057: Mental Health Benefits & Risks of Religion – Part 2

160Natasha Helfer Parker interviews Chelsea Shields Strayer, a cultural anthropologist, regarding the benefits and adverse effects of religious systems and traditions.  Chelsea discusses her work from an anthropological lens, looking at how social and religious systems organize themselves in ways that can effectively allow a group to thrive.  At the same time, they can also require great individual cost.  The discussion is rich and covers a variety of topics including: Mormon culture, the role of ritual, self-harm, faith transitions, gender inequality, coping mechanisms, physiological and psychological healing practices, placebo effects, trauma, LGBT issues, depression, sexuality, community and more!

Chelsea is a PhD candidate at Boston University in biological and cultural anthropology studying the evolution and elicitation of placebo and nocebo effects in indigenous ritual healing ceremonies. She particularly focuses on the healing rituals of the Asante in Central Ghana whom she has conducted research with for over 12 years. Chelsea is also a well known religious gender equality activist in the Mormon community, President of Mormons for ERA, co-founder of LDS WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice and Equality), and active participant in many LDS magazines, blogs, podcasts and conferences. She has participated in two TED events where she had the opportunity to speak about her research and how it applies to the everyday life of all people at both events.

Why Belonging Matters: Fellows Friday with Chelsea Shields Strayer

Mormons for ERA

WAVE: Women Advocating for Voice & Equality

Meet Chelsea Strayer

Is Gender Inequality Bad for Mental Health by Natasha Helfer Parker

Hope and Healing in the Face of LDS Current Events on Mormon Matters

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to Brian Dillman for audio production of this podcast.  Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.

1 comment for “057: Mental Health Benefits & Risks of Religion – Part 2

  1. Chris G.
    March 13, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    Thank you for a great concluding podcast. I feel so inspired by you amazing women.
    I’m an invisible stay at home mom that is trying to find the courage to go back to school. But I also suffer from “bag lady” syndrome! And I’m in the middle of a faith crisis. Fun times. At least I’m not the only one.
    Thank you again.

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