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How does psychological pain affect physical health?

Chaplain Joy L. Smith, M.A.
 Mental Health Counselor - Spiritual Mentor

For 18 years, Dr. Leslie Edison at Moon Valley Medical Center has referred people to me after she attends to their physical needs.  She is able to see beyond the illnesses of her patients, identifying underlying emotional and mental struggles of her patients.  This gifted doctor refers these patients to me.  As a chaplain and pastoral counselor, within Dr. Edison’s medical practice, I gain amazing insights about how best people can help themselves stay well.Chaplain Joy L. Smith

For instance, the human body is continually working toward homeostasis.  This means our bodies are, at all times, regulating internal conditions in order to maintain good health and ultimate function–while also maintaining equilibrium and stability.  Except for factors affecting the body through genetics, toxic intake, accidents, or poor habits, the health of the body ultimately depends on what is going on in the person’s soul!  So, that part of us that is known as the psyche (soul) powerfully influences wellness and happiness.

Dr. Edison brought me into her practice because she knew that treating the body without attending to what is going on in the psyche (soul) is incomplete work.  While in my training as a chaplain, I completed an advanced study sanctioned by an examining board for chaplains.  That study involved psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology (PNI*) as related to the onset of cancer.  PNI* is a field of medicine that reveals the fact that what goes on in the psyche affects our neurological system, our immune system, and even our endocrine system.

During the past few decades, medical research has remarkably revealed something missed by many doctors in the past.  Now, due to the research provided by PNI*, more attention is given to what is going on in a person’s psyche.  This field of medicine deals with what is happening in the mind, the will, the emotions, and the spirit of a person.  The Latin for “psyche” is “soul.”  The Greek comprehension of the psyche (from which this Latin word comes), indicates “life, breathe, soul.”  My practice aligns with that understanding and results in work that brings healing that starts within the soul of a person.  When a person can look into her or his own soul, light comes bringing understanding to the “whats” and “whys” of that individual’s current struggles whether these are emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical.  In this way, we can get to the bottom of what is needed for the soul to reach the body’s ability to support ongoing good health with increased peace and joy.

The people I see usually revisit what can be addressed as matters of the heart. In this way, clients come to know what they want in life and feel empowered to attain it.  By identifying the goals that best matches her or his heart’s desires, each one becomes more able to achieve that which will bring the satisfaction they seek.  When a person invests oneself in the work, together we gain multiple insights into how the condition of the soul is contributing to physical, emotional, and spiritual struggles.  The work results in more self-control and self-esteem as behaviors are understood and coping skills are developed.

Now that I’ve introduced you to this work, let’s focus on how you, as Reader, can receive help.  For that purpose, I have listed (on the left) topics that seem to be “top-drawer” among the people who are referred to me.  Click on those articles that pique your interest.  Read to your heart’s content.  Some of the readings are quite short; others hold more material.  I aim for conciseness while giving specific help on the topics listed.

I am a Board Certified chaplain who is fully aware of the fact that people practice their spirituality in many different ways.  My work is inclusive, respectful of the various religious beliefs and life philosophies.  The segments of writing presented here on specific topics have either been published or will soon be published.  Meanwhile, these materials are for you and those for whom you care.  However, please use my work respectfully, by honoring the instructions extended in the link titled “Copyright Button.”  I pray for you as you read.

If you want to know more about my faith journey and what led me to pursue this work and how it unfolded, click the button titled “Spiritual Journey” on this page. And, you may want to read The Chaplain is In: Journey to Health and Happiness offered at Amazon.com.

May God richly bless your soul!

Chaplain Joy