Have you ever felt that receiving effective treatment for mental illness requires that we turn away from religious or spiritual support and instead seek help from clinicians? It’s easy to understand why this idea might have developed in encouraging people to seek structured, evidence-based care from trained mental health professionals. Have we gone too far in dismissing the role of religion and spirituality in protecting our mental health and combatting forms of mental illness?
Dr. Lisa Miller, a psychologist at Columbia University, would say that we’ve definitely underplayed the role of spirituality in preventing and treating depression specifically. In this week’s discussion we’re going to watch a brief video where Dr. Miller describes her research and what she and her team have found over multiple studies. Spoiler alert: she finds convincing evidence that spirituality–as defined by our connection to “something bigger than ourselves” (i.e., God)–can protect the human brain against despair and be an effective treatment for depression via altruism.
Maybe it’s time we move from “either or” to “both and” when it comes to religion and treatment for mental illness? Or is that a step in the wrong direction? Join us tomorrow to share your thoughts!
Our warm-up question for this week:
It’s said that certain scents can be very strongly tied to memories. What’s a memory you have, good or bad, that has a distinct smell associated with it?
See you soon,