This semester has been quite possibly the craziest time of my life. This past summer was one that led to a schoolwork burnout. Working seven days a week to get all of the required internship hours and then enduring four-hour night classes after long day ran my energy and focus out. I had two weeks after the summer of fun to return home to my family in Florida until the fall semester.
I recently stumbled across this phrase. The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn’t Exist. This is the title of a book written by Craig Groeschel. I saw the main title and was a bit taken aback. A Christian Atheist….what the heck is that? I then saw the rest of the title. Ouch. Needless to say, I bought a copy and have recently finished reading it.
When it comes to issues that would highly benefit from pastoral counseling, helping the families of addicts is near the top of the list. I subscribe to the following definition of addiction, which is the disease model that I learned in Prof. Mikita’s substance abuse course: addiction is a primary (not caused by a previous disease, injury, event), progressive (it will worsen), chronic (it is not curable), and fatal (if left untreated) disease.
Recently I attended the Catholic Psychotherapy Association’s annual conference in Washington D.C. It was a place where clinical psychologists and counselors could gather to pray, network, and to learn more about topics concerning the integration of our Catholic faith and our field of study.
About a week ago I had the incredible blessing of attending a conference put on by the Catholic Psychotherapy Association (CPA) and co-hosted by the Institute of Psychological Studies (IPS). The road leading up to the conference was difficult, especially trying to pull the money together to go.
This last week, I felt that I was consumed with stress, homework, obligations, and decisions. Some of the graduate students and I planned to go to the Catholic Psychotherapy Association Conference in Arlington, VA and I felt that it was becoming an impossible feat to get there. I was surprised to see where these obstacles came from, but as one of my friends pointed out that Satan was working very hard to keep us from the good that was the conference.
Ever watch the news? Or read the newspaper (yes they still exist!)? Or scroll through Facebook and see all the different links and articles posted about what’s happening in the world today? It seems as though there’s a common theme: suffering. Everyone around us is suffering. Like I said in my previous blog post – life is hard.
I remember when I was 10. I ran around care-free and worried about absolutely nothing. The biggest problem at that age was having to go to bed early. (Imagine such torture!) Not once did a thought enter my mind about the logistics of planning or how to get from one place to another. I knew that I would be clothed, fed, and watered.
It’s an unfortunate fact that many Catholic parishes have truly horrible websites. The reasons for this are many, varied, and generally valid – budgets, time, staffing constraints, and so on. But the end result is that potential parishioners and visitors have a very difficult time getting the information they need, and may form some negative opinions about the parish based on this virtual first impression.
I don’t know about any of you readers, but I have never been to a pastoral counselor. I have been in counseling and in spiritual direction, but never pastoral counseling. So when I entered a pastoral counseling class I didn’t really know what I was getting into. We have spent the first four weeks of class reading articles and discussing what pastoral counseling is and what it is not. And to be honest, it’s still confusing.