Some people have an inaccurate view of therapy, thinking it is only for those who are visibly “disturbed.” Some even think that Catholics should have enough direction through prayer, the sacraments and the study of saints that they would never need therapy. But how do you rejoice in the Lord when you are filled with feelings of anxiety, depression or rage? How do you forgive when your mind constantly revisits painful memories and replays hurts from the past? How do you look forward to eternal life when your focus is on death?
Many of our clients end up describing their therapy as a Godsend. Through initial therapy and continuing therapy, they truly rise and follow Christ because they are free from psychological burdens. At Guest House our clients are educated with good mental health practices that strengthen and restore them, making them free to follow Christ in a fresh way and often times leading to a stronger connection with Christ than they have previously experienced. Emotional wounds begin to heal. This result is why it is so common for our clients who return to their dioceses and communities to tell us that they are better Priests, Deacons, Brothers and Sisters than they ever were in the past.
A priest in recovery shares, “I consider myself a wounded healer. I am grateful to Guest House for my deeper relationship with God. Anyone who passes through the doors of Guest House leaves a stronger and more merciful person than he or she was before entering. I know I am a better priest because of the self-care I learned from my therapist and from group meetings.” Feeling grateful to Guest House for the changes in her life, a Sister in recovery for over 15 years still occasionally pulls out her discharge summary which reads, “She reclaimed her life and her God,” and she vehemently concurs.
Catholics are familiar with the fact that Christ teaches that He is present in every living person. Therapy helps in those times when He may be difficult to see. A common expression related to this situation is, “Jesus, you sure are wearing a good disguise today” – a reminder that Christ calls each person to see Him in everyone. It is important to learn to deal with people simply and directly, rather than constantly analyzing the actions, words and motivations of others. This learned approach allows people a better opportunity to offer love and care in all situations.
There is no denying that we live in a world where fear and negativity are aplenty, even though we pray. Sometimes, it is helpful to be reminded that we ultimately are the creators of the reality we choose to observe. It is critical to know that we can actively choose joy. The mind is a powerful tool, and it is available to help each of us become the greatest version of ourselves with the highest level of health. If therapy guides us to be an expression of joy, let’s embrace it.
Written by Guest House Staff Writer