Individuals offer pray for others to be healed of their physical aliments. We have all prayed for a nasty cold to go away. What we are really praying for is a cure to get rid of the physical aliments a cold gives us. The notion to be healed involves three dimensions which are physical, psychosocial, and spiritual. These dimensions work together to heal an individual and to give them to experience the fullness of life.
To be cured means an individual has been able to have a disease lifted in one of the dimensions (physical, psychosocial, and spiritual). An individual can be cured when he/she has his/her appendix taken out (YaDeau 1982).
When an individual is cured, it happened under the pretense of a doctor performing surgery or prescribing medication (Campbell n.d.). It takes a medical physicians or specialists to cure an individual (Lerner n.d.).
On the other hand, the act of healing is the responsibility and choice of the individual because it comes from within his/herself according to Lerner (Lerner n.d.). One may argue that healing involves more than just an individual’s choice, but it extends beyond the individual and into his/her social network. A healing requires social, personal, and communal networks which will support and promote an individual to experience one. The community has the responsibility to see that the individual has the support he/she needs to experience physical, psychosocial, and spiritual healings. For instance, an individual going through AA needs the support of his/her sponsor. Yes, the individual has the choice to go through AA; however, the community has the responsibility to ensure he/she has the support to be successful in the program. The same idea is true with anyone needing physical, psychosocial, and/or spiritual healing(s).
Three Dimensions of Healing
Physical dimension involves the abilities of the body, including the abilities to walk, talk, and breathe. To be physically cured-means an individual gaining full ability of his/her body (YaDeau 1982). For example, when the blind man regains his sight (John 9:6-7) he is physically cured.
Psychosocial dimension involves “…the growth of the personality in relation to other persons and as a member of a society from infancy throughout life. It is the formation, over time, of a social self, a self that identifies with the family, the culture, the nation, and so forth.” (Bruno 1986). Simply the psychosocial dimension includes learning about the world around oneself and creating social networks to support him/her in life. The previously blind man experiences a psychosocial healing as he is questioned by the Pharisees, and he has to defend his convictions regarding his physical cure and in turn Jesus. The learning process occurs when the previously blind man has to defend himself and Jesus to the Pharisees during their interrogations (John 9:13-17, 24-29). In turn, the previously blind man’s social network changes by the end of John 9; he goes from being a beggar on the outside of the Jewish synagogue to being kicked out of the synagogue for his convictions to being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Spiritual dimension involves an individual having a full relationship with a higher power or a super-natural being in the current discussion of wellness, such as Allah, God, or Zeus. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Greek methodology, Judaism, and Buddhism all have their own god(s) which provide(s) individuals with different ways of expressing their spirituality. In this paper, to have a spiritual healing means an individual comes into a full relationship with the Triune God by confessing Jesus Christ as the Messiah, though it does not undermine any other belief system. Being spiritual is more than just an individualistic move; rather it causes a paradigm shift in one’s life and in the life of a community.
The three dimensions of healing give an individual the opportunity to live a full life. The healing process is continuous as an individual grows and matures.
In my thesis, I developed a healing diagram to helped individuals understand how the three dimensions work together. The process shows the three dimensions work together to give an individual a full life.
Figure 1-1 (left) gives a picture of how the three dimensions ideally work together. The physical cure can support a psychosocial healing and a spiritual healing, because the physical cure causes an individual to seek the answer to “how was I cured?” There are one-way arrows between physical cure and psychosocial healing and between physical cure and spiritual healing, because a psychosocial healing and a spiritual healing are supported or induced by a physical cure when one is needed. Some individuals would say that being spiritual by praying to God induces a physical cure which may be true to the point that God knows/hears them being faithful. However, the Triune God is the only one who can make a physical cure happen. Also, when an individual prays to God, he/she does not necessarily need a spiritual healing, though he/she could experience spiritual healing by becoming more faithful to God. This explains why unbelievers sometimes experience physical cures which are still an act of God and why believers do not always experience physical cures. On this website, there is an assumption that a physical cure happens as an act of God and is not dependent on one’s spirituality since most of the healing stories in the Bible support this view. One could argue that all three arrows should go both ways, but that is not the focus of this paper. A physical cure welcomes an individual to have a full understanding of oneself, Jesus, and God (psychosocial healing) as well as welcoming one into a fuller relationship with Jesus Christ and God (spiritual healing).
The psychosocial healing and spiritual healing both support each other, hence the double arrow between the two in figure 1-1. A psychosocial healing can support a spiritual healing because as an individual begins to feel welcomed into the family of believers he/she starts coming to believe in Him. The more the individual grows in his/her identity as a believer in Jesus Christ, the more he/she will want to be in a relationship with Him. The same is true as to how a spiritual healing supports a psychosocial healing. The more an individual believes in God, the more he/she wants to become a part of the social network of believers. It is almost as though psychosocial healings and spiritual healings occur simultaneously when an individual is willing for a full healing to take place.
At the same time, when an individual does not need a physical cure he/she can still experience a psychosocial healing and a spiritual healing, as we will see in the case of the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-42). Also, an individual does not always experience a psychosocial healing and/or a spiritual healing as a result of a physical cure. Finally, an individual can experience a psychosocial healing and a spiritual healing, even though he/she still needs a physical cure. One’s healing is dependent on one’s needs as an individual and one’s willingness to know and to be in a relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
Life and healing have the same three dimensions: physical, psychosocial, and spiritual. In life, the physical dimension involves the human body and how it functions. When the human body needs repair, a physical cure is necessary to allow it to function properly. In John 9:1-12, Jesus cures the blind man by giving him his sight.
Life also has a psychosocial dimension where individuals know how to interact with each other and behave in a social environment as well as having an understanding of the world around them. When an individual needs a psychosocial cure and/or healing, he/she needs to feel a part of a network which understands him/her for who he/she is on the outside and in the inside. A psychosocial cure happens when individuals deal with depression, an anxiety disorder, or a compulsion disorder where a doctor prescribes medication which lessens the dysfunction. A psychosocial healing happens when the individual recognizes he/she is a part of a group which accepts him/her for who he/she is. The individual takes on a whole new way of life.
In the religious realm, the individual begins to understand who God and Jesus are and what They can give the individual. Finally, life has a spiritual dimension where individuals are in full relationship with God through Jesus Christ. A spiritual healing is needed when an individual is not in a full relationship with God and happens when he/she confesses his/her faith in God and worships Him. When healing happens in all or some of the dimensions, depending on the needs of the individual, he/she experiences the fullness of life.
The process of healing occurs over one’s lifetime as he/she grows into his/her new roles in life. As an individual matures, he/she has to grow into his/her new physical, psychosocial, and spiritual dimensions. The on going growing, maturing, and healing helps an individual be well-round.
Bruno, Frank J. Dictionary of Keywords in Psychology. Boston: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986.
Campbell, Bruce. “Cure and Healing.” Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin. http://www.froedtert.com/HealthResources/ReadingRoom/HealthBlo (accessed 2009 йил 17-April).
Lerner, Micheal. “Healing versus Curing Cancer.” USC University Hospital – Los Angeles, CA. http://uscuh.staywellsolutionsonline.com/relatedterms/34.26018-1 (accessed 2010 йил 17-April).
YaDeau, Richard E. “Healing.” Word and World 2, no. 4 (1982): 317.