of your depression, anxiety, or whatever problem you have.

They are not interesting in helping you solve your problems once for all. They are more interested in victim-blaming, in telling you that your problem is caused by your personal sin.

The Rise of Biblical Counseling by Kathryn Joyce

Excerpts:

For millions of Christians, biblical counselors have replaced psychologists. Some think it’s time to reverse course.

[Kenneth mentioned in the next paragraph was a Christian guy who had some kind of mental health issue who later committed suicide. His parents sought treatment for Kenneth from “biblical counselors.”]

…. The Nallys learned that Kenneth’s counselors had received no training outside of Grace [their local church]; one was, by profession, a fireman. They learned that Kenneth’s counselors had told him to repent of his sinful attitudes toward his family and girlfriend.

They also learned, or at least came to believe, that Grace counselors had discouraged Kenneth from taking medication or going to psychiatrists, even reassuring Kenneth that those who commit suicide can still go to heaven.

On March 31, 1980—almost a year to the day after Kenneth was found dead—the Nallys filed a $1 million wrongful death lawsuit against Grace Community Church, MacArthur, and three other Grace pastors, arguing that their counseling had “exacerbated [Kenneth’s] preexisting feelings of guilt, anxiety and depression.”

….Biblical counseling had overcome its first great challenge. Now it was freer to expand without worry—and so it did. Today, it is a major force among conservative American Protestants.

It is so popular, and so widespread, that in 2005 the Southern Baptist Convention’s theological seminaries—the pastoral schools of the largest Protestant denomination in the country—announced a “wholesale change of emphasis” in favor of biblical counseling over an earlier “pastoral care” model that had drawn in part on the behavioral sciences.

But biblical counseling also faces serious difficulties, ones as great as those faced by Grace Community Church over 30 years ago. It has been confronted with mounting external criticisms and widening internal divisions, and the result, among its practitioners, is a looming crisis of principle. How Christians address this crisis will shape the mental health choices of millions of Americans.

Continue reading

Posted in anti psychology, anxiety and worry, anxiety anxious worry panic attacks, blame, blame the victim, christianity, clinical depression, codependency, complementarians, depression, fear, gender roles, insensitivity, Jay Adams, low self esteem, medication, nouthetic counseling, Nouthetic counseling Biblical counseling, panic attacks, panic attacks, people, people pleasing, personalities, preachers, Preachers Pastor Preacher, psychologist, Psychology, sexism, social anxiety disorder, therapist, therapy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Should Pastors Be Trained in Mental Health Care-giving? by Roger E. Olson

Should Pastors Be Trained in Mental Health Care-giving? by Roger E. Olson

Excerpt:

In my opinion, pastors have no business counseling people who are in the midst of mental health crises or suffering psychological distress. At least not if “counseling” means offering them psychological therapy. Of course, the exception would be a pastor who has a graduate degree in psychology or counseling and a license to practice such.

…. In my opinion, seminary students should be taught enough about mental health and illness to be able to identify mental illness in a parishioner and refer him or her to a professional, licensed therapist. Beyond that the pastor’s role should be limited to praying with the suffering person and advising him or her spiritually and theologically. But prayer and spiritual-theological advice should not substitute for professional medical-psychological treatment in cases of real mental illness (as defined in the DSM-V).

Read more (at Roger E. Olson’s Patheos blog)

Posted in anxiety and worry, christianity, depression, nouthetic counseling, Nouthetic counseling Biblical counseling, preachers, Preachers Pastor Preacher, psychologist, Psychology, therapist, therapy, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Codependents: Avoid Emotional Vampires, Time Suckers, and One Sided Relationships and Friendships

Another problem you need to be aware of if you are a codependent person: attracting bad people to you.

I am also going to use this post as an opportunity to vent a little about a few people I know who annoy the crud of out of me – and you might learn from my mistakes or situations.

I know the subject I am about to address in this post may seem to contradict a previous post I wrote, “Be Careful When and To Whom You Open Up To.”

My points in that previous post still hold true. You need to be careful to whom you open up to, and how fast, and with how much personal information you reveal up front.

If you are codependent, you tend to open up too quickly and spill your guts, your entire life history and your deepest secrets and fears, to a new acquaintance, which is dangerous for you.

That means, at least initially, in the “getting to know you” stages of a friendship or romantic relationship, you want the other person to do most of the talking, so you can judge whether they are trustworthy or not.

On the other hand, codependents have the tendency to be too quiet, to sit back and let other people do most of the talking, once they are more involved in a relationship.

There is definitely a balancing act you will need to perform here.

Once you have established that the other person can be trusted – which you do in part by letting them talk a bit more about themselves and asking them questions about them – beware of getting involved with people who show very little to no interest in you or in getting to know you and letting you talk about you, or topics you find interesting.

Not only can and will you, if you remain codependent (a doormat, too “other-focused” instead of self-focused), attract con artists, abusive people, and controllers, but you will have the tendency to attract self-absorbed, selfish dolts, time- suckers, and emotional- vampires.

I would like to spend this post talking about self- absorbed blockheads, though, not abusive men.

Continue reading

Posted in annoying, anxiety and worry, anxiety anxious worry panic attacks, biblical manhood womanhood, boundaries, boyfriend fiance ex dating, christian sanctioned sexism, christianity, clinical depression, codependency, complementarians, decision making choice choose choices, family, fear, friendships users one sided, gender roles, getting needs met or having needs, insensitive, low self esteem, negative people, panic attacks, people pleasing, relationships, should christians be nice turn the other cheek be doormats be a doormat, therapist, therapy | Leave a comment

Please Be Cautious About Any Preacher’s Book About Depression or Any Mental Health Problems – Re: Perry Noble Book “Overwhelmed”

Please Be Cautious About Any Preacher’s Book About Depression or Any Mental Health Problems – Re: Perry Noble Book “Overwhelmed”

I personally do not feel preachers should be writing on topics they are not qualified to write of; you have some preachers, such as “Purpose Driven Life” author and preacher, Rick Warren, writing diet books lately – not only is the man not a medical doctor or dietitian, so far as I am aware – but he must be 40, 50, or more pounds over weight. Someone that grossly overweight should not be writing a book purporting to tell other chubby Christians how to shed pounds.

Then there are preachers who crank out books about marriage and dating – and some of these guys, it has been learned, have dysfunctional marriages.

Now comes preacher Perry Noble and his book about anxiety and depression called “Overwhelmed.”

Based on other people’s accounts I have read of the book, Noble neglects to mention in the book itself that he used anti depressant medication and sought out professional psychological / psychiatric help.

Instead, in the book, he paints a picture of having conquered depression via prayer, Bible reading, and faith alone.

I used to suffer from clinical depression, and I still deal with a low level of anxiety.

Continue reading

Posted in anti psychology, anxiety and worry, anxiety anxious worry panic attacks, Books, christianity, clinical depression, depression, fear, medication, Overwhelmed Perry Noble, panic attacks, panic attacks, Perry Noble, platitudes and cliches, Preachers Pastor Preacher, Psychology, Rick Warren | Leave a comment

8 Ways to Say No Without Killing Your Reputation (Saying No)

If you are a codependent, you hardly every tell anyone “no,” probably from fear. You’re afraid if you turn down someone’s request – whatever it may be – that the person making the request will be angry at you, yell at you, or break off the relationship.

Or, perhaps you have a hard time saying “No” because you don’t want others to think of you as being selfish. If you were brought up a Christian, as I was, you have probably received the FALSE message that you are ALWAYS supposed to give and be giving all the time with everyone.

All these things can be factors in why codependents have a hard time declining requests.

There are many books available on sites such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon about how to say “no,” you may want to preview some of those.

Here is an article from Time magazine about saying no and how to say no (to see the full article and list, you will have to use this link):

8 Ways to Say No Without Killing Your Reputation

    by Adam Grant
    March 2014

    For those of us who enjoy being helpful—or just plain polite—this [saying no to other people] is no easy task. Every “no” is a missed opportunity to make a difference and build a relationship. And if it comes across the wrong way to the wrong person, it’s also a surefire way to brand yourself as selfish and rude.

    As long as I can remember, I’ve been terrible at saying no. If it benefited other people more than it cost me, I would try to help. With a growing family and increasing professional responsibilities, I knew I needed to say no more often, but I had a hard time actually doing it.

    …. I learned that there’s a big difference between pleasing people and helping them. Being a giver is not about saying yes to all of the people all of the time to all of the requests.

    Continue reading

Posted in anxiety and worry, boundaries, codependency, fear, people pleasing, Saying No How To Say No Conflict Resolution Avoidance | Leave a comment

Be Careful When and To Whom You Open Up To

If you are a codependent person – and this seems more prevalent among women – you may tend to “over share.” You may tell someone you have just met, including men you just started dating, your entire life story, including all the very personal, intimate details of your past (and I am not referring to sexual history only or per se).

Sometimes women over-share, especially codependent women, because they view it as a way to show up front that they are decent people, that they are trustworthy, and to bond.

I know I used to do this myself, until I got older.

When I was a kid, I used to wonder why I would hear adults tell other adults, “None of your business.” I didn’t see what was wrong about being an open book and spilling your guts, even to strangers.

I had to learn the hard way, especially after the death of my best friend in my late thirties, that one cannot safely open up to anyone and everyone, and this even includes some family members.

I also had a brief glimpse into this realization in my early thirties, when I had an abusive boss, who, I noticed, would use any personal information about you against you.

After the death of my best friend, I tried reaching out to other people for emotional support. I very much needed someone to sit and listen to me talk about the grief, pain, confusion and sorrow, for maybe (ideally) a couple of hours per week, or, at a minimum, two hours every three to four months.

I noticed, though, that when I tried talking to people I already knew, such as some extended family, or new people I had just met – even some Christians at some local churches I attended – that when I told them some very personal things I was thinking, feeling, and enduring, I got one of several troubling responses.

Some of these people tried to brush me off; they were not interested in being a support system at all, which was hurtful.

As for the others who did respond, I was alarmed and disgusted to find that a lot of people hold the following idea:

If someone shares something personal about their life, even if that something is tremendously painful, the other person, often, feels justified either judging the person (deeming your painful experience as having been your fault, even if it was not), criticizing the person, or offering unsolicited advice.

Continue reading

Posted in blame, blame the victim, boundaries, christianity, codependency, death, family, grieving, insensitive, insensitivity, people pleasing, platitudes and cliches, relationships, single | Leave a comment