Catholic Patients

Padre Pio is prudent, and always says first, 'Do what the doctor says.' Then he prays.

Padre Pio: The Stigmatist by Fr. Charles Mortimer Carty

The Catholic psychiatrist can be likened to a type of auto mechanic fixing and optimizing the functioning of a vehicle - in this example the biological functioning of the human body. Coexisting conditions are treated, indicated medications provided and multiple health measures included in this corporal work. But a well-tuned car still must be driven properly and optimally. In the therapeutic relationship, the psychiatrist can be a type of driving instructor, hearing and seeing how the patient maneuvers, working to maximize recognition of the past and practicing flexibility and adaptability in the present. In these ways, the Catholic psychiatrist can contribute in addressing the obstacles that affect a patient's life of Faith.

As a practicing Catholic, I understand the practice of the Faith. Like any person, a Catholic may be affected by the physical malady of biological depression, bipolar disorder, psychotic spectrum illness - or any psychiatric condition, including substance abuse and dependency. There is an historical antipathy between religion and psychiatry, often due to theoretical assumptions made by some medical practitioners. Contemporary psychiatric treatments challenge this divide. Certainly, the Catholic approach to inquire and know deeply predates psychiatry; this thorough psychiatric approach creates a biological and interpersonal understanding. The proper medical treatment of psychiatry clearly diagnoses the condition, treatment allows one to function optimally, including in one's practice of the Catholic Faith.

Here is an an example of my Catholic meditation on the Tridentine Mass.

The life of a Christian is nothing but a perpetual struggle against self; there is no flowering of the soul to the beauty of its perfection except at the price of pain.

Padre Pio

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