Retriever sent along an article from NAMI Faithnet on gently confronting those in church who do not understand mental illness.
We had a series for adult studies at my church twenty years ago, which I co-taught with two others. Perhaps we should do that again. I recommend group-teaching that one, because the misconceptions are so common, and often held rather defiantly, as if they are part of the Faith As Received. Having others beside you helps keep you from getting defensive.
You are right: several people are required to teach this. A psychiatrist alone teaching raises nagging doubts about "qui bono". Someone with mental health issues alone is fairly easily written off. Together, though...
I assume you refer to "blame the victim" kind of thinking. In religious terms this comes out as assuming that "you must have done something to deserve this."
When preparing for such a class, what's the relationship between scripture and modern psych-science? Do you take time to dismantle both common misconceptions in the church as well as common misconceptions in the mental health field? How are the two alike/opposed?
Then of course, there is the question of application. What do we (us church people) need to do about this?
The other unhelpful religious reaction I have encountered is to ignore or put down medication, cognitive therapy, or the like, and try to just "pray it away." Pray by all means, but is that the only thing you'd do for, say, diabetes?
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