Each human’s core problem is spiritual, being out of life-giving union with God, and, in turn, being out of relationship with others. Each person needs healthy relationships of love and respect and a community that helps them grow spiritually.
This to me, however, does not negate that people can have all different levels of psychological problems and experience that require trained intervention.
I struggled with this lecture as I felt it did not acknowledge the key issue behind the drive to professionalise SoulCare. It isn’t just about seeing some personal difficulties as pathology. It’s about the unimaginable damage that have been done by well-meaning Christians and unregulated psychotherapy professionals as part of their delivering SoulCare. People have done horrendous things claiming they’ve been led by the Holy Spirit – while, at the same time, stripping others of dignity, taking advantage of them, etc. Professional standards say – you are dealing with someone’s soul/mind/spirit; you have the power to cause a lot of damage; here are the steps that we must follow to avoid common errors and to safeguard others from harm.
If we accept this premise than it won’t be necessary to go to a professional.
A caring spiritual friend or a spiritual director can help us move toward God and deal with issues spiritually. However, there are some issues that will need professional intervention, but it would be wise to tackle the spiritual hunger first.
“It takes one to give birth to a child, and a village to bring him up.” An Indian proverb aptly describes the community that is needed to nurture and restore a person in need.
We need medicine to stabilize the physiological chemical imbalance etc before a highly disturbed person is ready to talk coherently and listen.
We need a nurturer, an encourager to cheer him.
We need the community of different gifts to reflect the beautiful tapestry of an imperfect world and church.
Severe, moderate and mild problems are best ‘described’ by the person in need. How a person cope to be restore is incomparable.
Pastors and lay people could handle severe, moderate, and mild problems. They would be equipped by the Holy Spirit to do so. However, I do still see the value of professional psychotherapists and counselors. I think it can supplement care through the church. Some people’s problems are mixed with physical issues where therapy and medication can give them the edge to properly focus on spiritual growth. I do believe that since they are primarily spiritual hunger, psychotherapy and counseling alone is not a good idea. There has to be a spiritual element.
I think church leaders and workers would provide care for severe, moderate, and mild problems that people experience if what we call psychological pathology had more to do with real spiritual hunger. I say that because, psychology does not deal with spiritual things. People filled and led by the Holy Spirit are more equip to care for those who have spiritual issues/problems, especially when they have been trained and are fully submitted to the will of God.