Dr. Kelsei LeAnn: How ‘Biblical Psychology’ Can Help Address Mental Health in Today’s Digital Age

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What do the Bible and psychology have in common? Much more than you may think. With mental health being a high-level concern in recent years, adapting techniques to our digital age helps to keep the field of psychology relevant. But in an age where we struggle with addressing revenge porn, internet porn, defamation, harassment, and other social media crimes, who really wants to see religion coming into the equation? ‘Biblical psychology,’ a technique not frequently heard around the block, is one we at Grit Daily recently discovered and had to bring to your attention.

For those, the idea of “eternal damnation” is neither biblically, philosphically, nor morally justified. Yet, many look to psyschology for answers.

Last year’s Mental Health America’s 2019 State of Mental Health report revealed that more than 56% of the African-American, Hispanic, Asian, and Indigenous population don’t have healthcare. Even more concerning from the report was the finding that the average American doesn’t have accessible access to mental health services—or easily accessible resources available to them. But when all seems down, it would seem th

Dr. Kelsei LeAnn

We reached out to Dr. Kelsei LeAnn, a licensed therapist at just 22-years-old, who specializes in ‘biblical psychology’ to help us better understand how age-old teachings intertwined with psychology helps patients struggling with mental health in today’s digital age.

Grit Daily: For the uninitiated, can you explain what “biblical psychology” is as you understand it?

Dr. Kelsei LeAnn: Biblical psychology is the study of theological principles, intertwined with psychological techniques. I essentially take what the Bible says, and apply it to what mental health is.

GD: To address the elephant in the room: why don’t we really hear much about biblical psychology as a technique today?

KL: Most people think that the Bible contradicts mental health, but it actually endorses it. Growing up, I knew I wanted to be a therapist; I also knew how important my faith was to me—thus, merging the two together was a dream of mine that I got the chance to successfully complete at The Hope Bible Institute. The Institute had an accelerated program that allowed me to accomplish this at 22-years-old.

GD: How does ‘accessibility’ to mental health services come into play, considering the report’s findings?

KL: What ‘accessibility’ means in this context is that if an individual doesn’t have accessible mental health services, those services are obviously not attainable, which makes it inconsistent with obtaining proper treatment. If you take a look at the report, it also reflected that the number of uninsured Americans nearly doubled from 2012 to 2017—but when we factor in children and the suicide rate in children under 12-years-old, those figures have nearly tripled from 2010 to 2020. It’s more likely for a child whose nine-years-old to commit suicide due to bullying, than a fifteen-year-old in this day in age.

GD: What would you consider to be one of the more important qualities for a licensed mental health professional to strive for in today’s world of social media?

KL: In my opinion, it’s the ability to make yourself “relatable” to your audience. Make yourself accessible with the knowledge your patient has. Many people cannot afford consistent therapy, but they’re always on social media—using your platform for good is the best way to not just gain visibility, but to establish credibility in your area of expertise.

GD: On that note, what factors do you assess before creating a plan for an individual under your care?

KL: I always take into consideration the culture and background of my client.

If my client is African-American, I recognize a history of cultural trauma, resulting from movements like slavery; if my client is Hispanic, on the other hand, I may also consider their trauma which could be the result of today’s political climate. I also consider the environments that all my clients were raised in.

Was it a two-parent home? One-parent? Were his or her parents ever married?

It’s important for me to understand the relationship dynamics that my patient grew up with, so that I may better access how they view relationships in today’s age as an adult.

GD: Let’s talk ‘FOMO,’ or the fear-of-missing-out in an age where those may struggle with the everyday pressures of being ‘social.’ What advice would you give to someone who struggles with the constant need to be “social?”

KL: I would remind those individuals that they only see what people want them to see. Although social media is a great tool, it’s also a mirror. What you allow yourself to see, view, watch, listen and read becomes your worldview—that’s why I’m an advocate of only following accounts that actually help you versus accounts that simply look ‘good’ to follow. Social media has become a ‘highlight realm’—it very rarely shows the lows that we all encounter. So, you aren’t missing anything except the opportunity to fully be yourself in that moment.

Grit Daily: And in recent events, the death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant sent massive shock-waves across the world—in addition to the other seven victims who lost their lives. If a patient presented to you, how would you address this horrific tragedy to those children on Gianna’s basketball team, classmates—and of course, the family and friends of the Bryant family?

KL: I had patients the day after Kobe died come into my office crying the entire session, it was a very heavy week. I would encourage the students to first speak to an adult they trust about their feelings, kids at that age are still learning how to process their feelings, due to them processing they’re still unsure of what they truly feel and how it directly applies to them in that moment, talking to an adult that they trust is the best way for them to create a safe space where they don’t have to force how they feel, they can just feel and process.

There is no clear way to grieve. People grieve in different ways,
the best way to grieve is surrounded by support. I encourage them to surround
themselves with people they love and ones that are going through the same
thing, having your teammates is the best thing for them, and for Vanessa Bryant
to be surrounded by family that helps her as she processes her grief will help
her tremendously.

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