Healing from emotional challenges can be complete when Christ is the center of the process.
Carrie Maxwell Wrigley, a licensed clinical social worker who has taught at BYU Education Week for more than 10 years, discussed the importance of total healing from both physical and emotional issues.
To heal means to make or become whole. Wrigley pointed out that this does not mean to become somewhat less symptomatic or barely held together. She spoke of a recent injury to her knee that took more than two months to heal.
While showing the scar, Wrigley said, “It has been absolutely miraculous to see this horrible, blackened mess heal from the inside out.”
This experience gave Wrigley a living model for what healing looks and feels like. She taught that both emotional and physical healing will always happen from the inside out and can never be imposed from the outside in.
Wrigley then defined Christ-centered healing as becoming whole through a process guided by, and centered in Christ, his teachings, and the guidance of his appointed prophets.
She spoke of her own struggle with treating her depression. Just as with Wrigley’s knee injury, when people remain unhealed emotionally, it gets in the way of things they dearly want to do.
In today’s culture, the general mindset suggests that the only way to deal with depression and similar issues is to buy and use medication for a lifetime.
“They do not and cannot ever produce the healing response from the inside,” Wrigley said.
Instead of medication-based treatment, Wrigley discussed the importance of skills training therapy, or teaching people new ways to deal with problems.
Skills training allows the client to have more long-lasting effects without dependency on medication. This also facilitates healing from the inside, she said. However, skills training still cannot provide complete healing.
Christ-centered healing is the only way for those dealing with emotional struggles to become whole all the way through. Wrigley never heard the concept of complete healing in pharmaceutical training or grad school courses. She remembered a stake president who gave a talk that said the Lord’s healing is complete. Total healing requires the help of Christ.
Wrigley referenced Elder Richard G. Scott who said, “You need not experience a lifetime of counseling. Ponder the power of the Atonement. Pray to understand how it can heal you.”
Christ will not simply take away the struggles. But he does promise to visit, support, lead, strengthen, nourish and provide means for dealing with the challenges, she said.
Healing requires learning the elements of the healing process and applying them consistently. The stages of healing are assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment, recovery and rehabilitation, and wellness, including relapse prevention. Wrigley said a person cannot stay in the treatment phase in order to move towards wellness.
Total healing requires identifying and treating emotional triggers, replacing thoughts, changing behavior and centering everything around Christ, she said.