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St. Brigid's Healing Guild

A significant aspect of a true Colony of Heaven is providing God’s healing to a broken world. As the human person is comprised of body and soul, healing will take on manifold forms: physical, psychological, relational, and spiritual. The guild is committed to the healing of the whole person, providing Intercessory Prayer; Anointing and Laying on of hands; Christian Psychotherapy; Spiritual Direction; Confession; and Intervention in Spiritual Crises.

Physical Healing

Intercessory Prayer

Leave a message in the form below regarding your need and our intercessors will pray for you. Your concern will also be offered at the services of the Order of St. Columba.

Services for Healing

The Guild holds regular services for anointing with healing oil and the laying on of hands. 

Inner Healing

Christian Psychotherapy

Scarcely a person alive will escape a brush with some sort of emotional or mental distress; whether it is being beset by one’s own suffering or whether dealing with the suffering of others. During such times of strain some will attempt to tough it out, others will turn to friends or their family physician, while still others may consult with their pastor. However, when these avenues are exhausted, usually it is a psychotherapist that is called upon. But this was not always the case; up until modern times the mind and the emotions–those processes commonly attributed to the soul–had been the province of the spiritual leader in the community. And where Christianity had been established, the care of the soul was the concern of the Church. Today, we can no longer say this and so we ask, who is caring for our souls? As we see the psychotherapist taking such a prominent role in the healing of the emotional and mental life, we are confronted with the question "what is psychotherapy’s role is in today's culture?" One hundred years ago we would have hardly been able to formulate the question much less the answer. Today we have a myriad of examples that we sift through trying to understand psychotherapy: we have had talking therapies, encounter groups, primal screams, hospital confinement, classical psychoanalysis with therapists hardly speaking during years of treatment, therapists taking people into the wilderness to experience themselves, and much, much more. We may even think of psychotherapy disparagingly, as the profession that deals with people shuffling around on the back ward of a hospital, or even as a scam that attempts to keep people coming week after week paying for a friend to listen to them, someone to whom to tell their problems so that the patient becomes more and more self-centered and the therapist pays off his or her new car. Or we see it as consisting of running to one seminar carrying a treasured stuffed animal in order to experience the "inner child", or to a another seminar to figure out if one is acting more like a Mars or a Venus. However, these are caricatures of psychotherapy. True psychotherapy is a relationship and a process of curing the soul of its very legitimate ailments. We may ask, is not the care of the soul the realm of religion? Is it not rightly the role of the synagogue and church to carry out this function, a function of reminding society and individuals that there is something grander than themselves, that the soul must be heeded and even healed? The truth is, yes. But the sad fact is that religion has lost much of its standing and influence in society today. The soul has not been properly cared for by the traditional religious structures, and so has had to find its expression by other means. This is not because these structures are of no further use, but rather that they have neglected to honor what was given to them. Therefore, alternative spiritualities arise, archaic forms of experiencing the inner life are explored, and psychotherapy begins to carry the role that the traditional religious forms relinquished. ​ This is not the first time that the soul has had to find its expression outside our religious structures in such a new way. Two thousand years ago, as established religious structures began to lose their meaning to people, static Greek philosophies became the rage of the day, and people began to lose sight of their souls. In the midst of this rose up the mystery religions of the Near East. Into this cauldron walked Jesus Christ and the Judeo-Christian religion was born that would sweep the western portion of the world. A little over a thousand years later, the Roman Catholic Church would begin to lose sight of the soul. No longer was the inner life of the soul regarded with the significance it demands, but the concreteness of this world and the body began to take priority in the religious life. The inner life was neglected in favor of a more materialistic and economic focus. Later came the Reformation, but instead of helping the situation, it actually attempted to get rid of the soul altogether. Calvin, Zwingli, and even, to an extent, Luther went so far as to implicitly deny the existence of the human soul. Simultaneously, on the fringe of society arose the almost fanatical interest in alchemy. If one looks at alchemical writings of that time, what is seen is the study of the soul. Alchemy had almost nothing to do with physical chemistry, and almost everything to do with the process of how to live the inner life, for alchemy was more closely related to the dreamlikeness of the soul than it was to science. For a time--when all else attempted to kill off the soul--alchemy became the "science" that paid attention to the inner life. Today we see much the same happening. We live in a time when the soul is denied in favor of material prosperity and of visible reality. Science has little to do with the invisible world of the soul, and our societies do not treat people as people, but more as economic entities. Decisions are not made morally, or with the value of the soul in mind, but by expediency and for individual and corporate economic gain. In times past it was the role of religion--the role of the Church--to stand up and say, to the king and to the society, "you can go no farther, for you are entering God's land, the land of the soul." Today psychology has been given this role. But like the mystery religions of old, like alchemy of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, psychology can only shoulder this temporarily, and only partially, for it is not suited to the task. As a profession and as a science it is too confused about its own identity. There is only one rightful carrier, and that is the Church; the Church needs to take its responsibility back. Thomas Oden, former professor of theology at Drew University, once did a survey of the primary figures who teach and write about pastoral care for seminarians, ministers, and priests. He found that amongst these writer, thinkers, and teachers, there was not one reference to any of the classical texts on pastoral care; there were, however, hundreds of references to the major psychological thinkers: Sigmund Freud, Carl Rodgers, C.G. Jung, Eric Fromm, Harry S. Sullivan, and Eric Berne. Who is caring for our souls? Mostly people who ascribe to secular theories of life, and not to how God defines life. This is the alarming thing: that even in our seminaries and thus amongst those we would expect could rediscover God’s way of healing, we find that when it comes to dealing with personal issues of the soul, our religious leaders are trained in the thinking of the secular world and not in the ways of the ancient faith. Church leaders need to rediscover the ground they have relinquished. The thinkers in the Church need to be the ones defining health according to how God defines health, and healing (true Christian psychotherapy) needs to be approached with this concept of health in mind; not a concept of health as defined by an avant garde philosophy or speculative theorist. Even what we often refer to as Christian counseling has been infected to such an extent that its identity is as murky as that of psychotherapy in general. One person may call themselves a Christian counselor because they have a seminary education. But as just noted, most of this education is highly influenced by secular psychological/philosophical theories of what it means to be human, healthy, and whole. Others may call themselves Christian counselors merely because they are good, church-going Christians who happen to practice psychotherapy; still others merely because they pray during the sessions. However the true measure of whether psychotherapy is Christian is whether it is based on views of what it means to be human and healthy according to God. When looking for a Christian psychotherapist, these should be the questions that define if one is getting a truly biblically-based therapy, or whether it is a therapy based on today’s humanistic goals of life. When a Christian view of life and the world once again dominates the care of the soul, secular-oriented psychology will no longer be the carrier of our inner lives, and the inner life will return to its rightful custodian, the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual Direction

Drawn by an inborn destiny, each of us experiences an inner call—an impulse—attracting us to some unknown (but knowable) depth of existence. When we were young we experienced this draw as the pursuit of an answer to the questions “who am I?” and “who we will I be?” Throughout life, we continue to have that unrelenting desire to accomplish something meaningful; a desire arising from an inborn sense that there is meaning to my life, a purpose to why I am here. Unfortunately, the journey to the fulfillment of that meaning is neither easy nor clear. We have the desire, we know that there is something greater, something more, but we have no idea what it is or how to get there. We truly do see the ultimate things in life “through a glass darkly”, but from this desire is born our search for meaning. The grand, corporate nature of that search has been enshrined in what we know as the great world religions. The specific, individual nature is seen in each of our various attempts at having a fulfilled life. We ask, “Is it in finding a great love? Do we find it in success? In renown and honor?” From the very beginning, people have searched for the answer to the question of meaning. In their search they have tried the ways of the spirit, of religion. They have tried the ways of the sensual life. When these turned out to be unsuccessful, they fell into hopeless despair, experiencing the products of that despair: anxiety, depression, addictions. This search for meaning has led many a seeker to strive to discover another person who might help, one who may have a better idea about the journey and the path to life. This is the origin of spiritual direction, the historical antecedent of today’s psychotherapy. Today, the difference between spiritual direction and depth psychotherapy is merely a matter of the starting point; the end is the same: a life fulfilled, a destiny found, an experience of peace and wholeness. One person may experience a desire to know more about life, to know God, to know more about themselves. This person will seek out spiritual direction. Another person may feel the pain of depression and a loss of soul, and so they seek psychotherapy. Though they may not initially realize it, both are on the same path, entered by different doors: the journey to a life of meaning and purpose. A meaning and purpose that is the very essence of a completed, whole life, this completed, whole life which is also the definition of what Jesus meant by being perfect; a life which is healed, a life which is saved. Religious teaching addresses well the question of salvation, teaching us from what to be saved and to what to be saved. Regretfully, it often leaves out the how to move from one to the other. Today, psychotherapy has best spoken to the how. Psychotherapy sees what we need healing from and has developed a process to address it. Psychological theories, however, fall flat in addressing the question of to what we are saved. Psychological theories are often confused by the idea of what true healing looks like. It is here that spiritual direction picks up the baton again. To address these problems, as well as approach knowing God better, calls for the development of a strong and humble ego in order to awaken to the reality in which it exists. It is to respond to the call for becoming conscious, for recognizing and identifying the true self in which it exists and then bring this true self into accord with God. The answer to this call is the journey of spiritual formation, and it is just this formation that is the purpose and goal of spiritual direction. I refer to it as a journey because it entails a process that takes time and effort, encountering dangers and obstacles along the way. The inner life leading toward wholeness has been seen as a journey along an arduous path throughout time and across all cultures. The road to health and wholeness is the path to knowing God. How to walk this path is gleaned from two profound areas of revelation. The first, and most time-tested, is scripture. The second, more personal, is the revelation delivered and discovered in your own soul. If we could discern the truth behind these revelations accurately we would find a path leading clearly to health, wholeness, fulfillment, and God. The problem is that we often have difficulty in adequately interpreting these revelations. Then we find that the pathway is bounded by a rather painful hedge of thorns, which when we wander off the path give us a rather nasty time. Religiously, we call such wandering off sin; psychologically, we see it in the emotional and mental disorders that bring us to a psychotherapist. A grand part of spiritual direction and psychotherapy is the work of interpreting these revelations for your personal life and once again finding the path to wholeness between the thorns.

Spiritual Crises

True spiritual crises take many forms. From inner convictions that may be healed by the sacrament of reconciliation to disturbing religious experiences and demonic influence.  The members of the Guild are equipped to address these concerns. Contact us for more information 

What is a Spiritual Crisis? A spiritual crisis (at times called a "spiritual emergency") is a form of identity crisis where an individual experiences drastic changes to their values, purposes, goals, attitudes, beliefs, and identity. This is typically because of a spontaneous spiritual experience. A spiritual crisis may cause significant disruption in psychological, social, and occupational functioning. Among the spiritual experiences thought to lead to episodes of spiritual crisis or spiritual emergency are psychological complications related to existential dilemmas; mystical experiences; near-death experiences; Kundalini syndrome; Zen madness; paranormal experiences; religious ecstasy; demonic and spirit possession; and other spiritual practices. ​ Before the mid-1970s, mainstream psychiatry made no distinction between spiritual or mystical experiences and mental illness. However, during the 1960s and 1970s, the overlap of spiritual/mystical experiences and mental health problems became of particular interest to counterculture critics of mainstream psychiatric practice who argued that experiences that fall outside of the norm may simply be another way of constructing reality and not necessarily a sign of mental disorder. The assumption of mainstream medical psychiatry was also challenged by critics from within the field of medical psychiatry itself. For example, R. D. Laing argued that mental health problems could also be a transcendental experience with healing and spiritual aspects. Another researcher further suggested use of the term "mystical psychosis" to characterize first-person accounts of psychotic experiences that are conceptually similar to reports of mystical experiences. Because of the gaining recognition of the overlap of spiritual/mystical experiences and mental health problems, in the early 1990s a proposal was made for a new diagnostic category entitled "Religious or Spiritual Problems". The category was approved by the DSM-IV Task Force in 1993 and is included in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). The inclusion marked an increasing professional acceptance of spiritual issues in the assessment of mental health problems. Much of the above description, and more, may be found under the Wikipedia article of the same title. My personal experience and work with spiritual crises began in the early 1980’s. Both of my books, Revelations and Possession: Distinguishing Spiritual From Psychological Experiences and In Bondage to Evil: A Psycho-Spiritual Understanding of Possession, directly address this issue.

Exorcism & Deliverance

Either you believe in possession or you do not. It is that simple, or at least that is how it often seems. However, the existence of the possession state in the human condition is not a matter of faith, it is a phenomenon that demands exploration." So begins the introduction of this psycho-spiritual exploration of involuntary (or demonic) possession. Avoiding the pitfalls of many such works, here is presented the inarguable fact that the possession state does occur and must be taken seriously if those who are afflicted are to be helped. The only argument that remains is the attributed cause of the state. Covering a comprehensive array of topics from the history of demonic possession to a present understanding of the phenomenology and intrapsychic dynamics of the possession state, the book also provides a depth of understanding with respect to the various forms of possession encountered throughout the world. Readers will also gain an understanding of the various cultural and psychological explanations for possession, including neuropsychological, hypnosis, and psychodynamic theories. It concludes with the examination of three cases of demonic possession and the presentation of diagnostic criteria to assist in differentiating possession from common forms of psychopathology.

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