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Prayer therapy for mental health

PIONEERS: Christina and Cornelius Browne making an impact with their Christian approach to mental health therapy

HELP IS at hand for Christians who experience mental health problems.

The Mind Café is a new project which offers a Christian approach to therapies designed to helped people suffering from things such as depression, anxiety, stress, personality disorders and schizophrenia.

It was created by husband and wife team Cornelius and Christina Browne.

The Mind Cafe range of services includes therapeutic art workshops, prayer therapy, Christian based anger management programmes and an innovative project called G.Y.M (Guard Your Mind), which is a cognitive approach to managing the mind.

Cornelius, a trained minister and pioneer of Christian art in the UK believes that the scriptural approach to therapy offered by The Mind Café can provide effective solutions for people with longstanding mental health problems.

He said “The Lord says in the Bible that nothing is too hard for Him. The antidote we prescribe are the Scriptures. It is important our potential clients are able to engage effectively with the Scriptures. People who are acutely unwell will need to be stabilized before they can engage with our interventions. However, we will endeavour to support and advise everyone that approaches us for help.”

And Cornelius believes that Christians with mental health issues have an advantage over those with no faith.

“They have inner resources that they may not be aware of” he said “Our job is to help them to realise this. We believe that the interaction between the word of God and our mind can bring about a change in our emotions, physical body and behaviour. We do expect people to continue receiving treatment from their doctors and other mental health practitioners as our interventions are complementary.”

The Mind Café is the product of a dream long held by Christina and Cornelius. When Christina, a qualified psychiatrist became a Christian in 1985, she decided that she wanted to include her faith in the delivery of care to mental health patients. This resulted in her doing postgraduate research into the relationship between mental health and religion, whilst Cornelius, noted the therapeutic effect of his work on clients, especially in healing arts workshops.

This resulted in the couple ministering to Christians with mental illness on a voluntary basis in the 1990s. Their work was successful and in 2006, they set up Christ Inn CIC, a complementary mental health service in Hitchin which gave birth to The Mind Café.

Mental illness can develop as a result of a number of factors such as genetics, or the environment that a person lives in. And as Cornelius pointed out, how people think is an important factor as well. “Through research neuroscientists have discovered that around 87 per cent of illnesses can be attributed to our thought and approximately 13 per cent to diet, genetics and environment.”

 Treatment is given through a variety of methods such as one to one counselling sessions, group workshops and church talks.

And the response to their methods, especially the G.Y.M. teaching sessions in churches, has been very effective.
“The response has been overwhelming” said Christina “Not just individuals but medical professionals such as GPs and psychiatrists have found our teachings refreshing. One NHS mental health unit has included the G.Y.M. in one of our client’s care plan as part of her CPA (Care Program Approach) review.”

Christina and Cornelius are hoping that many more churches will take full advantage of their unique service. They are also continuing to encourage believers to maintain good mental health by letting go of bitterness, resentment, or other negative feelings that can overwhelm an individual’s mind and to keep believing and confessing God’s word.

For more information, please visit or phone 020 7034 7840/7841

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