Journey: Theology and Psychology

Posted: 02.11.2010 in journey
Tags: , , , ,

Being in the midst of a particularly brutal moment of the term, I don’t have time for a long post. But I have been thinking about the ways that Psychology (study of soul) and Theology (study of God) really do walk together in some deep ways.

Psychology (in broad strokes) states that our brokenness represents our “best efforts” to deal with life. For example, I am in a class about substance abuse and we have been discussing how a person goes to substances because in large part, he/she have not yet learned how to handle “bad feelings”. Or in a class about evil and abuse last term, we talked about how someone who has undergone tremendous physical, sexual, emotional abuse deals with it through disassociating. They split off parts of themselves in order to survive that kind of horror.  However, after the horror is over, the effects of the splitting continue to affect the way a person engages with the world around them. The most serious version being Disassociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder).  The defense that kept them alive during some terrifying times now prevents them from enjoying abundant life.

And so on one level, we find a profound part of the gospel in the midst of psychology… that our best efforts lead to death.  Death of relationship with self and others, and sometimes the end of our life.   Now, not everyone has substance abuse problems, or DID, but we have all made our best attempts to deal with some really shitty things on our own and had it backfire profoundly against us.  We get hurt by someone and then vow to not give our hearts away again.  We get used by someone of the opposite gender and swear not to trust that gender again, etc.  This is part of the nature of the Gospel.  A recognition that our attempts to make ourselves better not only fails, but tends to lead us away from what will bring life.

  1. 5kidswdisabilities says:

    Interesting perspective. I have 1 son with DID and 2 daughters with PTSD from early childhood abuse. All have conditions which COULD prevent them from enjoying life. However, with a loving family, good counseling, great medications and spiritual surroundings, they have come to accept their disabilities and thrive. My son with DID is especially amazing in what positive things he can do.

    Lindsey Petersen

    • Lindsey, It is good to hear that your kids are thriving. They are fortunate to have all the support that they do have. Not everyone is as blessed. DID in particular has a nasty habit of getting diagnosed wrong on a fairly consistent basis, which is unfortunate for those living with it and wanting more out of their lives.
      Blessings, Mike

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