By Alexander Germanis
Humans are complex beings. Our health is not isolated to just physical aspects. Even those who dedicate their lives to treating a single facet of our condition will admit there is a need to tend to all aspects of our being.
A medical doctor will say one’s emotional wellbeing is as crucial as the physical. A sociologist will say psychological health is as vital as one’s social state. And, a psychologist, specifically those at Christian Psychological Associates, will say one’s spiritual strength can affect any and all of the above.
Treating a wide range of psychological disorders and issues since their inception in 1974, Christian Psychological Associates knows that optimal living comes only when all aspects of one’s health — emotional, physical, social, and spiritual — are tended to.
Founded on faith
Begun by John R. Day, PhD, LCP, in 1974, Christian Psychological Associates practices throughout Central Illinois, with its main office in Peoria and satellites in Normal, Princeton, Canton, Pekin, and Eureka.
One of the current owners of Christian Psychological is Luke Dalfiume, PhD, LCP. Dr. Dalfiume felt a pull toward his current field at the young age of 18, but felt the need to integrate psychological knowledge with his faith. Attending Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California for his doctorate, Dr. Dalfiume eventually found the right home for his service in Illinois.
Over time, others have flocked to Christian Psychological as well, all with one main desire: the wish to honor God. “We all have a Christian faith, but we come from a variety of traditions, from a variety of backgrounds,” Dr. Dalfiume shares. “For all of us, our faith is the driving force in what we do. We are not driven by personal glory, a desire for riches, or things other than providing healing to those in need.”
“We believe people function best when we are in a right relationship with God,” he continues. “In the counseling/psychological realm, that means being most fully the person we were created to be.”
How that is accomplished in therapy, he adds, comes by helping clients work through past issues, addressing current fears or feelings, or sometimes learning to relate more effectively with others.
Just because faith is a focus at Christian Psychological, does not mean one needs to share that faith in order to seek help there. “Approximately half of those who come to our practice do not identify with a faith,” Dr. Dalfiume admits. “We are happy to work with them.
With those who do have a faith, there is a mutual understanding of the Creator that can give guidance, direction, and healing.”
Love thy neighbor
A personal scriptural favorite of Dr. Dalfiume’s is from
Matthew 22:39: “…Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Unfortunately, many who call themselves Christians tend to forget to live the second greatest of all commandments and end up tainting others’ impressions of the whole of Christianity.
It is important to point out, however, true Christians behave and act as their namesake — Jesus Christ — did and would act. Although He was criticized and ridiculed for doing so, Christ associated with, talked to, and taught many people considered to be on the fringe of society — excluding no one from His love.
Christian Psychological wishes to carry that true Christian behavior throughout their practice. “We are open to working with people from a variety of backgrounds,” Dr. Dalfiume says. “We do not exclude anyone who wants help on the basis of race, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, or any other personal characteristic.”
“In addition to this, we are a distinctively Christian practice. All of our therapists identify as Christians. Some Christian practices will exclude working with some based on lifestyle issues. We do not do that.”
Their view is epitomized by another passage from the Bible:
Leviticus 19: 33-34: “When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
The need for neighbors
Reaching out to other members and healthcare professionals in the community is also part of the holistic approach Christian Psychological employs for all of their clients. “It is common for us to interact with physicians, to visit retreats to give talks, to clinic settings to speak to the staff, [all of] which enable us to provide a more well-rounded, holistic treatment for our clients,” Dr. Dalfiume says. “We also interact with spiritual leaders, primarily in the context of providing training in church settings.”
But, as physicians must keep the tools of their trade — scalpels, stethoscopes, and so on — in good working order, Dr. Dalfiume says the tools of the psychological practice are a bit different. “We are our tools, and so we all interact with spiritual leaders on a personal level. We must attend to our social, emotional, and spiritual lives in order to be as sharp as we can be.”
Science and religion
It is a common misconception that science and religion are separate things with no room for crossover and which share no commonalities.
At Christian Psychological Associates, this could not be further from the truth.
Although they are a faith-based team of therapists, Dr. Dalfiume points out that not only are they all trained clinicians, they are also able to provide the same kinds of treatments other therapists do, including EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and hypnosis.
A somewhat newer form of psychotherapy, EMDR is commonly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and has also been proven to be effective to treat anxiety and addictive disorders.
“Many of us also use John Gottman’s work when we do marriage counseling,” Dr. Dalfiume shares. John Gottman is an award-winning clinical psychologist who worked on divorce prediction, marital stability, and relationship analysis for over 40 years. His scientific research and experience has laid the foundation for relationship counseling as it is understood today.
Connections and connectedness
With every major step forward, there are trade-offs. Even a technological leap can carry with it major drawbacks. Dr. Dalfiume elucidates: “I love the technologies we have: Internet, smartphones, streaming TV. However, they can serve an isolating function, keeping us from direct interactions with others. This, I believe contributes to a greater likelihood of feelings of isolation and, consequently, to depression.”
Ironically, the advent of social media has made many of us less social and disconnected, he continues, and that can also lead to debilitating problems like depression. That social connection is a vital ingredient in our overall health.
“It is important for us as treatment providers as well as for our clients to realize the interaction among the different aspects of our lives: the physical, social, and psychological are all intimately connected,” Dr. Dalfiume explains. “The physical affects the social and psychological, the social affects the physical and psychological, and the psychological affects the physical and social. According to the American Psychological Association, mental illness is associated with increased occurrence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, epilepsy, and cancer.”
As the human being is an entity with a variety of aspects, it must be treated in a variety of ways. But, just as with any other form of treatment, that treatment should focus on the two major steps of health: restoration and growth.
Those two steps sum up the mission at Christian Psychological Associates. They first seek a restoration of the person to an acceptable level of functioning and then aid them in growing to a newer, higher level. Perhaps most importantly, both steps are carried out with a loving Christian attitude and a faith that the spirit of the person is paramount in helping them become the person they were meant to be.
A practice founded on faith, Christian Psychological Associates is not blinded by that same faith. Instead, they use to strengthen themselves and strengthen others.
For more information or to book an appointment, contact John R. Day & Associates, Christian Psychological Associates, located at
3716 West Brighton Ave., Peoria, with their additional locations in Normal, Canton, Pekin, Princeton, or Eureka. Call us at 309-692-7755 or
visit us online at www.christianpsychological.org.