Sunday, February 18, 2018

Mental Health and Emotional Distress at Church and School

It is not helpful to use the term "Mental Illness" for everyone that has emotional distress, a disability, or interpersonal challenge. I developed a simple, one page chart to help Ministers and Lay Helpers assess the level of need of a person in distress.

Clinical Therapists use a book with 900 pages and many, many categories of distress to diagnose and treat people. Ministers and Lay Helpers can help support everyone in distress even if they are also in need of Clinical expertise. 

Type A Persons:
About 70% of a church with no life-interrupting problems. 

Level I Very mature and healthy individuals -10%
• Able to lead if equipped
• Strong in relationships and fruit of the Spirit
• Stable and deal with life’s problems
• Full range of emotional life
• Not blown about by every new thing Need: Discovery of mission, gifts, call

Level II Can vary in healthy lifestyles from weak to developing-60%
• Some are fragile but dealing with life • Need to be discipled so Challenge to grow

Type B Persons: Some 30% with differing types and intensity of problems

Level III Ongoing issues and problems that cause disruptions-15%
• Drinking too much • Worried or anxious, sad, angry and dissatisfied with life or spiritual conflicts
• Is strong enough to work and learn from counsel
• No harmful thoughts about self or others Need: Pastoral or lay care and counsel, support group

Level IV Ongoing problems and pain-10%
• Cannot meet personal, work, family or church responsibilities and cannot change
• Misses work due to depression, anxiety, stress, etc
• Compulsive behaviors with sex, drugs, food, gambling, anger, etc.
• Unresolved family conflicts Need: Professional Counseling and church support

Level V Acute Pain-5%
• Lay and Professional counseling have failed to help and the pain increases
• Ideas are distorted, cannot manage life, may think about harming self or others
• Dangerous use of drugs Need: Intensive care in a safe place

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Childhood Trauma and Christians

I was teaching about inner healing in Connecticut in the 80's. Breaking Free was the fifth class in our series of equipping Lay Ministers.

The first is Listening for Heaven's Sake.
Second is Power Christian Thinking
Third is Speaking the Truth in Love
Fourth is How to Be Me in My Family Tree
Fifth is Breaking Free from the Past

The research on how best to bring relief to people suffering from Shock, Trauma, and Abuse concludes that a combination of interventions is most effective. 

First, always treat people with Genuine concern, Respect, Empathy, and Warmth. (GREW). We teach those first.
Second, Renewing the mind from Pessimism to Optimism. From Hopelessness to Hope. From Despair to Faith. We teach this in Power Christian Thinking. 
Third, reconnect with the family. We cover this in "How to be Me in My Family Tree."
Fourth, heal hurts with prayer and forgiveness. "Breaking Free".

I had sent a copy of the Breaking Free from the Past book to Pastor Doug Rumford in advance of the retreat. It allowed him to choose people in advance who had been through the preparatory classes and experiences. We wanted to make sure they were mentally and emotionally mature enough to be engaged in the Breaking Free Small Groups and our intense prayer times.

I was available to visit any small group that needed special attention or that got stuck. One group was trying to assist Mae, a woman in her late 40's who was compulsively trying to develop a better "Self Esteem". She had several degrees with honors and wonderful reviews from her work life, but still had bouts of self doubt and anxiety about herself. Mae had spent thousands of hours in Psychotherapy with little relief.  She was desperate. 

When I attended the group they were stuck after hearing Mae's story of successful life and still felt so badly. I asked if I could focus on her childhood and she agreed that it was OK. When I asked her if she had experienced any severe shocks and trauma during her childhood, she mentioned being lured into a house with food and candy by five German soldiers during WWII. She and her family were extremely hungry so she was trying to get something for them. While there, she was molested by some of the men and then sent away with gifts of food.

The prayer group was immediately caught up in the story.We prayed that God would heal her memories of that awful event. After a time of emotional release and waves of spiritual power, Mae was greatly relieved. However, we sensed that there was still an area of unrest in her.

I gently probed. "Did the Holy Spirit bring anything else to your mind. She thought  for a moment and replied, "I feel guilty because I disobeyed my mother when I went into the house. She had warned me not to go into any house with Nazi soldiers but I wanted the food and candy so badly that I did anyway. Then I lied to her about what happened. I never told my family what those men did to me."

I summarized what she had said and asked her if she had ever confessed her sin to clear up her conscience. She said she had not so we gave her permissions to pray for forgiveness. Mae tearfully poured out her heart to the Lord and asked for forgiveness. Then symbolically she asked her mother to forgive her for events that had occurred so many years before but still remained stuck in her heart and soul.

All this came about after about two hours of listening, prayers, and discussions. The immediate result was a tremendous release of guilt, shame, condemnation, and hidden pain. We do not know the long term results but the Pastor reported that she was a "different person" at home and church.

It is easy to pray for obvious shock and trauma but we need to be open to additional issues as well. By pressing on and in we discovered the basic issue was guilt. 

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by
setting me free.(Ps 118:5)

If you want to learn more, go to our web page and see the videos or buy a PDF copy of our books.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


                             Get the Monkey off your Back

One day I dug a little hole
And put my hurt inside
I thought that I could just forget
I'd put it there to hide.

But that little hurt began to grow
I covered it every day
I couldn't leave it and go on
It seemed the price I had to pay.

My joy was gone, my heart was sad
Pain was all I knew.
My wounded soul enveloped me
Loving seemed too hard to do.

One day, while standing by my hole
I cried to God above
And said, "If you are really there
They say, you're a God of Love!

And just like that -- he was right there
And just put his arms around me
He wiped my tears, his hurting child
There was no safer place to be.

I told him all about my hurt
I opened up my heart
He listened to each and every word
To every sordid part.

I dug down deep and got my hurt
I brushed the dirt away
And placed it in the Master's hand
And healing came that day.

He took the blackness of my soul
And set my spirit FREE!
Something beautiful began to grow
Where the hurt used to be.

And when I look at what has grown
Out of my tears and pain I remember
every day to give my hurts to him
And never bury them again.

By Carol Parrot

If you want to be healed on the inside, be forgiven of guilt, freed from shame, and learn how to have joy, see our web and bookstore. Thousands have and have gotten better.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A song for Helpers and Heroes

It may not be angels literally but God has many messengers who lead, guide, and show examples of God's love. As I John 4 says

16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us. 

Angels among us. A welcome song.

I was walkin'home from school
On a cold winter day,
Took a short cut through the woods
And I lost my way.
It was gettin' late, and I was scared and alone.
Then a kind old man took my hand, and led me home.
Mama couldn't see him,
But he was standing there,
And I knew in my heart
He was the answer to my prayer.
Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.
When life held troubled times
And had me down on my knees
There's always been someone
To come along and comfort me
A kind word from a stranger
To lend a helping hand
A phone call from a friend
Just to say I understand
Now ain't it kind of funny
At the dark end of the road
Someone light the way with just a single ray of hope.
Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.
They wear so many faces,
Show up in the strangest places
And grace us with their mercies in our time of need.
Oh, I believe there are Angels Among Us,
Sent down to us from somewhere up above.
They come to you and me in our darkest hours
To show us how to live
To teach us how to give
To guide us with a light of love.
To guide us with a light of love
Songwriters: Don Goodman / Becky Hobbs
Angels Among Us lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Monday, February 5, 2018

Blind Spots

I was heading up to Centerville, Ohio near Dayton last week to meet with a friend at Starbucks. I sent him a Message to ask for directions.There are many coffee shops in Dayton and I have gone to the wrong places many times when scheduled to meet at a chain cafe.

His message was clear. Starbucks is across the RT 741 from Lexus.  So, with time to spare I started to drive the 45 minutes up to the appointed place. I went up 741 for miles and never saw a Lexus Car place. In fact, I drove around so long I needed gas, stopped and asked a man where the Lexus dealership was so I could find the coffee shop. He sent me about five miles East but that did not sound right. 

On my way I stopped for lunch and asked a guy sitting at the table next to me, and he said, "Oh, just go back here on 741 to the third stop light. It is on the corner." I had been up and down that road looking several times but I tried it one more time.

Sure enough,at the third stop light I saw Starbucks and turned in to the parking lot. However, there was no car dealer anywhere around! Confused and frustrated, I went in and took a seat. I looked across the street to see the sign out in front of the building. To my shock, it said: Lexis Nexis!!!

I was looking for Lexus Automobiles and was unable to SEE Lexis. I had a blind spot so when I passed by the LexisNexis Building, I did not actually say it the same as Lexus automobiles. I had what is called, "Perceptual Blindness". Our brains can only process one thing at a time. 

It is why we can miss so much others are saying. My friend's text was accurate but my mind did not interpret it the same. 

No wonder couples spend half their time asking, "What did you say?" No wonder we can read the same Bible passage and "see" different meanings. 

No wonder we see President Trump's actions so differently. If I see Trump as a positive force, his comments about immigration are reasonable. If I see him as an evil man I will interpret his comments as racist. 

We have a Blind Spot that can keep us trapped in our own, distorted perceptual world. Was the Nunes memo trying to destroy the FBI or is it designed to clean it up? What is your blind spot?

Romans 12:2 says we can "Transform our minds by Renewing it supernaturally." Yes, we know that every person carries around a distorted mind. But hope is on the way.   

Get my book Power Christian Thinking to learn how to Renew your Mind according to the Bible and remove some blind spots. 

Ready for Your World to Change?

                           This group did not prepare for the future.

Just a few things for us all to ponder, especially the younger ones amongst us. Did you think back in 1998 that three years later you would never take pictures on film again? In 1998 Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85 percent of the photo paper worldwide. Within just a few years their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt. What happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and most people won't see it coming.

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975. The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law. So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years. It will now happen again with Artificial Intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3D printing, agriculture and jobs. Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution. 

Welcome to the Exponential Age.
Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years. Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties. Artificial Intelligence: Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world. This year, a computer beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
In the US, young lawyers already don't get jobs. Because of IBM's Watson you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds. With 90 percent accuracy compared with 70 percent accuracy when done by humans. So if you study law, stop immediately. There will be 90 percent less lawyers in the future. Only specialists will remain. Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, which is four times more accurate than human nurses.
Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030 computers will become more intelligent than humans. (NEVER says Albert)
Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. Around 2020 the complete industry will start to be disrupted. You won't want to own a car anymore. You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while being driven. Our kids will never need to get a driver's license and will never own a car. It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95 percent less cars for that. We can transform former parking spaces into parks.
1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide. We now have one accident every 60,000 miles (100,000 k), with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 6 million miles (10 million km). That will save a million lives each year. Most car companies will probably become bankrupt. Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build a better car, while tech companies like Tesla, Apple, Google will do the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels.
Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla. Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100 times cheaper. Their car insurance business model will disappear. Real estate will change. Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood. Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020. Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.
Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean. Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the burgeoning impact. Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil. Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can't last. Technology will take care of that strategy. With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water. Desalination of salt water now only needs 2k Wh per cubic meter at 0.25 cents. We don't have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water. Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.
Health: The Tricorder X price will be announced this year. There are companies who will build a medical device (called the " Tricorder " from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample and you simply breathe into it. It then analyses 54 bio-markers that will identify nearly any disease. It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free. Goodbye medical establishments.
3 D printing: The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it became 100 times faster. All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes. Some spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports. The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past. At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities. You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoe at home.
In China they have already 3D printed and built a complete six-story office building. By 2027 10 percent of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed. Business Opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, first ask yourself, "In the future, do I think we will have that?" If the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner? If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea. And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.
Work: 70-80 percent of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a short time. This will require a rethink on wealth distribution. Agriculture: There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields. Aeroponics: Will need much less water. The first Petri dish produced veal, is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018. Right now, 30 percent of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows. Imagine if we don't need that space anymore.
The times they are a changing! Are you preparing for them spiritually, economically, educationally, ETC?
John Schwendler is a retired AF NCO and teacher

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Inner Healing

Inner Healing that Impacts Physical Healing

In 1972 I met an Episcopal Priest from Atlanta who taught about Inner Healing or Prayer Therapy. I had a Master's Degree in Counseling and was working on a Doctorate but had never heard these terms before. Indeed, they are missing from all secular humanist dictionaries. However, they are essential to Christian Care and Counsel. Any Christian that reads James 5 can attest to the fact that inner healing and physical healing are intertwined.

I was very eager to learn more about Inner Healing. It is what the church has traditionally called Soul Care. For  hundreds of years Soul Care was the focus of the church. Physicians focused on healing the body but Christians healed the soul. All that changed with Freud, a Physician that had a passion was healing the inner person. Freud and his followers, however, were poorly prepared to deal with the primary causes of inner pain heart problems, but they did discover that many physical issues were the result of past trauma and loss such as sexual abuse and parental deaths.

Childhood trauma that is left unhealed will often show us as hysterical symptoms in the body. I remember a teenage girl that suffered from hysterical blindness when she was reminded of a trauma as a baby. She had no physical reason for her inability to see but she was blind. By paying attention to her childhood wounds she recovered.

I was counseling a Vietnam Vet who was a drug addict. When we met it was obvious that his addiction was the result of deep depression. Finally, one day we had a conversation like the one I wrote below.

Joe: "Do you believe killing in a war is wrong?
Gary: "My opinion is not very important. It is what you believe that is important."
Joe: "The Chaplain said it was OK."
Gary: "What do you think?"
Joe: "I think killing is wrong even in war."
Gary: "But you had to kill people in the war."
Joe: "Yes."
Gary: "Have you asked for forgiveness?"
Joe: "No. I tried but they said it was not wrong and refused to let me."
Gary: "Would you like to confess now?'
Joe: "Yes, but not out loud. Just to God."
Gary: "Sure. When you are finished say amen and I will pray.'
Joe: Silent for a few minutes. Than, "Amen".
Gary: "On the authority of the Bible that says if anyone confesses his sins God will forgive them, I declare you forgiven in the Name of Jesus."

After that, Joe never returned to see me and he quit drinking and drugs. Ten years later his wife called and said he attempted suicide. I met with him and we went more deeply into his heart aches. His new depression lifted and he went back to church and became emotionally balanced.

If you want to know more about inner healing, get my PDF eBook, Breaking Free. Click the link below.

Gary Sweeten
Sweeten Life Systems, INC
A 501c3 not for profit ministry