Is therapy for me?
In recent years, the idea of “going to therapy” has become more widely accepted. I am grateful for those who have taken the time to bring about the importance of mental health awareness among our communities. The Catholic church continues to also make progress and has expressed openness towards bridging the gap between mental health and faith.
Our Pope Francis stated in an interview, that it is imperative that action be taken to “fully overcome the stigma that mental health illness is often tainted with.” Although progress is being made, there are those who continue to believe therapy is synonymous to a “lack of faith” or a “lack of trust in God.”
Statements of this sort can bring about feelings of shame and even confusion to devout Catholics who want to honor God, but who behind closed doors struggle with feelings of sadness, loneliness, or anxiety. They often question themselves; “am I not praying enough” “am I not doing enough for God” or “am I being punished for my sins?”
Please rest assured in knowing that none of the above are the case. Although we believe in God and follow the teachings of the church, we are by no means exempt from life’s adversities. Catholics are not immune to unexpected life transitions, trauma, or grief.
Holding on to our faith is what often helps us through these difficult challenges. But sometimes we need additional support to learn how to cope in a healthy manner. In a manner that will not place ourselves or others at risk. This is when the support of a therapist will be beneficial to our mental wellbeing.
Does this mean you are weak, or you are of little faith? Absolutely not, this simply means you have probably never dealt with a situation of this kind, and you need support and guidance to help you through it.
Below you will find a variety of settings that can indicate support from a mental health professional would be beneficial.
Marriage difficulties: we hold the sacrament of marriage to be sacred and we agree to honor it until death due us part, but that does not mean it’s a walk in the park. Marriage can be very difficult at times.
Divorce/Relationship breakup: yes, I said divorce. It continues to take place within our Catholic church thereby it needs to be addressed. Therapy will hold a safe and non-judgmental space for those learning to cope with the grief of a divorce or relationship breakup.
Parenting: Parenting is one of life’s greatest joys, but it can also be extremely challenging. Not to mention if you are single parenting or co-parenting. We can explore, identify, and address how your past or present experiences may be affecting the way you relate to your child and how to best move forward.
Life Transitions: illness, job loss, divorce, becoming a parent, becoming an empty nester or entering a new stage of life stage are a few of the life transitions that can take a toll on our emotional well-being. A therapist can walk through this season with you, implementing coping skills that align with your faith and values.
Infertility: difficulty conceiving can bring about feelings of sadness, stress, and hopelessness. The lack of support within the community can further lead us to isolating ourselves from our family and friends.
Grief and Loss: Grief can manifest itself through the loss of a loved one through death, but it can also signify the loss of someone through a divorce or break up. A therapist can support you by walking with you through the different stages of grief.
Trauma: Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, domestic violence, illness, intergenerational trauma, and natural disasters are just a few of the reasons an individual may experience trauma.
Men’s Mental Health: The men in our family carry a heavy burden from the pressure society places on them. Men can also suffer from mental health issues due to a decline in their physical health, relationship problems, family dynamics, or work stress.
Should you ever find yourself in a crisis, please call or text the national crisis/suicide hotline at 988 or call your local police department at 911.
Mireya Torres is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing in the state of California. Mireya is the founder of Healing in Faith Therapy. She offers telehealth Catholic based mental health therapy to women who are ready to reclaim their self-worth, discover their purpose and fully realize the amazing gifts they have to offer. If you wish to contact Mireya, please do so at 760 998-9095 or email@example.com