PsychedCatholic » Where Catholics and psychology come together

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IMG_0882 (2)This  guest post is written by a beautiful, courageous, intelligent, witty and wise-beyond-her-years girl named Natalie.  In her words, she is a “Catholic home-schooled 16-year-old who loves St. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Jane Austen, books, good coffee, Batman, a good laugh, and pranking her friends!”


photo-1429277158984-614d155e0017As a teen girl growing up in a body-obsessed culture, I can say in all honesty that I have really felt the effects of it. Airbrushed models, celebrities with “perfect bodies,” and weight loss commercials are constantly blared at me from TV, store ads, and billboards. As a young girl viewing this twisted idea of beauty, I now realize, as I reflect, that it has had a great impression on me, and consequently the life of everyone around me. Continue reading »

  • August 23, 2015 - 3:07 pm

    Kate Breuninger - Delighted to see a new post from Psyched Catholic.
    Thanks, Natalie, for being God’s magnificent instrument and, through your experience, shedding God’s light and love with so many tormented by this disorder!!ReplyCancel

  • August 23, 2015 - 9:02 pm

    Barbara G Barrett - Missed your articles very much!
    Natalie, you are God`s instrument…and may you continue to be a source of inspiration to those women who need you. I wish there had been someone like you with me when I became anorexic…it was all consuming torment. Somehow through God`s grace, I survived. God bless you always. NanaReplyCancel

  • April 24, 2016 - 7:23 pm

    Abigail - Not to trivialize the importance of spirituality, but taking a purely “psychological” view of these disorders is just as ineffective as taking a purely materialistic view.

    Anorexia and many diseases are on the rise because of the GAPS hypothesis. Please look into GAPS (Gut And Psychology/Physiology Syndrome) if you know anyone struggling from autoimmunity, autism-spectrum, schizophrenia, ADHD, diabetes, addiction, or any other chronic disease like asthma or obesity.

    The underlying problem for all of these disorders is damaged gut flora and permeable intestines. The good news is the body and mind can heal if given the opportunity and materials to do so.ReplyCancel

photo by gayaneh CC

photo by gayaneh CC

In an often viewed TED talk, artist Phil Hansen talks about “embracing the shake.”  It is a great message, one truly worth watching or reading.  In the face of nerve damage that left his hand shaking too badly to make his preferred art, he learned to embrace this limitation, and it led to more creativity than he could have imagined.  His message of embracing limitations should ring especially true for us as followers of Christ, and may be particularly hopeful for those facing mental illness. Continue reading »

  • June 26, 2015 - 2:16 pm

    Barbara G Barrett - I have spent years fighting the need to do things perfectly or not at all. This summer I`m still fighting …this time it`s the need for a perfect garden…all of this is actually very funny especially to the bugs and weeds;but more importantly it points to my ingratitude for what I have been able to accomplish.
    Thanks for the insights. Happy summer to you and your family! God bless all.ReplyCancel

AvengersWhen you think “blockbuster movie” and “superheroes”, I bet “fear” isn’t the next word in your mind.  But if the major motion picture in question is the recent “Avengers: Age of Ultron” then you might have to think again.  I do enjoy a good Marvel movie, and I was intrigued at the direct way in which this one portrayed the characters’ struggle with fear as the lynchpin of the proceedings.

After all, fear is a primal emotion.  Ability to feel fear is essential to survival, and fear prepares us for action faster than we can consciously think.  At the same time, fear can keep us trapped, immobilized both physiologically and psychologically.  All of us have fear, and we are never safe out of its reach. (You may have heard that “Perfect love casts out fear.”  Know any perfect lovers?)  What can we take from this ultra-popular film that will inform our own, personal struggle with fear? Continue reading »


handAt Easter, we celebrate the ultimate victory of Joy over suffering.  Christ is Risen!  Alleluia!   Death, where is your sting?

All this hoopla must look a little silly from the outside.  Its hard to understand the thrill of Easter if you have not experienced the agony of Good Friday.  And our current culture is not high on Good Friday.  Usually, we are trying to find ways to avoid suffering.  The implicit message is often that happiness results when all suffering is eliminated or successfully avoided.  As Christians, however, we believe that the joy of Easter is possible precisely because of suffering.  This is our model: it is by dying that we can rise to new life.

At a time in my own journey when I particularly needed it, I read a book called Hinds Feet On High Places. It is an allegorical story of the spiritual life, and the main character, Much Afraid, attempts to journey to the high mountains where The Shepherd lives. One of the things that stuck with me most is that The Shepherd chose two companions for Much Afraid to help her make it through the journey: Sorrow and Suffering. Continue reading »


A few weeks ago I was wandering around the house engaged in some task (which I can’t recall now), when I had that unsettling, terrifying feeling…the 3-year-old is not making any noise! Upon reflection I’ve realized that I tend to unconsciously keep track of him by the distant sounds of “Vroom, vroom” or other various forms of screeching, laughing, and/or crying. But silence. Silence means that he is into something he shouldn’t be! He’s quiet when he is in the bathroom putting his toothbrush in the toilet bowl or squeezing all of the toothpaste into the sink while running the faucet water perpetually. Silence with a toddler screams trouble.

Continue reading »

  • April 3, 2015 - 9:06 am

    Kate Breuninger - Thank God for his Goodness! Thank you for the reminder!!ReplyCancel

  • April 3, 2015 - 9:44 am

    Barbara G Barrett - Great reminder! Easter Blessings. NanaReplyCancel

  • April 4, 2015 - 11:20 am

    Dave Sosnowski - Great post, Matt!ReplyCancel

The stereotypes would have us believe that those who see a therapist are broken, crazy, weak, incapable or lesser-than.  My experience has been the opposite.  Those I work with are quite strong in many ways, not least in their willingness to face the pain and suffering that comes with change.  They have more than the usual ability to be vulnerable, and by owning their brokenness, show forth the glory of humanity.  (More on that here)  They have often given me the gift of seeing the world through their eyes, and it can be a beautiful view.  Today I celebrate those shared moments by sharing some of the images or metaphors with which they have described their experience. *

stairs-ruinSuffering and Sadness as Stairs to Freedom Continue reading »

  • March 27, 2015 - 8:04 am

    Gary - My metaphor was always a cold, dark room. No warmth, no light, no love. People were appearing, but distant. Living in complete fear, I saw no end to this existence. I cursed God for the life I was given and seriously questioned what purpose God had for me, other to be a human punching bag.
    Therapy opened the door to mental side of my existence, which took over ten years to fully uncover. It was at this time I became willing to seek God and much to my surprise, I was shown how my past was to become my greatest asset, in God’s hands. Loneliness, separation from others and God, fear and loathing are gone, having been replaced with love, joy and a sense of purpose, to carry the message of redemption which God has entrusted me with.
    God BlessReplyCancel