Bodies, agency, and the relational self: A pauline approach to the goals and use of psychiatric drugs

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In this essay, I use the theological anthropology of the apostle Paul as a diagnostic lens in order to bring into focus some implicit assumptions about human personhood in the goals and methods of treatment with psychotropic medications. I argue that Paul views the body as a mode of participation in larger relational matrices in both vulnerable and vital ways. He thus sees the self as constituted relationally rather than as fundamentally isolated and self-determining. Such an understanding of personhood yields an account of human agency as co-constituted and freedom as interpersonally mediated and sustained. From this perspective, the proper goal for psychiatric medication is the removal of barriers to life-giving human connections; methods of care for persons in psychological distress may include medication, but they also require embodied personal encounter.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Eastman, SG

Published Date

  • October 26, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 288 - 301

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-4195

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1380-3603

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/cb/cby011

Citation Source

  • Scopus