Therapy and spirituality or religion rarely come up in the same conversation. However, for many of those who may be struggling with mental health, faith can play an integral role in their lives. Does faith impact counseling? If so, to what extent? If you have a religion or spirituality that you follow, let’s take a look at how faith and therapy may interact as you seek out support for mental health disorders or other specific issues in your life.
Can faith support you during your therapy journey? The answer is yes!
Spirituality and religion can both be beneficial to your overall mental health. In regard to spirituality, a sense of connection with a higher power or the universe itself can help you feel that you are on the right path and that you truly belong in the world. Certain practices within spirituality like mindfulness meditation can also be quite impactful on your mental health when you encounter difficult emotions. Speaking to religion, rituals can provide people with structure and give them a sense of normalcy when times are especially hard. Religion can also help people tap into communities of others who share their faith and provide guidelines for living life.
Of course, it’s important to remember that faith is not a suitable replacement for seeing a therapist. For example, if you or a family member are dealing with changes in behavior or certain problems like strained family relationships, seeing a psychologist will give you the treatment plan you need to address and treat these issues. There are many counselors out there who offer family therapy and will be able to support the whole family unit as you work through specific challenges and come out on the other side stronger. With the right expert with years of experience working with families just like yours, you can leverage your faith and family counseling to get the support you need.
How can you lean on your faith during times of crisis?
Now that it’s been established that faith can support your mental health, you may be wondering how to lean on your faith and reap the benefits of it when times are hard. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Look for tools that will help you or members of the family better understand your faith and fully connect with it. For example, if you have a child who may be having a hard time, using vacation Bible school curriculum can help them get more in touch with their religion and spirituality. If you’re struggling, you might decide to purchase tools that make you feel closer to a higher power like statues or ritual items. Whatever it is that gives you comfort, seek it out.
- Find words of inspiration that will give you strength when things feel especially difficult. If you’re Christian, you might want to look toward inspiration Bible verses that help you feel better when you need them most. If you belong to a religion that doesn’t have a central text, perhaps there are influential figures that you can look up to and seek guidance from.
- Seek out community with those who share your beliefs. Whether you have spiritual or religious beliefs, chances are that there are groups online or near you that share similar or exact belief systems. Turn to them when you need to vent and celebrate your spirituality or religion together.
Faith does not have to be separate from therapy. In fact, it may actually improve your mental health journey altogether. Whether you’re coping with mental illness or other issues in your life, use the guide above to learn more about how faith can improve your life and what you can do to improve your connection with your faith during times of crisis.