Is Someone You Know A Narcissist?

By: PaxCare Staff


Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is disturbingly common among leaders of corporations and other high-profile institutions, including, sadly, the church.  That’s not to say that God can’t work through narcissists—he works through all of us after all—but it is important to realize when you’re dealing with one so that you can view their work and their pronouncements with a grain of salt.   Too many people fall prey to ecclesial narcissists like Corapi, or Cutie,  or Maciel only to have their souls crushed when the mask comes off.

People love  heroes.  They love a person with a great story.  Narcissists know that and are good at playing to it.   But not everyone with a powerful conversion story or who puts themselves in the public eye is necessarily a narcissist.  So, how do you know if you’ve got a narcissist in your life, or your company, or your parish, or your chancery?   The link above describes some of the diagnostic markers for  NPD, but there’s a difference between diagnostic criteria and the way a person carries him or herself.   The following are some of the behaviors and traits you often see in someone who has NPD (Hat Tip,


“Haughty” body language — A physical posture implying and exuding an air of superiority…He rarely mingles socially and prefers to adopt the stance of the “observer” or the “lone wolf”.

Entitlement markers — The narcissist immediately asks for “special treatment” of some kind.  He wants to talk to the person in charge.  He always needs special accommodations.  He becomes indignant or hostile if denied.

Idealization or devaluation — The narcissist immediately sizes another person up as someone who can boost his status or someone who is unhelpful to boosting his status.  Those who are status sources will be praised—at first, and then torn down as the narcissist gains  acceptance by the target’s friends.  Those who cannot help the narcissist’s status will be humiliated or insulted in some way so the narcissist can at least use the interaction to reassert his superiority and dominance.

The “membership” posture — The narcissist always tries to “belong”. Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking… One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to go deeper and discuss matters substantially. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack-of-all-trades. A narcissist never admits to ignorance IN ANY FIELD!

Emotion-free language — If the narcissist is asked to relate directly to his emotions, he intellectualizes, rationalizes, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached “scientific” tone or writes a short story with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical.

Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion — The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a fabulous sense of humor, scathing and cynical. But he never appreciates it when this weapon is directed at him. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global.


Have you experienced someone who displays these narcissistic traits in your life? Contact your PaxCare Tele-Coach, who can help you find faithful solutions to any and all of the challenges addressed in this article. Call us to get the support you need to succeed.

How Do We Respond to Moral Failures?

By: Dr. Greg Popcak

moral dilemma

Dan Fincke of Forward Thinking asks an interesting question…

How and when (if ever) should we take it upon ourselves to punish someone in our lives for a moral failure? How does this vary depending on various possible relationships we might have to the morally guilty party? Consider, for example, how or whether we might punish our friends, our partners, our parents, our colleagues, strangers we encounter, etc. What sorts of values and principles should guide us when we presume to take it upon ourselves to be moral enforcers?

For the traditional Christian the answer is love.  We have absolutely no right to “punish” people for moral failings (c.f., Matt 5:7; 7:1).  “Punish” comes from the  Latin root, “punire”  meaning, “to inflict pain.”  It is simply not our place to inflict more pain on a guilty person  than they are already experiencing in their guilt.


That said, we do have a right, and even an obligation rooted in love (defined as the commitment to work for the good of others) and justice (defined as the virtue that ensure that each person receives what is rightfully theirs), to hold people accountable to themselves (if their moral failing hurts them) and/or to us (if their moral failing has damaged us or our relationship.

But holding someone accountable—in the classical  Christian context—simply means seeing that the person is committed to healing the damage caused by their actions and, ideally, giving them the skills to not make the same mistake again.  This is the heart of the principle of “restorative justice” which has deep roots in Catholic  Social teaching and forms the basis of the Christian response to both personal and social failings.  But what does all this look like in practice in your life and relationships?

Charitable Interpretation

The old Ignatian practice of “Charitable Interpretation” can be helpful here. Rooted in the idea of loving the sinner but hating the sin, Charitable Interpretation doesn’t mean making excuses for bad behavior.  Traditionally, it means attempting to interpret another person’s behavior in the most reasonably generous way possible, while still being willing to address any issues/problems that stem from the behavior.

One way to apply the principle of Charitable Interpretation is to assume that every behavior, even the obnoxious, irritating, frustrating, sinful, and destructive behaviors, represent someone’s flawed attempt to meet an otherwise positive intention or need.  If I can work with someone to figure out what they were trying to do, and give them more efficient, more respectful ways to meet that intention or need, the bad behavior should go away. It isn’t always quite  that  easy, but even in more complicated situations, the process is fairly straightforward.  Generally speaking if  you help someone find  a more efficient, less offensive, way of meeting their needs, they are  more than willing to take it.

For instance,  if  a  dad  tends to yell at his  kids, often it’s because  he doesn’t have a better way to get them to behave.   If someone can help that dad  find a more effective way to parent  that doesn’t involve yelling,  he can stop yelling.  Or, if  a friend  indulges in some offensive habit,  it’s usually to meet some need (cope with stress,  bid for help  or attention, etc.)  If I  can help my friend identify the need  and help him find a  more efficient, less offensive way to meet the need, the  obnoxious  habit should stop.

Making Peace with Difficult People

Again, it’s rare  that things are ever this straightforward and I talk about how to apply these principles at some length in my book, God Help Me, These People  Are Driving  Me Nuts!   Making  Peace with Difficult  People.   But the bottom line is that the Christian can do a lot more good by helping an offender find more efficient and godly ways to meet the needs that underlie moral failings than we can by inflicting pain on the offender.  It’s all part of the way we cooperate with God’s grace as we seek to create a healthy peace between us and others.  A peace that is grounded in justice and love.

Help for Those who are Seriously Depressed

By: PaxCare Staff


Many were shocked to hear the sad news that Pastor Rick Warren’s (of Purpose-Driven Life fame) youngest son, Matthew (27) committed suicide after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.

Times like these can be very difficult for people with serious depression and those who love them.   The depressed patient can begin to worry, “What if my mind runs away with me?   What if I lose control?”  Likewise the loved ones of a depressed patient can worry, “What if I’m missing some signs that the person I care about is suffering more than I know?”

IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED, here are a few things that can be very helpful.

1.   Discuss your concerns about your feelings both with a professional and with the person/people you most love and trust

Even if you aren’t thinking about hurting yourself, if news like the story of Matthew Warren’s suicide is unsettling to you, talk about it both with the people who care for you and are responsible for your care.   Feelings are most dangerous when they are left in the dark.  Get things out in the open where you can keep an eye on them.   If you aren’t working with a professional, please consider contacting someone today.   The vast majority of clients who suffer with depression are very responsive to psychological treatment if they get appropriate help.   Even if you don’t think your depression is “that bad,” getting help when depression is still mild or moderate enables you to get things back on track before depression completely knocks you off your feet.

2.   Avoid Alcohol or Drugs

It is never a good idea for a person with depression to drink or use medications (or illicit drugs) that have a depressant effect (i.e., any medications that caution you against operating heavy machinery).  Depression already impairs a person’s problem-solving abilities and makes a person higher-risk for engaging in impulsive, or destructive behaviors.   Alcohol or depressant drugs can increase that potential exponentially.   No one thinks they are at risk.  If you are depressed, don’t drink and be sure to discuss your depression with any doctor prescribing meds with a depressant effect.

3.   Maintain your Spiritual Practices

Depression makes us feel like we can’t go it alone and when you feel like you’re in over your head you need as much outside help as you can get.   Staying connected with God’s grace in these challenging time can help you feel like he is multiplying your limited time and emotional resources just like he multiplied the loaves and the fish.   If you can’t keep up your prayer life on your own, find a prayer partner—ideally your spouse or a close and spiritually mature friend—with whom you can pray every day and who can help keep you accountable.

4. Take care of your body

Depression makes you want to neglect self-care.   Maintain  a schedule for self-care and stick to it whether you feel like it or not.   Have a regular bedtime.   Wake up at the same time every day.   Eat at least three square meals a day.   Engage in some kind of physical activity.    You don’t have to exhaust yourself but you have to move somehow.   If you can’t do it alone, find someone to do it with.

5.   Maintain your relationships

Depression makes you want to isolate.   You don’t really enjoy being around people—in fact it’s draining—so why bother?     Regardless of how you feel about it, don’t stop being social. The more you withdraw the bigger a companion depression, itself, becomes.   Depression is a very bad friend.   On a day when you’re feeling a little stronger, tell your friends that you don’t ever want them to take “no” for an answer.   You’ll hate them when they force you to go out with them, but when you’re recovered, you’ll be glad to have such caring people in your life.

6.   Stay Connected to Help

I know I started this reflection with a recommendation to reach out for professional help, but it bears repeating. Treatment works. Don’t delay. The sooner you can get help the better. Contact your PaxCare Tele-Coach, who can help you find faithful solutions to any and all of the challenges addressed in this article.


For Additional Help…


DO YOU HAVE A LOVED ONE WHO IS SUFFERING WITH DEPRESSION?   Click here to discover how you can help.

Trust in the Lord and you Shall Renew Your Strength (Isaiah 40:31)–A quiz to test anxiety

By: PaxCare Staff


Trust.  Mystical Theology tells us that the path to union with God evolves through three phases:  the purgative way (in which we overcome our sin and neurotic comfort-seeking), the illuminative way (in which we grow in virtue, zeal for service, and knowledge of God), and the unitive way (in which we experience a union with God that is like the union shared between two spouses).  Along that path, we are told that we should see the lessening of anxiety and the increase in trust and peace.

How anxious are you?  Take this quiz to find out.  And check out the resources that can help you deal with your anxiety, increase your peace, and draw closer to others (and  ultimately, God as well).  (via   Therapy that Works)


Directions: Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems? Read each of the “7” items. For each item, assign a score of:


“0” if you have not experienced this symptom at all,

“1” if you have experienced this symptom for several days,

“2” if you have experienced this symptom for more than half the days, or

“3” if you have experienced this symptoms nearly every day.


1.       Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge

2.       Not being able to stop or control worrying

3.       Worrying too much about different things

4.       Trouble relaxing

5.       Being so restless that it is hard to sit still

6.       Becoming easily annoyed or irritable

7.       Feeling afraid as if something awful might happen


Scoring: Once you have answered each item, add all the answers for a total score.

Understanding your score:   Total score:

0 — 4 = Minimal/non-significant

5 — 9 = Mild

10 — 14 = Moderate

15 or more = Severe


Total Score of 0 — 4

Scores between 0 and 4 fall in the minimal/non-significant range. These individuals are likely to experience some anxiety from time to time, but do not find anxiety to be problematic in their daily lives.

Total Score of 5 — 9

Scores between 5 and 9 fall within the mild range. These individuals may worry and/or experience mild physical symptoms of anxiety. Intrusive thoughts may be begin to become bothersome or distracting, causing stress.

Strategies to Take Action

Change your thoughts — Be aware of your unhelpful thoughts and modify unrealistic thinking. We all have moments wherein we unintentionally increase or maintain our own worry by thinking unhelpful thoughts. These thoughts are often unrealistic, inaccurate, or, to some extent, unreasonable. Identify those thoughts. Think about them and how they affect your feelings and behavior. If they are not helpful, change them to more helpful, adaptive thoughts. For example, beware of “what if” thinking, thoughts that are all-or-nothing in nature, or catastrophizing.

Practice Self-Care– Attend to your own feelings and healthy lifestyle practices: good nutrition, sleep, and exercise are important to well being, resilience, and healthy stress management.

Stay Connected — Social support is vital to managing stress. Maintain connections to family and friends. Talking with others can do a world of good.

Take a break Whether it be a simple change of pace or scenery, enjoying a hobby, or switching “to-do” tasks, breaking from concerted effort can be refreshing.

Take action — Engage in an activity you enjoy; take a walk; listen to music; read a book. Or, engage in problem solving (In what ways might you address the stressors that are causing these feelings?)

Total Score of 9 — 14

* A score of 10 or above warrants further assessment and may be indicative of an anxiety disorder.

Scores between 9 and 14 fall within the moderate range. These individuals may experience increased worry or preoccupation in addition to greater emotional and behavioral responses. Chronic levels of moderate anxiety may also result in symptoms of chronic stress such as headaches, stomach upset, and tense muscles in the neck, back, and shoulders.

Strategies to Take Action

Take a deep breath — Deep diaphragmatic breathing triggers our relaxation response (switching from our fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system, to the relaxed, balanced response of our parasympathetic nervous system). Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4 and repeat several times.

Practice mindfulness and acceptance — It is “normal” to experience some degree of anxiety when stressors are unfamiliar, unpredictable, and/or imminent. Anxiety, in itself, feels bad, but is not inherently harmful and does pass. Think of it like a wave of the ocean; allow it to come in, experience it, and ride it out.

Challenge your thoughts — Ask yourself about your anxiety. “Is this worry realistic?”   “Is this really likely to happen?” “If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?”   “Could I handle that?”   “What might I do?” “If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?” “Is this really true or does it just seem that way?” “What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?”

Practice positive coping statements  –   For example, “Anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling”. “This feels bad, but I can use some strategies to control it.” Positive thoughts about your ability to manage stress can be helpful in maintaining motivation and persistence in making healthy stress management strategies.

Total Score of 15 or more

Scores of 15 or more fall within the severe range. When severe levels of anxiety persist, most or all areas of one’s life may be impacted.   It can become difficult to work, relationships with others can become strained, the ability to do everyday tasks becomes difficult, and caring for oneself, one’s home, and one’s family can be a challenge. Some individuals may experience panic attacks, which are short periods of overwhelming, very intense anxiety wherein they feel a sense of impending doom that something horrible is going to happen from which they need to find safety.

Strategies to Take Action

Slow your breathing — Practice relaxation. Diaphragmatic breathing or other relaxation inducing practice (e.g., guided imagery exercises, tai chi, yoga) can reduce stress by helping to encourage the relaxation response.

Develop skills to control your physical experience of anxiety/panic —

Progressive muscle relaxation, for example, is a kind of guided relaxation exercise that leads you to tense and release different muscle groups of your body, teaching you to notice and learn the difference between tension and relaxation so that you may have greater awareness and control over these bodily experiences.

Biofeedback training, for example, involves heightening awareness of and gaining greater control of your physiological processes through feedback from the ongoing processes themselves.   Some of this feedback may include instruments that measure and provide feedback regarding heart rate variability (HRV), brainwaves (EEG), skin temperature/conductance, and/or muscle tension. There are some great smartphone apps available at low cost to assist in building these skills.

Face your fears — Avoidance of that which causes anxiety can unintentionally maintain the anxiety. Challenge yourself to face your fears and learn that the feared situation is not nearly as frightening or dangerous as it seems. Aim for mastery experiences, experiences after which you can say, “I did it!”

Seek professional help — Sometimes anxiety can be difficult to manage without professional help. A mental health professional who provides cognitive behavioral therapy can assist individuals in learning to face their fears and better manage their anxious thoughts and feelings. A call to one of our PaxCare Tele-coaches is a great start to anyone who is struggling with anxiety and wishes to talk to someone about what to do about it.

Should I Force My Teen to Go to Church?

By: Dr. Greg Popcak

teen fight

Over at the National Catholic Register, Matt Archbold discusses his frustration with parents who give older kids and teens a pass on going to church:

“I’ve noticed something troubling recently at Mass. It’s parents at Mass without their children. And I’m not talking about the wee ones who cry and eat Cheerios in the pew. Actually I still see them quite a bit and am glad for it. It’s the teens I don’t see.  I’ve noticed parents that I’ve seen for years bringing their little ones to Mass suddenly flying solo as their children become teenagers.  What’s going on? Is it some misguided notion that you shouldn’t force religion on teenagers? Is this a trend you see at your parish? It seems pretty foolish to me. If you ask me, parents should be forcing teenagers to do all sorts of things, shouldn’t we? If we see our children veering in a dangerous direction what does it tell them when we don’t attempt to change their direction? If we don’t require them to attend Mass as teenagers either we don’t care about them so much or we don’t consider religion all that important. I don’t really see other options. And believe me, they notice.”

Read more here.

I thought I’d throw my .02 in as well and say that Matt is on to   something when he encourages parents to insist that their children of every age attend Mass.   The Eucharist is the food our souls need for eternal life.  “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and Drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn. 6:56).   If your children were not eating healthy meals, you would insist that they sit at the dinner table and eat.   If they resisted further, you would recognize that the child might have a problem—even an eating disorder—and you would seek help.  If you, as a parent take your child’s earthly nourishment seriously, why would you neglect your child’s spiritual nutrition?  It needs to be understood in your household that Mass attendance is not optional.  Sometimes we don’t bring ourselves to the Lord’s table in the best mood or the best spirit, but we must always bring ourselves to the Lord’s table.

That said, forcing your kids to go to Church isn’t enough.   Often your kids resistance to Mass attendance is rooted in one of two deeper problems (or a combination of the two); no personal relationship with God or the deterioration of their relationship with you.   Let’s look at each.

Mass Resistance Hurdle #1—The Lack of  a Personal Relationship with God.

Too many kids and teens ride their parent’s coattails when it comes to faith.   As parents, we assume that our kid is “catching” faith from us.   But that’s not how it works.   Imagine that you have a friend.   You meet your friend for lunch every week, and you always take your child with you, but before you go to the restaurant, you tell your child that the most important thing to do is to remain silent and still while you talk to your friend.   You do this every week for years until, one day, your teen say, “I don’t want to go to that lunch with your friend.   It’s boring.”   Would you be surprised?   Probably not.

Continuing the metaphor, if you wanted your child to eventually become friends with your friend, in addition to teaching your child how to behave in a restaurant, you would also need to teach your child how to listen to the conversation and make appropriate contributions to the discussion.   This way, over time, your child would learn that he was a welcome part of the discussion and that he could make bigger and better contributions to the discussion as time went by.  Soon, your child would look forward to these luncheons as much as you and your friend would start to become more and more your child’s friend as well.

In the same way, if you want your child to appreciate going to Mass, you have to help your child develop his or her own relationship with Jesus.   We do this through regular family prayer, teaching our children individual prayer, and  a host of other family spiritual practices  that help our children cultivate a relevant friendship with God. (For more information, consult the link to Parenting with Grace found at the bottom of this article.)   The better job we’ve done fostering our children’s  personal  spirituality at home, the less we have to force them to go to church.

Mass Resistance Hurdle #2—Your Relationship with Your Child has Deteriorated.

When teens are angry at mom and dad, they have a tendency to go for the jugular.   If you are a faithful parent, your angry teen is going to go for the jugular by insisting that Church is irrelevant and, perhaps,  that he doesn’t believe in God.   In my experience, the vast majority of teenage atheism has nothing to do with God and everything to do with  looking for a way to hurt  mom and dad—and especially dad (assuming dad is faithful).

Honestly, if this dynamic exists, it is almost always accompanied by the first hurdle as well.  The best way to begin addressing this faith crisis is by first restoring the parent-child relationship and then working on developing the teens relationship with God.   You really can’t do it any other way because you can disciple someone who does not want you to be his mentor.

The Good News

The good news is that if you do this work (instead of just freaking out and indulging in protracted religious lectures) chances are good that even the most resistant teen will re-discover (or discover for the first time) his or her desire to experience God in church and wherever else he can be found.

We offer many more suggestions for cultivating your child and adolescent’s spiritual life and cultivating the sort of relationship with your child that makes him or her want to listen to you in  Parenting with Grace:   The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids.   And if you need more assistance still, feel free to  contact your PaxCare Tele-Coach,  who  can help you find faithful solutions to any and all of the challenges addressed in this article. Call us to get the support you need to succeed.

Antidepressants Have More Side Effects than Previously Thought

A University of Liverpool researcher has shown that thoughts of suicide, sexual difficulties and emotional numbness as a result of anti-depressants may be more widespread than previously thought.In a survey of 1,829 people who had been prescribed anti-depressants, the researchers found large numbers of people — over half in some cases — reporting on psychological problems due to their medication, which has led to growing concerns about the scale of the problem of over-prescription of these drugs.

Psychologist and lead researcher, Professor John Read from the University’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said: “The medicalization of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels. One in ten people in some countries are now prescribed antidepressants each year.

“While the biological side-effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, are well documented, the psychological and interpersonal effects have been largely ignored or denied. They appear to be alarmingly common.”

Over half of people aged 18 to 25 in the study reported suicidal feelings and in the total sample there were large percentages of people suffering from ‘sexual difficulties’ (62%) and ‘feeling emotionally numb’ (60%). Percentages for other effects included: ‘feeling not like myself’ (52%), ‘reduction in positive feelings’ (42%), ‘caring less about others’ (39%) and ‘withdrawal effects’ (55%). However, 82% reported that the drugs had helped alleviate their depression….

Professor Read concluded: “While the biological side-effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, are well documented, psychological and interpersonal issues have been largely ignored or denied. They appear to be alarmingly common.”

“Effects such as feeling emotionally numb and caring less about other people are of major concern. Our study also found that people are not being told about this when prescribed the drugs.

“Our finding that over a third of respondents reported suicidality ‘as a result of taking the antidepressants’ suggests that earlier studies may have underestimated the problem.”

But there is good news for those suffering with depression, therapy is a VERY effective treatment for depression with no side effects.  Often, combined medication/psychotherapy treatment is recommended for severe depression, but for mild to moderate depression and other emotional problems, psychotherapy remains the most effective  treatment of choice.

If you would like to learn more about telephone-based,  Catholic-integrated counseling services for emotional and relational problems, visit the Pastoral Solutions Institute at or call 740-266-6461 to make an appointment.

Inconsistent Home Life/Common Family Problems May Increase Risk of Brain Disorders by Up To 60%

Because parents don’t have enough to worry about, two new studies point to the impact of a child’s home life on brain development.

The first study looks at how common family problems like lack of affection, poor communication, parental arguments and the like actually resulted in children developing a smaller cerebellum than children who did not experience the same type of common family problems.

The study led by Dr Nicholas Walsh, lecturer in developmental psychology at the University of East Anglia (UEA), used brain imaging technology to scan teenagers aged 17-19. It found that those who experienced mild to moderate family difficulties between birth and 11 years of age had developed a smaller cerebellum, an area of the brain associated with skill learning, stress regulation and sensory-motor control. The researchers also suggest that a smaller cerebellum may be a risk indicator of psychiatric disease later in life as it is consistently found to be smaller in virtually all psychiatric illnesses.

Previous studies have focused on the effects of severe neglect, abuse and maltreatment in childhood on brain development. However the aim of this research was to determine the impact, in currently healthy teenagers, of exposure to more common but relatively chronic forms of ‘family-focused’ problems. These could include significant arguments or tension between parents, physical or emotional abuse, lack of affection or communication between family members, and events which had a practical impact on daily family life and might have resulted in health, housing or school problems.

“We show that exposure in childhood and early adolescence to even mild to moderate family difficulties, not just severe forms of abuse, neglect and maltreatment, may affect the developing adolescent brain. We also argue that a smaller cerebellum may be an indicator of mental health issues later on. Reducing exposure to adverse social environments during early life may enhance typical brain development and reduce subsequent mental health risks in adult life.  READ MORE.

This study could go a long way to explaining the significantly higher rates of ADHD, childhood depression, anxiety,  and other emotional problems in the last 20 years.

The second study is even more shocking.  It shows that frequent school moves increase a child’s risk of adolescent psychosis by up to 60%.

“Changing schools can be very stressful for students. Our study found that the process of moving schools may itself increase the risk of psychotic symptoms — independent of other factors. But additionally, being involved in bullying, sometimes as a consequence of repeated school moves, may exacerbate risk for the individual.”  At the age of 12, participants in the study were interviewed to assess for the presence of psychotic-like symptoms including hallucinations, delusions and thought interference in the previous six months. Those that had moved school three or more times were found to be 60% more likely to display at least one definite psychotic symptom.  READ MORE

What’s the takeaway?  That being a consistent, extravagantly affectionate, radically attached parent who works hard on your marriage is the best way to give your child everything he or she needs to be mentally and emotionally healthy, not just from a psychological perspective but from a neurophysiological perspective as well!

For more information on how you can give your child every emotional and psychological advantage in life, check out Parenting with Grace:  A Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids (2nd ed rev.) and Beyond the Birds and the Bees:  Raising Sexually Whole and Holy Kids today!

What’s Your “Relationship Work Ethic?”

Some couples do a better job of prioritizing their relationship than others.  And some couples are simply more comfortable having a more casual attitude toward making time for their marriage.  But a new study shows that all couples–even the ones with a more “don’t sweat it” attitude toward couple time–experience a greater risk of marital problems over time if they don’t learn to cultivate their “relationship work ethic.”

Is a date with your partner as important to you as a meeting at work? A University of Illinois study recommends that couples develop a relationship work ethic that rivals — or at least equals — their professional work ethic.

“When people enter the workplace, they make an effort to arrive on time, be productive throughout the day, listen attentively to co-workers and supervisors, try to get along with others, and dress and groom themselves to make a good impression,” said Jill R. Bowers, a researcher in the U of I’s Department of Human and Community Development.

Couples should be at least as invested in their relationship work ethic, prioritizing their partner and putting the same kind of energy into active listening, planning time together, finding a workable solution for sharing household tasks, and handling personal stress so that it doesn’t spill over into the relationship, the researcher said.  READ MORE

In For Better…FOREVER!  A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage, I outline a “Marriage Maintenance Schedule”  that takes all the guesswork out of the daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual “appointments” you need to make with your spouse to develop the kind of Relationship Work Ethic that will make your love last a lifetime.  Check it out!  Your spouse might just put you up for a promotion to “Best Mate Ever!”  Sure beats the corner office!

Ricki Lake to Produce Documentary on Dangers of the Pill

I admit I never saw this coming.  Check out the story here which includes an anti-contraceptive pill tweet from Ms. Lake herself.    Here’s a sample of the article.

Lake will act as executive producer alongside director Abby Epstein in a full-length film based on Holly Grigg-Spall’s book Sweetening The Pill: or How We Became Hooked On Hormonal Birth Control.

“In the 50 years since its release, the birth control Pill has become synonymous with women’s liberation and has been thought of as some sort of miracle drug. But now it’s making women sick,” the two said in a statement. “Our goal with this film is to wake women up to the unexposed side effects of these powerful medications and the unforeseen consequences of repressing women’s natural cycles.”

In addition to the oral contraceptive pill, the film is said to deal with Yaz/Yasmin, the NuvaRing, and other forms of artificial contraception.

The duo, who worked together on three previous documentaries and a book on natural childbirth and nursing, plan for the film to be released in 2015.

“Oh whoa, this sounds pretty intense!” celebrity blogger Perez Hilton wrote. “We wonder if the film will scare everyone off the pill!”

From Perez Hilton’s mouth to God’s ears.   And if you’d like to be on the cutting edge, you can get ahead of the curve by picking up a copy of Holy Sex!  A Catholic Guide to Mind-Blowing, Toe-Curling, Infallible Loving, your practical, go-to guide for passionate, graceful, and  chemical-free loving.

Double-Blind Study Shows Lavender Oil Capsules As Effective as Lorazepam (Ativan) for Treating Anxiety

This is fascinating.  In doing some research for a client with generalized anxiety disorder, I found this double-blind, placebo-control study on the effectiveness of lavender oil capsules (silexan) for treating anxiety.  Remarkably, the study appears to show that the lavender oil capsules were as effective as lorazepam (Ativan) AND it had no side effects or potential for abuse.  Additionally,  participants experienced relief from their anxiety without any drowsiness.  Here is an excerpt from the conclusion section of the study.

In conclusion, our results demonstrate that silexan is as effective as lorazepam in adults with GAD. The safety of silexan was also demonstrated. Since lavender oil showed no sedative effects in our study and has no potential for drug abuse, silexan appears to be an effective and well tolerated alternative to benzodiazepines for amelioration of generalised anxiety.  Read the abstract and the link to the original study at PubMed here.

At the Pastoral Solutions Institute, we’re committed to helping Catholics find effective, faith-filled, solutions to life’s difficult questions.  If you  or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, I invite you to learn more about our Catholic tele-counseling practice by clicking this link or calling 740-266-6461.  Let us help you find graceful ways to respond to the challenges you face in your life and relationships.