In Plain Prayer: Why Missionary Families Are Showing Love to Haiti Kidnappers
This article reminds us of some parts of Christian teaching that we may have forgotten. The Anabaptist tradition has often amazed us by their willingness to forgive (e.g., when the Amish forgave the shooter who several years ago murdered several of their children while they were in school), even if the transgressor has not offered any indication that they are repentant. This current situation is another example of Christians forgiving, even though the perpetrators have shown no indications of repentance. I think it’s good to remind ourselves of Jesus asking God to forgive those who crucifying him even while he hung on the cross, even though many of his crucifiers showed no signs of remorse. Click here to read full article.
Steps per Day and All-Cause Mortality in Middle-aged Adults in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study
Here is another study (I included one a short time ago that concluded the same thing) of middle-aged men and women that found that those men and women who walked 7,000 or more steps per day had less mortality from all causes than those who did not. Also, the study concluded that intensity of walking did not make a difference. So one more study encouraging us all to walk to keep healthy. Click here to read full article.
Making Decisions About Antidepressant Treatment in Pregnancy
About 10% of pregnant women experience clinical depression. One question that concerns many women is whether to take antidepressants during this time. This Danish study followed children several years after birth and found there were no discernible differences in language scores between children whose mothers took antidepressants and those who didn’t. It did find a small but statistically significant difference in math scores. The authors conclude that as with many medical decisions, the doctor and mother need to do a cost/benefit analysis. One thing is the severity of the depression. But for us as counselors, there are non-medication treatments we can provide that have no discernible risks, so this is something we have to offer in such situations. Click here to read full article.
Why We Shouldn’t Be Neutral about Divorce
In many counselor-education programs, counseling students are taught that they should be neutral about divorce—if couples want to divorce, you should help them divorce. If couples want to stay married, you should help them stay married. Therapist neutrality is considered the ideal.
In this article William Doherty, a highly respected therapist, explains why he has come to gradually believe this is not the best approach for couples. This is a highly condensed summary of his reasoning. If you want to see his fuller explanation, see the fuller exposition referenced in the article. Other books by respected therapists that give thoughtful arguments about why therapists should not be neutral about divorce include Divorce-Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis, Fighting for Your Marriage by Markman, Stanley, and Blumberg, and The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce by famed researcher Judith Wallerstein. Click here to read full article.
Empty Pews Are an American Public Health Crisis
This headline in Christianity Today might seem to be hyperbole, but it is worthwhile reading. The authors are two researchers from Harvard who compile an amazing body of research showing how regular church attendance is correlated with lower levels of many serious mental and physical health problems. Just identifying with Christian beliefs and saying “I am a Christian” does not confer the same benefits.
Now that the COVID pandemic is winding down, some who have been attending church online may be tempted to continue to do so. I think it will be important to somehow get this information-to those who may be tempted to remain in the comfort of their homes rather than coming back to church in person. Click here to read full article.
Is Natural Immunity Enough or Should People Who Have Had COVID Also Get Vaccinated?
Some people who have had COVID say they have natural immunity and they don’t need to be vaccinated. Here is a part of a discussion by medical researchers on what the research is showing. The bottom line: people with natural immunity were still five times more likely to get a second episode of COVID than those who were vaccinated. The discussion that relates to the above question is included below:
Rick: Elizabeth, let's talk about vaccination versus getting an infection. Because I hear a lot of people say, "Well, I have had a COVID infection, therefore I don't need a vaccination." This is a report from MMWR, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, where they collected data from 187 hospitals across nine states of people that were hospitalized with COVID-like symptoms, so upper respiratory tract symptoms, pneumonia, and shortness of breath. They went on to test them to see whether they were COVID-positive or not.
They were able to divide these individuals into people that had previously been COVID infected -- and therefore you think that they would be somewhat protected -- and those that have received vaccination with one of the mRNA vaccines. They went on to say how often do these individuals with COVID-like symptoms actually end up being COVID positive.
What they discovered was that unvaccinated individuals who had previously been infected and recovered from their coronavirus infection were five times more likely to get COVID as people who had received both shots of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines.
Elizabeth: I think this makes some intuitive sense. I can certainly hypothesize on why we think this would be the case. That's because of the vaccines eliciting a multitude of antibodies, not just ones against a specific strain that someone might be infected with.
Rick: Not only that, Elizabeth, but a higher antibody titer as well, as it appears to be more-long lasting. The key to our listeners is although being previously infected does provide some protection, if you want to be maximally protected -- even if you've been infected previously -- is to receive the vaccine. Now, we usually recommend that you wait 90 days after you've been infected before you receive the full vaccine doses, but it appears to be more protective.
This was part of a discussion of several issues. If you want to see the full report of all the issues discussed, it is here. Click here to read full article.
Five Ways to Teach Generosity
These helpful ideas from Children’s Movement Florida.
Should We Pursue Self-Love?
We are often told that to have healthy psychological lives we must learn to love ourselves. Randy Alcorn has some interesting thoughts to consider about whether the Bible actually teaches this. If you only read one article from this week’s compilation, I encourage you to choose this one. Click here to read full article.
Ex-satanist who hated Christians spent 33 years praising evil — until a book mysteriously appeared on his jail cell floor
This story reveals how this child first got pulled into Satanism, his 33 years in Satanism, and the factors that led him to Christ. Click here to read full article.
An Arab Muslim in the Israeli Army
This isn’t a counseling article, but it has content I think all Christians should be aware of. Our American media often present the Israelis as unfair persecutors of the Palestinians. This 5-minute video presents some truths about Israel that probably most of us have never heard (but need to know to have an accurate view of Israel). Click here to read full article.
A promising new treatment for depression
Here is a promising new treatment for people who haven’t responded to other therapies for depression and are seriously depressed (e.g., suicidal). It identifies the part of the brain that is underactive and then stimulates that part of the brain to become more active again (called “targeted magnetic stimulation”) not to be confused with another treatment also called “TMS.” For a brief introduction to SAINT, watch this video. Click here to read full article.
Effect of Preemptive Intervention on Developmental Outcomes Among Infants Showing Early Signs of Autism
Before this our ability to treat autism spectrum disorder has been limited by the fact that by the time ASD has been diagnosed, significant brain development has already occurred and interpersonal behaviors are considerably established. What would happen if early signs of ASD could be identified and preemptive measures to treat symptoms could occur while the brain is rapidly developing?
A study in Australia addressed this question: About 100 children were identified as having some early signs of ASD around age 1: of those about 50 received usual care and 50 received usual care and some specific treatment aimed at treating those early abnormal signs of ASD. After five months of treatment two independent reviewers who were blinded to which treatment group a child was in, who were quite knowledgeable of ASD symptoms, rated the children on the severity of ASD symptoms. They found that children given the specialized treatment had significantly less severe ASD symptoms than those children who had usual care only. They found that these gains were still maintained when the children were 3 years of age.
While this study did not show that ASD could be cured, it did show that the severity of ASD symptoms could be reduced by early intervention, so this is a significant advance. See the article itself for more specific details on the study. Click here to read full article.
Managing A.D.H.D. Is Hard. These Coaches Want to Help.
Sometimes people with ADHD can benefit more from an ADHD coach than from counseling. In case you wondered whether you wanted to add ADHD coaching to your repertoire of skills, this article is a good introduction to what ADHD coaching is about. Click here to read full article.
70% of Americans experiencing climate change anxiety and depression, survey finds
You might find an occasional client coming to you because of anxiety or depression related to fears of climate change. This article talks about it, and about the Climate Psychology Alliance, which is made up of clinicians who talk about this. At this point it’s a little too early to know whether this issue is being overblown, or whether it will continue to be an issue that counselors need training on. Click here to read full article.
The Kindness of Constructive Criticism
Our normal response to criticism is to become defensive but asking for and being open to constructive criticism is how we become better at whatever we do, whether it be teaching, writing, counseling, or something else. In this blog Randy Alcorn gives an excellent rationale for why we all need to be open to constructive criticism. If you have a client who has difficulty in this area, this article might be helpful to share with them. Married couples sometimes aren’t open to the feedback that comes from their partner. In those cases, sometimes they need to become open to criticism, but one or both may also need help in terms of how they give criticism. Click here to read full article.
Have a wonderful weekend!