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Overcoming Traumatic Events
Written by Allison Ricciardi, L.M.H.C.   

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The marking of the anniversary of the terrible attacks on 9/11/2001, causes many of us to contemplate the impact of this horrendous event on our society.  One effect is that we are only too familiar with trauma.  The horrific attacks has affected every American to some degree, but the impact on victims, first responders and their families is astounding. Those of us living in the New York City area after the attacks experienced the trauma for weeks as we watched funeral after funeral at our parishes, most of us knowing someone who died or someone who lost someone close. 

Trauma leaves an indelible mark, and understandably so. Such intense terror overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope and can lead to symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), such as nightmares, trigger reactions, intrusive memories and more that can last for years or even decades. When the traumatic event is triggered later on, the individual can return to their state of shock and re-experience the horror as if it were happening all over again.

Sadly, traumatic events happen more than we realize.

A child in an alcoholic home may experience many things that overwhelm their ability to cope. Women who experience rape or abortion; a soldier in a war zone; someone who goes through an unexpected and abrupt break up…people may experience trauma and be unable to free themselves from its effects for years. The reason is that when we experience something like that, because of the high emotional impact, the experience and memory get encoded on the right side of the brain, where emotions get processed and they get stuck there. Talking about the event may not be enough to reprocess it properly and encode it on the left, more logical side where the memory can be put in the past and no longer intrude when the person experiences something that reminds them of the traumatic event. 

 

Read more: Overcoming Traumatic Events  [Overcoming Traumatic Events]
 
Healthy Boundaries: What They Are and How They Save Stepfamilies
Written by Brenda Snyder, LCSW   

 

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 “And two shall become one." Such a lovely sentiment. We choose a life partner and then meld into a single shape, romantically traversing home, work and family as one being, each responsible for the other, completely intertwined.

Sound familiar? Maybe to a starry-eyed new bride, but even if this picture of an ideal relationship were a healthy one, which it decidedly is not, it couldn’t last long. When a person uses as her ideal this idea that her relationship exists as an entity without individuals, she is in grave danger of losing herself. It is not only unwise and unhealthy to exist in the shadow of another, it is a death sentence for a relationship.

Very often, stepmothers turn themselves inside out in order to fit in or have a role in their new families. In doing so, they eventually become angry and resentful of the choices they have made, but of which they have stopped taking ownership. Human beings are responsible for their own thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In healthy relationships, each person is responsible to their partner, but not for him. This is a subtle difference to be sure, but it is necessary so that each partner can determine where he or she stops and the other begins. When the distinction is not present, an individual’s feelings, self-esteem and behavior are all determined by the reactions, feelings and behaviors of others.

 

Read more: Healthy Boundaries: What They Are and How They Save Stepfamilies  [Healthy Boundaries: What They Are and How They Save Stepfamilies]
 
Why Does Testing For A Learning Disability Take So Long?!
Written by Deacon Jason B. Miller, Ph.D., M.P.A.   

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It is the beginning of the school year, which for those of us who do psychological testing, means it is time for psychoeducational evaluations. Whenever I get a call about a psychoeducational evaluation to identify learning disabilities, I always have to brace the person I am talking to for how long the evaluation could take. "Six to eight hours!! Why so long?!"

Yes, these evaluations are something of a marathon. The psychologist feels almost as tired as the child. Scratch that - by the end of it all, we're MORE tired than the child. That is because after the evaluation, we have to spend another 10+ hours scoring the tests and writing the report! Ah, but I digress. Suffice it to say, there are many reasons why these evaluations are so painstakingly comprehensive.

First, there are many types of learning disabilities: phonological, writing, mathematics, oral expression, and comprehension. Within each of these categories, there are subtypes. Take dyslexia for instance. Within the one category of a reading disorder, there is auditory, visual, attentional, surface, deep, developmental, acquired, directional, and math dyslexia. This isn't just academic - each one of those subtypes has entirely different interventions in order to help the child.

 

Read more: Why Does Testing For A Learning Disability Take So Long?!  [Why Does Testing For A Learning Disability Take So Long?!]
 

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September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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 Learn more about awareness:

Protecting Life by Recognizing and Responding to Signs for Suicide

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Catholic Psychotherapy Association - Annual Conference 2014

 

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ct angel "Trust in the Lord with all your heart. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths."  Proverbs 3: 5-6