Do you need to see a pastor or a therapist? It depends on what you want to accomplish. Don’t confuse the two, and you’ll be happier with your decision.
Which Should You See if You Have a Problem? A Pastor or a Therapist?
Although no one ever said, “You shouldn’t go see a therapist,” I didn’t know a single person growing up who had seen a therapist, psychiatrist, or even psychologist. If people had marital problems, they went to see their pastor. No one talked about depression, anxiety, or rapid mood swings. If anyone even hinted at having a problem, the hearers would give them a condescending pat and promise to pray for them.
I remember our next-door neighbor (a pastor’s wife) announcing she had returned to school to get her counseling degree. Pedro fell ill with cancer that same year, and she offered to talk to our girls as our family went through the emotional turmoil a cancer diagnosis can produce. I smiled and thanked her, thinking little of her offer. After all, what could a counselor do about cancer?
It turns out, an awful lot. It took another five years for me to realize I should have not only taken her up on her offer but actively pursued counseling for each family member during Pedro’s traumatic journey.
Therapists help people solve problems and give them tools to start solving problems on their own. If they think a client needs more help, a good therapist will refer a client to a psychiatrist. Psychiatrists can pinpoint mental health disorders that may only respond to a combination of medication and therapy.
A good pastor will refer members of his flock to professionals, too. Sadly, though, not all pastors understand the scope and consequences of mental health problems. Pastors might view mental health issues as spiritual weakness. The devil probably rubs his hands in glee when that lie gets preached from the pulpit.
Today’s podcast will help you understand who you need to see, a pastor or a therapist, and explain the importance of making the right choice.
Psychology Today offers a free tool to help you find a therapist. You can search using location, gender, issue, and even faith (if that’s important to you).
Self-Help books I’ve found useful.Who you gonna call? A pastor or a therapist? #selfcare #mentalhealth Click To Tweet
Come Back Next Week
Next week’s podcast will give you suggestions for what to do when someone discloses a mental health problem to you.
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