Why Even ‘Normal’ Catholics Need Therapy


I would wager that mental health issues are especially prevalent among the devout who are serious about their inner life because when people tackle deep inner issues which prevent God from working in their lives, their inner equilibrium is upset by stress, anxiety, and depression. This probably explains why most saints experienced profound periods of depression when they finally looked beneath their pious actions to face the reality of their own ingrained sin and subsequent need for inner purification.

Tragically, few Catholics discover the root of their spiritual malaise because often it means seeking psychological help. We all have psychological impairments, generational cycles, selfish habits, pride, controlling and other errant behaviors. God offers His children the means to become free from sin, bad habits and mental illness through the Church, prayer, confession but also through therapy.

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Since mental illness is as common and invisible among the faithful as it is in secular circles,  concern for mental health cannot simply be relegated to the secular sphere, especially during Mental Health Awareness month in May. I admit the topic of how and why Catholics experience mental illness might seem completely irrelevant to most Catholics. After all, many of us are too busy with daily life to actually step back and evaluate the state of our mental health objectively. Meanwhile, our fellow parishioners are just as concerned as we are that they appear healthy, happy, and whole in public.

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6 thoughts on “Why Even ‘Normal’ Catholics Need Therapy

  1. Speaking of which, I’ve had moments when I was overtaken by anxiety in terms of thinking about having to deal with the inevitable suffering which would come with growing up as a better Catholic. Knowing that I myself had given my family and friends a hard time with my irrationality makes me sad and angry, but at the same time, their support helps me stay under proper control. And hey, I guess we have to let go and do things according to God’s plan for us, no?

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  2. Great article, Melanie. I suffer from depression and from many of the conditions you mention. I do a lot of spiritual reading which may or may not be a good thing. I think what I lack is perspective from anther person who sees me more clearly than I see myself.

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  3. Bad mental habits. I call them morbid thinking. I would advocate a lay sacramental institution equivalent to the religious “confess your sins to one another”, James 5:16, which in its scriptural context seems only to apply among the Sacerdotal Fraternity empowered to grant formal absolution among themselves.

    I’ve noted the improvement in mental hygiene in a Traditional congregation over their fuller generations of all the children God intended to co-create under the cooperative life of humanae vitae. At a festive gathering, one sees the widest span of ages unselfconsciously, vigorously pursuing scandalously normal life. For instance, there is an informal area reserved for men to engage in extremely vigorous wrestling and bare-handed boxing, with neighboring feast partakers completely disregarding the proceedings, including Priests!

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  4. My philosophy is —do not worry on anything as everything will happen in normal natural way ; thank God for every thing in your life, your parents, your life so far, your wonderful spouse and children and all our condition;pray as much as passionless;help others in all ways possible. We will be happy and healthy. I am a very old man

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