Can you find real healing in therapy?
Can you find healing 'without' therapy?
The answer is a resounding “Yes” to both questions…but therapy sure can help.
The most important factor is 'you'…..do you really want to be healed? Do you really want to be free and happy? Most people would say 'yes' to that but too many people define happiness as simply the absence of pain. If they have difficulty in relationships, they may just avoid real relationships and isolate, or move on to a new one as soon as trouble begins. Or maybe they just change careers, homes or hobbies looking for that elusive thing called happiness.
God has a plan for each of us and truly wants us to experience real happiness. He starts us out in families with a plan that our parents will reflect Him to us…providing, protecting, nurturing and loving us. But too often things go awry in families. Even with the best of intentions, parents fall short. Just like us, they are fallen human beings with hurts of their own that need healing. These foundational hurts are most often at the root of our problems. We learn how to cope in difficult situations and those coping skills may work for us when we’re kids. If we learned to deny that Dad drinks too much and it’s scary at home when we’re young, we can cope and go to school and play like the other kids. God is so good to allow us our defenses. But as adults, those childhood defenses most often become our problems.
The now famous “12 steps” of Alcoholics Anonymous are really the steps of the spiritual life. And the first two are that we have to admit that our lives have become unmanageable and we have to surrender to a higher power to restore us to sanity. Some great wisdom there!
But what the heck does “sanity” look like, anyway?! Well, there’s the rub. How can we as human beings, living in a fallen world, surrounded by other fallen creatures know? Well, God has revealed it to us in His Son. Jesus Christ, God made man, is perfect sanity and perfect humanity. His mother, Our Lady, conceived without sin based on the anticipated merits of her Son, is the perfect model for us.
Our Lady, in her numerous apparitions gives the same advice wherever she appears. Pray the rosary. Why?
Through the rosary we meditate on the events in the lives of Jesus and Mary. We pray to them. We learn from them. We get to know them. And through this unparalleled prayer we are transformed. We receive light and grace and healing. I believe it to be true because Our Lady told us. I know it to be true because I’ve experienced it and I’ve seen lives renewed by it.
Therapy has a lot to offer to those who are suffering. With a competent and compassionate therapist we learn about ourselves and the reasons we do certain things and we review, or should I say, literally “re-view”, the past from an adult perspective. But healing is found when we invite God into the process and re-view things from His perspective and align ourselves with His Holy Will for us. A therapist can play a critical role to help us to get in touch with our feelings and process them. Maybe we need to grieve our losses or feel our justified anger at the terrible things we may have had to endure. We need an understanding ear and a supportive shoulder. We’re human and God made us that way. In therapy or a self help or support group, we can learn new and more healthy ways to cope, communicate and deal with our emotions. But that’s not enough. When we are truly ready, we ask God to forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and the miracle occurs. Only with God can we truly forgive and be forgiven. The shackles fall from our wrists and we’re free.
I know of no faster route to healing than by faithfully praying the Rosary. I am recommending a book by Father Dwight Longenecker, 'Praying The Rosary For Inner Healing' . I am continually amazed at what I hear from everyone to whom I recommend this book! (Read some comments here). Father Longenecker was truly inspired by the Holy Spirit and has given a great gift to the world with this book. Having been a therapist for close to 20 years I can honestly say I haven’t seen anything like it before.
I am praying it will put me out of business!
If you are currently in therapy, get this book and pray the rosary. If you are not in therapy but have your struggles, get this book and pray it. If you know someone in need of healing, get this book and pray it for them.
catholictherapist.com/STORE/Praying the Rosary For Inner Healing
I pray with all my heart that you and those you love will find the healing and freedom that Jesus died to give you. May you be blessed beyond your imaginings!
Allison Ricciardi, LMHC is the Founder and President of CatholicTherapists.com and also the director of St. Raphael MH Counseling, PC in New York. Counseling for variety of issues is provided by St. Raphael MH Counseling, PC for individuals, couples, & families, and also provides group therapy. Visit http://www.straphaelhealing.com/ for more info.