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So You're a Christian and You Want to Try Therapy?

Updated: Aug 30, 2023

So you're a Christian who struggles with mental health, or who is tied to their agenda and has no idea how to slow down, or is trying to navigate family dynamics and trauma... but you've always felt like it was "wrong" to seek therapy.

You've heard it maybe in the church or with friends, that if you seek a therapist, you must not really trust God. Or if you seek therapy, you must not really be going to God for prayer and help because if you were, you wouldn't need an outside source like a therapist. But is that even true? Or simply rooted in skepticism?

If you're reading this blog post, chances are you either identify as a Christian, are interested in mental health care, or have some thoughts about christianity and mental health.

Before we even get started, I'll go ahead and give you my opinion: You can and totally should see a therapist (if you want to!) as a Christian. I'll tell you why while I'm also myth-bustin' for you.

Myth #1 - If you see a therapist, you don't trust God

Such an interesting myth. I'm not sure where this one came from or how it got started, as I find it very odd. You wouldn't tell someone battling cancer that they don't need a doctor if they trust God. You wouldn't work on your car yourself instead of going to a mechanic because you trust God.. You wouldn't keep your child from tutoring because you have faith in God. So why would you not go see a therapist if you're struggling with mental health?

Maybe there's a general misconception with what therapy actually is. No, it's not giving advice or tools for how to live life. If you're a Christian, you get the roadmap for success from the Bible, anyway. Therapy is processing unresolved trauma, core beliefs, anxiety, pressure, overthinking, shame, and so much more. Seeing a therapist does not mean that you don't trust that God can heal you and your mind--its trusting that God can heal you and therapy is a tool to healing.

Myth #2 - Therapists will tell you your crazy for believing in God

Well, surely some therapists might, LOL. And I do caution my friends and family who want therapy to look for therapists that are "bible-affirming", if you will. There are so many different types of therapists out there, each for a different need and with a different skillset. Yes, if you go to a secular therapist, you may find it hard to get help with your mental health that also points you back to God. But with a biblically-trained therapist, the whole goal of therapy is to use your relationship with God as a catalyst for mental health care.

"Professional Counseling is one avenue that God has ordained for healing and growth in our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual lives." -The Village Church

Myth #3 - You wouldn't need therapy if your support group was doing it's job

Another interesting myth.

The message here is that the people in your community group, your small group, your friend group, are supposed to understand and help you navigate trauma, generalized anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, and negative core beliefs? I totally agree that your community group should help support you as you navigate these things, but can they offer guidance and help you overcome it? Can they handle your trauma?

If God can send you a group of believers to help you do life with, then maybe he could send you a trained therapist to help you get tools for better mental health care, stop negative core beliefs from overtaking your life, develop better patterns and behaviors, and heal from childhood trauma.

Myth #4 - Seeing a therapist is only for "crazy" people

Nope. Think of therapy as, you guessed it, a tool. There are some seasons of life where you need a very specific tool, one that will help you overcome perfectionism that is getting in the way of how you see God. Or help you understand how your relationship with your parents has affected how you think God sees you. Or how you're in your 30s, still single, and starting to question if God really has someone for you, if God is really a Good God. See? None of these situations make a person "crazy". I think we can all relate to at least one of them. But sometimes getting these ideas out and talking with a trained listener can greatly help you sort through this issues.

Myth #5 - If I go to therapy, that means there's something wrong with me/my marriage

Not always. Going to see a couples therapist does not mean your relationship is a failure. It means you need some tools to strengthen your relationship. In the same way, going to see a therapist doesn't mean you are failing, or that there's something fundamentally wrong with you. It just means you're willing to invest in yourself and come out stronger.

An Aside, and A Closing

Sometimes when I tell people I'm a therapist, they follow up with "Oh wow, I bet you hear some crazy stories!", or "Wow, you must really see some crazy people!". Truthfully... okay, yeah, sometimes. But the vast majority of the people I see are not crazy, and they don't tell me crazy, cringey stories. We talk about life, love, dreams, goals, family, trauma, even God. And just because you're in therapy, does not mean you're crazy. It could just mean you're self-aware, trying to change some things in your life, and wanting to be the person God called you to be. So if someone questions why you're in therapy as a Christian, just say you're in therapy because we live in a sinful, fallen world and you're trying your best to use the tools God gave you to bring glory to God for His Kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven.

You Got This.

Samantha Hoover, MS, LPC

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