The Spiritual life is about the quest of living out of the deepest truths.
Those of us who believe in God know that God is at the heart of reality. The more that I am in harmony with God, the more I live guided by God, the more true to myself I can be.
In the last several years we have learned so much more about the human brain. The sciences of psychology and psychiatry have given us many great insights. Those who practise these sciences would be the first to admit that even though we have learnt a lot, there is so much that, as yet, we do not know.
I have had the several experiences as a priest to be pastorally walking with people who have also been in some form of therapy.
I believe that respectful collaboration between spiritual guides or pastors and therapists can greatly benefit those who seek help.
There are, of course, wise and learned spiritual guides, and some not so wise or so learned!
This is also true of therapists. Some are very knowledgeable and holistic in their approach, and very helpful to patients, others not so helpful!
I have seen some amazing things happen to people by the Grace of God active in their lives. I have seen some powerful spiritual and other healings through the Sacrament of Anointing, and other forms of prayer, experienced by people.
God has also given good wisdom and knowledge to good therapists who I have met. Good, humble, loving and respectful people.
There are, of course, times when medication properly administered and monitored can be extremely helpful to some people. I have also seen this happen.
On the other hand, sometimes those less knowledgeable who can rely solely on medication without trying to get to the cause of the issues, and too ready to prescribe medication when it may not be necessary.
Helping people have ‘right healthy thinking’ can of course be of great benefit. Some elements of some forms of cognitive therapy can do this well.
Prayer, meditation, reflecting on self-worth, accepting forgiveness, a belief in being unconditionally loved by God, a sense of belonging to a Church family, good spiritual directors as guide, the Sacraments and so many other treasures in the spiritual life can contribute to wellbeing in a wonderful way.
The pursuit of knowledge, with a good dose of ‘healthy’ self-belief, combined with a healthy dose of humility, can be of benefit to both spiritual guides and mental health, and other forms of therapists.