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Faith and Life: Emotional wholeness

July 07, 2010

I cannot help but ponder how creative God is in his plan for humans. He designed us as physical, spiritual and emotional beings. We are not made of merely spirit and transformed into perfection just because we have a relationship with God.

It saddens me that my entire life I have heard people make comments along the lines of, "Oh, but s/he's not a Christian." As if Christianity is the answer for all human troubles.

As I approached adulthood, it became clear to me that being a "Christian" was not enough for a person to be healthy enough to be in relationship with. It just takes more than religion for people to be emotionally whole.

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I will always defend that Christ is sufficient for salvation. But being a Christian is not the sufficient answer for all of life's problems. One can have faith and still be emotionally unhealthy or emotionally immature, lacking insight. They can still be destructive to themselves and others.

It is for this reason that I studied psychotherapy, to integrate the behavioral sciences with the power and salvation Christ provides. Once we understand that we may be in an emotional, mental or developmental crisis, or have personality issues or addictions, we need concrete help to assist us in getting through and growing. To be healthy, we need to have the image of God living and active in our lives.

As a Christian therapist, I have two theories that I employ in the therapy room that I believe integrate beautifully with scripture. The two theories are narrative theory and attachment theory. From a theological perspective, it is my hope to use these two theories to effectively integrate the idea of restoring the "imago Dei," or image of God, in people's lives.

In reflecting on how people come into therapy in their broken states, whether from early childhood trauma, clinical disorders, external life stressors and the like, I see my job as using the hope God instills in us as Christian therapists to extend this hope, restoration and the ability to reshape people's thoughts, memories, wounds and life stressors. I have seen these theories integrate successfully with the idea of restoring the imago Dei in people's lives — thus, bringing emotional health.

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