Christian leaders need to take care of their mental health along with their spiritual health. But many times, leaders are hesitant to reach out to get healing from past trauma or speak up about mental health concerns. Why is that, and what can we do about it?
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In our 2nd episode in our mental health series, Holly and I chat with our guest Dr. Barbara Lowe about recovering from trauma, finding healing, and getting support for mental health.
In addition to sharing her own story, Dr. Barbara also gives us some practical tips and tools to deal with our own mental health, as well as how to help guide and lead others if they are struggling.
We cover why leaders often don’t reach out for help with mental health, what to do if someone is depressed or suicidal, and more. Through the conversation, Dr. Barbara helps us gain a holistic view of mental health, considering how our faith is connected to all of this.
Key Points Discussed:
- Dr. Barbara’s Leadership Journey [5:30]
- An “unlikely leader” because of her past
- How Dr. Barbara moved into a healthy place [13:50]
- Faith plus therapy model for healing trauma [18:00]
- How spiritual health and mental health are connected [25:30]
- Why Christian leaders avoid the topic of mental health [28:25]
- Barriers that leaders face
- Start being more open about our struggles
- How we can support leaders who do open up [34:00]
- When do we ourselves need to get help for ourselves [37:03]
- Common points of anxiety, depression, or anger
- Addictions and pain points in our relationships
- What to do when another person does not want to participate in the change [40:48]
- When pastors should refer out in counseling [43:00]
- Vetting potential counselors
- Dealing with suicide [47:20]
- Suicidal thoughts are a normal part of depression
- Need to be aware of intent, method, and means
- Get other people involved, especially a mental health professional
- Ask questions!
- Leaders are Learners [54:30]
Key Quotes from the Episode:
Quotes are by Dr. Barbara Lowe unless otherwise noted.
- “God, turn this into a beautiful place.”
- “Healing is from God.”
- “None of us go through middle school unscathed.”
- “God will go as deep as we let Him.”
- “A lot of people try and forgive before they even realize they are angry.”
- “God wants to heal us so that we can leave a legacy on this earth, so that we can align with His purpose.”
- “We are going to be much healthier leaders if we let [our wounds] be healed.”
- “God put gifts of healing in the body, and this is one of them.”
- “You’re not going to have a healthy flock if you’re not healthy at the top.”
- “A lot of times when we open up, we don’t want the fix; we want the presence.”
- “When what you are providing isn’t helping or making things worse, then you need to get a professional involved; there’s no shame in that.”
- “Suicidal thoughts are part of depression often, and we kind of need to normalize that.”
- “Err on the side of asking, and asking to the point of being a nuisance.”
- “It’s easier to not talk about it; it’s easier to pretend like everything is okay.” – Esther Littlefield
- “There’s a lot of things that we’re not talking about that we need to talk about.”
Links and Resources Mentioned:
- Progressive Relaxation
- “Self-momming” skill
- 5-4-3-2-1 grounding technique
- The Emotionally Destructive Marriage: How to Find Your Voice and Reclaim Your Hope by Leslie Vernick
- The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick
- Leaders are Learners: World Women’s Wholeness Summit
Connect with Dr. Barbara Lowe:
- World Women’s Wholeness Summit
- Free Gift: 10 Essential Self-Care Tools that EVERY Woman Needs
Dr. Barbara Lowe is a licensed psychologist, founder and owner of Greenleaf Psychological Services, Somatic Experience practitioner, EMDR practitioner, Board Certified Life Coach, educator, lay minister, and author. As a gifted international speaker, her audiences are left with the feeling that they have been seen, that their pain has been witnessed, and that their hope for a better life has been renewed. She led the women’s panel at the American Association of Christian Counselors World Conference 2019 and she also chaired the AACC World committee for preventing sexual abuse, harassment, and abuses of power.
She and her husband Pastor Tim Sauve are founders of the World Women’s Wholeness Summits (3WSummit.com), and just hosted a free, three-day (March 6-8, 2020) international on-line conference dedicated to unity with diversity, legacy, and women’s wholeness from a mental health and faith integrated platform.
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