What happens when therapy isn’t working? You probably felt you were taking the plunge when you finally made the decision to try counseling, and now maybe you’re beginning to feel like you’ve hit a dead end.
If you’re a practicing Christian, or someone that feels deeply connected to spirituality, you may be finding it especially hard to find relief in therapy. Though modern psychology has room for holistic and personalized modalities, it can still leave many clients feeling that their faith has been swept by the wayside.
Faith and mental health
What role does faith play in your daily struggles and perspectives? For many religious or spiritual people, the answer can be surprisingly multi-layered and complex. For those that believe in a meaning that extends beyond the present, faith can keep hope alive.
In this academic article in the Indiana Journal of Psychiatry, mental health is described as having the
ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions, flexibility, high frustration tolerance, acceptance of uncertainty, involvement in activities of social interest, courage to take risks, serenity to accept the things which we cannot change, courage to change the things which we can change, the wisdom to know the difference between the above, acceptance of handicaps, tempered self-control, harmonious relationships to self, others, including Nature and God…
So if faith affects your day-to-day choices, thoughts, and activities, then why isn’t there more of a focus on faith in mainstream counseling?
The great divide
Though a majority of Americans consider themselves to be religious, there is still a great divide between mainstream therapy and issues of faith. In this Scientific American article, the authors note that
Aaron Beck’s cognitive theory, and the cognitive behavioral therapy it inspired, is among the most empirically validated models in clinical psychology, aiding scientific understandings of anxiety, depression, and even schizophrenia. Core beliefs about the self, world and future are its principle province, yet little has been done to address the role of patients’ spiritual beliefs in this foundational system.
Science primarily addresses the tangible aspects of our lives, while religion tends to focus on abstract qualities. For someone who’s trying to straddle both worlds, therapy can feel incomplete. Our spiritual and emotional struggles are usually deeply intertwined. When the therapeutic approach is a strictly secular one, therapy may not be entirely effective.
Therapy focused on faith
If it feels like therapy has failed you, it may be that you were not factoring in the spiritual components of your problems.
It may be worthwhile to seek treatment from a therapist that shares your core values and spiritual outlook. Therapy that integrates religious beliefs, modern psychology, and professionalism, can help guide you towards holistic healing.
Secular therapy tends to focus on your symptoms and how to alleviate them. Faith-based therapy will help you address the underlying spiritual struggles that are manifesting the symptoms. Real change comes from addressing the source of the issue.
Can Christian counseling work for you?
If you feel connected to Christian values and lifestyle, a Christian counselor might be the best option for you. He or she will be able to assess your struggles and work with you toward solutions that include a Bible-based perspective.
If your beliefs are an important part of your life, faith-based therapy can be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Reach out today
As a Christian counselor and coach with more than twenty years experience, I am well aware of the daily struggles that many practicing Christians and spiritually sensitive people face.
I offer free phone consultations, as well as online sessions. If finding meaning and inner peace is a challenge for you, please do not hesitate to reach out so we can discuss how I can help. I also offer sessions at locations in West Covina, Pasadena, La Habra, and Chino.