Setting the Captive Free! New Research Illustrates our Power to Overcome Depression

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In response to my post linking the new study questioning the serotonin-deprivation theory of depression, I received a very thoughtful email from a reader who wrote, "Dr. Popcak, some of my friends who suffer with depression are saying that in this article you are blaming them for their depression. Can you explain further?"Blaming the Victim?  A ResponseI am grateful for her question because I would never want anyone to think that I was blaming sufferers of depression for being d … [Read more...]

The Gates of Hell Will Not Prevail Against You: Mental Health, Medication, Healing, and Holy Week

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One of the most liberating teachings of our Catholic faith is the idea that suffering--though undesirable and not part of God's original plan--is an inescapable part of living in a fallen world.  That might not sound terrifically liberating on the face of it.  Who wants to suffer?  No one, of course.  But although life is filled with trials and problems, much of the suffering we endure is brought on by the idea that suffering itself means that there is something wrong with us.  As a culture, … [Read more...]

Double-Blind Study Shows Lavender Oil Capsules As Effective as Lorazepam (Ativan) for Treating Anxiety

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This is fascinating.  In doing some research for a client with generalized anxiety disorder, I found this double-blind, placebo-control study on the effectiveness of lavender oil capsules (silexan) for treating anxiety.  Remarkably, the study appears to show that the lavender oil capsules were as effective as lorazepam (Ativan) AND it had no side effects or potential for abuse.  Additionally,  participants experienced relief from their anxiety without any drowsiness.  Here is an excerpt from the … [Read more...]

A Screwtape Letter to An Unappreciated Mom

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The original Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis reveals a series of fictitious letters between Screwtape, a senior demon, and his nephew, Wormwood, a demon-in-training, about the tricks of the demonic trade of tempting a "patient" (i.e., Christian) away from "the Enemy" (i.e., God).    In this tremendous adaptation, a blogger reveals a previously undiscovered letter from Screwtape to Wormwood about how to undermine the faith, marriage, and confidence of  "an unappreciated mom."  It's powerful stuff, a … [Read more...]

Overcoming Bitterness: 5 Steps for Healing the Hurt that Won’t Go Away

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No one wants to be bitter.  It sneaks up on us.  Bitterness is unforgiveness fermented.    The more we hold onto past hurts the more we become drunk on our pain and the experience can rob us of the joy we can find in anything. Bitterness occurs when we feel someone has taken something from us that we are powerless to get back.  We hold on to the hurt in an attempt to remind ourselves and others of the injustice we've experienced in the hopes that someone will save us and restore what we've lo … [Read more...]

Research Validates Parent-Directed Treatments For Kids’ Anxiety

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Parents often contact the Pastoral Solutions Institute's Tele-Counseling Practice for help in addressing their children's anxiety.  Whether phobias, separation anxiety, school related social anxiety or other anxiety related problems of childhood, our first approach is to work with the parents to teach them to help their children directly.  I and my therapists teach parents techniques to use with their children.  The parents report the results and we teach them the next steps.We have two rea … [Read more...]

Husband Posts Wife’s AMAZING Tantrum on YouTube

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Believe it or not, I encounter this kind of behavior in marriage therapy all the time.People seem to think that anger is the gift we give to other people, but it isn't.   Your anger is God's gift to you, not anyone else.  Anger is the emotional response to a perceived injustice.  The healthy response to anger is to (1) identify the trigger for the anger (2) take a few moments to pray and think about a possible solution to the problem  (3) only then approach your partner by leading with this s … [Read more...]

Emotional Security: Do You Know What YOUR Emotions Are Trying to Tell You?

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Most Christians have a pretty ambivalent relationship with our emotions.  We just don't know what to feel about our feelings.  Sometimes, emotions can be the source of a great deal of joy, satisfaction, and well-being.  Other times they can wreck us with anxiety, despair, anger, and angst.   Of course,  there are still other times when we get upset with ourselves for being upset, angry at ourselves for being angry, or depressed about how sad we feel.Emotions are a part of our body, of cours … [Read more...]


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