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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

I知 trying to be a devout Catholic and I struggle with depression since I知 10 years old and with Borderline symptoms since I was 15. I知 a 25 year old female. I知 in a psychiatric hospital for nearly three months now. And I知 studying your information and trying to live more in prayer. The Jesus Prayer is such a relief for me because I struggle with a pressure to do everything right and always do my best.
     Please excuse my English, it is not the best! :)
     I think I have a trauma from when I知 15 and I found so much relief and gained so much wisdom from your explanation or perspective on BPD. Sadly I retraumatized myself with boyfriends and men.
     I would like to ask you about dealing with emotions. I have a problem with recognizing the emotions I am in the present moments. Afterwards I find it easier to analyse what happened and can explain it. Also I struggle with counteracting towards the emotions. For example if I知 lonely, feeling sad, I want to die, then my impulse would be flirting with men, any attention from men. My doctor here said to learn to sooth emotions by activating positive or the opposite emotions like feeling safe or secure. So for being tired, rest. Feeling scared then I should lie in bed with a blanket. Will that really help me?

 
Tour doctor has told you about psychological techniques that depend on self-discipline. For a reason that I will explain later, self-discipline usually fails for many persons. So, let痴 consider a better method of dealing with emotions.

 

Experiences, Distress, and Spirits

The first issue to consider when trying to recognize and deal with emotions is that our emotions are part of a natural process working in us at all times to alert us that something is either hurting or pleasing us. Thus emotions are not bad; they are simply reality. Beginners, however, often confuse emotions with beliefs, fantasies, and temptations that can lead us into unhealthy behaviors. These beliefs, fantasies, and temptations are all different things that can be distinguished by persons who have had psychological training, but it can be very confusing for persons just beginning to learn how to live healthy lives. Therefore, for your healing, it will be best not to speak of emotions but to speak of experiences.

A second issue is the matter of recognizing that your experiences can take on many different forms. Consider this list of some common psychological experiences that can disrupt your mental functioning:

  

Addictions, anger, anxiety, boredom, competitiveness, demoralization, depression, despair, discouragement, disobedience, doubt, dread, eroticism, fear, frustration, gluttony, hatred, illness, immodesty, impatience, ingratitude, intestinal distress, irreverence, loneliness, lust, manic pressure, masturbation, oppression, panic, pornography, pride, procrastination, rumination, self-blame, self-loathing, self-punishment, sensuality, social acceptance, strife, weariness, worry, victimization, and violence.

  

To a beginner, the variety of these experiences can be overwhelming; these experiences, however, have one common element: they either are distressful in themselves or they lead to some form of distress. Therefore, for the beginning of your healing, it will be best to speak simply of the fact that your experiences often result in distress.

Finally, consider that the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation endow a person with the Holy Spirit, and that the fruits of the Holy Spirit, though many, lead to a general life disposition of peace and calmness. Furthermore, as any devout Catholic should know, evil spirits constantly try to obstruct the holy work of God. One way that they do this is by manipulating our psychological distress so as to combine it with a spiritual distress that disturbs our peace and calmness and sends us into harmful behavior. Therefore, for the beginning of your healing, it will be necessary to understand that those distressing psychological experiences I mentioned previously all have spiritual counterparts, and that to manage your psychological experiences it will be necessary to use your Catholic faith to deal with spirits.

 

Deliverance Prayer

This, then, leads to the issue of deliverance prayer to renounce particular spirits.

Note here that we cannot renounce our psychological experiences because they are simply psychological reality. We can deal with the reality of our psychological experiences in two related ways. First, we can use psychoanalytic techniques to understand how our present experiences link back to childhood traumas that were in themselves distressing, and then we can use self-discipline to take command of our current behavior. Yet many of us, if not most of us, constantly fail in self-discipline, because self-discipline often remains stuck in the pride of self and does not extend itself to divine grace. But that failure does not have to extinguish hope. Despite our own weakness, we can call upon our faith and renounce the spirits that, in manipulating our psychological experiences, try to increase our distress, overpower our self-discipline, and send us into harmful behavior.

But, before you can renounce each particular spirit in the moment as it appears, it will be best to acquire practice in renouncing the spirit of general distress. You can do this by using the following prayer formula whenever you experience any distress.

  

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I renounce the spirit of distress and the hold it has over me. And I ask our Lord Jesus to send it to the foot of the Cross.

  

Then sit quietly and pray the Jesus Prayer (鏑ord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me). You can do this most effectively if you use Rosary beads and pray the Jesus Prayer on each bead, so that in one circuit of the Rosary you will pray about 50 Jesus Prayers. As you pray, reflect on the list of experiences I described earlier and ask for the grace to understand more deeply the specific spirit of distress that has been afflicting you.

It may take many repetitions of this process to discern the name of any particular spirit that afflicts you, but, if you do it regularly, you will slowly grow in understanding, and you will become proficient in quickly naming the various spirits afflicting you. Then you can use the deliverance prayer formula to renounce any spirit, such as the specific ones named above.

 

Summary

In summary, then, follow this general routine:

1. Whenever you notice any distress starting to arise in you, use the deliverance prayer formula to renounce the spirit afflicting you. (With practice, you will be able to name the particular spirit, but, until you gain experience, just renounce the spirit of distress. Then use the Jesus Prayer with the Rosary beads to help identify the particular spirit that was afflicting you.)

2. Continue to develop the practice of praying the Jesus Prayer as much as possible during the day, with or without the Rosary beads, just to strengthen your faith and bring a general sense of peace and calm into your daily life.

 


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