Experts say faith can heal physical, emotional pains

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - By Donna McCollum - email

NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - At a women's Bible study, Dr. Maria Deleon is redefining her priorities. The successful neurologist, wife and mother learned to do this at the height of her career.

"You start thinking that, you know, life is always gonna be like this and you're invincible," neurologist Dr. Maria Deleon said, "and you can go on forever and then all of a sudden..."

The unexpected happens.

"Suddenly, you have a rare neurological disease yourself," Deleon said.

Deleon had to quit her practice.

"Some days I can't move, I can not walk, but if it wasn't for God and for prayer I would not be here," Deleon said.

But often traumatic despair is met by unanswered prayers.

"One of the characteristics about trauma is that it never goes away," Rev. Kyle Childress said. "It remains with the person always. It manifests its way in a variety of ways."

People end up questioning their faith.

"So how do you deal with that?" Childress said. "So, we want to ask these kinds of questions."

Dr. Harold Koenig, the co-director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at Duke University Medical School, will provide some answers. He explains what religion can do for your health, something Deleon is learning from experience.

"A lot of big medical schools are incorporating it," Koenig said. "I think that is a wonderful thing. I do think that patients that do better are the ones who have the faith."

Scientific studies have difficulty proving the power of prayer, but ask the ones who utilize it. Generally, they cope better because they have more hope.

Koenig has been featured on Good Morning America and World News Tonight. He'll be in Nacogdoches on Nov. 5 for the Faith and Trauma Conference at SFA. Registration is underway now at the Faith and Trauma: Light in Darkness blog.

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