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A Biblical Approach to Mental Health

A Biblical Approach to Mental Health

Online Course

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 to Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Course Meets Online Via Desire2Learn
February 16 through May 10, 2016

Register Now

Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership is pleased to offer this integrative, 12-week, online, continuing education course in conjunction with the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. This course is designed to bridge religion, spirituality, and mental health. Students will compare biblical and classical Greek perspectives on a number of mental health issues and learn the basis for biblical psychotherapy.

Up to 36 Continuing education units (CEUs) are available for chaplains, LPCs, nurses, pastoral counselors, physicians (20 Type 1 CMEs), psychologists, and social workers. The course can also be taken for 3 quarter-hour Spertus Institute graduate degree credits.

Any ACTS student at any of the eleven consortium member institutions can register/cross-register and receive 3 semester-hours of credit plus 3 hours of CE credit. Cross-registration needs to be processed at the ACTS student home school and forwarded to the registrar's office of the Catholic Theological Union ( to receive ACTS credit. (This is in addition to registering on the Spertus Institute website through the ACTS student portal).

All students who complete the course receive a certificate of completion from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois in Chicago College of Medicine.

Participants in the Chaplain Webinar, offered by the Association of Professional Chaplains, receive a special discounted tuition rate for this course.

Dr. Kalman J. Kaplan

Dr. Kalman Kaplan is Professor of Clinical Psychology in both the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Medical Education at University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. He is also Director of the Program in Religion, Spirituality, and Mental Health. Dr. Kaplan is a social and developmental psychologist as well as a licensed clinical psychologist and has published widely in the areas of interpersonal and international relations and life-span developmental psychology. He is former editor of the Journal of Psychology and Judaism and an expert in the emerging field of biblical psychology. Dr. Kaplan was the co-recipient of the 1998 Alexander Gralnick Award for outstanding original research in suicide and schizophrenia, a fellow of the  American Psychological Association, and a member of a SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) panel on religion, spirituality, and suicide-prevention. 

Dr. Paul Cantz, Course Coordinator 
Dr. Paul Cantz is Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Medicine. He is also the Coordinator for the UIC Program in Religion, Spirituality & Mental Health as well as Associate Director of Training/Assistant Professor at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Cantz works as the Supervising Psychologist at Hartgrove Hospital's Partial Hospitalization Program and maintains a small therapy caseload at a community-based mental health clinic on the north side of Chicago. He has published on the intellectual foundations of psychiatry/psychology, the psychology of religious conversion, cross-cultural concepts of feminism, and the psychodynamics of music.


Why is this course important?

  • Nearly 90% of all Americans will contend with at least one significant mental health problem during their adult lives.
  • Few religious leaders have been trained to provide mental health care.
  • Studies have found that 90% of patients believe in a transcendent God, whereas only 40% of clinical psychologists do.
  • Many psychotherapists are untrained in, and sometimes insensitive to, biblical narratives and religion.

For more information, contact 
Dr. Dean P. Bell at

In the Press

Bible Stories Help Cope 
with Emotional Problems

By Judy Siegel-Itzkovich
The Jerusalem Post

The field of biblical psychology can provide powerful therapy to people seeking help. MORE>

Topics to be discussed

  • God, nature, and creation
  • Self and other
  • Obedience and disobedience
  • Man and woman
  • Fathers and sons
  • Mothers and daughters
  • Sibling rivalry and its resolution
  • Body and soul
  • Freedom, life, and suicide
  • Hope against tragedy
  • Practicum and applications

Learning Objectives 

This course addresses the disconnect between biblical, religious, and spiritual counselors and secular psychotherapists. Upon completion of the program participants will be able to:

  • Describe spiritual therapeutic techniques related to each of the topics listed above
  • Discuss classical Greek biases in mental health related to each of the topics listed above
  • Describe the relationship between self and other, and discuss the effects cycle and development have on this relationship
  • Discuss the basis and application of a biblical therapy related to each of the topics listed above, especially with regard to providing a sense of hope as an antidote to the Greek sense of tragedy
  • Describe how knowledge of Greek and biblical narratives can impact mental health in health care receivers

Image Caption

Job in Despair, Marc Chagall from Drawings for the Bible