Sunday, October 25, 2015

Healthy Living 4

Several years ago a psychiatrist friend asked me to see a patient who had been under her care for several years. The diagnosis was depression and treatment was medication. The patient never improved and kept asking the psychiatrist, a Christian, to discuss her spiritual condition. The patient believed she had committed the “unpardonable sin” and was doomed to hell.  The doctor refused to discuss religion but decided to ask me to help the patient with pastoral care and counseling.

I saw the lady for four years and listened intently to her stories about why she believed God had left her. After some months I asked if I could pray for her and she agreed to allow me but knew it was hopeless. However, before long the patient began to feel better and after some months of probing and prayer started to consider the possibility that God was still with her.

The client currently takes no anti depression medications and is free from depressive symptoms. She is now convinced that God loves her. It was a slow but remarkable recovery. She will tell you it is the result of prayer. In addition to prayer it was patience, supportive interactions, cognitive interventions including scriptures on the love and grace of God.

This lady has been under psychiatric care since 1955 but did not find any therapist that would take her spiritual concerns seriously until she met with me.  That was intentionally disrespecting the patient’s beliefs and convictions and it led her to live in misery for 50 years.  That is medical and psychological malpractice.

Respect and Empathy are essential to fostering health in others. Listening is love! 

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