This is Your Brain on Religion. Any Questions?

New research support the notion that religious faith is a neurological imperative of being human. a new study shows through functional MRI scans that such religious and spiritual experiences can be rewarding to your brain. They activate the same reward systems between your ears as do feelings of love, being moved by music and even doing drugs, according to the study, which was published in the journal Social Neuroscience on Tuesday. “These are areas of the brain that seem like they should… Read more

The Good Samaritan:  Not Just a Good Neighbor

A guest post by Pastoral Solutions Clinical Counselor, Dave McClow, M.Div., LMFT, LCSW. Providence is a powerful force—it’s God’s invisible hand guiding our lives.  I experience Providence in different ways.  Most frequently it happens on the phone with my clients when a story or metaphor comes to mind that I don’t normally use, and it hits home in a way I could not have possibly planned.  It happens in used-book stores (one of my vices).   I will find a book… Read more

Why So Down? Studies Show Humans Are Wired to Emphasize The Negative, UNLESS….

Why is it that we can do 100 things right but obsess about the 1 thing that went wrong?  Or, why do we ignore the dozens of things the people around us do to be kind but then fuss about the 1 thing they miss?  It turns out that, except for one condition (which I’ll share below) human beings are actually wired to be negative. In his book The Neurobiology of Human Relationships, Pepperdine psychologist, Louis Cozolino, reveals how research shows that the… Read more

Pope Francis Asserts the Power of Lay Catholics

Pope Francis recently raised eyebrows in his comments affirming the constant teaching of the Church that it is not possible to ordain women to the priesthood.  According to reports, As he has done in the past, the pope responded that the question was settled in 1994 by St. John Paul II, who taught that because Jesus chose only men as his apostles, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church is not possible.  He was asked, “Really? Never?” And he… Read more

When the Gate is Shut–A Faithful Response to Vaginismus

Aleteia posted a deeply heartfelt article about a Catholic woman’s struggle with vaginismus, a disorder in which the muscles of the vagina involuntarily spasm or become rigid which makes intercourse either painful or, in extreme cases, impossible. I don’t know anything about the author of the blog referenced in the article, except to say that, having read her posts, I can say that  she is a tremendously brave and honest woman who has, with her devoted husband, found ways to… Read more

66% of Kids On ADHD Meds Don’t Have ADHD, Says Scientific American

According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 5 percent of American children suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), yet the diagnosis is given to some 15 percent of American children, many of whom are placed on powerful drugs with lifelong consequences. This is the central fact of the journalist Alan Schwarz’s new book, ADHD Nation. Explaining this fact—how it is that perhaps two thirds of the children diagnosed with ADHD do not actually suffer from the disorder—is the book’s central… Read more

When Every Child is Left Behind: Teaching “Stupid Faith”

My latest for OSV (online now and in the 10/16 print edition) Catholic children as young as 10 years old are renouncing God and quitting Church, claims a new study by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown.  According to lead researcher Mark Gray, children are finding that faith is “incompatible” with what they are learning in school, and the older the child becomes, the more this is the case. According to Gray, “this is a… Read more

Pastoral Solutions Institute Seeks New Catholic Counselor to Join Team

The Pastoral Solutions Institute is pleased to announce that we are expanding and seeking a new Catholic therapist to join our team of professional Catholic counselors.  If you are interested, please read the following carefully. About the Institute Founded by Dr. Greg Popcak in 1999, the Pastoral Solutions Institute is a Catholic behavioral tele-health practice providing over 10,000 hours/year of ongoing pastoral psychotherapy services by telephone to Catholic couples, families and individuals worldwide. The Pastoral Solutions Institute is internationally recognized as… Read more

Physical Exercise May Be Best Treatment for ADHD

The Atlantic reports on a new study published this morning in the journal Pediatrics. …kids who took part in a regular physical activity program showed important enhancement of cognitive performance and brain function. The findings, according to University of Illinois professor Charles Hillman and colleagues, “demonstrate a causal effect of a physical program on executive control, and provide support for physical activity for improving childhood cognition and brain health.”   Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all… Read more

Secular Media Finally Admits: “The Pill” Causes Depression & Relationship Problems

Despite a new Pew survey reporting that only 4% of Americans and 13% of weekly Mass attending Catholics in the US think that contraception is morally wrong,  “the Pill” is getting belated, but well-deserved, bad press from surprising sources. Harvard psychology professor and Playboy Magazine columnist, Dr. Justin Lehmiller, is reporting on research I mentioned the other day indicating that hormonal contraceptives (HC’s)  influence the type of man that a woman is attracted to and can undermine satisfaction in longterm relationships–especially… Read more

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