When Your Emotions Get Derailed: Here’s How YOU Can Get Back On Track

18447716_1326200774095096_1823817419_nYou overslept through your alarm, you’re late for work, and—on top of that—your kids are sick… With all of this going on its easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control, which only adds to the stress of daily life, instead of helping to solve the problem. So how do we get back on track when our emotions get derailed?

Theology Of The Body reminds us that God made our bodies to work for our good and the good of others–that includes our feelings which are a function of our bodies. If our emotions are making it difficult for us to function at our best or treat others well, the answer is not to blame others for the feelings our bodies are making, but rather to learn to take responsibility for our bodies and our emotions. Taking responsibility for our emotions doesn’t mean shutting them down or shutting them off, but rather making sure that we express them in ways that help us meet our needs efficiently and make our relationships with others stronger and healthier.

Here are three More2Life hacks for getting your emotions back on track.

1. Reclaim your Power–When feelings throw us off track, we can feel powerless over our emotions.  The good news is that both psychology and theology agree, no one is in a better position than we are to manage our emotions effectively.  The trick is to not see it as a choice between venting your feelings or stuffing your feelings.  Instead, let the goal be expressing your feelings in a way that serves you well.  Before acting on overwhelming emotions, try to remind yourself of times when you handled high pressure situations well.  Ask yourself how you could use those same strategies in THIS situation.  Remembering past successes helps you connect with the fact that–despite how it feels right now–your emotions are not the most powerful force in your life.  GRACE is.  Bring these feelings to God and ask him how to express them in a way that solves the problem AND respects both you and the people around you.

2. Remember the True Opposite of Anger–The opposite of anger is not calm. It is empathy.  If you are being derailed by anger, frustration or irritation with someone, don’t focus on calming down so much as focusing on trying to see things through their eyes.  The point of empathizing with the person you are frustrated with is NOT excusing any offense or explaining away a problem.  The point is trying to get yourself to the place where you can stop seeing the other person as an obstacle to your progress and, instead, inviting them to be a partner in helping you make progress.  Research shows that problem solving works better when the problem-solvers feel like a team.  Acknowledging your anger doesn’t mean you can’t empathize with others as well.  It just means being able to keep your needs and theirs in mind at the same time.

3. Return to the Scene of the Accident–Often, when we lose our cool, we allow our guilt and shame to cause us to refuse to return to the topic. We MIGHT apologize, but beyond that, we may feel like we have surrendered our right to address the problem that provoked our reaction in the first place.  Nothing could be further to the truth.  By all means, if you need to apologize for something you said or did, be sure to do so, but don’t forget to circle back and address the problem that caused the train to jump the tracks in the first place.  For instance you could say, “I’m really sorry that I lost my temper.  You didn’t deserve to have me speak to you that way.  I would like it if we could make some time to talk about X, however, because as long as that’s an issue, there’s a chance we’re going to end up going through this again.” Returning to the scene of the accident allows you to learn from the past and avoid repeating it.

For more information on how to keep your emotions on track, check out Broken Gods! And tune in to More2Life on EWTN Global Catholic Radio, SiriusXM 139—Monday-Friday 10am E/9am C!

Taking Relationships from Stressed to Supportive

18035056_1301826716532502_1564248780_nRelationships are meant to be sources of support and love, yet sometimes in the craziness of life, some relationships end up causing more stress or become “one more thing we have to attend to.” This feeling may be a sign that it’s time examine and possibly readjust the way we approach these relationships.

Theology of the Body tells us that God created us for relationships; that building the kingdom of God really means creating a life-giving “community of love” with the people who share our life.  It is ultimately the strength of our relationships with one another that bear witness to the glory of God and call others into communion with him.  As St Paul puts it, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am a noisy gong….”  Unfortunately, as much as our relationships are supposed to be a source of grace, strength, and support, in our fallen world,  they can often be sources of stress, frustration and conflict. The challenge is not to run from these struggles, but to cooperate with God’s grace to respond in love and responsibility to work through these difficulties and create communion in spite of the things that tend to divide us.

Here are three More2Life hacks on how to take your relationships from a source of stress to a source of support:

1. Pull the Relationship Weeds–Healthy relationships allow you to be real and not hide important parts of yourself. Relationships are often a source of stress because we feel like we have to hide important aspects of who we are for the sake of “keeping peace.” That’s backwards. Relationships aren’t an end in themselves, TOB reminds us that God intends for our relationships to serve the mutual good of the people in those relationships–to help each person in those relationships be more of what God created them to be, not less. To build the kingdom of God in your relationships, be who you are. The people God wants you to create communion with will stick around, support you, and ask for your support. The people that can’t handle the “you” God created you to be will drift away.  Let them go. Pulling the weeds in your relationship garden will allow all your relationships to flourish and bear more fruit as you spend time with the people who are really capable of building you up!

2. Speak Up Sooner Rather Than Later–When people act in ways we find hurtful or offensive, we often let it go, telling ourselves it isn’t worth the trouble to address these issues and create potential conflict. While there is something to be said for choosing our battles, if you find that an offense continues to gnaw at you, speaking up sooner rather than later is always best. In the words of Pope St Gregory the Great, “Thoughts seethe all the more when corralled by the violent guard of an indiscreet silence.” The best way to address an offense? Don’t assume they intended to offend you and instead ask a clarifying question. Something simple like, “Hey, when you did thus-and-such, I wasn’t sure what to make of that (or it kind of hurt) what did you mean by that?” Once the other person explains their intention, you can either decide that it was all just a misunderstanding and let it go, or suggest other, more palatable ways the other person can express themselves in the future. Anyone who is interested in a healthy relationship will not be put off by this at all and, in fact, will be grateful for the opportunity to enjoy smoother sailing in the future!

3. Good Fences…Good Neighbors–Each person we know is good at offering a different kind of support. The key to less stressful relationships is not trying to make a person give you a kind of support they just aren’t capable of.  Some people are great at being kindred spirits.  Others are good sources of support or companionship around particular topics or areas of interest.  Others still, are fine to hang out with occasionally, but aren’t really capable of offering anything more personal support.  Enjoy each relationship for what it is, not for what you think it should be.  Base the level of trust and intimacy you expect from a relationship on a person’s behavior, not their title or role in our lives.  Sure, we “should” be able to be closer to, and have greater trust in, a parent or sibling or than a friend or a cousin, but in reality people are only capable of giving what they can. Having good relationship fences means knowing what each person in your life is capable of giving–and receiving–from you, and refusing to try to force more than this from them.  Focus on enjoying the ways each person can be there for you and you’ll feel less frustrated by the ways they aren’t.

For more information on how to cultivate strong, healthy, and supportive relationships, check out God Help Me! These People are Driving Me Nuts! and make sure to tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio/Sirius XM 139.

Overcoming Negativity


Fighting negativity is a constant battle. We live in a world full of inspirational quotes and Instagram captions about positivity, and while these can be helpful, they are not the only—and maybe not even the best—way to truly overcome negativity.

Theology of the Body helps us challenge negativity by reminding us of who we truly a
re and what we are called to become through God’s grace. Negativity traps us in our fallen selves, making us believe that the broken person we see when we look in the mirror is all we are and all we can ever be. TOB allows us to acknowledge the work that needs to be done but gives us the blueprint to imagine what our lives can look like if we keep allowing God to do that work in our hearts and in our world. The Theology of the Body helps us rediscover the freedom the negativity seeks to rob us of; the freedom to cooperate with God’s grace to become what we are; whole, healed, godly, grace-filled sons and daughters of God.

Here are three More2Life hacks for overcoming negativity:

1. Don’t Be Positive–The cure for negative thinking is NOT positive thinking. In reality, positive thinking almost always fails to produce effective results because it seems false–and it is.  Just like negative thinking tends to strain out anything good, positive thinking doesn’t allow us to acknowledge the real problems that need to be addressed. You can’t just ignore your way out of your problems by putting a smiley-face sticker on them. So what IS the cure for negativity?  HELPFUL THINKING. Ask yourself, “What would be the most helpful way to look at this situation?” In other words, how could you look at the present situation in a way that would help you find both the resources and motivation to formulate the most productive course of action?  Helpful thinking avoids the pitfalls of both negative and artificially positive thinking, giving you a way of keeping your situation in perspective while figuring out the best way forward.

2. Embrace your Freedom–We often use negativity as a way of escaping from freedom.  We’re afraid to do something about our situation because we might fail, or we don’t want to deal with the consequences of making a choice so instead of praying for the courage to act in the most godly and productive way possible, we tell ourselves there’s nothing we can do,” the situation is doomed,” “we are hopeless,” “they’ll never change,” “why bother trying?” All of these lies deny the truth that no one can ever take away our God-given freedom to act. There is always some small change we can make and if we can bring those small changes to God, he can multiply our efforts just like He multiplied the loaves and fishes. Escaping negativity means categorically rejecting the lie of powerlessness and embracing the freedom God gives to all of his children, a freedom that allows us to choose to cooperate with grace no matter what our circumstances.

3. Do SOMETHING. Negativity is paralyzing. To fight back. Do SOMETHING DIFFERENT.  Even if you aren’t sure it will really make a difference, acting at all–especially if it is something you haven’t done before–is better than staying stuck. The good news? Every step you take gives you new information that leads to new possibilities and those new possibilities will destroy negativity once and for all.

For more information on how to conquer negativity in your life check out Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart and tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C, on EWTN Radio Network/Sirius XM 139. Or, give us a call at Pastoral Solutions Institute!

3 Ways To Guarantee You’ll Be Your Spouse’s BFF



Many people question whether husbands and wives should expect to be each other’s best friends. Spouses are often faced with difficulties throughout their lives and marriage, so how can they still be best friends with one another? While it may come as a surprise to some, over 83% of married couples report being best friends with each other.

Pope St. John Paul the Great’s Theology Of The Body calls couples to recall the original unity–the remarkable best friendship–our First Parents enjoyed before the fall.  While many couples, today think that men and women aren’t supposed to even expect to be each other’s best friends, the Church is clear that that is exactly what God created men and women to be.  Adam’s exclamation, “At last, this is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone!” was, according to St. John Paul, an acknowledgement that Adam and Eve saw, in each other, two people who could truly “get” each other.  Through God’s grace, they enjoyed “the peace of the interior gaze” that allowed them to share the deepest part of themselves with each other without fear or need to hold back at all.  Since the Fall, because of our tendencies to self-protection, selfishness, and fear of vulnerability, this level of friendship can be challenging, but that is what the grace of a sacramental marriage is intended to empower couples to enjoy. Our efforts to cooperate with that grace allow husbands and wives to be witnesses to the love God has for the world and the friendship he desires with each of us.

Here are three simple More2Life Hacks you can use to guarantee you’ll be your spouse’s BFF,

1.  Take Care–Being your spouse’s best friend begins with finding little ways to take care of each other every day. Happy couples look for little ways to make each other’s day easier or more pleasant, they look for opportunities to stay in touch throughout the day with “I love you” texts and short calls to check in.  Being your spouse’s best friend doesn’t require tons of money for elaborate dates or huge swaths of time to connect in deeply meaningful ways.  It means making the point of using this present moment–even the moments you are apart–to reach out to each other and connect in some loving way; offering a thoughtful act of service, a friendly call or text, leaving a short romantic note or other loving token of affection, an offer of prayerful support.  These little efforts make a big difference in how much you and your spouse can feel like each other’s friends.

2. Date Everyday–Date nights are wonderful, but they usually can’t happen often enough and they aren’t the panacea people make them out to be.  Couples who are real best friends don’t save their relationship for date night.  They date every day, making little appointments to work, play, talk, and pray together every day–even for five minutes at a time.  Making daily dates to do the dishes together, take a short walk or play a hand of cards, take a little time for couple prayer, and make a point of talking about something other than just the chores goes a long way toward maintaining the little connections that make being best friends possible.

3.  Enjoy Little Adventures–Research shows that couples who feel like best friends make a point of trying new things together.  They are open to participating in each other’s interests–even when they don’t personally enjoy the same things to the same degree.  Couples who are best friends practice the notion that the activity they do together isn’t the point.  Rather, the activity is just an opportunity to be together, to share something with each other, and maybe to learn something about each other.  The new things you try don’t have to be expensive or time consuming.  Make a meal together and try a new recipe.  Play a new game.  Explore a different part of the neighborhood. Try out something your spouse enjoys but you aren’t so sure about–and keep an open mind and friendly attitude about it. The point is, couples who are best friends look for little adventures to share that enable them to take their friendship in new directions.

For more information on how to be best friends with your spouse, check out For Better…Forever! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage and make sure to tune in to More2Life, weekdays 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio/Sirius XM 139.

More2Life Hack: Living A More Joyful Life

image via shutterstock

image via shutterstock

It seems as though so many things in life are constantly trying to steal our joy. From politics, to work stress, to the craziness of daily life, it can be hard to find the joy in each day.

We tend to think that joy is a product of stepping away from life and finding little ways to take a break or enjoy ourselves.  Taking breaks can be important, but while doing this can lead to fleeting moments of happiness, it doesn’t lead to joy. The Theology of the Body reminds us that Joy is the fruit of living a meaningful, intimate, and virtuous life. Joy is that quality that allows us to have a deeper sense of rightness and contentment about our lives even when things are a little crazy or not going the way we’d like.  Because Joy is a FRUIT of the Holy Spirit, you can’t pursue Joy directly. Cultivating joy means dedicating oneself to a life of meaningfulness, intimacy, and virtue regardless of our circumstances.

Here are three More2Life Hacks for cultivating joy in your heart:

1. Keep the Big Picture in Mind–Joy requires us to be able to step out of the chaos of everyday life and remember who we are and what’s important.  This requires us to stay connected to God–to be able to see things from his point of view. Find ways to bring the present moment to God no matter how crazy it is. Ask him, “What do you want this moment to look like? How can I respond to this in a way that glorifies you?” Then re-engage the situation from this more graceful perspective. Keeping the big picture in mind helps you remain connected to what’s important

2. Be Kind–True joy comes from seeking little ways to be a gift to others all day long. As you go about your day, consciously ask yourself how you can make a difference in this moment? Is there something you can do to make this person’s day even a little easier or more pleasant? Is there something you can do to take down the tension in this situation? Is there some way you can surprise someone with a small thoughtful gesture or little act of service? You don’t have to be a martyr about it. In fact, it’s better if you aren’t. Just look for those little ways to be a gift or create caring connection while you’re passing by or passing through. These little acts of kindness increase your joy by helping you see all the ways you are making a positive difference in your world and in the lives of those around you.

3. Stay In School–Research shows that joyful people are eager students in the “school of life.”  Joyful people are always open to seeing things from a new perspective, trying a new experience, and growing in ways that help them be stronger, healthier, more well-rounded people.  Joyful people aren’t shy about sharing what they like. They know who they are and what they stand for, but they are open to discovering all the ways God is revealing himself to them through the people and the world around them.  And the more ways we open ourselves to this experience of God the more his grace makes us joyful. So, be yourself, but don’t be afraid to be more, learn more and grow more.

For more information on how to live a more Joyful life, check out my book Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart, or give us a call at Pastoral Solutions Institute (740.266.6461)

Don’t forget to tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio/SiriusXM 130.

For Anxiety Disorders, CBT May Restore Brain’s Structural Balance


Do you struggle with anxiety on a regular basis—particularly anxiety induced by social situations? Well, you’re not alone. Experts have found that one in ten people are affected by social anxiety at some point during their lifetime.

“Social anxiety disorder is diagnosed if fears and anxiety in social situations significantly impair everyday life and cause intense suffering.” Most commonly, this type of anxiety is provoked when an individual is asked to speak in front of a crowd.

A new study from the University of Zurich found that individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder have difficulty regulating emotions due to impaired function of the frontal and lateral areas of the brain.

This may seem scary, but don’t despair! The results of this study showed that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has the ability to rewire the brain and foster healthy functioning in those areas of the brain involved with emotional regulation. CBT utilizes techniques such as self-observation, role plays, or video recordings, that enable alternative viewpoints to be developed.

Through the use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, researchers “were able to show that structural changes occur in brain areas linked to self-control and emotion regulation,” In particular, the results of this study indicated that “Psychotherapy normalizes brain changes associated with social anxiety disorder.”

If you want to learn more about how CBT techniques can help you take control over your anxiety, give us a call at 740-266-6461, or check out my book God Help Me: This Stress is Driving Me Crazy!

3 Simple Ways Stop Blaming And Start Reclaiming Your Power in Grace


In today’s world, placing blame is easier than ever. Outlets such as the news and social media allow us to say “it’s their fault!” without a second thought. Because of this, placing blame on others—or even yourself—is a trap that is all too easy to fall into. However, figuring out “who’s to blame” is not an effective way to heal the hurtful situations in our lives.

In Love and Responsibility, Pope JPII spoke of “responsibility” as a basic and inalienable human freedom that gives us the ability to choose to work for our good and the good of others no matter what.  In a sense, despite the fact that we live in a broken, fallen world, filled with broken, fallen people, no one and nothing can ever take away our ability to respond in godly ways that work for our good and the good of others.  No one can take away this ability to respond to our circumstances UNLESS WE SURRENDER IT OURSELVES and one of the most common ways we do this is by blaming.  When we blame, we turn other people or our circumstances into idols that are more powerful than God’s grace working in us and giving us the ability to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Here are three More2Life Hacks that will help you stop blaming and start reclaiming your power in grace!

1. Don’t Blame Yourself–Overcoming the temptation to blame others isn’t an invitation to start blaming yourself. The first step to reclaiming your power over blaming is to stop trying to figure out whose fault it is and just start solving the problem. Assigning blame–whether to others  or yourself–won’t change reality. Only the next steps you take will.  The only question that matters is,  “What are YOU going to DO about it NOW?”

2. Adopt A Supernatural Perspective–We often blame others when we feel powerless or afraid.  Saying that our circumstances are someone else’s fault allows us to avoid acting in ways that might be necessary, but are scary or unpleasant–especially when we aren’t sure we can do it.  This is the time to remember St Thomas Aquinas’ maxim, “Grace builds on nature.”  Instead of saying, “I CAN’T.”  Remind yourself of St Paul’s words, “I have the strength for everything through Christ who empowers me.” First, ask God what he wants you to do to start making a positive difference in your situation. Second, ask him for the grace to make up for everything you feel you lack. Finally, do the thing that challenges both you and the people around you to be your best selves and let God’s grace flow through your actions.

3. Accept The Invitation–Surrendering the tendency to blame means accepting God’s invitation to grow in strength and wisdom.  When we stop blaming–ourselves or others–we embrace the changes God wants to make in us and through us; changes that WILL lead to us closer to becoming our whole, healed, godly, grace-filled selves and living more abundant lives.  All of God’s children receive this invitation.  Have the courage to accept it and let God make you a witness to the amazing things he can create with imperfect people and imperfect situations

For more information on how to accept and embrace God’s grace in your life, tune in to More2Life, weekdays at 10am E/9am C on EWTN Global Catholic Radio, and check out my book Broken Gods: Hope, Healing, and the Seven Longings of the Human Heart.

More2Life Hacks—Bouncing Back from Tough Times in Marriage

Image via shutterstock. Used with permission

Image via shutterstock. Used with permission

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the various problems we all experience in marriage Sometimes, we can get so focused on the problems that we think things will never be different.   Here are three More2Life Hacks that will help you bounce back from tough times in your marriage and re-experience the love and joy you crave!

1. Check your Commitment–Happy couples know that recovering from marital struggles starts with being even more committed to their vows than they are to each other.  What do I mean?  At various points, even the happiest husbands and wives become frustrated with each other and can feel like their spouse is undeserving of their commitment.  But where less happy couples use this as a justification for withdrawing their love and entertaining thoughts of divorce, happy couples remind themselves that their commitment is to their marriage, itself, even more than to their feelings for their spouse.  This allows couples to not catastrophize their problems and, instead, get to work on the problems.  Research shows that couples who make this greater commitment to their marriage bounce back from problems more quickly and are happier overall, than couples who regularly allow tough times to call their overall commitment to each other into question.

2. Re-Engage Through Care-taking–Every couple gets stuck in arguments from time to time–even for extended periods.  But happy couples know that sometimes they have to disengage from the fight and find little ways to remind each other of their love for each other BEFORE re-engaging the discussion.  While struggling couples either adopt a “fight til we die” approach or simply give up the fight from exhaustion, happier couples adopt a pattern that allows them to alternate between arguing, intentionally stepping away to build rapport, and then re-engaging the discussion from a more secure base.  If you’re going through a rough patch, don’t stop talking about it altogether, but take breaks where you intentionally choose to do little things that remind each other that your relationship–and your commitment to loving each other– is bigger than this present problem.

3. Seek Help–Happy couples know that when a problem starts to feel overwhelming, it’s time to seek new resources.  When you feel tempted to stop working on a problem–or stop working on your marriage altogether–see that as a sign that it’s time to get help.  Read a new book together that offers new ideas for improving your relationship. Go on a Marriage Encounter or Retrouvaille weekend.  Or seek professional marital therapy.  Research shows that most struggling couples wait 4-6 years before seeking professional assistance but that just makes problems grow.  Seek help early to get the new skills you need to reclaim the peace and joy in your marriage.

For more tips on how to make your marriage thrive, check out “For better…Forever! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage.” AND spend time with us every weekday at 10am ET by tuning in to More2Life on EWTN Global Catholic Radio.

Image via shutterstock. Used with permission

Image via shutterstock. Used with permission

Can You Be Mindful And Still Feel Angry?


Mindfulness is a powerful technique for helping individuals develop a healthier relationship with their emotions.  Unfortunately, many individuals have fallen under the misunderstanding that practicing mindfulness means they will be completely at peace at all times. Then, when this doesn’t occur, they become more upset or believe that mindfulness doesn’t work.

To combat this, we must first understand what mindfulness really is. Mindfulness is, essentially,  the ability to experience your emotions fully without feeling controlled by those emotions. Mindfulness allows you to observe your emotions without “feeling like those emotions are so unbearable that you have to engage in dysregulated behavior (substance use, overeating, self-injury, etc) to ‘turn them off.’”

In other words, mindfulness does not cause us to “stop feeling” and always be in a state of peace. If this were the case, mindfulness would in some ways be detrimental since emotions are there to help us function. For example, “Anger helps us stand up for ourselves and motivates us to fight against injustice.” Instead, mindfulness, particularly when practice with a mental-health professional, “can help anger and other emotions feel more tolerable and easier to manage so you are less likely to feel controlled by your emotions.”

For more information on how to experience your emotions through mindfulness check out Calming The Emotional Storm 

Faith on the Couch–Already Courting Controversy

Over at our More2Life Radio facebook page, a correspondent has issues with this whole enterprise of mixing faith and psychology.

He writes, “Not sure why one would take our faith and enter a belief system that does not accept the tenets of the faith – the mental health profession.

This seems extremely dangerous.

A system that is based on the belief that man is solely a biological entity; based on the belief that thoughts and emotions are the product of brain chemicals; based on a denial of the existence of the soul; based on a denial of the existence of an afterlife; and based on the view that God is a delusion, an evolutionary adaptation that has outlived its usefulness, does not seem compatible with faith, which holds contrary views.

Is is not time to turn instead to pastoral routes to healing and turn away from a profession that has turned away from faith?

While I am not unfamiliar with his point of view, I wonder if the habit of intellectually cherry-picking random facts to discredit an institution is really the best way to go.  After all, hasn’t the same approach been used by those who wish to discredit the Church.  To wit:  “Not sure why one would take their good common sense and enter a belief system that does not accept the tenets of the science – the Roman Catholic Church.

This seems extremely dangerous.

A system that is based on the belief that man must make himself solely a puppet of God’s will; based on the belief that thoughts and emotions are the product of angels and demons whispering in your ear; based on a denial of logic and reason; based on a denial of simple facts of biology; and based on the view that God is some all-powerful Santa, a father-fantasy intent on keeping people content in their misery, does not seem compatible with reason and science, which holds contrary views.

Is is not time to turn instead to empirically proven routes to healing and turn away from a profession of voodoo-priests who molest children in their spare time?”

It seems to me that this is exactly the sort of sloppy thinking that the faithful need to avoid.  As Pope John Paul II wrote in Fides et Ratio, “Faith without reason is superstition.”  He also wrote that reason without faith  leads to nihilism–i.e., the ability to know the price of everything and everyone but the value of nothing.

St Thomas Aquinas also took the view that man understands God best when he is open to both revelation and to science.  In fact, the Catholic Church practically invented scientific inquiry because it understood that we can learn a lot about God by studying his fingerprints on the sculpture of creation.  Even moreso, since he has intimately united himself to all of creation through Christ Jesus.

An institution, whether clerical or clinical, cannot be dismissed simply because some will abuse their power or misrepresent what is true.

That said, my interlocuter has a point.  Psychology (or religion for that matter) is not completely benign.  It has genuine power to heal, but in the wrong hands, it has power to hurt as well.  My practice is filled with many clients who are trying to recover from the pain they suffered from previous therapists who could not or would not respect their faith journey. Marriages broken by marriage-hostile counselors, parents alientated from children by therapists who undermined their power, people who were lost to confusion and even despair when mental health professionals mocked their faith.

Of course, I have also been witness–and I am pleased to say I have also been a part–of many people’s journey toward healing.  Couples reunited.  Families made whole.  People discovering the truth about who God made them to be because of the integration of faith and reason in the services of psychological healing.

What do you think?  Is there a place for the integration of psychology and faith?  What are your experiences of counseling?  Largely good?  Largely bad?  I’m interested in your experience.