Holistic Health—Building Resilience in Troubled Times

Holistic Health—Building Resilience in Troubled Times May 16, 2020

Simon Matzinger, “Resilience,” January 17, 2016; Creative Commons.

Holistic health is essential for building resilience during troubled times. Holistic health involves medical, psychological, and spiritual ingredients. The video interview at the close of this post accounts for all three ‘nutrients’. In the video, I interview Robert Lyman Potter, MD, Ph.D. Dr. Potter’s professional life has combined medical practice, teaching, and bioethics consultation. He practiced internal medicine and geriatrics for 30 years while teaching in a community hospital affiliated with the University of Kansas School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and geriatrics and was elected as Fellow of the American College of Physicians. In addition to his MD, Dr. Potter holds a PhD in religion, psychology, and ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School. From 1994 until his retirement in 2004, he was the bioethics scholar, instructor, and consultant for the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City, MO. From 2004 to 2014, he was Senior Scholar for the Center for Ethics in Healthcare at OHSU. Later he served as an advisor to New Wine, New Wineskins and Multnomah Biblical Seminary for our Science for Seminaries grant through the American Association for the Advancement of Science/Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion in partnership with the Templeton Foundation. One of the personal highlights for me in this video is Dr. Potter’s succinct reflection on the biblical book of Galatians where the Apostle Paul exhorts us to employ the freedom that is ours through Jesus Christ to bear one another’s burdens. My colleague applies the Apostle Paul’s point to our current situation: this pandemic is an exercise in how well we can bear one another’s burdens. Amen. Surely, we cannot build resilience in isolation. Just as we must not isolate the medical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of our existence, so, too, we must not isolate ourselves from self-sacrificial, loving relationships with others. Here are the questions Dr. Potter answers in the video interview. I encourage you to watch it as you continue to shape your own perspectives on holistic health and resilience.

Paul Louis Metzger (PLM): Dr. Potter, we certainly live in troubled times. How troubled? Please share with our viewers and listeners about the impact of the Coronavirus from a medical standpoint. Many people believe it is no more deadly than the common flu. Your thoughts?

Robert Lyman Potter (RLP):


PLM: What are symptoms of the Coronavirus, and what should one do?



PLM: Your areas of expertise bridge the medical and psychological domains. Later we will discuss your work in spirituality in relation to them. You are concerned for medical as well as psychological well-being. How does one guard against pandemonium/panic in the face of this pandemic? What might our viewers and listeners do to cultivate the mind as well as the body as they cope with the Coronavirus threat?



PLM: You are a person of deep and abiding faith. How does your Christian faith bear on how you engage individuals medically and psychologically? How might faith bear on helping people cultivate resilience to battle this pandemic?



PLM: What closing thoughts do you have for our viewers?



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