A Biblical Approach to Mental Health - UICMC

PREREQUISITES: Students must have completed their clerkship in Psychiatry

PURPOSE: This course points to the dependence of modern psychology and psychiatry on Greek thought, and offers ten imperatives, indeed commandments, for a Biblical Psychology.

  1. Belief in God frees man from enslavement by nature
  2. Regression in the service of development can overcome the oppositional view of self and other
  3. Woman is not an impediment but a partner to man
  4. Depending on the authority figure, obedience can be more freeing than disobedience
  5. The father is a support rather than a block to his son's development
  6. The mother is a support rather than a block to her daughter's development
  7. Parent blessing and a sense of purpose can can overcome sibling rivalry
  8. The body is not a prison of the soul but is integrated with it
  9. Freedom can be found in life and not in suicide and death
  10. Life is not tragic but hopeful, and people can and do grow, and even change when necessary


COMPETENCIES: The Biblical narratives introduce the idea of secure parenting which enables patients to withstand all sorts of life stressors. When patients and their loved ones have firm, spiritual beliefs, it is often helpful and therapeutic for physicians to understand where the patient is coming from, and to be able to speak and communicate in a way that the patient and loved ones can best comprehend. Biblical Psychology will help aid in this effort. By the end of the rotation, students will be able to:

  • Construct a therapeutic plan for relieving pain, ameliorating suffering and directed toward specific resolution of health problems
    Spirituality and related practices are more and more commonly accepted and used in the health-care setting. It is often helpful and therapeutic for physicians to be able to acknowledge (to patients and their loved one) the assistance of meditation, prayer and other calming holistic, spiritual practices in relieving pain and suffering. Biblical Psychology will demonstrate the effective use of a holistic mindset as a basis for treatment as well as for relieving pain and suffering.
  • Counsel and educate patients and their families
    Patients and their loved ones often have deep, firmly-held spiritual beliefs. Biblical Psychology can aid in instructing physicians concerning positive ways to communicate and counsel with patients and their families.
  • Can deal with uncertainty and respects the opinions of others
    When a patient's deeply-held spiritual beliefs access the uncertainty in life and-at times-the uncertainty in medical treatment, the physician can recognize the usefulness of that belief system. biblical Psychology can assist in helping physicians deal with gray areas in life, and specifically in patient care. Biblical Psychology can also demonstrate a respectful attitude towards several approaches that use spirituality.
  • Listens attentively and effectively
    Biblical Psychology can demonstrate a holistic attitude and mindset that meshes closely with active, attentive listening.
  • Communicates clearly with patients and patients' families
    Patients and their loved ones often have deep-firmly-held spiritual beliefs. Biblical Psychology can aid in instructing physicians concerning positive ways to communicate clearly with patients and their families. 


INSTRUCTIONAL FEATURES: The length of the course is 2 weeks of credit (decompressed over 4 weeks). Learning activities includes: on-line lectures, assignments, case reviews, group-work, reading of text and papers, live symposiums, and a term paper.

Recommended Texts: Kaplan, K.J. & Schwartz, M.W. (2008). A Psychology of Hope: A Biblical Response to Tragedy and Suicide. Grand Rapids, MI. Wm B. Eerdmans.

Kaplan, K. J. (2009). Towards a Biblical Psychology: Ten Commandments for Mental Health, Filosofia Oggi, XXXII-N. 128-E-14 (Oct.-Dec.), 279-303.

ASSESSMENT: Students wwill be assessed through class discussions and a ten-page paper.


Program Number: ELEC 215
Program Director: Kalman J. Kaplan, PhD
E-Mail: kalkap@aol.com, kkaplan@psych.uic.edu
Telephone: 312-413-4609
Duration: This course will offer 2 weeks of credit (decompressed over 4 weeks)
Night Call: No
Weekends: No
Students Accepted: Min. 1 Max. 8
Housestaff Used as Faculty: N/A
Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 4 hours
Laboratory/Independent Study:  4 hours
Outpatient: N/A
Inpatient: N/A
Total Hours/Week: 16 hours

Reporting Instructions: