Catholic Psychotherapy

SERVICES I OFFERCatholic Psychotherapy

The objective of psychotherapy or “therapy” - even when informed by the Catholic faith - is the resolution of psychological conflicts that produce psychiatric symptoms that often result in a diagnosis as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR).

These symptoms are created by emotional resentments that begin in childhood and become the core of your unconscious psychological defenses. While such defenses have an original protective purpose, if you continue to use them as an adult, you will find that these resentments will lead to feelings of victimization, hate, self-blame, and self-punishment that not only affect your mental health, but also your physical, social, and spiritual health.

In fact, individuals caught up in their unconscious defenses don’t really desire to serve God. Deep in their hearts, they use the name of God only as an excuse to serve their own pride – the pride of believing that they are “in control” of their lives.

And why is this? Well, you may not want to admit this to yourself, but all of us have dark and hateful thoughts and imaginings that we keep shrouded in secrecy and don’t want to reveal to anyone, especially not to a psychotherapist. [1]

a woman holding her heart with a smile while on her computer having an online Catholic Psychotherapy session

Psychotherapy Techniques

for Treatment of Psychological Disorders

All of the psychotherapy techniques that I use are evidence-based, but the evidence does not just come from scientific experimentation; much evidence comes from ages of experience and wisdom.

Many various psychotherapy theories and techniques have been developed since the early 1900s when Sigmund Freud formulated the concept of psychoanalysis [2][3]. These techniques have one basic objective: to help us do the things we would like to do, but, by ourselves, cannot manage to do.

Some of these techniques are based in conscious, rational thought processes.


Cognitive-Behavioral [4]

techniques, for example, focus specifically on changing faulty or unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. Vocal, silent, and even written techniques may be utilized. Note that vocal prayer is the preeminent form of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.

Teaching and Reasoning

are also forms of psychological healing, which has been a preferred method for many people who seek to understand ‘why’ they should change or how change can help them. Short stories, also known as storytelling, which illustrates a specific lesson, are one example. Storytelling is one of the oldest forms of communication. This has been a preferred method of Christian psychotherapy, beginning with Christ Himself, continuing with the Apostles, and the Saints.

Still, some psychotherapy techniques are necessary to get past resistance to change and we must reach deep into the unconscious part of the mind, well past a person’s conscious thought.

Guided Imagery

helps you visualize things that could or might occur so that you can achieve them or avoid them in the future. St. Ignatius of Loyola anticipated this concept in his Spiritual Exercises.

Mental Prayer

(or contemplative prayer) calls upon inspiration by the Holy Spirit to reveal and understand unconscious conflicts. Catholic mystics through the ages have had much to say about this.


The Book of Daniel provides a practical example of this, while the Book of Sirach (34:5) warns us that dreams are not meant to be taken as predictions of actual future events. [5]

Forgiveness Therapy [6]

can help you free yourself from the illusion of anger, which has controlled you, by growing in the desire and moral virtue of love. The story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis provides a full illustration of the definitions and concepts within Forgiveness Therapy. Christ Himself said that it was most important to love (Mat 22:34-40) and, He was consistent in His response, every time he received a question about forgiveness.

  • I’ve read self-help books. How is Catholic psychotherapy different?
  • How long should I expect to be in Catholic psychotherapy?
  • What about privacy?
  • Do you use any other methods?
  • Are there any methods that you don’t use?
  • What about medication?
  • What about the COVID-19 vaccine?

Psychotherapy can help you develop emotional awareness, which is a psychological tool. Psychotherapy is hard work. But, if you do it, you can learn to respond to any situation with emotional awareness and emotional honesty. Emotional awareness gives you the ability to respond honestly and appropriately to every moment of the present, so that you can recognize the difference between what you can change versus what you cannot change and choose an appropriate non-defensive, mature, and psychologically healthy response to your current feelings.

Self-help books can be written by anyone, with or without any education or experience, and the author only writes in general terms. Psychotherapy is a process and the psychotherapist is supposed to be an interpreter and an instructor, to teach you what you didn’t learn as a child, about your emotions so that you may understand yourself and others better, and develop healthy relationships.

Catholic psychotherapy is not limited to the resolution of psychological conflicts that produce psychiatric symptoms. Catholic psychotherapy includes spiritual-based healing so that you may be able to make a full surrender to God, uniting your will with His.

I offer short-term and longer-term psychotherapy methods based on your goals and history, so that you may receive a personalized approach. Research indicates that client motivation and aptitude are the most important factors when determining success in psychotherapy. Therefore, I am unable to give you a general timeline until we have a chance to talk, and I fully understand your needs and level of commitment to the process.

Additionally, although I offer spiritual counsels as guidance to some of my Catholic, Christian, and other clients who are seeking God, it’s been my experience that most don’t actually desire the narrow road. So, I encourage you to read more about my spiritual counseling if you believe that you are ready.

It is normal to feel concerned about privacy and even receiving a diagnosis, as these can affect your ability to trust and your civil rights. This is why it is important that you seek help from a professional who understands these risks and will do whatever is within his or her limits to educate and protect you. I encourage you to read my Office Policies (Consent to Treatment) prior to contacting me for services, as it addresses some of these concerns in detail. If you still have questions or concerns, it’s good to talk about these in the first consultation and ongoing.

Yes. I use a number of different methods that I have found to be effective in providing psychotherapy and counseling, which I teach to clients in session so that they can use these techniques during session and in their daily lives. Trauma-informed techniques to help clients learn how to respond to ‘danger’ signals from the brain are very important. The integration of Sacred Scripture, Catholic mysticism, and the teachings of the Catholic Church, are also often important for many of my clients, which I may offer guidance if it’s an area that I have knowledge or experience.

Yes. There are some methods that I do not use because my experience with these methods has demonstrated one or two things. The first reason why I may not use a method is because I’ve already tried it and I’ve learned that it doesn’t work, even when I tried it many times with different clients. The second reason why I may not use a method is because of the potential risks involved, in my view, are too great of a risk to clients and I’m not willing to put my clients at risk with that kind of knowledge. Note that risks are not just to the body [and the mind], these methods may also be dangerous to the soul. (Mt. 10:28)

I also do not believe in “fatalism”, in the sense that a person is stuck with their condition for the rest of their life no matter what they do such as personality disorders, nor do I believe that medication is the only answer for some disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar. Note that the concept of “fatalism” is in direct conflict with what Christ taught and Sacred Scripture dating back to Moses. So, I have invested a lot of time and my own money trying to find out what works and what doesn’t in order to help you and others heal. I continue to learn new ways to help my clients heal.

While I am not qualified to prescribe medication, it is part of my training. Sometimes people do use medications when they are experience psychiatric symptoms, but medications don’t really do anything except “suppress” the symptoms. If you choose to use medications, these should really only be used in combination with psychotherapy so that you can tolerate the difficult emotions that come up as you do the hard work that is necessary to heal. While many people who experience schizophrenia and bipolar or mania typically do need medication, I have learned a lot about these disorders and I have had several clients experience benefits from psychotherapy that could not be achieved with medication alone.

This is an area where Catholics and other Americans and people around the world are heavily divided, but not in the way that Christ said that He was coming to cause division. The problem that I have with the controversy over the COVID-19 vaccine is that nearly everyone who seems to have a problem with the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t even fully understand “why” they have a problem with it. It’s been my experience that the same individuals who are pushing the vaccine are unwilling to change their lives for the betterment of their souls because they use fear, shame, and force as tactics to get the vaccine “mandate” enforced, which is a violation of freewill, conscience, and legal rights.

Yet, the reverse is often true for those who refuse to get the vaccine because they often look for the quickest, easiest, excuse to reject the vaccine “mandate” without having spent time in prayer about the issue, considered the areas of their life that they need to change for the salvation of their souls, and they reject it based on the tactics used by those who are pushing the vaccine “mandate”, rather than the “agenda”. Therefore, my position on the issue is: 1) educate yourself on the issue, 2) don’t believe that this is the only issue that comes between you and God, and 3) pray, fast, and engage in a sincere study of the faith before you make decisions about your body, which includes anything that you do to your body, what is inside your body, and what you do to protect your body.

If you have further questions on the topic and need advice about how to get further information on this topic, BOOK A CALL.


[1] Richmond, R. (1997-2023). About Psychotherapy and Psychological and Spiritual Healing. Catholic Psychology in association with A Guide to Psychology and its Practice. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://chastitysf.com/terms.htm#PSY. Copyright © 1997-2023 by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Reproduced and adapted with permission by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. The material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced by any means.

[2] Jacques Lacan was a brilliant French psychoanalyst who understood the unconscious better than anyone to date. He masterfully refined many of Freud’s concepts and also developed many of his own. Yet, he is not as well-known as Carl Jung. Many psychoanalysts know who Jacques Lacan is and some are even familiar with his writings. Yet, many do not understand his work because his writings are complex and so they will often make the excuse that his writings are in “French” and have not been translated. This is untrue.

[3] While Jacques Lacan did have some familiarity with Catholic mysticism, it was not part of the development of his psychoanalytic theories or his explanations of the unconscious. It is, however, important to note that even Lacan spoke about the soul, from a psychological perspective. “And yet I fail to see why the fact of having a soul should be a scandal for having a thought-were it true. If it were true, the soul could only be spoken as whatever enables a being…to bear what is intolerable in its world, which presumes this soul to be alien…” Jacques Lacan, “A Love Letter.” In Mitchell, J. & Rose, J. (Eds.). (1985). Feminine Sexuality: Jacques Lacan and the école freudienne.New York: W. W. Norton.

[4] Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Cognitive Therapy was developed by Aaron Beck, M.D. in the 1960s after he became absorbed in psychoanalysis and treating depression. He is regarded as “the Father of Cognitive Therapy” and “the Father of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”. CBT and cognitive therapy have been researched in treating a wide variety of disorders including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, drug abuse, personality disorders, schizophrenia, many medical conditions with psychological components, and for clients who have had recurrent suicide attempts.

[5] Richmond, R. (1997-2023). Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Techniques. Catholic Psychology in association with A Guide to Psychology and its Practice. Retrieved February 2, 2023, from https://chastitysf.com/terms.htm#EBPT. Copyright © 1997-2023 by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. Reproduced and adapted with permission by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D. The material is copyrighted and may not be reproduced by any means.

[6] Forgiveness Therapy was developed by Robert D. Enright, Ph.D. in the early 1980s. He is regarded as “the Father of Forgiveness Therapy”, credited as “the Father of Forgiveness Therapy Research”, and Time magazine called him “the forgiveness trailblazer”. He is also the 2022 American Psychological Foundation Gold Medal Award Winner for his work in developing the psychological model of forgiveness, which was specifically noted as being central to healing trauma.

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