How Could Psychiatry and Psychology Forget About Faith?

Here’s an interesting fact: During my four years of medical school and four years of psychiatry residency training, the total number of hours devoted to spirituality and faith were . . . zero. That’s right, not a single hour was devoted to exploring the place of faith in overcoming medical illness or psychological suffering.

That’s stunning, given that a myriad of data support the healing potential of prayer and of belief in a higher power—regardless of one’s particular religion.

The house of medicine seems so hostile to anything that cannot be weighed and measured that it has locked the door to the house of God. Yet, great power lies in acknowledging that human beings can find comfort and confidence and even a cure for their anxiety and problems of mood by being reminded that they are unconditionally loved and have a sacred purpose in life.

It’s one thing to suffer terrible emotional pain. It’s another to know, at a very deep level, that a determined journey through that pain will lead, inevitably, to some of the most important parts of their existences. And that happens to be true—for everyone, every single time.

Only once I completed my training in pastoral counseling did I understand the full healing power of human empathy from a counselor, coupled with faith in an all-powerful source of sustaining love. Helping people identify the self-defeating patterns in their lives (often fueled by emotional trauma early in life) turns out to be only half the equation. The other half is helping people recognize that immeasurable forces of healing can be unleashed when we allow ourselves to believe that they will—when we have faith.

Many clients have told me that understanding the roots of their suffering doesn’t give them a clear roadmap on how to change their lives to prevent it, in the future. But once human beings have real faith, they don’t need a map. They can move in the directions dictated by their hearts (once freed from the past) and feel confident they will never be truly lost.

My practice of blending life coaching, pastoral counseling and motivational mentoring is designed to finally join together the two halves of healing: fully understanding one’s life story and having complete faith that it can and will include wonderful new chapters.

Keith Ablow

Posted: July 29, 2019 in: Faith

3 Responses

  1. Robyn McNutt says:

    Keith, you just hit the nail on the head!

  2. Lawrence Klein says:

    I am 100% in agreement:
    MINDFULNESS Poem

    What can one say about Mindfulness
    When one discusses Consciousness
    It is a time to count our blessings
    Like Love, Devotion, things that brings,

    Out the Divine in our minds,
    Beyond words, when one finds
    EMOTIONS of gratitude for our being
    Whole, our ‘Inner Strength’ seeing,

    we are all connected despite illusion
    of separateness, the one conclusion
    Beyond Thought – to quiet our mind
    And connect ourselves to the ‘Divine’!

    Breath out for six seconds and in for four.
    Appreciate life while you explore.
    Mindfulness!
    Copyright Lawrence Klein 2013
    Inna Khazan, PhD Clinical Psychologist Instructor of Psychology, Harvard Medical School wrote this excellent book: “The Clinical Handbook of Biofeedback: A Step-by-Step Guide for Training and Practice with Mindfulness”
    A practical guide to the clinical use of biofeedback, integrating powerful mindfulness techniques. http://bit.ly/1axuHOv

  3. Pam Smith says:

    Dear Dr. Keith, I’ve written many times over the years since first watching your highly effective therapy show on TV. I am a devoted fan. It seems you are always broadening your sphere of influence with endlessly creative ways of reaching out to help people. I have been greatly encouraged and helped by you (Living the Truth, Dr Keith Ablow show, your website, etc) in my heartache over my estranged adult children. I’m so excited to see you bring God, unconditional love, and the hope found in Him into the equation. Full orbed. I was also happy to see The War of Art endorsed at the end of your email. As an unpublished writer, I have the book on my wish list already, hoping it will help me to identify and push through (the) Resistance. Seeing Pressman’s book at the end of your newsletter means a lot. I’m ready to order it now.

    May God bless you and your family, your work as you continue to reach out and make a difference in this crazy world.

    Blessings,

    Pam Smith