Published: 14th October 2004
'Mental health treatments which are consistent with a Christian view of life, should be used more widely by churches and faith communities', is the view of the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF), a professional body representing over 4,500 Christian doctors.
This idea is just one of a number of subjects to be explored at, 'Care of the Soul? – a Christian approach to psychiatric treatments', a conference organised by CMF to discuss the proper care of Christian patients with mental health problems.
Seven Christian psychiatrists, including Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Tom Brown, Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist, West Lothian Healthcare NHS Trust, will lead sessions exploring models that attempt to integrate psychological treatment with spiritual care. Issues due to be discussed include 'Faith Communities and mental health services – a partnership?' and 'Using Cognitive – Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT) in churches'.
Peter Saunders, General Secretary of the CMF said: “Many psychiatrists do not have a world view that involves the supernatural and therefore, they can see the Christian faith as unhelpful or even damaging to mental health. Consequently, Christians are often suspicious of psychiatry and are unaware of the value of mental health treatments. CBT for instance, which involves replacing unhelpful, untrue thoughts, that contribute to mental illness, with positive, true thoughts that bring healing, is a very good fit with the Biblical view of human beings as comprising body, soul and spirit. It was after all Jesus who said that 'the truth will set you free'”.
The conference will also include a review of Change4Good, a holistic Christian project which offers psychiatric support, advice on medication, counselling and therapy, help with substance misuse, prayer ministry and pastoral counselling.
To register for the conference contact CMF. There is a fee of £25 for doctors and £10 for students and the unsalaried.
Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668
Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225
Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 5,000 doctors, 900medical and nursing students and 300 nurses and midwives as members in all branches of medicine, nursing and midwifery. A registered charity, it is linked to over 100 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.
CMF exists to unite Christian healthcare professionals to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.