Church gets ready to heal emotional wounds
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in Him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to Him. The Lord is the strength of His people; He is the saving refuge of His anointed.” Psalms 28:7-8.
The world is often a heavy place for many persons, particularly for those whose continuous efforts to fight and rise above the obstacles experience defeat.
This is why the church places such a heavy emphasis on counselling; combining faith with the principles of psychology and biblical teachings to help people build and maintain their mental wellness.
Come June 4, the Ridgemount United Church will facilitate, through its outreach programme, a mental health symposium, spearheaded by the Church-Site Counselling Initiative (CSCI), themed ‘Emotional Wounds: Becoming aware when unaware’, with the hope to improve knowledge about woundedness in self and others.
Counselling psychologist, who operates at the Ridgemount United Church site, Deanette Watson-Edwards, says the CSCI, which is a partnership between mental health professionals and several church denominations that gives persons greater access to psychological counselling and free educational sessions through mental health workshops, seminars, and symposiums, currently has two active sites in Kingston and one in Mandeville - which also cater to Clarendon and St Elizabeth.
“Most people can’t afford private counselling and the clinic is overburdened, and so this medium helps persons …. This is the church seeing the need for counselling and helping persons with these initiatives.”
Among the clients, Watson-Edwards said she has been seeing in greater numbers at the counselling site are children and adults who are depressed, presenting with suicidal thoughts, and behavioural problems and relationship issues as a result of trauma.
“Some of these traumas include witnessing someone being killed, death or other losses. Some of the children are physically, verbally, sexually abused, there is parental neglect and bullying … . There is still some reluctance in persons seeking counselling,- but I find that there is a little change.”
While there remains a misinterpretation of counselling for mental wellness and intervention for mental ill health, Watson-Edwards said she is hoping persons will understand that seeking assistance for overall mental health, before issues escalate, is necessary.
“It is important for the churches to get involved in these initiatives because we are the Church, people make up the Church and we are holistic beings who are affected spiritually, emotionally, physically and the Church has to be involved in all aspects of human suffering,” she added.
In order to bolster the benefits of counselling, Watson-Edwards said there are ongoing sessions scheduled for churches that speak to a wide subject area and manage the needs of the people as they come.
“Even in Bible study, these things are addressed. Right now, we are looking at homosexuality and how the Church handles homosexuality, and how we show love to different types of people … .”
She said the symposium will offer persons an opportunity to uncover what affects them deeply and seek follow-up counselling sessions.
“This symposium will focus on creating an awareness on emotional wounds that people are carrying but are not aware of it, things that would have happened to them in the past and no counselling was done and they find that months later they are still having flashback about it, and it affects how they function, but they don’t know that is the cause.”
Persons interested in the symposium may contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find us on Instagram at churchsite.counselling