Before the Black community knew that trauma, Depression, or anxiety had a name, there was an answer to all our problems: the answer was Jesus. Public tears were often mistaken for weakness. Silence was golden and a sure sign of [mandatory] resilience. People have taken family secrets and trauma to the grave because that’s what they did. It’s what we do. Generations of substance abuse and unexplained anger can be linked to unaddressed emotion or experiences.
I was a Christian before I was ever a therapist. Now I’m both. But the Biblical stance trumps the DSM. I've seen a spectrum of response to Mental Health Treatment in the Black Christian Church: either Depression doesn’t exist; prayer is the only answer; or a whole bunch of psychology. I can’t say that my view falls anywhere on the spectrum. I’ve noticed within my own life how much better I’ve felt after I released some things bothering me. It started with Beauty for Ashes.
I’ve been involved in the mental health field for some time. I’m no veteran but I’ve seen some interesting things and heard disturbing/troubling scenarios. To establish balance I’ve consulted the word. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Talking about issues helps relieve internal pressure (James 5:16). James instructs us to confess our sins and pray for one another for healing. Sin and trauma are completely different but I believe there’s relevance to discussing what’s inside and asking God to heal us.
A great deal of internal struggles happen in and begin with the mind: (2 Cor. 10:3-5). What we think and meditate on govern our responses and emotions. Thinking and re-thinking the “right” things can be a matter of negative vs constructive thoughts. Check out Philippians 4.
Even as a clinician I’ve noticed that therapy alone can sometimes be a bandage on a gunshot wound. There is some deliverance that can only be done by God e.g. psychosis. Psychosis can be treated with therapy and medication but it cannot be cured by it. Psychosis returns without treatment. Hence the need for a higher power-Jesus.
Bringing it in…
I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with therapy but at no point should it be used in lieu of seeking God for deliverance. Talk it out but depend on Him to provide your healing, strength, and continued recovery.
Grace and peace,