My name is Anitra Payne. I am a Psychotherapist and creator of faith and mental health products.
I started this blog, God & Therapy to dispel the notion that Christians can’t believe in God and seek therapy. As both a proud Christian and a psychotherapist, I’m here to tell you that that is a lie! Your faith and belief in God should not be challenged or discounted, because you seek a mental health professional’s support. As a psychotherapist, I truly believe that God uses me to help heal His people!
Many Christians, especially in the black community, believe that if you pray to God and really have faith you wouldn’t and shouldn’t “need” a mental health professional. In my family, I have never been personally shamed for my belief in God and therapy. The mental health field has always been a respected part of my upbringing. My mother and several family members, including my brother, aunt, and cousins have all gained degrees in the mental health field. My mother kept a library full of books in our living room as I was growing up. There I had access to books on various topics, including psychology. I read those books and fell in love with the study of the brain and human emotions. Coupling that with my innate desire to help people, I declared at the young age of 13 that I wanted to be a psychologist and own my own practice.
My faith and belief in God go way back! I was raised in a Christian household with my mother and siblings. It’s like I had a bond with God from the very moment I came into this world. At least that’s how I recall it. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother singing in the church choir. As I now reflect, I can envision watching her swaying in the church pews singing her heart out for the Lord! Honey, my mother had the most unique tenor voice for a woman, and I loved it. Some of my fondest memories are when she brought me up into the pews with her and the choir on Sunday mornings. I had to be around 6 or 7 years old. I would be singing my little heart out, too. Being up there with her made me feel special and close to her.
My mother was a faith-filled woman. She was the person that instilled Christian values in me. Values that have kept and shaped me throughout my entire life. I recall my first time being baptized clear as day. I was about 8 years old, and I somehow knew the importance of that day. I remember being shy that Sunday morning. I had to undress and put on a white robe in front of the other woman also getting baptized that day. I vaguely recall one woman commenting “You ain’t got nothing to hide” as I covered up my chest area. I also remember being a little nervous as I walked to the pool of water. I recall how cold the water was as I was being dunked under.
My personal relationship with God started very young. I talked to Him and prayed for myself and others at a very young age. After all, I had watched my mother pray, read her Bible, and sing to Him all the time as I grew up. When I was about 10 years old, I recall a night when I was scared to go to sleep. I had heard a loud noise in the dark, quiet house, and it shook me. I remember talking to God to help calm my fears. Then, it popped into my mind to get my toy radio. As I laid awake on the top bunk in my room, I turned the radio to an AM station that was playing gospel music. I listened to that station until I fell asleep.
That experience had to be one of the first moments of me relying on God to get me through a tough time. My relationship with God has been a journey! There have been times when I have been extremely close to Him in my Christian walk. However, there have also been times when my faith and my Christian walk became strained and distant. One such time was when my mother passed away. It was a really hard time for me and admittedly, my faith was severely challenged. Although my faith has truly been tested through the years, I always find my way back to Him. God is truly my anchor and source of strength.
As you can see, I have loved God and the field of mental health since I was a small child. I firmly believe that the two being incorporated in your life can be life-changing! To anyone struggling with the notion of wanting or needing both, I encourage you to challenge those negative thoughts. Didn’t God direct us to seek Godly counsel? Why should you feel ashamed for seeking help when God told us to seek wisdom and purse it? We are also called to be burden bearers. As a Christian psychotherapist, I am here to be just that!
Stay tuned to read more about mine and other's spiritual and therapeutic journey. Feel free to like, share, and comment on this post!
The Dopest Therapist