Creation Therapy & Mental Health “ And The Church... The Truth”
Pastor Brenda Ward of Cobbs Creek, VA, is a Certified Pastoral Member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling and has been an International Representative since April 13, 2018. She is also a member of the NCCA.
As an International Representative, I have been able to use Creation Therapy to help individuals discover their inborn part of themselves and reach their God given potential. The remarkable results of using APS and Creation Therapy together has helped individuals determine why they react to situations, things and people the way they do. In addition, it helps them cope with major mental health challenges, stress, unforgiveness, painful situations, and low self-esteem. As a Certified Temperament Counselor, Licensed Pastoral Counselor and a License Qualified Mental Health Professional, introducing Creation Therapy with the assistance of an APS assessment to those with mental health challenges has proven to bring about a remarkable change in their lives. Many have discovered that they don’t have to accept living in Lo Debar, because God has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness. Lo Debar represents a state of mind and/or a physical place where an individual is in constant fear, depression and worrying. They are feeling unloved, forgotten, unsuccessful, unappreciated, lonely, unwanted and trapped with no way out, just to name a few. Lo Debar, in today’s terms, signifies a belief system that is contrary to the Word of God which leads to a state of despair without hope and strongholds.
When individuals discover their God given temperament through Creation Therapy it leads them to the confidence they need to discover and identify the hidden behavioral problems within their lives. Creation Therapy is a great tool in addressing a wide range of clinical and behavioral issues, that are negatively impacting individuals’ daily lives, such as anger, depression, anxiety, PTSD, including dysfunctional and functional issues. As a Christian Counselor I have used, and continue to use, this tool to assist individuals in achieving their short and long-term goals for both spiritual and emotional well-being.
As a Pastor, I strongly recommend that other Pastors introduce Creation Therapy to their church. I witnessed a CEO of a major mental health agency require that their new hires take the APS as part of their hiring package. Clients have voiced that Creation Therapy and APS assessments work when other counseling techniques fail.
As I mentioned earlier Lo Debar is a belief system, and this belief system is no respecter of persons. People of all walks of life have entered into this place of despair: Preachers, Christians, Politicians, and Teachers. This is why I feel so strongly about introducing Creation Therapy to the Body of Christ and the importance of the magnitude of mental illness is staggering as it affects us regardless of age, gender, economic status or ethnicity. Mental illness has not missed the church. The body, regardless of our denomination, is not immune to mental health disorders and illnesses. One in four church members sitting in the church pews, on the usher board, in the Sunday School and children’s church, on the deacon and mothers board, including our leader will face a challenge with mental illness for either themselves or within their family. In contrast, unfortunately, most of our religious communities still to this day remain silent when it comes to the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of mental disorders as an illness that is treatable beyond that of faith and seclusion. Many in the household of faith continue to struggle and are suffering in silence. We are attempting to carry the fear, the shame, and the rejection while portraying a stigma that we have it all together. We have a perception that disclosing the truth will have a negative impact on our families and our ministries. “Untreated and un-counseled” mental illness has resulted in a decline of church attendance as many are walking away from their callings and purpose ultimately committing suicide and prematurely ending their lives.
As the salt of the Earth and Kingdom representatives, we are to be the ones speaking up in our faith communities regarding mental health concerns. In the darkest hours of our closest loved ones and neighbors our knowledge, support, and advocacy matters. Faith leaders that are open about their own journeys of mental health have made a huge impact with removing the “stigma and isolation” that can hinder mental health awareness, self-growth, and restoration. It is imperative that we impart the understanding that we are not alone and are still worthy of love and non-judgmental support.
Stigma is defined as a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance. Stigma is the extra weight of what others feel, see, or view in me as placed on top of my actual reality. Stigma is powerful and pervasive and is encountered immensely by individuals with mental illness. Stigma is known to contribute to causing disruption in the closest of family relationships. Stigma aides in the lowering of one’s self-esteem and adversely affecting our ability to socialize, grow, and maintain the most basic elements of life.
Many Christians are not encouraged to seek counseling, but instead, they are encouraged to pray harder and “have more faith.” As the Body of Christ, we have much work to do to address the crisis associated with mental illness, and it will not all be done Sunday morning at the altar. Unfortunately, very few ministries incorporate adequate information concerning the ministry of mental health into their core curriculum. Individuals with mental health challenges have shown to prefer to go to their spiritual leader for help, comfort, and support. The clergy has been the least effective in being prepared to provide appropriate support and referral information leaving our sheep to fend for themselves unknowingly. We need to make the shift away from stigmatizing mental health as a moral failing and provide resources that support and sustain those with mental health issues and their families.
Let me be very clear, I do believe in miracles. I do believe in deliverance. I do believe in signs and wonders. I also know that we perish for lack of knowledge and in all things, we are to get understanding. It is not the Father’s will that we suffer. Isaiah 53:5 states that the
chastisement of our peace was upon him. We are entitled to mental health, and it is, in fact, a faith move; however, faith without works is dead. We must be prepared to provide tangible support to the Earth realm. We cannot afford to continue to lose lives based on holding on to a perception which is a stigma when God has provided the tools and resources to better ourselves. 3 John 2 says: Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health (physically) and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well (spiritually) NIV.
May Grace be with you!