Holy Sex! More Resources for Infallible Loving

When my book, Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe Curling, Mind Blowing, Infallible Loving came out in 2008, it was (to my knowledge) the first and (again, to my knowledge) still is the only book to which faithful Catholics can turn to address real,  practical questions about sex, sexuality, and sexual problems.

And although Holy Sex! continues to be the only published resource that exists to help faithful, Catholic married couples celebrate the fullness of their marital love, I am pleased to report that I recently discovered two internet resources that should be regular stops for any Catholic couple that wants to understand more about what the Church really teaches about sex and get the support they need to enjoy their sexual relationship as fully as God intended it to be enjoyed.

Real Catholic Love and Sex and Catholic Sex are both wonderful blogs that offer a frank, faithful, and appropriately funny look at love and sex from a Catholic perspective.  The bloggers at each respective site are not professional theologians or counselors, but they are both very well read and very well-informed and have a refreshingly healthy perspective on sexuality and marital love.    Real Catholic Love and Sex is co-authored by a man, “James” (attorney) and a woman, “Kate”  (degree in religious studies). They are both solid Catholics and both happily married (though not to each other).  Kate began the blog and  James was a frequent commenter who regularly offered particularly useful insights about the science of Natural Family Planning and the male perspective on various topics related to Catholic sexuality.  They blog anonymously, but I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with both and they are lovely people as well as solid writers.   I think you’ll both enjoy their work and learn a lot from them.

The woman behind  Catholic Sex is a little more mysterious but no less delightful.  The author blogs anonymously  as “Mrs. Chastity”  and identifies herself as married, a convert to the faith and an “academic.”  She, too, is fearless in the various topics she covers and writes in an thoughtful, frank, faithful and funny style that edifies, informs and entertains.  It’s really great stuff.

As with all internet resources, if you ever have any questions about what you read, by all means check the writer’s math with a trusted, authoritative source.  But I have to say that I’ve read many, many weeks worth of their writing at this point and have found nothing to give me pause.  If you like my book, chances are you’ll enjoy these sites.  Of course if you didn’t like my book, well, “boo-hiss” to you  😉  and  that’s good information to keep in mind if you visit either of these resources as well.

Regardless, I genuinely appreciate that others are taking up Blessed Pope John Paul II’s call to “Be not afraid!” and proclaim the good news of the Catholic vision of sex and love.  It’s exciting to meet other people who really understand how the Church’s teachings on sexuality can set couples free to enjoy the fullness of marital love.   I hope that these resources will be a blessing to you as Holy Sex! has been to thousands of readers over the last several years.  Check them thou out!

And for more information on becoming  infallible lovers, pick up a copy of Holy Sex! A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving for you and your spouse!

Research Validates Parent-Directed Treatments For Kids’ Anxiety

Parents often contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute’s Tele-Counseling Practice for help in addressing their children’s anxiety.  Whether phobias, separation anxiety, school related social anxiety or other anxiety related problems of childhood, our first approach is to work with the parents to teach them to help their children directly.  I and my therapists teach parents techniques to use with their children.  The parents report the results and we teach them the next steps.

We have two reasons for taking that approach.  First, we take seriously the Church’s assertion that parents are their children’s primary educators.  We think that, whenever possible, children should be able to turn to their parents for whatever help they need.  Our role as counselors should be to empower parents not replace them.

Second, children, generally speaking find therapy to be stigmatizing.  My whole background is in family therapy.  So many kids come to therapy feeling like their being punished for something or afraid that seeing a counselor means they are “crazy.”  A good therapist can get through this but, I think, the best therapists can avoid it altogether whenever possible.

If the parent-directed approach doesn’t work, sometimes we have to step in and work more directly with the child.  But we find that this is not the norm.

When we initially explain our approach, many parents worry that it won’t work.  That perhaps they aren’t up to what we’re asking them to do.  What if they do it wrong?  We assure them that the vast majority of parents are more than able to help their children–with appropriate support–through most anxiety issues.  Our experience bears this out, but now, parents don’t have to take our word for it.

Children with an anxiety disorder who receive cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) via their parents are three times more likely to recover from their anxiety, compared to children who received no treatment, according to a new study by the University of Reading.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, focused on 64 families with children, between the ages of 7 and 12, who suffer from an anxiety disorder. 

For eight weeks, parents were given brief weekly sessions on how to use CBT with their child.

Mental disorders are becoming increasingly common among children, with approximately 20 percent of children suffering from significant symptoms of anxiety and between 5 percent and 10 percent of children meeting diagnostic criteria for an anxiety disorder.

Children with anxiety disorders may have problems socializing with their peers, lack confidence in trying new things, and may underachieve at school and risk social exclusion. Childhood anxiety is also known to be a risk for development of future problems, including depression, substance and alcohol abuse, and poorer physical health.

“We studied 194 children who had a variety of diagnoses, including generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, separation anxiety disorder, panic disorder/agoraphobia and specific phobia,” said lead study author Dr. Kerstin Thirlwall.

The researchers found that the children who received cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) via their parents are three times more likely to recover from their anxiety, compared to children who received no treatment.  MORE

For more information on effective parenting and Christian approaches to dealing with anxiety, check out Parenting with Grace (see the chapter titled, “Boo!  Dealing with Childhood Fears”)  and God Help Me, This Stress is Driving Me Crazy!  or contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute  (740-266-6461) for more information on working with a faithful, professional, Catholic counselor through our tele-counseling practice.

Is Atheism A Mental Illness?

Sean Thomas at the London Telegraph seems to think so….

Thanks to a couple of surveys, it’s being put about in certain circles that atheists have higher IQs than believers. That may or may not be the case, but…Let’s dispense with the crude metric of IQ and look at the actual lives led by atheists, and believers, and see how they measure up. In other words: let’s see who is living more intelligently.

And guess what: it’s the believers. A vast body of research, amassed over recent decades, shows that religious belief is physically and psychologically beneficial – to a remarkable degree.

In 2004, scholars at UCLA revealed that college students involved in religious activities are likely to have better mental health. In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live. In the same year researchers at Duke University in America discovered that religious people have stronger immune systems than the irreligious. They also established that churchgoers have lower blood pressure.

Meanwhile in 2009 a team of Harvard psychologists discovered that believers who checked into hospital with broken hips reported less depression, had shorter hospital stays, and could hobble further when they left hospital – as compared to their similarly crippled but heathen fellow-sufferers.

The list goes on. In the last few years scientists have revealed that believers, compared to non-believers, have better outcomes from breast cancer, coronary disease, mental illness, Aids, and rheumatoid arthritis. Believers even get better results from IVF. Likewise, believers also report greater levels of happiness, are less likely to commit suicide, and cope with stressful events much better. Believers also have more kids.

What’s more, these benefits are visible even if you adjust for the fact that believers are less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs. And let’s not forget that religious people are nicer. They certainly give more money to charity than atheists, who are, according to the very latest survey, the meanest of all.

So which is the smart party, here? Is it the atheists, who live short, selfish, stunted little lives – often childless – before they approach hopeless death in despair, and their worthless corpses are chucked in a trench (or, if they are wrong, they go to Hell)? Or is it the believers, who live longer, happier, healthier, more generous lives, and who have more kids, and who go to their quietus with ritual dignity, expecting to be greeted by a smiling and benevolent God?

Obviously, it’s the believers who are smarter. Anyone who thinks otherwise is mentally ill.  MORE


What is “Mental illness”  — Does Atheism Fit?

There is a lot to this.  Part of the problem, of course, is that there is no generally accepted definition of the terms “mental health” or “mental illness.”  Readers might be surprised to learn that most therapists can complete their training and not once have a meaningful discussion in class about what mental health or mental illness actually is.  We learn categories of illness and symptom checklists, but there is no generally accepted understanding of what actually constitutes a mental illness in the first place.  In order for Thomas’ assertion to be more than a slur against atheists, we need to look at what mental illness could actually be defined as.

Psychiatrist and brain researcher,  Dr. Daniel Siegel, argues that mental health represents the degree of integration within and between the mind, the body and our relationships.   He further argues that mental illness can be described as the falling out of  this state of integration and lapsing into a relative state of increased rigidity, chaos or both.  These are probably the best definitions of these terms I’ve ever encountered.

Seen in this light, I think there is a case to be made that atheism could be a mental illness.  There are many more studies like Sean Thomas points to that strongly suggest that religious believers have significantly better integration with regard to health, mental health, relationship satisfaction, and pro-social behavior.  We also know that there is strong comorbidity between atheism and high functioning autism.  In general, while the occurrence of agnosticism or personalized spiritualities is quite high, the incidence of atheism stands at 1-5% in the general population, which is consistent with other mental disorders.

Can Belief Systems Be Disorders?

It isn’t enough to say that, because atheism is a belief system it should be exempt from being considered a mental illness.  The belief that one is Napoleon is clearly evidence that something  is not right.  Also, I’m not picking on atheists, I would argue that any belief system that significantly inhibited the integration between or within one’s mind, body, and relationships was representative of, if not outright mental illness, than at least poorer mental health.  And, in fact, there are types of religiousness (aka, “extrinsic religiosity” which tends to be characterized, not by internal conversion, but rule-bound judgmentalism and angry tribalism) that have been shown by a great deal of research to be associated with poor mental health.

So, seen from this perspective, considering the relatively lower rates of mental, physical and social well-being enjoyed by atheists, it really isn’t unreasonable or inappropriate to ask if atheism either is a mental illness itself or is a contributor to poor mental well-being.


Happy Couple Hosts Charity Event in Lieu of Reception

While I can’t imagine that every couple would be able to do this, good for them.

IT IS supposed to be the happiest day of your life.  And one Hampshire couple have chosen to spread their happiness by holding a charity event in place of their wedding reception.  After tying the knot at Southampton Register Office, on March 1, Louise Abbott and Ryan Hewitt, from Totton, will be holding a charity weekend at The White Horse, Netley Marsh.   The couple hope their big day will raise £4,000 for the Round Table Children’s Wish, which grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses.

Louise, 32, an accounts manager for web design company, Studio Republic, said: “We didn’t want any wedding presents and we thought it would be a nice idea to do something different and to help children in the area…. Ryan, 37, a network engineer for Aruba Networks, said: “Lou and I are the sort of people who like to get out and do this sort of thing and it’s a great charity. We’re lucky, our daughter is happy and healthy but for some children, that’s not the case. I’m really looking forward to all of it.”   MORE

This is the kind of generosity to which we are all called.  I pray God will complete the work he is doing in their lives and bring them to the fullness of his love.

Can I Get A Witness?!?

A little Gospel Public Service Announcement from the Staff and Management of Faith on the Couch.

Keep Yo Business of Yo Facebook.


Somebody give me an Amen.

COMING TUES on More2Life Radio: Coping with Frustration

Coming Tuesday: Coping with Frustration–Everyone gets frustrated from time to time, but while it’s common enough, it stops us from enjoy life as the gift that it is.  We’ll look at those things that cause us frustration and how to deal more gracefully with frustrating situations and people.

Plus, Dr. Joseph White of SharingCatholicFaith.com will share ways parents can tame their kids’ homework frustrations as the school year starts!

Call in at 877-573-7825 from Noon-1 Eastern (11-Noon Central) with your questions about

Can’t get M2L on a Catholic radio station near you? YOU CAN STILL HEAR US!
~ Listen via our FREE AveMariaRadio IPhone or Android App (Check your app store!),
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~ or catch our archived shows via the M2L Podcast (also at avemariaradio.net)


Q of the D:  (Answer one or both to win!)

1.  What situations in the course of your week tend to frustrate you the most?

2.  How does frustration affect your mood and behavior?

*Win a free book!  Every day you respond to the question of the day your name will be entered in a radio drawing to win a free book from the Popcak Catholic Living Library (over 10 titles in all)!  Again, each day that you respond you will get another chance at winning a free book in the drawing held at the end of each week on More2Life Radio.

This week’s featured title is:  FOR BETTER…FOREVER!  A Catholic Guide To Lifelong Marriage.

For Better…FOREVER!  explores what it takes to create and celebrate a great Catholic marriage from the newlywed years to late-in-life.  The Catholic vision of marriage is unpacked amidst tons of practical, empirically-tested advice about communication, problem-solving, negotiating the challenges of different marital stages, sexuality, and a whole lot more.  The is THE book no Catholic married couple should be without.  A great resource for you and a great gift for  Anniversaries and Newlyweds too!

Winners will be announced on air and contacted by FB message following the drawing this Friday 8/23




Parenting with the Theology of the Body in Mind: What’s the Best Way to Teach Generosity?

Parenting with the Theology of the Body in mind means, at least in part, looking for ways to both model and encourage the kind of self-donative generosity that enables family life to feel like the gift it is meant to be.

In order to accomplish this, parents often give kids extra, material, rewards (privileges, stickers, etc.) for making good relationship choices like taking turns and sharing.  As we note in Parenting with Grace, anecdotal evidence suggests that these kinds of rewards can backfire by  making kids mercenary.  That is, this approach to parenting takes kids’ focus off of people and relationships and, instead,  making them focus on what they’re going to get out of being good.  That’s why we recommend more relationally-based consequences and rewards (physical affection, genuine praise, family time, etc.) as opposed to material consequences and rewards (star charts, stickers, privileges).  New research further backs up our recommendations.

Getting kids to share their toys is a never-ending battle, and compelling them to do so never seems to help. New research suggests that allowing children to make a choice to sacrifice their own toys in order to share with someone else makes them share more in the future. The new findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

These experiments, conducted by psychological scientists Nadia Chernyak and Tamar Kushnir of Cornell University, suggest that sharing when given a difficult choice leads children to see themselves in a new, more beneficent light. Perceiving themselves as people who like to share makes them more likely to act in a prosocial manner in the future.

Previous research has shown that this idea — as described by the over-justification effect — explains why rewarding children for sharing can backfire. Children come to perceive themselves as people who don’t like to share since they had to be rewarded for doing so. Because they don’t view themselves as “sharers” they are less likely to share in the future.

Chernyak and Kushnir were interested in finding out whether freely chosen sacrifice might have the opposite effect on kids’ willingness to share.

“Making difficult choices allows children to infer something important about themselves: In making choices that aren’t necessarily easy, children might be able to infer their own prosociality.”  MORE

And Check Out These Resources for Healthy Relational Discipline Techniques:  Parenting with Grace:  The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids


Kids’ Tummy Aches Predict Adult Anxiety/Depression.

Children who have frequent stomach aches are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression as adults, according to a new study.   Researchers evaluated about 330 children with functional abdominal pain syndrome (FAPS) — abdominal pain with no specific cause — and compared them with 150 children without stomachaches.

Later psychiatric evaluations (conducted an average of nine years later) revealed that the risk of developing an anxiety disorder was about four to five times higher in individuals who suffered from abdominal pain as a child.

The findings also suggest that children with abdominal pain have a greater risk of adult depression. In the study, 40 percent of adults who had abdominal pain as children had depression during their lifetime, compared with 16 percent of adults in the control group.

Approximately 50 percent of those who had FAPS as kids had social anxiety, phobias or other anxiety disorders while growing up or in adulthood, compared with about 20 percent of people without FAPS.

The findings suggest that anxiety should be taken into account when treating children who get frequent stomach aches, the researchers said.  MORE.


God Help Me, This Stress is Driving Me Crazy!

Parenting with Grace  (See chapter titled, “BOO!  Dealing with Childhood Fears”)

Kids from Large Families Better Socialized, Less Likely to Divorce as Adults, Studies Say.

So here’s one for all the moms and dads of many who are a little worn out from all the negative comments on the playground and at the water cooler.  It turns out the Church is right, the best gift you can give to your children is a sibling. In fact, maybe several.

A recent study conducted by sociologists at The Ohio State University shows that an individual child’s risk of divorcing as an adult decreases by about 2% per sibling.  The researchers found a steady increase in marital stability for children from large families up to at least 7 children.  The limits of the study prevented researchers from making assertions beyond this point.

A previous study by the same authors in 2004 found that kindergarten teachers rated children from larger families as better socialized than only children (although this tended to wear off by adolescence when only children catch up socially with their peers from larger families).

Thanks to all the larger families out there for helping to fight the culture of divorce!


Więcej moich książek zostały przetłumaczone na język polski! (That is, “More of my books are coming out in Poland!”)

For Better…Forever! ( NA DOBRE… NA ZAWSZE! )  and Holy Sex! (ŚWIĘTY SEKS! )  as well as God Help Me, This Stress is Driving Me Crazy! (Boże, pomóż mi! Ten stres doprowadza mnie do szaleństwa!) and God Help Me, These People Are Driving Me Nuts! (Boże, pomóż mi! Ci ludzie doprowadzają mnie do szału) have  been translated into Polish and are apparently selling well in JPII’s homeland.

I just got a note from the Polish publisher of For Better…Forever and Holy Sex! that they will now be bringing out our parenting books;  Parenting with Grace: A Catholic Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids and  Beyond the Birds and the Bees:  Raising Sexually Whole and Holy Kids.

I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see that these titles that seek to apply the Theology of the Body to the challenges of every day life are coming out in Poland, the birthplace of TOB!

Sto Lat!