Mental Health Awareness Webinar
We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God has created us spiritual beings, housed in a biological frame. He has given us minds to think and feel. He has placed within us a need for relationship. These four areas, spiritual, biological, psychological and relational can be thought of as four dimensions making up our existence. Thus, when personal issues arise, they will likely have roots in one or more of these dimensions. Furthermore, they will likely have fruits in one or more of these dimensions. As we strive to help individuals, it is to our advantage to understand these four domains. In this webinar, Ted Witzig Jr. explains this multi-dimensional reality of the human being and examples how helpful it is to understand them in practically helping people.
Okay, very good. We’re getting the recorder going here and we’re recording. So, again, welcome everyone, great to have you along. Thanks, Arlan, for that introduction. Psalm 139:14 we read this, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And I think we all understand that makes a lot of sense, but that means a lot of things.
But one of the things that being said is we’re very complex, and I think tonight as we talk, that might be a pile on, so to speak, that we’re complex and the things that we do and the reasons why we do it sometimes isn’t as simple is what we might first think.
And, so tonight we’d like to help bring a little bit of clarity to that. And I actually remember that I was asked by Brother Mark years ago before I was working here to work with some individuals. And, I just found myself at a complete loss. Didn’t know what to say, didn’t know what questions to ask, didn’t know how to follow up.
You felt that way too? I felt that way. I felt that way. I brought you on to here clear this up. But you know what, I ran into Brother Brian Sutter, who’s a counselor here, and I said, Brian, what can you give me? What is the low hanging fruit here on how I should go into a counseling meeting.
How do I engage this new convert or whatever? And he says, You know what, think about four different dimensions of a person. God created us with four dimensions. We are biological, we are relational, we are psychological, we are spiritual. And, he unpacked those in a way that made me less frightened to engage a person.
So, Ted, I’d like you to share a little bit about what these four dimensions mean. Break ’em out so we can distinguish between them and then sense how that would impact how we might view an issue or go about a counseling, helper situation. Does that make sense? It does. Sounds good. Let’s take a look here.
What we have is these four different areas, and it’s important to understand too, we could break this in a lot of different ways. We’ve got other areas like our vocation or intellectual, other things that we’ll keep it down to four because that really is the largest bucket that really helps.
What’s interesting to think about, many times when we look at problems, we tend to look at it through one lens. It tends to be our favorite lens or the lens that makes the most sense to us. And so, because of it, sometimes it gives us a unidimensional view of something and because of that we’re blinded to some other things.
So tonight we’re just gonna start by just looking at what these areas are. First area, biological, we’re talking about our physical makeup. We have a physical body, our metabolism, genetics, hormones, our neurotransmitters, what kind of conditions we have, things like that. But you know what, some of the things that are in this area that we know make a difference like sleep, how many of us function better when we get adequate sleep?
But it’s so fascinating because sometimes when people are in the middle of really important spiritual decisions, they’re trying to really discern something, they’ll forget that sleep is a really important part of their spiritual decision. Okay? And, so what happens is we accidentally put or in between these things, Is it spiritual or is it biological?
Well, the reality is as we’re trying to discern, having adequate sleep and taking care of our wellbeing, we’re gonna be able to function a lot better. I have learned a little bit about myself and that is if I am hungry, yeah, like really hungry. I shouldn’t talk about budget. Seriously. No. It’s funny.
It’s the truth. But I have learned that things like emotionally, I’m not on my game, so to speak, when I’m really hungry. So, I don’t know, blood sugar, there’s probably some biological reason for that. And, I think one of the things is that on one hand seems like it’s so simple. Hungry, I shouldn’t talk about this, or sleepy should get some sleep.
Or, Oh, you know what? I’ve got it cold and I’m not feeling really good. I’m irritable. You know, those kinds of things. But sometimes we on one hand notice that, and then we just go right over the top of it. If we go on to the next area here, we’ve got the relational area. We’ve got these different roles as individuals, some sort of child where we have children, parents, or employee at work or friends.
But in our relationships, we’ve also got an attachment history and what we talk about attachment. Some people come from a secure base. They grew up knowing that they were loved, knowing that even if they made mistakes, they were gonna be embraced. Other people come from a place that was cold or rejecting, criticized, to make even a small mistake they were jumped on, all those things.
And because of that, as they go into other relationships, They’re gonna bring that with them. I had someone work with me once, and it was a receptionist and I got on the phone and called her at the front desk and I said, Hey, could you come back and talk with me?
She came back and had a nice conversation and she looked pale and I was just like, are you okay? And she says, is that all? And I was like, What’s going on? Her last boss before she came, of course, was a screamer. And when she got called back to the office, she was gonna be yelled at and sometimes things got thrown.
Well, I had no idea that was part of her history, but that was part of her. Another one is our interpersonal style. Some of us are extroverts, some introverts, some have very smooth social skills, some social skills are pretty rocky. And so all those things come into play at the relational area. And the psychological area, what we’re really talking about here is what’s going on in our mind related to our thinking and our emotions. And our thinking has different patterns in terms of what we pay attention to or not, and our feelings do as well. Some people, by their nature are very reactive emotionally, and other people, it just seems like nothing ruffles them.
Some are highly logical some people are really emotional, but there’s a link between thought and feeling. Right. I’m glad you brought that up. I think one of the things is that how we think about something, it has got a relationship to what we feel about it. And so when something happens, without even thinking about it, you rapidly interpret that to them what it was.
And so, if I spilled something. And, my rapid thing was, I’m stupid. Okay. Versus I made a mistake. Okay. It’s gonna lead to I’m stupid is gonna lead me to shame. Or I made a mistake, is gonna lead me to Oh, that’s a bummer. And so very rapidly how we interpret things moves us onto how we feel about those things, which leads us on to how we’re gonna respond that. Well, let’s take this diagram here, the VIN diagram where we’ve got overlapping circles, right? So let’s take that lady that you had talked about last time. She had a relational history. I get screamed at when I get called back.
Right. That was her thinking, which made her pale. Feeling in certain ways she was cowering close. Right. And, you know what? Her ability to feel confident to ask me a question. I had to ask her. And, the thing was, you could just see that in her and it was how she responded very differently than if somebody’s history or somebody’s memories were let’s dialogue, or, ask if you have a question, can make a big difference. Also in this area, memories play a big part of this too.
Just because if you have a positive set of memories with the authority figures or teachers and again, that shows how these overlaps between relational and emotional or versus very fearful can come into play. Lastly, we had the spiritual area here and obviously we’re a living soul and things like somebody’s faith in Christ or the absence of faith in Christ.
Where this person is at in their growth, their sanctification, if they’re trying to overcome a besetting sin, or if they’re in that time of growth. We have your peace and just how people perceive peace with God. Sometimes for people, they perceive peace as very emotional, going back to the previous bucket, very much a feeling oriented thing where some people are able to look at it and say, Oh, this is my peace with God, or some kind of combination of those things. An important one in this area is how people picture God. Is that what you mean by God image? And, people by their nature have a God concept, like he’s all powerful.
He made the Earth and wrote the Bible and those kind of things. But one’s God image is how somebody feels. God feels towards them. And, the reality is if somebody has a picture of God as a cosmic accountant waiting for them to screw up so that he can zap ’em, that’s gonna have a big impact on how they view God and view themselves. And that may have had some roots in the relational, right? Absolutely. In their relational history with perhaps a father or a mother or an authority figure. The same thing is true if somebody has an overly positive skewed God image, God is the cosmic buddy and not a joke. Not that they have no sense of holiness. So my encouragement here is just as we look at these four areas, is to remember that as a human, where these things and we are spiritual and biological and relational and psychological and wonderfully made. This is how God has knit us.
It’s really marvelous. Go on here. So I would like you to give an example. Okay. Cuz we’ve talked about how these overlap. How we can have a similar symptom. So let’s say it’s confusion and anxiety on the screen there. So, a person comes in and they’re confused and anxious and each one of these different dimensions might be at play and some.
It might be a very different thing at play here giving that same symptom. That’s correct. Is that right? Yes. I’d love to hear experience or what does that look like? Okay. So I’m gonna start with just that analogy that somebody has a hammer, everything becomes a nail.
Well, if somebody by their nature sees things through one of these lenses more than another, what can start to happen is if they see the symptom of some confusion and some anxiety and they see everything through the relational lens, or they see everything through the psychological, they’re gonna automatically go to that.
What I wanna do is just give some examples of situations where they had the symptom present of confusion. Like, I don’t know where I’m at in my life and I’m just not feeling very good and I’m just feeling tense or anxious, and that’s the presenting symptom. But then, show how roots in different ones of those areas were actually in play.
And how, if you automatically assume that confusion anxiety means it’s this. You can accidentally come to the wrong conclusion. Right. We’re far too carefully and wonderfully made and I think the other part is we don’t wanna overcomplicate it either, but I’ll give you an example.
And I just wanna make a note, I’m gonna give some examples from my experience, but we wanna be aware of confidentiality and things like that, and I’m never gonna divulge somebody’s history. But, I can think specifically of situations and a situation in which someone came to name and was feeling confused, anxious, discouraged, and had done seemingly all the right things.
You know, talk to friends, talk to her minister or elder, had even gone see the counselor and trying to figure out why I just don’t feel good. And I was down the line of it, in terms of where the sister came and she said, What’s wrong with me? And I’m listening.
And, I said, and this shows too how the Lord helps us as we stumble along. Okay because I didn’t really have that insight, but I just said to her, So when’s the last time you went to your doctor to have a physical and get some blood work? She goes, Oh, I was the doctor all the time with my kids.
Yeah. But I don’t have time to say, Why don’t you go see your doctor? And, she goes sees her doctor, comes back. Her thyroid isn’t just a little off, it’s in the next week off. And when the thyroid was corrected, the confusion, discouragement, even the feelings that God was distant from her and upset with her went away.
And, so because the reality was that the thyroid was playing on her ability to process things emotionally. Okay. So that was a physical example, but it ripples into emotional, it rippled into spiritual, how she interpreted things spiritually. And yet it was that thyroid.
It’s coming onto another one. And this will sometimes happen. People be in a situation and still confused and still deal with that anxiety, things are not going well at where I want to be in life. I’m trying to make some decisions and I can think about it like that man who I need to make some decision that’s just not going and things like that.
And, I just ask some questions about what’s going on. Everything seems to be going well from the outside, right? Everything looks well. Until we stumble on the fact, I said, So how are things going at home? Everything’s going fine, you know. And then all of a sudden there’s that little nugget that something wasn’t okay with the marriage.
And so I followed up on it. Said, Well, tell me about that. Come to find out he’s holding bitterness. He is very, very angry and hurt by some of his wife’s behavior and actions to him. And, by the way, I don’t think he was wrong in being hurt, but that had become a seed that became a root, that root of bitterness. And so here you have a relational issue that had spiritual ripples. But also psychologically, his thinking. He would ruminate over this hurt and at the same time try to keep everything looking good. Okay. And guess what? After a while, that concept of prayers being hindered. Right. That concept of his biologically sleep starts being disrupted and here it is from relational. Okay. Makes sense. Let’s go to the next one, Perfectionism. This, by the way, is something that we see a lot and in folks coming in for counseling.
And you know what, perfectionism is a double edged sword. Because of it, somebody can really be good at something, but then it can also then have this double, this other edge that sets somebody up for never being satisfied or always seeing what’s wrong. And so think about an example of a wife who wanted maybe really much to do good in all these different areas of the a wife.
Wanted to be a good wife, a good mother, good church member, good friend, good you name it, good homemaker, good cook. But it wasn’t just a good, the best. And when there was a mistake, okay, when something didn’t go, what started to happen? Then it was failure. And then it was comparison. And so what you started to have happen is things that could have been neutral.
You know, this happened. This didn’t turn out the way that I wanted. Automatically became a source of shame, a source of self doubt, a source of comparison. So there you start to have those psychological things starting to be comparison to others relationally. Spiritually then, you start to get, you know, it’s pretty hard to think on the things that are true and honest and sure and lovely and good report. When all you can see is, instead of the 10 things that you did well, the only thing you can see is the one thing that didn’t go right. And then that starts to just grow and unfortunately, this can even happen for people when they’re trying to do well spiritually.
And, the desire to be growing in Christ becomes a pass fail kind of thing. That becomes really crushing, crippling. Lastly, spiritual apathy. And, this is one, I’m gonna take the example here of a young adult who graduates from college on their own, got a good job doing well, those kind of things.
But who also in part of that doing well is starting to just get sloppy spiritually, not being wise with his time management, not being wise with what kind of media he’s consuming, and particularly not being wise with some of what he’s doing on the internet late at night. And so he started to slip into, saw something that shouldn’t have seen there, but then, when he goes to the next, he is at church and he is sitting down next to a brother and brother says, Hey, you graduated, how are you doing? How are you doing in your life? And, right there he has the opportunity to say, You know what? I actually am struggling a bit, but he doesn’t take it and instead he goes, Yeah, everything’s good. You know, hey, and it has that chummy kind of keep it all on and just keeps going surface. And then the more surface he gets, the more erosion he experiences. And then you know what starts to happen? It comes time to sit down and do his devotion. And what do you think he feels? He doesn’t feel like doing his devotion.
He feels distance. And so as he’s doing that and then he is at the same time thinking, I really need to get married. And other people are telling me you need to get married. When you gonna get married. And so what happens? Here he is at a place of spiritual apathy, confusion, some anxiety and what’s he got, he’s actually at a place where he needs to put his roots back in the bedrock. And that decline has it roots spiritually but it showed up in skill, it showed up in comparison, showed up in relationships, isolation.
So that makes sense. And I think those bring a little bit of clarity as we look at some keywords there to again, bring those lenses out. Really that’s what we wanna do tonight is to unpack this well enough that we can all taste these four bins or these dimensions as we engage people to be thinking about them and to approach situations from one or more of these lenses.
So, let’s go now, Ted, to what does counsel look like? And, we’ve picked up on some of those things. But, some questions here. Yeah. So, these are examples of things that could be brought up as you’re interacting with somebody, and it doesn’t have to be used like a checklist, but, as you’re talking with somebody, particularly if you find out that somebody is struggling with something or they’re looping, spinning, Hey, how’s your sleep been?
Your sleep been okay? You taking care of yourself? Sometimes even as ministers, it feels almost like it’s not a spiritual topic to ask how your sleep is. Or how you doing, taking care of yourself. Are you getting rest? Are you getting exercise?
When’s the last time you saw your physician? The reality is our body is oftentimes in some ways, you can think of it in computer terms, it’s the hardware. It’s the hardware that runs the software. Yeah. And when that hardware is not running and it’s not right, the software isn’t gonna run correctly.
So I see these kind of questions, again, being open ended, we’ve talked about open ended questions. You can’t really answer ’em, check ’em off with a yes or. But you’re asking some questions here to get to some of these issues here. Exactly. That’s right. What kind of health that they’re in at that.
Exactly. And again, during psychological conversations, some of these questions may be completely irrelevant, right. But on other ones, they may be right on topic. If we look at the relationship and how are your relationships, one of the questions that I ask almost every single client when they come into my office is I say, Tell me about who’s in your support network. Who are the people that you talk to about this particular thing? Do you have a minister or elder that you feel closer to? And I just ask questions about that. Cuz I wanna see somebody’s map of the layout of somebody’s support network.
And, because that’s gonna be very telling if nobody very telling if there’s isolation going on. That is gonna be an issue we know Satan likes to work in. Oh, for sure. I can’t tell you how many people that I worked with have had a thousand acquaintances but zero anchor people.
Okay. And, so it’s fine to have a thousand acquaintances, but to have some people that are on the inside that we can actually go to that we can open up to, I think that’s huge. And I do wanna say something right here to the elders and ministers and the wives. Counselors so appreciate you and your role in interacting with the Body of Christ. We as counselors here at ACCFS, do not look at it like there’s the ministers and elders, there’s the church body, but then we’re really the ones that really deal with things here. No, we’re a body.
We have different parts and different functions, and I work with people most of the time. I work with people one hour a week and in one hour a week that isn’t near enough to help people and so, yes, I’m gonna do my best to teach them skills, but to be able to send them out to a relational environment where there’s a mentor, where there are people who care about that person if they’re at church or not.
To be in that men’s Bible Study that’s going through what’s a godly man, that is so rich for us to be able to partner with the local church. We can’t even begin to express. I think that’s really exciting too, Ted, because that’s what I can do.
I can walk next to a person, I can listen. And to be that boots on the ground, so to speak, absolutely is something I think, that’s exciting. You know, and I don’t wanna overstate this, but literally, this is what I mean, Right? Things that seem very simple that are done in the local church, go in and check in on that person or just giving them that text or having that mentor person.
I specifically remember a situation where an individual did not take their life because they knew that one person was praying for them. Okay. They had one person that they knew had them in prayer, and I’m not trying to put that as a burden on anybody. Like you have to pray for everybody.
But, the point was they had a relational connection that as much as the isolation in their life said you were alone, they knew that there was one. And, that’s where again, we can’t reach everybody. We can’t be in all places at all times. And I’m not putting that on the elders and ministers and wives to be able to be all but where we are and with who is in our path.
That touching those people is what we can do. And it’s all that God asked us to do. Let’s go look at the next one here on the psychological area. Asking people about their thinking. Sometimes we don’t even think to ask about that, but let’s say somebody, Well, let me just start this way.
I think we’ve all asked the question, How are you feeling? How do you feel? We’re used to answering that question. But I don’t think anybody’s ever come up to me and said, Matt, how are you thinking? And, how important that thinking is to give rise to my feeling.
It might be a good question to start out. There’s no question that as much as I love feelings and as an individual, I’m a feeler. I like to talk about feelings more than my wife likes to talk about them. But I’ll tell you this, that feelings oftentimes are given too much power as the indicator of truth or not truth. Yes. Well, and something you taught me too, Ted, I have thought about a lot is try as you may, you can’t really change your feelings too much. Try to feel a certain way, but thinking is a little different, right?
You can think about something and wonderfully flip. Four tells us what to think on. Yes. Because we can think on things. Yep. Which is powerful. I think so. I think what’s interesting is people all the time are trying to make themselves happy. And if people could make themselves happy, by willing themselves happy, the world would be a happy place.
Okay. Right. It is not, the whole concept of willing yourself to be happy sold millions of self help books. But it doesn’t take people there. Happiness and joy is the byproduct of healthy, godly living. It’s, the caboose that follows after pursuing godly values, pursuing godly thinking, living in the direction of healthy, godly living. And the caboose is those things. It’s gonna be that, which I think goes to our our final bucket here, too. Spiritual, when you talk about God directed, that’s something that I can process as I’m walking along somebody.
It’s like, Oh, okay, I need to square their shoulders and point them towards Jesus . Okay, I can do that. I don’t know the deep things. But squaring their shoulders and facing ’em towards Jesus maybe I can do so here’s some questions that you would use. I’ll do that. One of the things we oftentimes ask people about, if they’re feeling joyful or if they’re feeling peaceful.
Those are words that are used a lot in the church. We ask people about their peace, things of that nature. What I want to know is how they define those things. Okay. When I ask somebody about peace and joy, I wanna know, are they thinking about peace and joy in a flimsy way or a biblical way?
Well, and I think your question said that, I think the point that we want to capture here, Is that a yes? No? Do you have peace with God? Yes. No. Or do you feel joy? Yes. No, but to ask a question, describe the peace and joy you have with God. Really gets to that. If a person’s gonna try to put words and their arms around what it means for them and their experience, you’re gonna get a sense of what they mean by peace.
That’s correct, because otherwise, putting it in a yes no format, actually puts it in a way that people have to answer it in a dichotomous fashion. So it’s like saying to the person who feels deep sorrow because somebody has just died and they’re feeling very, very heavy.
But also that they know that that person is in heaven. They can have abiding peace and joy in the midst of sorrow. Conflicting emotion. And too many times, we’re talking about these in kind of an emotional way. Another one is living an overcoming life and overcoming sin.
And, this is a really important one cuz I like what you said about squaring people’s shoulders. Because oftentimes in the churches we’re walking with somebody, let’s say they’re struggling with pornography. They’re struggling with some kind of thing, a mentor, working with somebody and let’s say they’ve been making progress, but then they’ve had a slip, okay.
And they’ve been doing really well, and then they had the setback. Okay? So then the question is, what does that setback mean? Okay. What Satan wants it to mean is, throw it all away. It’s, you know what, you had a winning streak of this long. It’s now gone forget it. Chalk it up, might as well head out there.
And what we have to help people see that part of overcoming in the spiritual dimension is also how we handle setback. And that we help each other to reset, to learn from the setback, to learn from the slip, to learn from, how did Satan get at me, how did I allow that to happen? And then let’s resquare our shoulders.
Let’s refocus on the goal and let’s get moving. Yeah. Well, and I think too, Ted, it really brings up this topic of deliverance, which we hear a lot too. What does it mean to be delivered from a certain vice? What it sounds like you’re saying is deliverance is not without opposition. Right. Or without temptation. Right. But it’s God providing deliverance daily in this situation. And which requires us to walk alongside people to help. Exactly. And I think you bring up a great point is a lot of times people view God as either helping them or not helping them in terms of the presence of the miraculous, and I wanna say that somebody who experiences a miraculous no more temptation, that can happen. You’ve heard of that. We’re gonna say praise God for that. But in many ways, we see instead of a fast miracle, we see slow miracle where God is helping in the day by day, daily grace, daily bread, daily accountability. And you know what, the reality is that a slow miracle is no more or more no less miraculous than a fast one. No, that’s good.
Okay. I wanna move on here to some of the top reasons that we see folks coming in to ACCFS. Sure. And, the reason for that is I think this is gonna be helpful, Ted, because as ministers in our churches, as we look out in our congregations, we could be pretty well sure that these are there. Does that make sense? Yes. These are there, and what we want to do is, okay, if we engage people, these are issues that people are dealing with. And so what does it look like with these dimensions? Okay, so here is, and you had divided this slide, so in terms of the people oftentimes wanna know what are the top reasons why do people reach out to ACCFS?
And, we have looked at why people call us. Since 2001 we’ve been looking at this and these are these top five issues come out. And so don’t get focused on which is the top or which one, because oftentimes these things occur at the same time.
So anxiety and anxiety disorders, things like panic, worry, stress, ocd, even stress based conditions, burnout, marriage and family concerns. Again, that range from premarital counseling to feeling this is marriage struggles and need for enrichment all the way over to real serious marriage and family splits. Depression is one of the most common, things that we see there are different kinds of depression. But by far, depression is one of those, it’s referred to as the common cold of mental illness and for a reason. By the way, I do wanna just make a note here that these top five things here aren’t just the top five things that happen inside the Apostolic Christian Church.
This is human beings. If you go to any counseling center, depression’s in the top. You go into any counseling center, anxiety is at the top. We could go into that more, but we need to move on today. Adjustment issues are things like dealing with stress, dealing with grief, dealing with transitions.
Now not everybody needs to go to a counselor for those. Everybody does experience those. But sometimes those things get to a place where people are stuck. So everybody goes through grief. Sometimes people get to a place where their grief is stuck. Everybody goes through transition. Sometimes people don’t end up navigating it through.
So they come. Sexuality again, a very broad category. We put it there, is very broad. It means to us more than just dealing with sexual sin like pornography. We also are working with people on how to raise up and teach children about godly healthy sexuality and God’s design all the way through sexual purity, all the way to navigating this mind feel of a world related to sexual identity.
Those kind of things. So if you were to take and you choose any of those and choose any of the dimensions how does it manifest? I’m gonna pick depression on this one and I’m gonna pick, so say that somebody, let’s say it’s a sister that has moderate clinical depression, okay?
Which means that her mood is low. She’s having low energy, she’s feeling insecure about herself, things of that nature. So biologically, let’s say here, and it can look by the way, it can look different for different people. But for this sister, she has very low energy but, also finds that her appetite is up for sweets.
So she’s gaining weight. Well, how’s she feel about herself psychologically? It’s in the tank. And, as her thinking, I’m not a good mom, I’m not a good this, I’m not a good this. How’s she feel then? As she heads to church or she’s supposed to go to potluck? She goes, Oh, everybody else has this together and here I don’t. So it’s isolating. And, who’s right there to kick us when we’re down, our adversary Satan who is there to accuse. Now here’s it got an interesting thing. A friend comes along finally learns that this lady’s dealing with some depression and says, You know what helps me?
It helps me to rehearse the Scripture. Now that’s a great idea. The problem is if this sister that’s depressed is having a severe enough depression that her concentration and memory are kind of impacted her friends saying, Hey, why don’t you memorize Psalm 1 this week? Which can be a great thing to do.
Okay, But for this sister right now, memorizing Scripture is gonna be really, really hard and maybe impossible. And so what we have to do is just be able to understand that if, for this person being able to help them say, Hey, we’re gonna keep it simple. We’re gonna the Scripture, but it’s okay why don’t you read the 23rd Psalm every day this week.
Okay? You know what? Sometimes when people are depressed, I don’t even know what to pray or how to pray. It feels like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Well, let’s you and I pray together. And it might be me reminding her of Psalm 1, There you go. Today. Right. Exactly.
Texting, a verse. If I can process and remember that, oh, biologically, because she’s depressed, she’s gonna need help recalling and doing this. Right. And, so I step into that space. Exactly. Another one would be it’s Wednesday night and it’s time for church.
That friend might say, Hey, why don’t you sit with me tonight at church. Right? Instead of her going, Oh, I don’t know anyone to sit with, I don’t know where to go. People I not wanted to hear step into, we stepped in that relations spot, said, Hey, you sit with me and you stick with me. And that friend helps to navigate conversations with that person.
And I can see then in the psychological too, and speaking truth, helping her thinking it, because her thinking is probably not doing it. And, how about this? Let’s go on a walk. Let’s get that body moving, okay. So we can see that. We don’t have time to go through all those.
But we do want to get to some questions because some have supplied those. Arlan has cued a few up. And so, Ted, let’s look at this question. Again, Arlan had consolidated some questions that came through, so how do you untangle the difference between a spiritual health struggle versus a mental health struggle.
Let just stop there. Spiritual and mental. That’s blurry and how do we know? So the first thing to remember is the person you’re dealing with has a spiritual self and mental health self. So the mental self, we’re gonna remember that the person doesn’t have either or they’re gonna have a whole thing.
One of the first things though, that I would say is it, think about this. If a person had a struggle with their knee, what they would do is they’d start out with the simplest solutions first, rest and ice. And then they might go do some physical therapy and some exercise. Before you go on to have knee surgery. You know what? Same thing is true with these kind of things. We start with the simplest things first. We don’t go into deep diving and oh, there has to be some deep, dark, hidden things here. Let’s start with just, Hey, where are you at? How you doing? And start out with some simple and very tangible things.
Start with basic things like how are you doing with this? Well, I’m struggling with feeling like God’s hearing my prayers. Well, you know what? I’ve heard other people say that. I’ve had that happen before. Say what? Why don’t we talk a little bit.
Say, Hey, why don’t we practice praying this week? And then instead of worrying about if it feels like God is hearing. We practice praying this week believing he hears us, whether or not it feels like he hears it. And, you know what? Next, why don’t you text me a couple times through the week and we’ll just check.
And so we just start in the shallow end and just a little shallow end and move on. When I find that people are spinning like there’s no capacity to take some simple tools and put ’em, you could move on. Or for example, in the continuum of severity, I wasn’t able to make it to work this week.
You know, two days, I had it bad all day. Those are clearly things. But I would also say to your saying, those are telling signs of a mental issue. Well, let’s put it this way, remember, because this can start in one place and end up in another. The fact is somebody can be depressed and need to deal with some sin in their life. Okay. But we just need to be careful that we don’t do like Job’s friends and assume at the beginning. Ok. And so I think that what I would do, is that process of taking a step with them, seeing how they’re doing. And then like for example, if I talk to somebody and they’re just telling me, I don’t feel, I’m not worthy to take communion and things that, but they can’t put their finger on anything other than they feel, I just feel unworthy.
I feel unworthy. Well, I wanna make sure they understand what the Word says. Let’s, make sure that they know the truth and have an accurate understanding. But then if they keep with accurate understanding, they keep spinning and fighting and spinning and fighting and they’re hitting and things are not moving forward, then I notice that.
I wonder what other factors are playing and I think that’s helpful. You mentioned they have good understanding, they’ve done the right things Scripture has called them to do and they’re looping. Yes. Is there indication that perhaps there’s mental? I would always say this is that it with the people that we work with we wanna do, I would call it a gradual escalation approach. We don’t, when somebody comes in, even with a problem like pornography, we can deal with it at a level one and if they do well, that’s great. But if they’re not overcoming, then we need to go level two. And they’re not overcoming, we need to go level three.
That makes sense. Let’s look at another one here. What guidance can you provide to differentiate between someone having a temporary rough patch and that which is more serious and problematic? I think a couple things. When you look at somebody’s history, and we have to be careful about history cuz on one hand we don’t wanna pigeonhole people and this kind of say, so, because Matt was this, he’s always a that.
But, if somebody has had a relationship history in which it almost seems like they’re always in a fight with somebody. The relationship history helps you to piece that together. Another thing that I like to look at it and say, is this a splinter?
That we need to get in there and deal with something, and that once it’s removed, it’s gonna heal. So, for example, if somebody has a, let’s say I came home and Donna asked me a question and I was really sharp with her. Okay? And, don’t ask Donna about that, it’s happened, believe me.
And then the Holy Spirit goes, Ted, don’t talk to my daughter that way. The reality is I’m gonna feel that pinch until I go back out there and say, Donna, I’m sorry. And that splinter, that poke is gonna be there until I go move that. Other things are more like a cookie in which they have a difficult marriage. They’ve been dealing with a thyroid that’s off. They’ve got financial distress. They’ve got their parents are in the nursing home and they’ve got things going on there. Spiritually, they’ve been really in a rough place with individuals in the church.
And so what you have then is you’ve got just like a cookie, you’ve got flour and you’ve got eggs, and you’ve got all these things that have been swirled up together, compressed, and baked. Now you’ve got a cookie. Okay. And breaking that down. It’s not as simple as saying, well, the problem in this is the flour, if we could just pull the flour out.
Well, the reality is, we have a cookie, and so we have to deal with a cookie. And what that generally means is that we have to assume that it’s gonna take some time to unwind. And from that perspective, I would encourage everyone to not think that there’s just gonna be a silver bullet. We would all love a Silver Bullet.
I would love a silver bullet. But just to remember that what we’re after is a trajectory. We wanna move in a trajectory of growth, even if it’s slow, as opposed to the one thing that’s gonna somehow make this cookie not a cookie. And Arlan, we just have a few minutes left. I wanted to give you a chance to jump in.
I’ve been watching the questions that have come in a few questions and the one that I wanna make sure we hit is the last one, if you would flip the slide cuz they tie together with this one. Sometimes we’re gonna run into an individual who you know they need help.
Maybe we had a couple specifics come up in the area of like a dementia. The beginning of dementia. How do you help someone who doesn’t realize they have a need for help? Any tips or any advice as to how to start getting into that conversation? So I wanna differentiate two things here. We could do a whole seminar on this one and probably show it at some point, but I want to talk about the difference between people who have the capacity to reason logically and the people that don’t.
Okay, so let’s talk about people that have the capacity. And so, let’s say that I’m working with you, Matt, and, you keep talking to me about how everybody keeps doing you wrong and I look at you and I think Matt doesn’t get it, that he’s creating some of his own problems here.
So one of the things that I’m gonna do, I’m gonna make an observational statement. I’m just gonna say something like this. Matt, you know what I’ve noticed? And, I’m just wondering if you’ve noticed this, I’ve wondered if you’ve noticed that in these situations when you had these problems with people in the church, in each time it was a situation in which you had an idea and the person that you wanted to take your idea didn’t take it, and then you felt like you were slighted. Do you ever notice that you react strongly if people don’t? And so what I’m doing with that is you’re wanting to take what you’re observing and put it right on the table like this.
Matt, have you ever noticed that each time you ask me for help? Each time you come to me and you say, Ted, I need your help. And then when I give you ideas, you say, yes but, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed that. Or how this is when in counseling I give homework at the end of every session. That’s what they’re gonna do between, and Matt, I noticed that you keep coming to counseling and you keep saying you don’t like how life is, but I’m noticing each time you tell me why in this past week you didn’t have a chance to work on your homework.
And I’m wondering how you think that counseling’s gonna help if you’re not practicing the application of that outside of here. So my biggest thing there is practicing taking what you’re observing and putting it on the table for discussion. For those that don’t have the ability to logically reason, and for two different types of things for organic things like dementia and things like that, one of the things that we have to understand is that sometimes more explanation isn’t necessarily going to equal more progress. Okay. That’s frustrating. It’s true of people who are manic and have bipolar disorder.
It’s true of people who are, let’s say if they’re severely depressed and you’re trying to make them feel good about something and they just can’t. So the point is that we have to understand that to a certain degree, more communication isn’t always gonna be the solution. And in fact, sometimes we have to figure out what things are in our control and what aren’t in our control.
And as a family member, I know that there’s 101 different scenarios we could do differently. Sometimes we have to work on shifting the environment around the person. Sometimes we have to work on creating safety layers. And sometimes people say but, Ted, if I do that, they’re gonna be mad. So it’d be like boundaries.
And we’ve gotta have a boundary here. A safety boundary. Because we’re not safe. You’re not safe. Yep. And so the reality is people a lot of times are concerned. Well, they’re gonna be, if I say tonight to so and so that we need to have a caregiver come in or we need to have this assessment in, they’re gonna be mad.
Generally they’re mad already. Okay. Generally, they’re always mad when things aren’t going their way. And denial plays a big part of that for some things and for other things, it’s just lack of awareness. It’s probably a topic region we could spend some more time with because it is a complex one.
I gave a few sound bites. I recognize that now. Well, thanks, Ted. Arlan, any closing comments? We are at 8:30. Yeah, no, we wanna be mindful of time. Really appreciate everyone joining us. Really appreciate Matt and Ted, you sharing your experience and your wisdom, with us. We had about 35 churches representative if my memory of the minister book serves me right. I really appreciate the turnout and the support. This was recorded. It will be posted to the minister portion of our website. It’s actually gonna look a little bit different in a couple days. We have a new website design being launched on Wednesday, Lord willing, but this will be in that minister section along with this handout.
So those who could not make it, we can review it and look at it and learn from that. And then we will be sending the survey out for those of you who attended. Always open for your feedback. If there’s ways that we can improve the technology didn’t serve you well or anything like that, please put those comments in.
And, one last point. There’s just a few questions I know that you submitted in registration, we maybe didn’t get to ’em. If there’s a concern or something that’s really on your heart, we at ACCFS are always willing to serve. Feel free to call and set up a triage with one of the counselors.
We’ll be glad to talk through situations, scenarios, and provide some one on one advice, counsel, and encouragement in that. So really appreciate the ministry, the service. I’ll turn it back to you, Matt and Ted, if you have anything else to say. Otherwise, thanks for joining us on this beautiful evening.
Yeah, I don’t. Thanks Ted, Appreciate it. Thanks. Thanks to each one of you. God’s blessings and have a good night. Good bye.