a podcast at the intersection of Christianity & mental health.


31 - Does It Matter If Your Therapist Is Christian? (feat. Dr. Holly Oxhandler)

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Happy Valentine's Day week! Unless you hate Valentine's Day, in which case just have a great week.

This week, I talk with Dr. Holly Oxhandler, the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development and an Assistant Professor at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. Holly studies religion/spirituality, health and mental health, and is especially interested in whether and how mental and behavioral health therapists discuss their client’s religious/spiritual beliefs in treatment.

We talk about the difference between social work and other mental health professions, if clients are wanting to discuss spirituality with their therapists, and if it really matters what faith your therapist believes in. Hint: maybe, maybe not. Listen to the episode instead of trying to find the answers in the show notes, you slacker. (Just kidding, you're great.)

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Things we mention in this episode:
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek


  • "Once you've found what it is you're designed to do, it's like 'how can you not do it?'" (tweet)
  • "When mental healthcare providers talk about clients' religion & improves outcomes. Clients get better faster." (tweet)
  • "When [therapists] deeply understand their belief system, they're more comfortable with clients' religion & spirituality." (tweet)
  • "I wish that we would move away from the question of whether or not to talk about clients' faith and really move towards 'ok, how do we do that?'" (tweet)
  • "Any ministry leaders who think that their congregation members aren't struggling with mental health issues, you're kidding yourself." (tweet)
  • "If your therapist doesn't ask about [your religious beliefs], as scary as it might be, I think its ok to bring it up." (tweet)
  • "From the mental health side, we don't have to be experts in religion & spirituality and from the religion & spirituality side, we don't have to be experts in mental health. But we at least need to be sensitive to bridge the two together and connect these two areas." (tweet)

Connect with Holly on her website, or on Twitter.

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Intro/Outro music for this episode is Fall Down by Rivers & Robots.