Chinese pastor, seminary and university professors, missionary and clinical psychiatrists mutually agree that a strong conviction of faith in God mixed with a bright and optimistic outlook on life are greatly beneficial to one’s physiological, mental, and spiritual health.
Logos Evangelical Seminary, first fully accredited Asian seminary by the Association of Theological School in the United States and Canada (ATS), organized a seminar titled “Mental Health Conference for Chinese American Christians” at the Evangelical Formosan Church of Los Angeles, where over 700 local church leaders participated, on January 22.
The guest speakers who were invited are Dr. Ming T. Tsuang (UCSD professor), Dr. Freda Cheung (UCLA assistant professor), Avril Vavrosky (OMF missionary), and Rev. Kum Cheun Ngai (LES student affairs director), and Dr. Yih Jia Chang (clinical psychiatric scholar) commented in response to each speaker’s presentation.
Following the theme of the seminar, the speakers pitched their inputs on mental health of Christians from the perspective of pastoral association, clinical psychology, psychiatry, and spiritual warfare.
Tsuang, who has been awarded the Lieber Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Schizophrenia Research by NARSAD last October, defined “well-being” as the holistic health of the body, mind, and spirit; to establish “well-being”, the influencing factors of genetic inheritance and external factors must not be ignored.
Then, Cheung also stressed that physiological, mental, spiritual, and social development must be developed in balance in order to achieve psychological health.
From the perspective of spiritual warfare, Vavrosky shared the method to distinguish between mental sickness and demonic possession.
Ngai stressed that pastoral counseling must address the psychological health of Christians and the contributions that it has towards the psychological and spiritual health.
The seminar also offered workshops that address specific topics related to the theme, including “Caring for P Patients and their Family – Team Efforts of Churches’, Ministries’, and Professional staffs” led by Living Grace Counseling Ministry director Sam Ng, “Biblical Counseling and Mental Health” led by LES assistant professor Dr. Kuo-Liang Lin, “Spiritual Resources for Coping with Mental Problems” led by Siang Yan Tan, and “Understanding Common Psychological Problems (Symptons of Depression, Manic Depressive, Schizophrenia, and Anxiety)” led by Dr. Eugene Y. Young.
It was reported that the participants expressed their acclaims for the seminar and workshops. The speakers and the participants interacted with each other during lunch break.
Along with LES as the host organizer, EFC headquarters, Los Angeles Chinese Ministerial Association, LES Alumni Association, Chinese Christian Herald Crusade Community Center, Living Grace Counseling Ministry, and Asian American Christian Counseling Services, Inc. served as the co-hosts.
The organizing committee hopes that this seminar will help spark the Chinese Christians to more actively address the issues of mental health and to find the answers in God, living out the life of harvest that God has promised.
[Editor's note: reporter Quan Wei contributed to this report.]