Biblical and Medical Help for Depression

Jennifer Huang Harris, MD; Harold G. Koenig, MD; John R. Peteet, MD


What is depression really? A psychological disorder? An emotional problem? A spiritual weakness? A medical condition? People struggling with depression are often given simplistic answers, which can lead to fear of seeking help, and even a sense that they have personally failed in some way.

With compassion developed from their personal and clinical experience as psychiatrists, the authors tackle the complexities of depression from a multi-disciplinary approach. In this thoughtful and practical guide, they weave together Scripture with science, theology with cutting edge scientific research, and the stories of many Christians who have suffered, to help those with depression to find healing.

For Christians, hope for depression lies in a deep understanding of both what it means to inhabit broken bodies in a fallen world, and the hope we have in the gospel. By fully grasping the implications of both for our bodies, minds, and souls, can we learn what it means to walk by faith even through the dark valley of depression?

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    Jennifer Huang Harris, MD; Harold G. Koenig, MD; John R. Peteet, MD

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About the Author(s)

Jennifer Huang Harris, MD; Harold G. Koenig, MD; John R. Peteet, MD

Jennifer Huang Harris, MD
Dr. Jennifer Huang Harris is a board-certified outpatient psychiatrist at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA and an instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. After graduating from Stanford University, she earned her M.D. at the University of Texas Southwestern and was trained in psychiatry at both the University of Texas Southwestern and Cambridge Health Alliance / Harvard Medical School. She has written and taught on the subjects of trauma, spirituality, cross-cultural issues, psychiatric nosology and ethics, psychotherapy, and medical education. She lives in Boston with her husband and three children.

Harold G. Koenig, MD, MHSc.
Dr. Koenig completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University, medical school at the University of California (San Francisco), and geriatric medicine, psychiatry, and biostatistics training (MHSc) at Duke University. He is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke and is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Medicine at King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and the School of Public Health at Ningxia Medical University, Yinchuan, China. He directs Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health ( and has done so since its origins in 1998. Dr. Koenig has written over 500 scientific peer-reviewed academic publications, nearly 100 book chapters, and more than 50 books, and has given testimony before the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and current Administration on the health benefits of religious faith. In 2012, he received the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association in 2012 and is the lead author of the Handbook of Religion and Health, 3rd edition (2021, forthcoming, with Harvard University professors Tyler VanderWeele and John Raymond Peteet).

John Peteet, M.D.
After receiving his M.D. degree at Columbia University, he completed a medical internship at UNC in Chapel Hill, a residency in psychiatry at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center, and a fellowship at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, in Boston. For over 40 years he has been a psychiatrist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where he is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. A Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, he has received several teaching awards and published numerous papers in the areas of psychosocial oncology, addiction, and the clinical interface between spirituality/religion and psychiatry. He has authored or co-edited 8 books, including Doing the Right Thing: An Approach to Moral Issues in Mental Health Treatment, Depression and the Soul and The Soul of Medicine: Spiritual Perspectives and Clinical Practice. He has served as president of the American Psychiatric Association’s Caucus on Religion, Spirituality and Psychiatry.

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