Sunday, April 06, 2014


When I started writing about persons with lived experience in 1988, I used the term bio-psycho-social-spiritual to describe a human being.  At that time, I had not seen the word in print anywhere although biopsychosocial was being used by some at the time.  It has become clear to me since that time that spiritual has such an array of meanings that it is almost a useless word.  It can mean anything from authentic folk spirituals to something that is not corporeal. However, if I give spiritual a meaning of incorporeal I really have not improved the matter much because incorporeal can mean having no material existence but existing by reason of its annexation of something material such as an easement or copyright.  So what did I mean when I used the word spiritual?

I did not mean a type of religious song originating among Black slaves in the American south.  I did not mean something simply related to the church or what it considers sacred. I was not referring to spiritualism or the paranormal.  I was speaking of the soul or spirit of a person distinguished from their physical nature that is eternal and can communicate directly with the Creator.

Defining spiritual in the way I do means that many people in the mental health field do not agree with the way I describe a human being.  It is my contention that as long as they deny the fact we have an eternal soul then they can’t possibly come up with a holistic treatment approach.  Until they see the whole, they cannot walk beside the whole on a recovery path.

The day may never come that the mental health system sees us as the Creator sees us, but we can be assured that our Creator will never turn away.  We will always be whole to the One who created us because we were redeemed by the Creator and made whole.

© Ed Cooper, April 6, 2014, Stoney Creek, Tennessee

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