|Breaking Open the Word|
|World & Nation|
|Year for Priests|
|DCR Advertising Rates|
|DCR Submission Guidelines|
March 31, 2010
A conversation with a Catholic psychologist
By Julie Filby
People suffering emotional and psychological wounds need healing. To help with the healing process some enlist the guidance of a therapist.
“People who seek psychotherapy may have found the stress in their lives has left them unable to take care of themselves—and they realize they need help,” said Christina P. Lynch, Psy.D., staff psychologist at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. “A psychotherapist can provide support so a person does not feel alone in their struggles.”
Since psychotherapy deals not only with the mind, but with the heart and soul of a person, the philosophy and beliefs of the therapist selected can affect the process and its outcome.
Catholic therapists combine modern professional psychological techniques with Catholic spirituality. When enlisting help from a Catholic psychotherapist, clients can get a uniquely Catholic perspective and understanding.
“When people experience hopelessness—or difficulty believing anything else can help—the faith component can bring hope where there may be none,” Lynch said. “(A Catholic therapist) can help a person grow using all the treasures the Church has to offer.”
A Catholic therapist is one who understands, accepts and adheres to Church teaching—and is living the faith fully. He or she may draw on resources such as Scripture, the “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” encyclicals and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to guide their practice. As such, they can offer solutions consistent with Catholic values.
“A Catholic therapist’s perspective is informed by a 2000-year tradition of healing and wellbeing with a view of eternity,” said Gregory S. Creed, Ph.D., a licensed professional counselor, and psychology and counseling instructor at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. “These concepts can make a big difference to a person who is trying to make sense out of their life—or to a couple who is trying to put their marriage back together.”
The most common reasons people seek psychotherapy are issues related to marital conflict, children in crisis, depression, family life issues and anxiety. A Catholic therapist may be particularly valuable to people struggling with marriage or family issues.
A psychotherapist will listen to the challenges and struggles as described by a client in meetings. Once a trusting relationship is attained, the therapist can help the client reach insights about the best ways to handle their situation.
Many therapists today are trained in post-modern theories, which are based in relativism. Catholic therapists believe the truth is not just something, but someone.
“Relativism teaches that there is no one truth: there is your truth, my truth, but not The Truth,” Creed explained. “Our faith teaches us there is an objective reality to the universe—and that there is right and wrong, good and evil, and that Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Catholic therapists help people discover and live out God’s plan for their lives in a way that is grounded in faith.
To find a Catholic therapist
• Contact your parish priest
When looking for a marriage counselor or a family therapist, make sure the professional’s training and experience are in those areas. Interview therapists in advance to ask about their beliefs and practice.