Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Distinction between Psychological and Spiritual Recovery

In the matter of post-cult recovery, I prefer to make a distinction of psychological recovery and spiritual recovery, though I know that many people do not make this distinction. The purpose of the psychological recovery is to get rid of the psychological damage caused by the cult involvement, while the purpose of the spiritual recovery is to get rid of the spiritual damage caused by the cult involvement.

To some extent, they interrelated. For example, an ex-member of a Bible-based cult left after traumatic experience. On the one hand, he or she may have (or may not have) depression or other symptoms of trauma. This is psychological damage that requires psychological recovery, for example, psychological counseling. On the other hand, the same experience may cause this person to completely turn away from God because of the memory of that trauma. This is a spiritual damage and it may require spiritual counseling. Non-Christian therapists will see no problem with a former Christian who became an atheist. The spiritual counseling may be get either from a pastor or from a Christian therapist.

However, since the same experience cause both psychological and spiritual damage, psychological and spiritual recovery will affect one another. When the memory of trauma fades, it can also cause two results. On the one hand, the person will be less depressed. On the other hand, he or she may become more positive to God. In this case, psychological and spiritual recovery may go together. There are also other cases, fore example, distrust to God and people as the result of feeling betrayed.

However, I think it is still better to distinguish psychological and spiritual recovery. For example, a former member of a Bible-based cult may have no psychological problems and thus be recovered psychologically. However, he or she still may reject God and be angry at God, though he or she was a Christian before joining a cult. Thus, this person is not recovered spiritually. On the other hand, an ex-member of a Bible-based cult may be a devoted Christian, that is, be recovered spiritually, but still have psychological problems, that is, be not recovered psychologically.

No comments: