Pastor and Psychologist in Live Broadcast: Coping with Post-pandemic Emotional Pain

Pastor Li Jianping and psychologist Liu Zhen
Pastor Li Jianping and psychologist Liu Zhen
By Catherine ZhengJuly 9th, 2020

Last month, Gospel Talkshow or Tantianshe, a new Christian live broadcast outlet, launched a live program focusing on the intimate relationship among family members in the post-coronavirus age.

The program invited Pastor Li Jianping, the founder of Golden Apple Care, which provides end-of-life care services, and his colleague, Dr. Liu Zhen, a senior psychological counselor, to share their unique perspectives on depression, life and death issues, intimate relationships, etc.

Dr. Liu first introduced the term “adjustment disorder”, which has been often mistaken for depression. She explained that it is normal to go through the phase of “adjustment disorder” when confronted with major changes in society. For most people, it lasts around six months, during which, one may feel anxious, stressful, or depressed. But it is not depression.

As for those who lost their family members in the pandemic, their emotional pain could be more severe. And to deal with such a situation, Pastor Li suggested that life can be viewed as a combination of body and soul, body as a carrier of all the emotions, while soul is where happiness or bitterness comes from. He indicated that if we call someone great, it is  praise of his soul, not the body. With a basic understanding of body and soul, it might ease the pain when death arrives. 

However, cases of depression need to be professionally treated, both speakers stressed this. Pastor Li said that some Christians with depressive behavior resist counselors, and only pray. While depression means both physical and mental diseases, it needs to be treated professionally. Besides, God creates doctors, including psychiatrists.  

Speaking of Christians, Pastor Li also shared how churches could help nowadays. He quoted the example in John: Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. For people coming to churches these days, he suggested that they should find out what they really need and then fulfill that need. If it is food, feed them well; if it is medicine, treat them right; if it is truth, enlighten them with God’s words. Only when the demand is met, would they take a deep look at our church and our spiritual life, and be ready to follow God.

Dr. Liu then added that as Christians we do have great love to share and to give. However, sometimes love is well-intentioned but can result in harm. That is because one’s love is not pure; it may be selfish or have a manipulative purpose. Also, love is not only an emtion, but also a technique, an ability that needs to be constantly practiced and improved.

During the quarantine period, it almost became a social phenomenon that intimate relationships ended up in the vicious cycle of “loving and killing each other”. The more time people spent together, the more conflict emerged, and more emotional pain was felt.

Pastor Li pointed out that this cycle shows exactly how much we lack truth and wisdom in love. And love is reflected from relationships, the details in our daily life can tell the real condition of love. As Dr. Liu mentioned, love must go with relationships, one cannot claim his ability to love when he isolates himself and cuts all the connections.

At the end of the program, the issue of teenage suicide was raised. Dr. Liu said that in the post-coronavirus age, the mental health of teenagers needs special attention because their behavior patterns under such circumstances could deviate from the usual. And if they misbehave, before scolding or punishing them, the parents might need to examine themselves first, as they are the closest role models for the teenagers.

Dr. Liu concluded that, in most cases, people have great expectations when they raise children, hoping that they will be a perfect someone else. But eventually, they could turn out just the same as their old men.

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