Consultation Policies & Procedures

Catholic Psychological and Spiritual Healing

Most Catholics do not recognize the psychological truth that past injuries of childhood live unconsciously in the present and can obstruct psychological and spiritual growth; nor do they recognize the spiritual workings of evil that feed upon resentment over past injuries. For such persons, prayer and fasting, even when combined with a sincere study of the faith are not sufficient to relieve their emotional distress and to overcome the obstacles to doing the very things, they know they should be doing. These persons need Catholic psychotherapeutic help to get to the root of their psychological and spiritual desire to commit sin and thereby to close the openings in their hearts to harmful influences which can be quite invisible to conscious awareness.

So, do you need help from ForgivePrayLove™? Do you desire guidance from a Catholic psychotherapist who understands the nature of the unconscious and the hidden powers of evil that are constantly working to influence us and draw us into psychological and spiritual doom?

This website is filled with self-help guidance. But if you need more than self-help, through personal consultation, I can provide the professional clinical help you need to explore your unconscious and remove the psychological obstacles that prevent you from loving God with a pure heart.

If you are interested in contacting me, first be careful to read through all the information on this web page; also review information about my professional credentials and office policies that is found on my associated website: Forgiveness Therapy.

Education and Training

Learn more about my professional credentials, education, and experience on Meet Gianna.

If only we did exactly what Christ told us to do through prayer and fasting – turn away from the satisfactions of the world so as to renounce sin, pray constantly, and live chaste, modest, and humble lives filled with loving sacrifices for the salvation of other souls – we would be spiritually and mentally healthy.

The Benefits of Loving God with a Pure Heart

The psychological focus of this work is to help you know yourself as you get close to your unconscious. Then, depending on the effort that you put into the process, then you can learn to love God with a pure heart and thereby experience many other benefits as well.

1. You can grow in the Fruits of the Holy Spirit and therefore get along in peace with family and neighbors and be an inspiration for their spiritual growth.

2. You can live a life free from grave sin.

3. You can have the clarity of mind to develop your talents, work productively, and provide for your material sustenance.

4. Your physical health can improve.

5. You can do penance for the past sins you have committed and thus shorten the penance you will have to do in Purgatory.



Psychotherapy (often referred to colloquially as “therapy”) has as its objective – even when informed by the Catholic faith – the resolution of psychological conflicts that produce psychiatric symptoms that have an effect on more than just your day-to-day life.

These symptoms are created by emotional resentments that begin in childhood and become the core of your unconscious psychological defenses. Such defenses have an original purpose of protecting you from intense emotional pain by hiding your resentments from conscious awareness, but as you get older these resentments can so erode your confidence and self-esteem with feelings of victimization, hate, self-blame, and self-punishment that they affect not only your mental health but also your social health 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. How many times have you said to yourself, “If people knew what I was really like, they would never want anything to do with me”? Yet the more you try to hide the truth of your life from others, the more you hide it from yourself, and the more you fall into pride – the pride of doing everything your way.

Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Techniques

Please read about the specific evidence-based techniques that I use in my practice to learn about what I value in my work based on my years of education and experience.

You may also be interested in a more detailed explanation about 4Giveness+™, which I specialize.

The Place for Medications

Psychotherapy is hard work. It takes courage and commitment to succeed. It will often seem counter-intuitive because it does not examine only what is on the surface of your life. To be able to cure the pain and confusion of your life, you really have to examine and change what motivates you to act in ways that cause pain and confusion, and, for the most part, this motivation is unconscious and under the surface of your life. Therefore, your true motivation cannot be examined directly. It must be examined indirectly by digging through all the dirt and filth hidden under the surface. It’s no wonder, then, that most people fear psychotherapy – and fear psychotherapists.

Consequently, psychiatric medication has a special appeal to it, an appeal that is seen more and more today in advertising. Rather than go through all the hard work of constantly monitoring your emotions, thoughts, and actions, why not feel better without having to do anything at all? Why change your lifestyle? Just take some pills a couple times a day and go about your life as usual.

Now, the truth is, psychiatric medications are generally mandatory for the treatment of disorders such as schizophrenia and mania. For other disorders such as depression, PTSD, anxiety, or obsessive–compulsive disorder, psychiatric medications can, in some cases, be a helpful adjunct to psychotherapy. That is, medications can suppress debilitating anxiety or alleviate your depressed mood such that you can then feel comfortable enough to do the hard work of psychotherapy.

It’s important, then, to keep in mind that psychiatric medications are not curative. The medications merely suppress the unwanted symptoms for as long as you take the medications. If you stop the medications, the symptoms will flourish again in full strength. But, if psychotherapy is used in conjunction with psychiatric medications, the psychotherapy holds the possibility of a genuine cure by resolving the deep unconscious issues that lie behind the symptoms – and then the medications can be discontinued. Be careful not to be deceived by “medical marijuana” or “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy”, regardless of what the so-called ‘research’ says. These are evil substances, and any use of any of these types of substances, for any reason, opens a hellgate for demonic influence. As politically correct as “medical marijuana” and “psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy” may seem, it’s all demonic deception.

Note carefully that the use of psychiatric medications therefore poses a grave spiritual danger. If someone uses medications merely to suppress symptoms of anxiety, depression, or OCD, rather than use psychological treatment to renounce willingly the morally disordered inclinations underlying the symptoms, he or she can be in a perpetual state of unrepentant mortal sin, much like a clean, shiny grain of wheat that, when broken, is full of dirt inside.

The same is true for those who simply choose not to do the hard work of psychotherapy, even if they are not taking psychiatric medications. 

Psychological and Spiritual Healing

Psychological and spiritual healing in the Catholic mystic tradition seeks to guide someone in ways that bring him or her closer to living a holy lifestyle.

In this healing process you learn to surrender yourself to total trust in God so that, no matter what afflicts you, you can bring the pain before God and ask for the strength and courage to deal, in imitation of Christ, with what needs to be done in any moment.

Because of deep psychological conflicts, also known as knots, however, you may find it difficult to make a total surrender to God, and so you will discover that education and reasoning do little to overcome that difficulty. In this case, psychotherapeutic techniques must be used to understand and overcome the fear that puts up an obstacle to the spiritual purgation necessary for living a holy lifestyle.

Putting It Into Practice

Therefore, in the form of healing I practice, and as I describe on this website, you can be guided – through the sacraments, vocal and mental prayer, fasting, study, and the insight resulting from the psychotherapeutic relationship – into understanding the roots of your unconscious conflicts; you can learn to identify the events of life that have wounded you and to understand the emotions surrounding those events.

That is, it’s not enough just to “know” intellectually what occurred – it is important to feel the pain and then to be able to identify and “name” the emotions associated with your pain.

This all occurs through a collaborative process of interpreting your unconscious associations to your intellectual memories, using techniques such as free association and dream interpretation.

Eventually, you can recover a full awareness of your emotional life that in childhood you learn to suppress as a psychological defense.

The goal of all this work is not to blame your parents for the hurt they caused you, but to get past your hidden resentments and anger at your parents for the hurt they caused you. To do this work, it is necessary to bring to conscious awareness the many emotional injuries that you experienced in childhood. Only then can you take full responsibility for your life and ultimately forgive your parents and honor them for whatever good they did do. If you don’t do this work, then your anger at your parents will get stuffed down into the unconscious where it will cripple your life with insecurity and failure. So, remember, as long as you have unconscious anger at your parents, trying to honor them is just a lie.

Click here to learn about the common problems and conflicts that can occur during the therapeutic process.

You cannot do this alone. It is only by the grace of God that you can forgive. Careful not to use God or His grace as an excuse. God gives His grace to those who ask for it. We then need to cooperate with grace to benefit from it. He will never take grace away from you. But like anyone else, you can lose it all on your own.

Following the Spiritual Counsels

Please read my Spiritual Counsels to learn about the spiritual values underlying my work.

Telephone Psychological and Spiritual Healing

For all practical purposes, psychological and spiritual healing uses the same techniques as psychotherapy and has some of the same goals as psychotherapy (in that a healthy relationship with God will produce psychological health), but because I can assume someone of faith is not deliberately attempting to hide anything from me, psychological and spiritual healing is well suited to be conducted over the telephone. In fact, the partial anonymity of telephone work can be quite similar to the anonymity of a traditional Confession. 

Couples and Family Therapy

I do not provide treatment, as in psychotherapy and alcohol/substance abuse counseling, for minor children because it has been my experience that the parents also need treatment. Additionally, it’s been my experience that one person is more ready to change than another within the family system and change can begin to happen within the entire family by starting with one adult.

Nevertheless, for clients already established in individual treatment, I have occasionally conducted joint sessions with a spouse, adult sibling, or a parent, but my role in such sessions is simply to be a facilitator of healthy communication.

Legal Issues

I am an independent practitioner, and my work focuses on confidential personal healing. I do not accept cases that involve legal testimony or progress reports to third-parties.

Clinical Practices

The Nature of Treatment

My healing work is ordered to psychological and spiritual growth, rather than the simple relief of psychiatric symptoms. I have learned that this can only be achieved if you learn how to forgive, pray, love, and live a life a chastity.

The Modality of Treatment

I conduct all initial consultations by telephone; for clients outside the U.S. or who prefer it, I use Signal audio because Signal is encrypted.

Other modalities of treatment may be available, in some limited circumstances, in order to facilitate truth and justice, in the Catholic mystic tradition.

The Length of Treatment

The length of treatment depends on the nature, the severity, and the extent of your emotional wounds that have afflicted you – and those criteria in turn affect the strength of your resistance to change, which in turn affects the length of your treatment.

The Time to End the Treatment

Said simply, the time to end the treatment can be done when you are no longer committing any mortal sins. You commit sins because of unhealed psychological conflicts, and when those conflicts are brought to awareness and healed, then you will not have the unconscious need to commit sin. Because you will then be able to say, “Thank you, Lord. Now, I know how you felt.” Nevertheless, someone who has overcome the desire to commit sin might still want to continue treatment for continued psychological and spiritual insight and growth. (Gal. 2:20)

Cost, Length, and Frequency of Sessions

My fee is $175 per hour. Sessions are $250 per hour that start at or after 6:00pm my time.

Sessions are usually an hour, but telephone sessions can be any length, calculated at $175 per hour for sessions prior to 6:00pm or $250 per hour for sessions that start at or after 6:00pm my time. I use 5-minute intervals with the fee rounded to the next highest $5. There is a minimum charge of $45 for telephone sessions.

If because of rising costs, I have to raise my fee, I will not raise the fee for current clients, but any client who leaves treatment for more than a month and then decides to return to treatment will be charged the new fee.

Sessions can be several times per week, once a week, bi-weekly, monthly, or only as needed, according to your personal preference. The most common frequency of treatment is once per week. (In general, a low frequency of treatment, will result in a low intensity of treatment engagement and therefore a low amount of behavioral change.)

Making a Payment

You may send cash (which ensures confidentiality), check, or money order by mail to: Gianna Elms, LCSW, 2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd., Suite 300-244, Flagstaff, AZ 86001 or pay via ACH transfer or with a credit card, via Square.

Please note that sending a payment without contacting me to schedule a session does not guarantee the booking of a session.

Successful Behavioral Change

Regardless of the frequency of the treatment, for behavioral treatment to occur, you must dedicate time between sessions daily to study the topics on this website, and to pray constantly with Careful Contemplation for the grace to trust the process with God as your protector, humility to accept your brokenness, for wisdom to accept God’s guidance in all things, for courage to face your emotional pain, for determination to resist worry and doubt, for strength to persevere in darkness, and for understanding to accept the guidance necessary to make meaningful changes in your beliefs about yourself and your physically and spiritually unhealthy behaviors.

Anyone who seeks treatment by committing to do the work and is willing to pay for it, can be treated. Perseverance is the key to success.

Practice Policies

Please note the following:

  • Sessions must be scheduled in advance.
  • You will be billed for sessions canceled without 24 hours advance notice.
  • You will be billed for missed sessions.
  • If you are late, you will be billed for the entire session.
  • My schedule does not allow for crisis counseling.
  • Text messages and e-mails should be short, concise, and concerning immediate practical matters. Other matters are best discussed in a treatment session.
  • I do not schedule sessions on Sundays. My schedule is otherwise, by appointment. I also generally do not return phone calls, text messages, or e-mails on Sundays.

Using Insurance

I do not accept Medicaid, Medicare or any managed care plans. If you carry other insurance, you will still be responsible for payment of each session, in full. Then, if you request, I will provide you with a monthly statement (for a $25 fee per statement) which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement. This statement will include your diagnosis, the procedure code, the number of sessions, and the amount you have paid me. It will be your responsibility to contact your insurance company to determine if it will reimburse you under these terms, and, if so, what percentage of the fee it will cover.

Note, however, that your use of insurance will breach the confidentiality of your treatment because any employee of the company can demand the details of your treatment. Furthermore, insurance companies require a psychiatric diagnosis, which I believe is clinically useless but, once given to your insurance provider, will become an indelible part of your world-wide electronic medical record.

Clinical Records

Federal and state laws specify that psychotherapists should keep clinical records. Nevertheless, because I practice psychological and spiritual healing in the Catholic mystic tradition, specializing in 4Giveness+™, rather than psychotherapy per se, my treatment practices do not have to adhere to the same record-keeping requirements that govern the pseudo-medical nature of psychotherapy. Therefore, considering the risk of government harassment, bullying, and general intrusion into the privacy of individuals, especially politically conservative individuals of faith, I protect the privacy and safety of my clients by not keeping clinical notes (other than a record of sessions and payments as well as sparse non-disclosure private notes about the general themes of sessions); nor do I use electronic record-keeping and dissemination; moreover, I delete text messages (preferably sent through the encrypted network of Signal) and e-mails once I have read them.

Consequently, because my clinical work is collaborative, and because I tell my clients what I am thinking as we proceed, I encourage my clients to keep their own notes of their sessions and to review those notes between sessions.

Scheduling a Consultation

To schedule a consultation, whether as a new or former client returning after an absence, first be honest about the value of our soul and send a donation in gratitude for what you have already learned from my website. Keep in mind that a lack of gratitude is a major block to healing. After all, faith without works won’t lead you to your salvation, see (Gal 2:16; Jam 2:14; and Phi 2:12b).

Then contact me by e-mail or by telephone (see below), and we can arrange a day and time for the first session. Keep in mind that a lack of sufficient details in a message to me, i.e. phone number and your availability, may result in no response. For the session itself, I will provide you a telephone number for you to call; you will initiate the call to me at the scheduled time. For clients outside the US who do not have unlimited phone service to the US, I use Signal audio because Signal is encrypted.

E-Mail Questions

If you are not already in treatment with me and would like advice about your faith practices, relationship issues, work problems, your relationship with another professional (Catholic or otherwise), or other personal matters, send your questions to me by email along with a payment to this website. You may find out more detailed information related to Requests for Advice.

Free Help

I made my website available so that anyone who has the desire to learn from my writings, may do so, free-of-charge. For the sake of truth, I do not accept any advertising on this website. You may learn more about Free Help and Advertising by reading my Communications policy.

Mailing Address

Gianna Elms, LCSW
2700 S. Woodlands Village Blvd.
Suite 300-244
Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Telephone (voice-mail only)

602-280-9002 (I cannot return international calls.)

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