Sun. Jan 29th, 2023

Composite image of Drs. Amber Abernathy and Stephen Berkwitz of Missouri State University.

While religion and psychology may seem like a strange combination at first glance, Missouri State University is offering undergraduate students the opportunity to earn a certificate in mental health and spirituality.

The program came about after the school saw success in its other interdisciplinary certificate, medical humanities, which looks at cultural and personal engagement with illness and health.

Around the same time, a class about the psychology of religion gained popularity with students all across the campus, especially those in health and human services.

At the start of the course, Dr. Amber Abernathy asks students why they’re taking it. Over and over, she heard: “I’m taking this because I want to understand this to help people.”

When you think about it, it makes sense: Psychology studies the mind and human behavior, and religion and spirituality can shape a person’s world-view, their sense of purpose and how they live their life. 

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