The Intersection Between Religion and Mental Health: A Reading List

This week, I’ve compiled four pieces about the intersection of religion, mental illness, safe spaces and alternative caregiving.

“Humanist Caregiving: Do We Need Chaplains or Counselors?” (Walker Bristol, Patheos, October 2014)

Atheist communities at Yale, Harvard and Tufts have chaplains who believe the work they do transcends religion; they provide a safe space for existential exploration. What does it mean to be a humanist chaplain? How does their work differ from social work or therapy?

Difficult Girl.” (Lena Dunham, The New Yorker, September 2014)

Lena Dunham relates her experiences with the therapists of her anxious life.

“Ink Sessions.” (Margot Mifflin, Aeon, January 2014)

Part conceptual artist, part therapist, inking savant Roxx specializes in blackwork tattoo. No two creations are the same; each is tailored to the subject and their struggles.

“The Rise of Biblical Counseling.” (Kathryn Joyce, Pacific Standard, September 2014)

Some evangelical Christians believe that biblical counseling can replace psychology, let alone antidepressants. It’s a dangerous assumption: “Uniting everyone was the conviction that psychology and psychiatry aren’t the sciences they claim to be but, rather, a messy gang of competing theories, as unproven and internally divided as sectarian religion.”

Photo: David Goehring