Commentary: We all need therapy, and it can take many forms

By Christy Thomas, Special Contributor…

We need therapy. We need deep, freedom-giving healing.

Why? Well, let’s take a quick look at a few current situations.

• The usual political “I want to get re-elected at all costs and I don’t care what happens to ordinary people who don’t load me up with campaign contributions” maneuvering continues in our nation’s capital.

Christy Thomas

• The health care system accelerates its out-of-control spiral, making decent health care less and less accessible to any but the exceedingly rich and lucky and a misery to dedicated, practicing physicians and other health care professionals.

• As we continue to seek healing from the Newtown, Conn., massacre, hundreds of other innocents have been shot and killed by privately owned guns.

• Women in much of the world live in fear of marauding bands of feral males who think it right and fun to torture, violate and destroy them while male police benignly look the other direction.

Is all lost? Are we doomed to a more violent, less caring, more fearful future?

I don’t think so.

Why? Simply because all the awfulness taking place has always taken place BUT there is one huge difference now: Hardly anything can be hidden today. Thanks to the free press and simply astounding technology, everyone can know everything quickly. Sin and evil are being outed.

Light wins

Healing begins with seeing and speaking truth about sin, brokenness, cruelty, corruption, greed. Keeping things hidden, cut off from light and air, increases corruption and decay and encourages evil. But when we face things openly and let the light shine on the darkness, the light will overcome the darkness.

That’s the nature of light. It always wins. Darkness can’t overtake it.

Consider the word “therapeutic.” The root meaning is to heal, to make free.

When we enter therapy of any kind, we seek freedom. Healing and freedom are inextricably linked.

We cannot be free from sin and still be bound by it. We heal when we are set free from it.

We cannot heal from cruelty or greed when we stay stuck in patterns that encourage more cruelty and greed. We heal when we seek to set ourselves and others free from such patterns.

In this sense, God is the great Therapist: A person seeking to love God and love neighbor can only do so when such a one becomes free from stuckness in unloving patterns and habits. That’s the nature of salvation.

Seeing our truths

All of us are in need of therapists, whether we spell “Therapist” with a capital or a lowercase letter. We find freedom in the presence of those who are trained in the healing arts, be it physical, mental, political, social or spiritual.

Therapy takes many forms. It can take the form of lighthearted play and laughter, trained listening ears, hugs and tears, medical interventions, prayers by those gifted in that discipline, cooks who provide food which nourishes the body, wise people who can see big pictures and bring correction to misaligned paths and poorly made decisions, spiritual leaders who can help expose sin and release the power of forgiveness and reconnection.

We all need healers in our lives. Nothing and no one is exempt from this need. No one and nothing, including larger political and social systems, will be set free without willingness to shed light on darkness and engage in healing acts. That’s what therapists do.

Sometimes freedom appears spontaneously, one of those serendipitous moments that just happen in this mysterious world held together by the power of Holy Love. However, most healing therapy is intentional and scheduled. We need to set aside time to seek truth and freedom, and do so with those who have therapeutic expertise in the correct areas.

The world needs therapists. You and I need them. Let’s make 2013 the year to see our truths (both individual and corporate), name our sins, find our healing and get free.

The Rev. Thomas is pastor of First UMC in Krum, Texas. She wrote this essay for her blog,

Special Contributor to UMR

Special Contributor

This story was written by a special contributor to The United Methodist Reporter. You may send your article submissions to

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
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I enjoyed your post. I find it interesting some enjoy the darkness liking themselves more and more sitting each Sunday on a pew measuring their disbelief in their government, community of believers, and God. While this is sad, it is enough to keep us praying for God to rescue us and help us lead people to the light with sprinkles of spiritual salt along the path at least if we do not get them to drink perhaps they will get so thirsty getting close to the river might be refreshing indeed. It would be nice to get focused back on… Read more »

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