Understanding counseling in a pastoral setting

4,310 views
4,071 views

Published on

This presentation was given to the Clergy Retreat of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate of America, November 08-11, 2011, in Scottsdale, AZ. An in depth discussion of many of the Retreat topics can be found in the articles I have written, which are posted on: Orthodoxy Today [www.orthodoxytoday.org/archive/morelli] and the Antiochian Archdiocese [http://www.antiochian.org/author/morelli] website. The high technology, secularist society we live in today poses many challenges to living Christ's teachings, being committed to His Church, and living a Christ-like life family life. Even greater challenges are faced by the successors of the Apostles, the bishops and priests who are called to shepherd Christ’s Church in the modern world. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, may this resource be of some assistance to all called to minister to our communities in Christ.

Published in: Spiritual, Health & Medicine
0 Comments
4 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Views
Total views
4,310
On SlideShare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
954
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
87
Comments
0
Likes
4
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Selective abstraction is focusing on one event while excluding others. An example would be a parent that selectively focuses on a bad grade their child just received on their report card, while ignoring good grades in other subjects. This irrational perception might lead to anger or depression. Such a parent might lash out at the child instead of praising the child for the good grades the child received and coming up with a solution to improve the bad grade. Arbitrary inference is drawing a conclusion unwarranted by the facts in an ambiguous situation. A parent, in a situation similar to the one described above, might conclude the child's next grade report would continue to be unsatisfactory. This would lead to further anger and depression.Personalization is attributing an event that occurs in personal and subjective terms. For example, a father may become angry or depressed thinking that her child is deliberately getting bad grades to "get back at him." A typical statement that reveals personalization is taking place is, "why are you doing this to me?" The parent immediately personalizes the statement with no evidence that the child was deliberately trying to do this to him.Polarization is perceiving or interpreting events in all or nothing terms. A parent may become depressed after the child receives a B rather than A on the child's report card and feel that the child is a poor student. This parent polarizes events into two categories, in this case good student vs. bad student, and fails to see that all events can be graded on a continuum that extends beyond the two poles. On such a scale a B grade is closer to an A than to an F, for example.Generalization is the tendency to see things in always or never categories. A parent becomes depressed when viewing their child's bad behavior. The parent irrationally concludes that the child will "never change and will always" be the same. The dysphoria may lead to a self defeating pattern of behavior which further distances the parent and her child thereby setting herself up for the very thing she did not want: a badly behaving child.Demanding expectations are beliefs that there are laws or rules that have to be obeyed. For example, a parent may be depressed because his child talked back to him. They may (irrationally) believe that a universal law disallows the back talk and, once broken, allows the parent to become upset. The parent forgets that obedience cannot be coerced. Even God asks, rather than compels, us to obey Him; a contingency that exists because mankind is created free (another characteristic of man being created in the image and likeness of God, Morelli, 2004).One psychologist has labeled demanding expectations as the "tyranny of the shoulds" (Ellis, 1962). Christ respected the free will of man as shown by the gentleness of His admonitions. Like Christ, parents should prefer reasonable obedience from their children and constructively work towards it. A program of reward for appropriate behavior and punishment for inappropriate behavior discussed in Smart Parenting IIadministered without anger, anxiety or depression is essential. Depressed and angry parents cannot offer any creativity toward helping their children.Catastrophizing is the perception that something is more than one hundred percent bad, terrible or awful. Citing the example above, a parent who reacts to her son's talking back as if it's the end of the world falls into catastrophic thinking. The response is usually an out of control anger. Emotional reasoning is the judgment that feelings are facts. A parent may feel that her child does not like her. When she is asked how she knows this the response is usually that "my feelings are always right." She confuses the reality of her feelings with the tools needed to objectively prove a fact (which feelings are incapable of doing). An effective response that clarifies the distinction to a person bound to emotional reasoning is, "No matter how strongly some people felt at the world was flat, the world was really round. Feeling that something is true does not mean that it is true.
  • The Domestic ChurchIdeally, a true Orthodox Christian domestic church in our day should look like (but is not limited to) something like this: Jesus Christ is at the center or hub. Husbands, and wives, as such, and as fathers and mothers, should be the leaders of the "church at home" in Christ's name. They should bless one another and their children, bless the food which is partaken, give thanksgiving for all that God has provided (house, furnishings, etc.), thank God for health and talents, and lead by the sanctity of their conduct as well as their words (Morelli, 2005c).No catechesis can take place without the full deployment of the Domestic Church. The Orthodox family home has to reflect in its entirety the teachings of Christ and the application of these teachings as understood by His Church in the world today. Formal parish catechetical lessons usually at best may last 45 minutes to 1 hour a week. The number of hours in an entire week is 168 hours. Considering of the importance of models in shaping behavior (Morelli, 2007, 2008, 2009), how much impact can a 1 hour Church School have when it is not reflected in the family lifestyle during the other 167 hours comprising the week?An expanded outline of how the Domestic Church can fulfill its obligation to preach, teach and practice Christ can be found in Morelli, 2009.Children are probably among the greatest hypocrisy detectors in the world. When they witness and experience a discrepancy between what they are taught by Christ and His Church and what is practiced in the Domestic Church the consequences are spiritually and morally devastating. The disconnect is immediately seen. The children's faith in the credibility of the Christian understanding of husband-wife, father-mother, family life and/or the moral authority of Christ and the message of His Church is shattered. Contemplate Our Lord's dire warning: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a greatmillstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea." (Mk 9:42).
  • 1) We are in agreement about the husband and wife roles each of us expects of the other in our marriage relationship. A D U 2) There are qualities about my future spouse that I do not respect. A D U 3) We have discussed the ways our families solved problems and how this may affect our problem solving. A D U 4) We disagree with each other over some teachings of the church. A D U 5) My future spouse and I have agreed we will not have children. A D U 6) I am concerned that in-laws may interfere in our marriage relationship. A D U 7) My future spouse and I can talk about our sexual fears, hopes and preferences. A D U 8) We are in agreement about how we will make financial decisions between us. A D U 9) I sometimes feel that this may not be the right person for me to marry. A D U 10) My future spouse and I agree that our marriage commitment means we intend to pledge love under all circumstances.
  • An interesting side issue for Eastern Orthodox (and Western Roman) priests is the seal of Confession. Suppose an abuser or victim approaches the priest for the Holy Mystery of Confession. Sometimes it can be anticipated what the person is about to say. Many times others in a parish may know something and word has gotten back to the priest hinting at some serious family trouble. Often a priest can "intuit" the problem through the spiritual gift of discernment.In such a case I would inform the 'alleged' abuser you cannot hear his/her confession at this time. The upcoming discussion will not be a confession (thus under the seal) on a given disclosure. If it can be sensed by the priest that abuse is occurring. A priest-mental health practitioner [like myself] would have to do the same as delineated above except the mandatory reporting law would have to be followed.If the abuser comes to the priest, the priest must attempt to convince the abuser to accept the fact that they have as serious problem and must seek the help that is needed. 
  • Understanding counseling in a pastoral setting

    1. 1. Archpriest George Morelli, Ph.D.
    2. 2. GOD,HEALING ANDPRIESTLY MINISTRY
    3. 3.  The Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, is magnificently summarized by St. John Chrysostom in his Divine Liturgy: "for Thou art God ineffable, inconceivable, invisible, incompr ehensible, ever existing and eternally the same."
    4. 4.  ―The Son is the living, essential, and precisely similar Image of the invisible God, bearing the entire Father within Himself, equal to Him in all things, except that He is the Begetter. It is the nature of the Father to cause; the Son is the effect. The Father does not proceed from the Son, but the Son from the Father. The Father who begets is what He is because of His Son, though not in second place after Him.‖
    5. 5.  The Divine Persons and their communicative interrelationship in love are intrinsic to the Divine Nature. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit cannot be conceived apart from each other, in as much as the Divine Essence will lead to Divine action (Divine Energy) and the creation of the cosmos and mankind itself. Mankind was created to be in communion with God and with one another. The depth of the Trinitarian communion of love, which is descriptive of their essence and which also will serve as the purpose of mankinds creation…
    6. 6.  The Divine Persons are not added to another, they exist in one another: the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, the Spirit is united to the Father together with the Son and completes the blessed Trinity as if He were ensuring the circulation of love within it. This circulation of love was called by the Fathers [Sts. Basil and Maximus the Confessor] perichoresis, another key word of their spirituality . . . Along with kenosis [emptying]. Perichoresis, the exchange of being by which each Person exists only in virtue of His relationship with the Others, might be defined as a joyful kenosis. The kenosis of the Son in history is the extension of the kenosis of the Trinity and allows us to share in it. Clement, O. (1993). The Roots of Christian Mysticism. Hyde Park, NY: New City Press.
    7. 7.  The nature of their sin was that they looked to the creation rather than the Creator for the life (which includes knowledge and wisdom) that can only come from God. In fact, the Fathers posit that if Adam and Eve had obeyed God, they would have matured in understanding and discernment and eventually would have come to know good and evil without becoming captive to the evil. The result of their disobedience was catastrophic. Adam and Eve lost the Spirit of God and became subject instead to the dust out of which they were created. Man became bound to the earth rather than its master. He was expelled from the Garden because knowing now only separation from God, he could no longer be part of its primordial harmony.
    8. 8.  We share in the sin of Adam in that we are born into a world where the consequences of sin prevail. These consequences are not only the outward brokenness like disease and death, but interior disorder as well. Our nature is corrupted. We are subject to temptation, prone to sin (the passions), and share in death.
    9. 9.  ―when he has attained dispassion … he … has no further anxiety about the three that were divided, for now with God they have made peace with one another. These three are the soul the body and the spirit.‖ [Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (Eds). (1979). The Philokalia, Volume 1: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber.]
    10. 10.  StMacarius the Great, :"We can cultivate the ability to discern right and wrong if we understand the three movements which lead to passion: The first is a natural movement, inherent in the body, which does not produce anything sinful or burdening to the conscience, but merely lets it be known that it exists in the body" —such as hunger ―The Teachings of the Holy Fathers on the Passions (1986). Richfield Springs, NY: Nikodemos Orthodox Publication Society
    11. 11.  St. Mark the Ascetic: "Here we see that the natural appetite of the body innocently expresses itself: feeling the pangs of hunger, we prepare food and eat to fullness. Suddenly certain thoughts come to us involuntarily. Until our will consents, these thoughts constitute neither virtue or vice, but merely disclose the inclination of our will." This is the reason I use the term biological substrate in discussing emotional disturbance and the passions. Orthodox anthropology that suggests that "natural movements,‖ "inclinations," are the biological substrate of passions and further sins, etc. I do believe what are called "natural movements" are not the same as the "original nature" of man, but are a result of our fallen nature. These words of the Holy Fathers are pastorally and clinically useful in understanding the connection between body and spirit. [Philokalia I]
    12. 12.  In the Orthodox Church, healing of the soul ranks higher than the healing of the body. In fact, the healing of the body is offered as a sign of His mercy and blessing to the person experiencing Gods healing and to inspire others to do His will. Healing is to be sought both through prayer and the application of physical sciences, but no complete healing is possible apart from the final resurrection of an individual because the sentence of death still reigns in the mortal body. Further, not all people are healed, despite fervent pleas to God and the applications of the best medicines. Sometime illness needs to be endured.
    13. 13.  The Church Fathers give us insight into how we can use illness and the acceptance of mortality (death) to grow in Christ. St Ilias the Presbyter wrote: "Suffering deliberately embraced cannot free the soul totally from sin unless the soul is also tried in the fire of suffering that comes unchosen. For the soul is like a sword: if it does not go through fire and water (Psalm 66:12, LXX) -- that is, by suffering deliberately embraced and suffering that comes unchosen -- it cannot but be shattered by the blows of fortune" (Ilias the Presbyter,). We have to acquire an attitude of embracing both illness and the inevitable death of earthly life as part of Gods divine will for us. This is true not only for the sick, but also their loved ones who share in the suffering. In those cases where a healing does occur, it happens so that we may love God even more.[Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (Eds.). (1986). The Philokalia, Volume 3: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber. ]
    14. 14.  Sometimes physical sickness is necessary to heal the soul. St. Maximus the Confessor wrote, "Suffering cleanses the soul infected with the filth of sensual pleasure and detaches it completely from material things by showing it the penalty incurred as a result of its affection for them. This is why God in His justice allows the devil to afflict men with torments." The acceptance of our illness and death as Gods will is one means by which we embrace the saving grace of Christ. This is a hard saying to accept, but those who have suffered in Christ testify to its truth. Could we not allow that sometimes God understands what we do not understand?
    15. 15.  ―The sacrament of priesthood is deeply significant…Despite the Orthodox emphasis on the ‗royal priesthood‘ of all believers, the Church also recognizes a difference between laypeople and ordained clergy, the latter being entrusted with the celebration of the Eucharist, and having the power of ‗binding and loosing‘. Ordination into a hierarchical rank, be it of bishop, priest or deacon, is not only a change of status but a transition to another level of existence.‖ Alfeyev, Archbishop Hilarion. (2002). The Mystery of Faith: An Introduction to the Teaching and Spirituality of the Orthodox Church. London: Darton, Longman and Todd.
    16. 16.  ―[This] grace is so exceedingly great that were men able to see the glory of this grace, the whole world would wonder at it; but the Lord has veiled it that His servants should not be puffed up but find salvation in humility … Truly noble is a priest —- the minister at God‘s altar.‖ The words of Christ Himself given to his apostles and followers tell us of the consequences of receiving His gifts: ―…to whom much is given, of him will much be required…‖ (Lk 12:48) [Sophrony, Archimandrite. (1999). St. Silouan the Athonite. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press.]
    17. 17.  Thus all who make up the visible Church on earth each a different function depending on God‘s grace. As St. Paul tells us: ―Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of working, but it is the same God who inspires them all in every one. (1Cor 12: 4-6)
    18. 18.  The Church founded by Christ and enlivened by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is also hierarchical, that is to say made up of bishop, priest, deacon and those baptized into the royal priesthood. The teachings of Christ are understood and expressed in Council by the bishops and informed by the priests that surround them and confirmed by the people of God, the royal priesthood. This is done in union with the common teaching and common mind of the church as passed on through the apostles and Church Fathers.
    19. 19.  Dothou Thyself, O Master, look down from heaven upon thou who have bowed their heads unto thee … heal the sick, Thou who art the physician of our souls and bodies
    20. 20.  ―We accept all those things which have been handed down by the Law and the Prophets and the Apostles and the Evangelists. We know and revere them, and over and above these things we seek nothing else.‖ St. John of Damaskos [Philokalia II]
    21. 21.  St.Basil in his Divine Liturgy reminds all who surround the Holy Table: ―Be mindful also, O Lord, of the Priesthood, the Deaconate in Christ, and every priestly rank, and put not to confusion any one of us who stand about Thy Holy Altar.‖ The ministry of service of the priest-bishop is to preach, teach, sanctify and pastor, that is to say lead the flock of Christ. But the grace that outflows from ordination is not personal but is effectuated by God.
    22. 22.  ―Do thou, the same Lord, fill with the gift of Thy Holy Spirit this man whom it hath pleased thee to advance to the degree of Priest; that he may be worthy to stand in innocency before thine Altar; to proclaim the Gospel of Thy kingdom; t minister the word of Thy truth; to offer unto thee spiritual gifts and sacrifices; to renew thy people through the laver of regeneration.‖
    23. 23.  ―It is not Damasius, or Peter, or Ambrose or Gregory who baptizes. We are fulfilling our ministry as servants, but the validity of the sacraments depends upon you. It is not within human power to communicate the Divine benefits – it is your gift, O Lord.‖
    24. 24.  Consider the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10: 30-37): ‖But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him…‖ Bishop Hierotheos Vlachos (1994) emphatically states: ―In St. John Chrysostom‘s interpretation of this parable it is clearly evident that the Church is a Hospital which heals those sick with sin, while the bishops and priests, like the Apostle Paul, are the healers of the people of God.‖ Vlachos, Bishop Hierotheos, (1994). Orthodox Psychotherapy: The Science of the Fathers. Lavadia, Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery.
    25. 25.  ―..the priest is properly a spiritual physician who cures people‘s sicknesses. Worship and sacrament must be placed within the therapeutic method and treatment.‖ Vlachos, Bishop Hierotheos, (1994).
    26. 26.  Healing can only be enlivened with the reception of the Holy Mysteries of the Church. Holy Baptism; Chrismation; Eucharist, (reception of the very Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ); Holy Confession, (metanoia, repentance in mind, heart and action, true sorrow for sin and longing for and working on being in communion with God); Holy Unction, the quintessential Holy Mystery of healing in which the priest prays: ―… this oil, that it may be effectual for those who are anointed therewith, unto healing and unto relief from every passion, of every defilement of flesh and spirit, and every ill; that thereby may be glorified Thine all holy Name, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen;‖ Holy Orders, (ordination to the diaconate, priesthood, episcopacy) and Blessed Marriage, (male and female uniting to become one flesh, blessed by the Church).
    27. 27.  Christ told His apostles, ―It [domineering others] shall not be so among you but whoever would be great among you must be your servant‖ (Mt 20: 26). For as St. Paul told the Corinthians: ―For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus sake.‖ This implies that we interiorize the compassion of Christ: ―When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.‖ (Mt 9: 36). This recognizes that the priest and all who are true Christians ―Put on then, as Gods chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another…‖. (Col3: 12-13). For as St. Paul explains ―if one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1Cor 12: 26-27)
    28. 28.  For the priestly office is indeed discharged on earth, but it ranks amongst heavenly ordinances; and very naturally so: for neither man, nor angel, nor archangel, nor any other created power, but the Paraclete Himself, instituted this vocation, and persuaded men while still abiding in the flesh to represent the ministry of angels. Wherefore the consecrated priest ought to be as pure as if he were standing in the heavens themselves in the midst of those powers. Fearful, indeed, and of most awful import, were the things which were used before the dispensation of grace, as the bells, the pomegranates, the stones on the breastplate and on the ephod, the girdle, the mitre, the long robe, the plate of gold, the holy of holies, the deep silence within. But if any one should examine the things which belong to the dispensation of grace, he will find that, small as they are, yet are they fearful and full of awe, and that what was spoken concerning the law is true in this case also, that "what has been made glorious hath no glory in this respect by reason of the glory which excelleth." For when thou seest the Lord sacrificed, and laid upon the altar, and the priest standing and praying over the victim, and all the worshippers empurpled with that precious blood, canst thou then think that thou art still amongst men, and standing upon the earth? Art thou not, on the contrary, straightway translated to Heaven, and casting out every carnal thought from the soul, dost thou not with disembodied spirit and pure reason contemplate the things which are in Heaven? Oh! what a marvel! what love of God to man! He who sitteth on high with the Father is at that hour held in the hands of all, and gives Himself to those who are willing to embrace and grasp Him. And this all do through the eyes of faith! [http://orthodoxchurchfathers.com/?mode=frames&query=Treatise%20on%20the%20 Priesthood&width=512]
    29. 29.  SpiritualCounseling is based on Spiritual Fatherhood, which in turn is based on the relation ship of the Person‘s of the Holy Trinity among themselves, which starts with the Father who is the ―Begetter.‖
    30. 30.  Knowledge of the Mysteries of God Scrutinizing the heart Summary of the teachings of St. Irenaeus [Hausherr, I. (1990), Spiritual Direction in the Early Christian East. Spencer, MA: Cistercian Publications.
    31. 31. MENTALHEALTHPROFESSIONALS
    32. 32. Typical Program
    33. 33.  The Clinical Ph.D. program at Rutgers University is an American Psychological Association accredited training program. We are a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, a coalition of doctoral and internship training programs that share a common goal of producing and applying scientific knowledge [emphasis mine] to the assessment, understanding, and amelioration of human problems.
    34. 34.  Clinicalfaculty conduct research on cognitive and behavior therapies, health psychology, psychophysiology, applied behavior analysis, prevention, substance abuse, emotional intelligence, cognitive functioning, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and autism. Students have the opportunity to work with child, adolescent, adult, and older adult populations in multiple research labs at Rutgers and affiliated institutions. The training approach relies heavily upon a mentorship model of training.
    35. 35. 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010Number of 345 340 354 273 244 260 296 275ApplicantsNumber 12 9 9 8 8 12 7 7OfferedAdmissionSize of 8 8 7 4 4 8 3 5IncomingClassNumber of 8 8 7 4 4 8 3 5IncomingStudentsReceivingFull Support
    36. 36. GRE Data 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010(AverageScores)Verbal 622 680 670 650 690 640 720 660Quantitativ 717 750 700 720 750 690 720 710e
    37. 37.  PSY 2900 Professional Ethics PSY 2445 Psychotherapy Research PSY 3800 Psychometric Theory PSY 2430 Cultural, Racial, and Ethnic Bases of Behavior PSY 3250 Psychological Testing PSY 2050 History of Psychology PSY 1951 Intermediate Quantitative Methods PSY 1952 Multivariate Analysis in Psychology PSY 2040 Contemporary Topics in Psychopathology PSY 2460 Diagnostic Interviewing PSY 2420 Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Psychological Disorders Clinical students must also take one course in each of the following substantive areas: biological bases of behavior (e.g., PSY 2480, Human Neuropsychology/Neuroanatomy; PSY 2450, Affective and Social Neuroscience; PSY 1808, Neurobiological Aspects of Psychopathology); social bases of behavior (e.g., PSY 2500 Advanced Social Psychology); cognitive-affective bases of behavior (e.g., PSY 2400 Cognitive Psychology and Emotional Disorders); and individual differences (Required course PSY 2040 Contemporary Topics in Psychopathology fulfills the individual differences requirement for State licensure). In accordance with American Psychological Association guidelines for the accreditation of clinical psychology programs, clinical students also receive consultation and supervision within the context of clinical practica in psychological assessment and treatment beginning in their second semester of their first year and running through their third year. They receive further exposure to additional topics (e.g., human development) in the Developmental Psychopathology seminar and in the twice-monthly clinical psychology ―brown bag‖ speaker series. Finally, students complete a year-long clinical internship.
    38. 38.  Qualifying Examination before beginning Dissertation 16 hours (2 8 hr days)-Covers all areas in psychology Dissertation Defense (Oral Test 2-3 hours)
    39. 39.  Complete 3,000 hours of qualifying supervised professional experience, 1,500 of which must be accrued post-doctorally. For further information about supervised professional experience, please review section 1387 of the California Code of Regulations at http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/lawsregs/ Taking a written and oral state examination
    40. 40. Spiritual Ethos The Church Fathers teach that the intellect is a characteristic of the highest value, given by God, that a person can possess. Intellect does not mean high intelligence necessarily, but the faculty of intellect, namely, the ability to reason, distinguish, create, and all the qualities associated with it. Further, there is a moral imperative implied in their assessment. Since the intellect is a gift from God, we must exercise the intellect to the best of our ability. Neglecting the power of the intellect means we are not conforming to the will of God. Consequently, we must use the full measure of our intellects in the theory and practice of psychology.
    41. 41.  By consensus the Church Fathers consider: Intelligence to be related to the spiritual perception of God and that which is Godly and which is inspired by Him. Reason is a faculty of the soul related to mind. It is discursive and uses logic. St. John of Damascus calls it a ―sense of the soul,‖ also called ―[a faculty]‖ Philokalia II
    42. 42.  St. Maximus the Confessor taught: "the grace of the most Holy Spirit does not confer wisdom on the Saints without their natural intellect as capacity to receive it." Goodness and wisdom is granted to man by his "volitive faculty, so that what He (Christ) is in His essence the creature may become by participation" [Philokalia II]
    43. 43.  Since the rules that govern the world are written into the very fabric of creation and discerned by reason, the atheist, agnostic, or those committed to Christ can discover what they are. Uncovering them is not dependent on whether or not one believes in God. Use of a faculty (reason) in which we are made in God‘s image makes it a Godly task.
    44. 44.  What is termed the "scientific method" is the procedure by which scientific inquiry takes place. The scientific method is not static, but dynamic and ever changing that is refined as scientists get better at doing the "work of science." In psychology for example, as recent as thirty years ago only individual research studies were done. In the last few years researchers have been able to take the results of many individual studies to analyze the effects as a single study in a statistical procedure called "meta-analysis" Advances like this frequently occur.
    45. 45.  Observations. Observations are defined by the procedures used in measuring or assessing a subject; e.g. the intelligence of an individual is defined operationally by the score on a valid and reliable intelligence test. Hypothesis. These are assumptions or guesses as to how observations are related to each other to predict observable and measurable outcomes. Falsifiability: A hypothesis must be falsifiable. A "good hypothesis" can be falsified while a "bad outcome" cannot be falsified.
    46. 46.  Data Collection. Individuals chosen to be subjects in studies should be randomly selected. Subjects need informed consent but should be unbiased so as not to influence the outcome of a study. Researchers also have to be unbiased. Further, extra factors (variables) have to be eliminated in the studies. For example, say a researcher is studying whether a new vitamin promotes growth and designs a study so that only males makeup the vitamin group (the group taking the vitamin) while females makeup the control group (the group taking a placebo). The study is biased because an equal number of both sexes should makeup both groups. Data Analysis and Reporting. Measurements are analyzed, interpreted, and reported by accepted statistical methods. If the predicted outcome occurs this is considered support for the hypothesis. Special Studies. Strictly speaking, case studies, correlation investigations, naturalistic observations, questionnaires, and surveys are not experiments. They are the source of the hypotheses that lead to experimental investigations.
    47. 47. Psychoanalysis • Circular Reasoning • Reification
    48. 48.  It is unethical, negligent, immoral, and sinful to use non-scientific psychological methods for the treatment of mental disorders, for educational purposes, to promote family & social functioning, provide pastoral care and other efforts toward behavior change. Only when psychological methods are submitted to scientific discipline can they be considered reputable, trustworthy, and ultimately helpful. Mental health practitioners must keep up with the scientific research in their field. Likewise educators and parents should know the techniques shown to be effective with their families and children. Clergy should be informed of real scientific interventions to aid their pastoral ministry and make proper referrals.
    49. 49.  Bishop Hierotheos (1998) states that the use of contemporary psychology to guide men is a secular view of pastoral care and cannot substitute for asceticism and the hesychasm (silence) taught by the Church. God as both the source and end of a persons healing and sets the precepts of sound psychological practice squarely where it belongs: in the tradition of the Church., "Pastoral care is the work of the Church...it is the Churchs method for guiding men toward deification." Scientific psychology is not a substitute for the asceticism, the spiritual wisdom of the Church Fathers, hesychaism (silence), prayer, the Holy Mysteries (sacraments), all the constituents that make up life in the Church. Rather it complements the teachings about how the Christian life ought to be lived. Scientific psychology is a tool, based on our God given reason, to foster communion with God. In the spirit of St. Luke and all the physicians of the Church: healing should lead to thanksgiving and blessing towards God. Vlachos, Bishop Hierotheos, (1998). The Mind of the Orthodox Church. Lavadia, Greece: Birth of the Theotokos Monastery.
    50. 50. A Primer on Principles of Behavior A Primer on Cognitive-Behavioral-Emotive Interaction
    51. 51.  All must be done in the spirit of an "Orthodox Family Culture―: the totality of family actions, behaviors and beliefs should be permeated by Orthodox teachings and practice. By marriage the Orthodox couple is ‗ordained‘ so to speak or commissioned to create an Orthodox home and family a ‗domestic church‘, a ‗little church in the home.‘ The Orthodox wedding prayer states: "Unite them in one mind and one flesh, and grant them fair children for education in thy faith and fear [acknowledging the awesome, transcendent God]. By daily prayer together, scripture reading, attendance at Divine Liturgy and Services and bringing a Christian view of world events into the family, Christ can be at the center of every home.
    52. 52.  Parents should inform their children what are the behaviors they want from their children. Reasonable boundaries should be set and then maintained by cognitive-behavioral management techniques. These techniques are based on behavioral science research. God made us in His image and we are called to be like Him. The Church Fathers have told us that one of the important ways we are made in His image is in our reason and free will. Therefore when we use the tools and techniques science offers us we are conforming to the image of God in which He made us. Also did not Our Lord tell us to "be wise as serpents" (Mat. 10:16)? Using behavioral science tools in Christs name is surely following His Divine Will.
    53. 53.  Parents want their children to behave appropriately. We have to have in mind exactly what behaviors are appropriate and/or inappropriate. These behaviors (and their boundaries or limits) will change depending on the age, maturity, peers, and culture of the child, surroundings and family. As a general rule, boundaries grow with age. A little visual graphic of a series of boxes from small to large may be useful in explaining this. A child has freedom within the box, The sides represent the boundaries (set by parents, society and our Orthodox Christian morality). As a child gets older the box gets bigger. Note however that there are still boundaries. [This is true even as adults.] As a rule the boundaries should be enforceable and not too different from the childs peer group. For example, bedtime set at 7:00 PM for a 13 yr old is to small a box, 1:00 am would be to large a box (more suited for someone almost 18 years with supervision). Unrealistic boundaries undermine the authority and credibility of parents and invite rule breaking.
    54. 54.  Behavioral Pinpointing is what is: • Said • Done • When • Where The abstraction trap has to be avoided: • Use of general terms: ―be good,‖ or ―don‘t be bad.‖
    55. 55.  ―Pinpointing" behavior is usually the most difficult for parents to learn. The definition is easy: what is the child doing or saying, when, and where. It is the opposite of general descriptions. For example, describing a toddlers eating as "good" is totally useless. Telling a child "You were bad today ..." is equally meaningless. Words like "good, bad, hostile, considerate ...etc." are all abstract words: meaningless for behavioral management. If a teacher reports back to you that your son was hostile today. What does this mean? It could mean anything from the child using some rude word to a classmate, to picking up a baseball bat and hitting someone. These are examples of pinpointed statements: "While standing on the lunch line John kicked Sheila"; "While sitting at dinner Todd placed his milk glass an inch from the edge of the table and he hit into it when he swung around."
    56. 56.  In giving instructions, parents often fall into the "abstraction trap": "When we get to Grandmas I want you to be "good" today. Compare this to a behavioral pinpointed instruction. "Elizabeth, when we get to Grandmas I want you to play with your Barbie doll at the table and if you want something to eat or drink I want you to ask Mommy or Daddy. OK. Remember dont leave your play area unless you ask first." The child knows exactly what is expected from him or her. (This is also true for adults. Poor spouses, managers etc. ask others to "try harder" or be "more detailed" or "care more;" not realizing these terms are abstractions, having many different possible interpretations, and are ineffective in communication and in facilitating behavior change)
    57. 57.  The events that follow a behavior will determine if the behavior gets stronger or weaker. There are basically two types of events that follow behavior: Rewards (or reinforcements) and punishments.
    58. 58.  Positive(+) Reinforcement: Behaviors (good or bad) increase when followed by a pleasant (to the child) consequence Negative (-) Reinforcement: Behaviors (good or bad) increase when followed by taking away an unpleasant (to the child) consequence
    59. 59.  Positive(+) Punishment: Behaviors (good or bad) are decreased when followed by an unpleasant (to the child) consequence. Negative (-) Punishment: Behaviors (good or bad) are decreased when taking away a pleasant (to the child) consequence.
    60. 60.  If a child places their dirty dishes in the sink (a good behavior) and the parent says "Mary, I am proud of you for putting your dish in the sink," (and the child smiles noting pleasure at the praise) such good behaviors will increase. But suppose Joseph is told to drink his milk and he defiantly says "No" (a bad behavior) and you say "Yes you will" and he says "No" again (not only a bad behavior but now an additional bad behavior because he is talking back to you) and you say again "I told you, you will drink your milk" Such bad behaviors will increase. Why? Because they are followed by rewarding consequences. The parent is attending to bad behavior. [Note. In this case Joseph should be told ahead of time the consequence of not drinking his milk, (or better: the favorable consequence or outcome of drinking his milk) "Joseph if you dont drink your milk you will have an extra garbage chore to do." (or "You will not watch your 7:00 PM TV show." (alternatively: "Joseph, if you drink your milk, we will do your garbage chore for you today," or "You will get to watch that show on TV at 7:00 PM that you wanted."] Simply say it once and then apply the consequence.
    61. 61.  Parents also want to decrease bad or inappropriate behaviors. This is done my making sure unpleasant or unfavorable events (punishments) follow inappropriate behaviors. Mike is playing Nintendo instead of doing his homework. His parent may say "Well Mike you decided to play instead of doing your homework, you will loose Nintendo for one day until this time tomorrow. (punishment) If you do your homework tomorrow right after school and finish by 5:00 PM you can earn back the Nintendo game." (This is expressed as reward for appropriate behavior). There is a very important lesson in this example. When using punishment a parent must make sure that it is followed by rewarding appropriate behavior. Research has shown that punishment by itself is ineffective. Also at all times punishment should be said in a soft tone (unemotionally). Follow the advise of Teddy Roosevelt: "Speak softly and carry a big stick." In this example the "stick" is simply the consequences of the inappropriate behavior. (e.g. in the loss of the Nintendo game).
    62. 62.  The child cognitively focused on the relation between his/her behavior and the consequence. If the parent gives the consequence in an angry tone the child thinks "Boy is Mom or Dad mean" ... they are right and the child just lost the connection between their own inappropriate behavior and punishment. The childs attention is now focused on the parent (and the mean tone of voice). The child does not learn and resentment builds. Often angry behavior modeled by the parent is performed by the child. This angry behavior would be considered by the parent as inappropriate for the child to display. If this happens the parent has lost out twice (the child does not learn the original homework-Nintendo connection and is instead learning (from the parent ) that angry behavior is OK.
    63. 63.  Children are especially susceptible to being influenced by modeling (also known as observational learning) although the effects of modeling occur at all ages. Psychological research has found substantial support for the influence of modeling in childrens learning and resultant performance (Bandura, 1986) The work of Gerald Patterson (Patterson, DeBarsyshe & Ramsey, 1989) suggests that prosocial as well as deviant social behavior is heavily influenced by observing the social exchanges in the family, as well as the childs temperament, parental discipline style and personality, and the social context of the family. [Bandura, A. (1986).Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall; Patterson, G.R., DeBarsyshe, B.D., & Ramsey, E. (1989). A developmental perspective on antisocial behavior. American Psychologist, 44, 329-335]
    64. 64.  Children are among the greatest hypocrisy detectors in the world. When they witness and experience a discrepancy between what they are taught by Christ and His Church and what is practiced in the Domestic Church the consequences are spiritually and morally devastating. The disconnect is immediately seen. The childrens faith in the credibility of the Christian understanding of husband-wife, father- mother, family life and/or the moral authority of Christ and the message of His Church is shattered. Contemplate Our Lords dire warning: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung round his neck and he were thrown into the sea." (Mk 9:42).
    65. 65.  Shaping is defined as the rewarding of successive approximations of the correct response. I purposely used the example of the milk glass and the plate above. It is an example almost every parent will recognize because it is frequently in such a situation that parents first encounter this problem. Invariably, most children place their milk glass at the very edge of the table next to their plates. Invariably children fidget, twist, and swing around with body and arms. Invariably the milk glass is hit and the milk spills all over. Sometimes I almost think there has been more milk spilt than has gone into their childrens little bellies.
    66. 66.  Consistency means applying these techniques as close to 100% of the time as humanly possible. In clinical-pastoral settings, in order to make the point of how important consistency is, I will sometimes rather dramatically say to parents: "I dont want 95% consistency or 99.5 % consistency nor 99.9% consistency, but 100% consistency." Consistency is most important when learning new behaviors. It is also most important when dealing with problematic inappropriate behaviors. But individual differences in strength of appropriately-learned behavior are also very important and must be taken into account when applying the consistency tool.
    67. 67.  A favorable psychological or spiritual result can be brought about by acquiring the skill of assertiveness to communicate viewpoints and feelings. Assertiveness is defined as an honest and true communication of real feelings in a socially acceptable way. This definition has two qualifications: 1) The assertive utterance should be pleasant, or at least neutral, in tone of voice (also called pragmatics of speech); and 2) only delivered when pleasant or neutral communication fails to bring about the desired result. If this approach fails, only then should an escalation of words and increasing communication pragmatics (tone of voice, volume, pitch, etc.) be employed. For the Christian a third corollary applies: All assertive pragmatics must be done in the love of Christ which includes patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control - what is known in scriptural terminology as the "fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23)" (Morelli, G. (2006c, July 02). Assertiveness and Christian Charity.http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliAssertiveness.php.).
    68. 68.  The Problem: At times a family member, or even someone outside the family will stubbornly insist on his or her own viewpoint and be intent to prove the other wrong. It almost appears like warfare in which the insisting one will not back off until their spouse or child declares "unconditional surrender." Morelli, (2010a) discussed a very effective communication tool in dealing with such situations. It can be used in situations in which your point of view is rejected outright. It is called the disarming technique:
    69. 69.  After expressing your view to a person and it is rejected, disarming becomes a powerful way to deflect conflict. Basically it makes a neutral statement about the other individual‘s response. One does not have to agree to what was said and what you consider false, so truth as you see does not have to be compromised. This is especially important if the truth you expressed and that was rejected by another individual reflects the orthodox teaching of Christ and His Church. Some representative Disarming Responses: ―Hum! That‘s an idea;‖ ―That is one way of looking at it;‖ ―That‘s a possibility;‖ ―That‘s a point to consider.‖ If the person you are communicating with is a friend and you want to maintain the friendship and they keep pursuing the point a last effort communication might be: ―Well if we want to keep our friendship, we will just have to agree to disagree on this point.‖ [Morelli, G. (2010, April 09). The Disarming Technique. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/morelli-the-disarming- technique]
    70. 70.  With Godly insight into the problem of what we today are calling consistency, St. John Chrysostom, using the vocabulary of his day, warns parents about providing "external safeguards of wealth and fame", what we have been calling rewards, which shield them from "the winds." In the words of the golden-mouthed Saint: ―Dont surround them with the external safeguards of wealth and fame, for when these fail -- and they will fail -- our children will stand naked and defenseless (Morelli: never having learned responsibility), having gained no profit from their former prosperity, but only injury, since when those artificial protections that shielded them from the wind are removed they will be blown to the ground in a moment. Therefore wealth is a hindrance, because it leaves us unprepared for the hardships of life. So let us raise our children in such a way that they can face any trouble and not be surprised when difficulties come."
    71. 71.  Authoritarian Authoritative Neglectful Permissive Morelli, G. (2006, February 4). Smart Parenting Part II: Behavioral Management Techniques. www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliParenting2.php. [Morelli, G. (2009, May 22). Smart Parenting XVI: Styles of Parenting http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/OT/view/smart-parenting-xvi-styles-of-parenting ]
    72. 72.  This parenting style communicates and explains household rules to the child in a respectful and warm, but firm, tone. Often communicating the consequences of non-compliance is enough to influence behavior (Morelli, 2006). Research shows this to be the most effective parenting style (Baumrind, 1991). Parents who use the Authoritative Style set boundaries and even high standards for their children. However, these parents are less concerned with having obedient children as an entitlement of their parenthood, as they are with shaping the behavior of their children for the child‘s good and welfare. They are attentive to their child‘s point of view, but will then explain the reason for the family rules which have been set. Within the boundaries of the family rules which have been explained to the child, they encourage the child to make their own decisions, be autonomous, individualistic and independent. They are less likely to employ physical punishment, but are adept and skillful in applying rewards and punishments in a scientific (and spiritually sound [Baumrind, D. (1991). ―Parenting Styles and Adolescent Development,‖ in J. Brooks- Gunn, R. Lerner & A. C. Petersen (eds.), The Encyclopedia on Adolescence, 746–758. New York: Garland.]
    73. 73.  Ourperceptions or interpretations of events trigger our emotional responses and our subsequent behaviors Rational Perceptions: Functional emotions and behaviors Irrational Perceptions: Dysfunctional emotions and behaviors
    74. 74.  Christian parents must use the scientific understanding of human behavior in a synergia with authentic communion with Christ and His Church and the expression of genuine Christian love for their children.
    75. 75.  Selective Abstraction Arbitrary Inference Personalization Polarization Generalization Demanding Expectations Catastrophizing Emotional Reasoning Beck, J.S. (1995). Cognitive Therapy: Basics and Beyond. NY: Guilford; Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart.; Morelli, G. (2006, March 25). Smart Parenting III: Developing Emotional Control.http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliParenting3.php.
    76. 76.  Selective abstraction is focusing on one event while excluding others. An example would be a parent that selectively focuses on a bad grade their child just received on their report card, while ignoring good grades in other subjects. This irrational perception might lead to anger or depression. Such a parent might lash out at the child instead of praising the child for the good grades the child received and coming up with a solution to improve the bad grade.
    77. 77.  Arbitraryinference is drawing a conclusion unwarranted by the facts in an ambiguous situation. A parent, in a situation similar to the one described above, might conclude the childs next grade report would continue to be unsatisfactory. This would lead to further anger and depression.
    78. 78.  Personalization is attributing an event that occurs in personal and subjective terms. For example, a father may become angry or depressed thinking that her child is deliberately getting bad grades to "get back at him." A typical statement that reveals personalization is taking place is, "why are you doing this to me?" The parent immediately personalizes the statement with no evidence that the child was deliberately trying to do this.
    79. 79.  Polarization is perceiving or interpreting events in all or nothing terms. A parent may become depressed after the child receives a B rather than A on the childs report card and feel that the child is a poor student. This parent polarizes events into two categories, in this case good student vs. bad student, and fails to see that all events can be graded on a continuum that extends beyond the two poles. On such a scale a B grade is closer to an A than to an F, for example
    80. 80.  Generalization is the tendency to see things in always or never categories. A parent becomes depressed when viewing their childs bad behavior. The parent irrationally concludes that the child will "never change and will always" be the same. The dysphoria may lead to a self defeating pattern of behavior which further distances the parent and her child thereby setting herself up for the very thing she did not want: a badly behaving child.
    81. 81.  Demanding Expectations are beliefs that there are laws or rules that have to be obeyed. For example, a parent may be depressed because his child talked back to him. They may (irrationally) believe that a universal law disallows the back talk and, once broken, allows the parent to become upset. The parent forgets that obedience cannot be coerced. Even God asks, rather than compels, us to obey Him; a contingency that exists because mankind is created free (another characteristic of man being created in the image and likeness of God, Morelli, 2006). [Morelli, G. (2006, March 6). Asceticism and Psychology in the Modern World. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles6/MorelliMonasticism.php]
    82. 82.  Catastrophizing is the perception that something is more than one hundred percent bad, terrible or awful. Citing the example above, a parent who reacts to her sons talking back as if its the end of the world falls into catastrophic thinking. The response is usually an out of control anger.
    83. 83.  Emotional Reasoning is the judgment that feelings are facts. A parent may feel that her child does not like her. When she is asked how she knows this the response is usually that "my feelings are always right." She confuses the ‗reality‘ of her feelings with the tools needed to objectively prove a fact (which feelings are incapable of doing). An effective response that clarifies the distinction to a person bound to emotional reasoning is, "No matter how strongly some people felt at the world was flat, (before 1492 AD) the world was really round. ‗Feeling‘ that something is true does not mean that it ‗is‘ true.
    84. 84.  Once parents recognize their thinking is distorted (distorted cognitions) regarding their children, they have to change or restructure the irrational thinking. Three questions can be posed to help them change their thinking: • Where is the evidence? • Is there any other way of looking at it? • Is it as bad as it seems?
    85. 85.  A parent concludes (arbitrary inference) that after a bad grade their childs performance will never improve (generalization). Answering the three questions might help the parents come up with a more rational approach and be less angry or depressed. The parent might reason: ―True my child did get a poor grade, but with the teachers help and specific tutoring my child could improve and raise his grade. Another way of looking at it is I do not even know why the poor grade was earned. If I talk to the teacher and find out more, maybe we can find a solution to the problem. It is not as bad as it seemed a moment ago. I see I can do something about it.‖ Following this change in thinking (called: cognitive restructuring process), parents begin to feel less angry, anxious, and depressed. They become more behaviorally pro-active in dealing with their childs problem.
    86. 86.  Special considerations are necessary for demanding expectations and Catastrophizing occurs. Parents with demanding expectations frequently try to impose (sometimes forcibly) a personal set of rules on their children. Laws of nature like gravity are inviolate. God made the universe to function by these laws. Social laws and norms however, are of a different type. They implicitly recognize a persons capacity for freedom, particularly his volition in determining whether or not to obey them. Man cannot violate the natural laws like gravity, but he is free to disobey Gods commandments as well as social norms, laws, and family rules.
    87. 87.  Neither God nor Godly parents want these social rules to be disobeyed. The behavioral management techniques discussed above are intended to help parents teach their children to obey Gods commandments and the reasonable family rules set by parents. The recognition that obedience to the commandments of God as well as the reasonable norms of society cannot be coerced is not meant to diminish a persons responsibility toward them. Understanding that the expectation of obedience functions as a ‗preference‘ rather than a ‗demand‘ however, avoids the emotional overreactions triggered by Demanding Expectations and Catastrophizing.
    88. 88.  When the rich young man did not follow our Lords counsel, the Gospels do not report that Jesus displayed a "hot" emotion. If anything, the emotion of Jesus could be described as disappointed but "cool" (Matthew 19: 16-30). If this were a parenting situation, it would be an opportunity to use the previously discussed behavioral management tools.
    89. 89. A special cognitive technique has been shown to be effective with catastrophizing (Burns 1989, Morelli, 2004). (When actual trauma situations in a family occur frequently the priest or a mental health clinician will be involved; a situation addressed below.) The technique involves evaluating the situations on a zero to 100 scale, with zero being the most pleasant thing event that could imagined. Burns, D.D. (1989). The Feeling Good Handbook: Using the new mood therapy in everyday life. NY: William Morrow.
    90. 90.  Parents seldom have trouble imaging a very pleasant event (zero). Sitting on a sun drenched tropical beach is a typical image. They often need help however, imaging a worst event scenario (100) in graphic terms. Parents seldom have trouble imaging a very pleasant event (zero). They often need help however, imaging a worst event scenario (100) in graphic terms. In pastoral and clinical counseling I use of the example of the particularly horrifying death of a medical missionary in South East Asia several years ago to help parents create their Mental-Ruler. After starvation failed to kill the physician quickly, his captors placed chopsticks in his ears and hammered them in a little each day, until the chopsticks penetrated his brain, resulting in an agonizing death.
    91. 91.  Parents will frequently say the untimely death of their child is the most awful thing on earth. The word "death" is an abstract sanitized (and therefore useless) term.
    92. 92.  The priest should take care not to inadvertently endorse a catastrophic mental ruler appraisal. The loss of a child is a bad thing. Appropriate sorrow and grief is a natural and normal human reaction. Unless the type of death the child suffered reaches the 100 point on the "Mental Ruler Scale" however, it is less than the most terrible thing that could happen to a person. In the case of the death of a child the parish priest or clinician would usually be available to the family during this time. It is important to let the grieving process occur and allow the parents and loved ones to express their deep feelings. Pastoral or clinical intervention during this time would be highly inappropriate. Simply being in the presence of the grieving parents and family with compassionate love, support, and prayer, would be an appropriate application of Christs healing ministry. A priest may unintentionally say something like, "Oh! isnt it awful," or "Oh! How unbelievably terrible," thereby adding to the hurt of the grieving parent. An more appropriate response would be "I am sorry for your loss, may God have mercy on us, may your child be numbered among His loved ones," to avoid affirming and contributing to the Catastrophizing the parents display.
    93. 93.  Further, catastrophic evaluations frequently broadcast a lack of commitment to Christ. As true followers of Christ, Orthodox Christian parents must understanding that God who freely gives life also calls us all back to Him. No one has the right to even a single breath not to mention a set number of years of life.
    94. 94.  ―When I see Christians cry because their fathers passed away, I am upset, for they neither believe, nor understand that death is simply a journey to a life of another kind. Ageloglou, Priestmonk Christodoulos. (1998). Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain. Mt. Athos, Greece. Holy Mountain Press.
    95. 95. • Let us glorify and worship Jesus, the Word of God, Who, according to His love, came to save us by His cross, and is coming again to resurrect Adam‘s children in the great day when His majesty shall shine forth.
    96. 96.  All events, even tragic ones, have some meaning. God can make all things new - even out of the worst tragedies (Revelation 21:5). We have to trust in God and his purposes. It falls on the priest to use spiritual as well as psychological means to aid parents who are struggling with the meaning of the death of their child. For parents who are trying to master emotion management, prayer, selected spiritual reading, and the holy mysteries have to be the foundation of any psychological change. Parents are called to experience God in their hearts. If God indwells in us, all things are possible. The words of our Lord can motivate us to learn the sometimes difficult task of emotional control: "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).
    97. 97.  The Blessed Orthodox Marriage
    98. 98.  HUMAN LOVE IS INCORPORATED INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD- DIVINE LOVE ST. CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA: ―HOUSE OF GOD‖: ―I AM IN THE MIDST OF THEM‖ [MT 18:20]
    99. 99.  MARRIAGE IS THE IMAGE OF GOD‘S FAITHFUL LOVE FOR ISRAEL THE CROWNING: JOY: THE COUPLE IN A SPIRIT OF LOVE IS UNITED FOR ETERNITY; TRANSFORM THEMSELVES INTO THE LIKENESS OF GOD BY EMMANUAL (GOD WITH US) [IS 7:14] ‗DANCE AROUND THE GOSPEL BOOK MARTYRDOM: ENORMOUS SELF SACRIFICE: THE COUPLE BECOME MARTYRS IN THEIR OWN RIGHT: KENOSIS-THE SELF EMPTYING CHRIST
    100. 100.  The Orthodox Wedding Ceremony. After praying that the servant and handmaiden be united by God, the priest continues: ―Unite them in one mind and one flesh, and grant them fair children for education in thy faith and fear [acknowledging the awesome, transcendent God].
    101. 101.  Bytheir marriage Orthodox couple is ordained so to speak or commissioned to create an Orthodox home and family (The Domestic Church). This is the vocation of Orthodox marriage.
    102. 102.  ‖. The existence of a ―home church‖ dating from Apostolic times comes right from St. Paul. In his instruction to the Romans (16:3,5) he says: ―Greet Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, … greet also the church in their house.‖ And to the Corinthians (16:19) he says: ―The churches of Asia send greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. ―.
    103. 103.  Thisrequires that parents not only be hearers of the Word, but also doers of the Word. They must learn the way of God, particularly His design for marriage and family through study, prayer, being united to His Church through obedience, reception of its Holy Mysteries and practice of the spiritual life.
    104. 104.  Ideally, a true Orthodox Christian domestic church in our day should look like (but is not limited to) something like this: Jesus Christ is at the center or hub. Husbands, and wives, as such, and as fathers and mothers, should be the leaders of the "church at home" in Christs name. They should bless one another and their children, bless the food which is partaken, give thanksgiving for all that God has provided (house, furnishings, etc.), thank God for health and talents, and lead by the sanctity of their conduct as well as their words.
    105. 105.  No catechesis can take place without the full deployment of the Domestic Church. The Orthodox family home has to reflect in its entirety the teachings of Christ and the application of these teachings as understood by His Church in the world today. Formal parish catechetical lessons usually at best may last 45 minutes to 1 hour a week. The number of hours in an entire week is 168 hours. Considering of the importance of models in shaping behavior, how much impact can a 1 hour Church School have when it is not reflected in the family lifestyle during the other 167 hours comprising the week?
    106. 106.  It all begins with pre-marital counseling Evaluation of • Commitment • Loyalty • Moral values • Sexual intimacy • Importance of the God, the teachings of Christ and His Church • Romance
    107. 107. • Companionship• Forgiveness• Trust• Respect• Sensitivity• Sex-Gender roles• Physical attractiveness• Sexual faithfulness• Faithfulness during times of trial and tribulations
    108. 108.  ―AsI turned my attention to the problems of couples, I found that they showed the same kind of thinking aberrations— cognitive distortions—as my depressed and anxious patients…they were unhappy, tense and angry…they tended to fixate on what was wrong with their marriages and disregard—or blind themselves to—what was good.‖ Beck, A.T. (1988). Love is Never Enough. NY: Harper & Rowe
    109. 109.  Romantic Love Togetherness Romantic Fulfillment Fear of Being Alone Rejection Phobia Inclusion Trapped Perfectionism Disapproval
    110. 110.  Permission Seeking Domination/Submission Pleasing Others Anti-Negotiation ENTITLEMENT RECIPROCITY NAGGING Help Addiction Superman/Superwoman
    111. 111.  Achievement Romantic Personalization Parental Personalization Conflict Phobia Justice Coercion Hopelessness/Helplessness Ultimatum Disclosure Demand
    112. 112.  Truth Sameness Disclosure Phobia Mind-Reading
    113. 113. THE UNHOLY TRINITY: • ENTITLEMENT • RECIPROCITY • NAGGING
    114. 114.  You feel you deserve love, happiness, respect, because of your ―title‖ (mother- father/husband-wife) and when people do not live up to your expectations you have the right to feel angry and taken advantage of. Antidote: Preferences based on love and people‘s freedom
    115. 115.  You feel you have the right to have others do for you if you have done something for them even if they never agreed or even knew about it ---a unilateral contract Antidote: be upfront tell people what you want if you want them to do something for you before you do something
    116. 116.  You feel expressing persistent reminders is the best way to get others to do what you want – people in order to maintain control over their lives will frequently do the opposite of what you want Antidote: After a single preplanned cue, giving people freedom to be part of the decision making process regarding their own behavior.
    117. 117.  The "Preference Scale" is a tool I developed years ago in my clinical and pastoral practice to help couples negotiate the conflicts and collaborate on the problems that marriage inevitably imposes. This tool can foster effective communication and eventual compromise between husband and wife. The clinician, chaplain, or pastor can help a couple master the tool, particularly in terms of "debriefing," where the couple develops a deeper understanding of previous conflicts that helps them learn how to handle future conflicts in more constructive ways.
    118. 118.  The scale runs from +10 down to -10: +10 +9 +8 +7 +6 +5 +4 +3 +2 +1 [0] -1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 On the plus side of the scale activities or events that a spouse likes are rated; the greater the like, the higher the positive number. On the minus side activities or events that are disliked are rated; the greater the dislike, the higher the negative number. Morelli, G. (2007, June 5). Good Marriage IV: The "Preference Scale" - A tool . for Communication, Negotiation and Collaboration. http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles7/MorelliSmartMarriageIV.php
    119. 119.  Staying focused involves each spouse understanding the core view or the other and not focusing on tangential issues. Case Study Presenting Problem: • Several years ago I counseled a couple that was unhappy, particularly the wife who initiated the counseling. She described the source of the unhappiness in her marriage as her "husbands obsession with golf." She indicated that he played golf every chance he got and that when he got home he was so tired he had no energy for anything else. She "hated" his golf friends and blamed them for her husbands "obsession."
    120. 120.  In many marriages, the targets of this type of mis- focus include, friends, family, work, recreational activities, even church. This is not to say that these areas may not be a problem. For example, if a husband has a friend who influences him to frequent an adult lounge after work, his wife would correctly assess that this is not an appropriate friendship for her husband in terms of strengthening their marital bond. The moral orientation of this friend is a large problem, so much so that the friend would be seriously detrimental to a marriage in Christ. The wife would deal with this problem in terms of the debasing nature of the entertainment, as well as the detrimental influence of the friend on her husband. In situations other than these however, it is important to communicate only her real needs or desires in their relationship.
    121. 121.  If a couple really believes that love is no more than experiencing their love initial attractions over and over again, then when those feelings subside (and they will), they tend to believe that the value of their marriage has declined as well. When the idea takes hold, the couple becomes susceptible to feelings that undermine deeper commitment. Disappointment ensues, and the couple may find it increasingly difficult to enjoy activities together. Sometimes anger arises leading to more conflict and even greater disappointment. Sooner or later one or both of the spouses concludes that the love is gone and the marriage is over. Researcher Aaron Beck (1988) described this corruptive cycle: ―There are several kinds of expectations that operate at different stages of a marriage. The early, romantic expectations concern loving and being loved -- continuously. One of lifes cruel deceptions is the myth that the intense idealization and infatuation that draw a couple together will guarantee a loving relationship over the years.‖
    122. 122.  In some marital relationships, however, togetherness is not defined as a union of one flesh in Christ. Instead, the partners believe that marital happiness and satisfaction are acquired through an "incestuous sameness" They believe that a marriage flourishes and that a sense of personal worth and values occurs only through experiencing an intense love by their partner of their identical interests, enjoyments, and pursuits. They have in mind not just an ordinary caring and love, but a notion of caring, affection and togetherness that has a desperate character to it.
    123. 123.  Alongside this view of "desperate caring" is the belief that being alone is distressing, deficient, unfavorable and fearful (phobia). Persons holding such conceptions and experiencing the accompanying emotions play a game with those around them. If they think their spouse has intense love for them and shares their interests, they are happy. If they think their spouses love is not intense enough or has different interests, they view themselves as not worthwhile. Feelings of self-worth sail back and forth. They want the marriage to continue because being alone engenders anxiety and fear. Activities in marriage involve collaboration. Antidote: Restructured Cognition: ―It would be nice if my spouse enjoyed a particular activity, but I can still enjoy myself without my spouses participation."
    124. 124.  An individual with rejection phobia would likely feel that because they were rejected in some way by their spouse they were personally defective. This dysfunctional attitude is frequently accompanied by the perception that if they are rejected by their spouse, they will also be rejected by other significant persons in their lives, or by others that could be significant to them in the future. This perception is unrealistic, and is actually based on several cognitive distortions. These cognitive errors often lead to further emotional problems such as anger, anxiety and or depression, which can contribute to further martial dysfunction. Antidote: Recognition of faulty thinking. There is no verified information about what others are thinking or feeling. Some may find him or her very worthy.
    125. 125.  A reaction of the spouse who demands Desperate Togetherness. The husband (or wife) feels trapped; the partner is manipulating and controlling them in ways that prevent him from freely giving their love to each other. There is a feeling that they must be available whenever their spouse wants. Spousal obligations are not met. Both may feel victimized and trapped. The spouse who feels trapped in a definition of love imposed by the spouse experiences feelings of deprivation and oppression.
    126. 126.  The trapped spouse might mention feeling like a "prison inmate" in this way: "You know when you tell me I dont love you unless I do something your way (then give a behavioral example), I feel trapped. I love you and sometimes I want to be able to express and show you in ways I really feel. I want to show you I love you in ways and at the times you want me to, but I feel imprisoned when you expect and demand me to do it all the time. Maybe we can talk about how to share our love expressions, and the times we spend together in ways that fit both our desires."
    127. 127.  DISTINGUISHING ―BEING PERFECT‖ FROM ―PERFECTIONISM‖: The holy spiritual Fathers of the Church were focused on perfection. This is so well illustrated in the subtitle of Book I of St. Gregory of Nyssas Life of Moses (1978). The subtitle of Book I is: "Concerning the Perfection In Virtue." Christian perfection is not limited to the individual and their relation to God and neighbor but to the marital relationship itself. One of the petitions of the opening Ektenia or litany of the Betrothal Service prays "[God] will send down upon them perfect and peaceful love, and His help, let us pray to the Lord."
    128. 128.  ―Perfectionism" is viewed as a cognitive-emotional aberration by mental health clinicians and researchers. The Holy Church Fathers were realistic in their understanding of Christs words. For the Church Fathers, the human element must be taken into account. God is infinite and humans are finite. God is boundless and endless, humans are always in process. Human existence will always be the ascent of a ladder, an ascent that never reaches the top. Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev tells us: "..this ascent is endless, as its aim is the unbounded God.." quoting St. Isaac: "The limit of this journey is so truly unattainable that even the saints are found wanting with respect to the perfection of wisdom, because there is no end to wisdoms journey. Wisdom ascends even till this : until she unites with God ... And this is the sign that the insights of wisdom have no limit: that wisdom is God Himself.‖ Alfeyev, Bishop Hilarion. (2000). The Spiritual World of St. Isaac the Syrian. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications.
    129. 129.  It is in this spirit of understanding that the expectations in marriage, both of oneself as a spouse and of the spousal behavior of the other, should be formed. It is important to keep in mind and to apply this marital ektenia petition of St. John of the Ladder, (1982) who said: "Love, by its nature, is a resemblance to God, insofar as this is humanly possible" [emphasis mine]. We have to remember we are human. This is not to condone or justify any personal or marital wrong. It is to focus on the good will, intention and striving for perfection in marriage. A perfect and peaceful love in marriage would conform to St. Pauls so well known description of love as he told the Corinthians: "Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends; (1 Cor 13: 4-8).
    130. 130.  The range in which to practice imperfection tolerance is in the -1 to -5 range. Behaviors or performances below this range -6 to -10 are possibly serious problems that should be dealt with by more invasive psychological procedures . Examples of behaviors most often reported by couples that are most amenable to intervention developing imperfection tolerance in the -1 to -5 range usually involve typical everyday differences in lifestyle and behavior in marriages that all spouses confront: leaving dirty dishes in the sink, dropping laundry on the floor, leaving the toothpaste tube uncapped, over or undercooking a dinner dish, missing an appointment, being late from work or chore, forgetting a birthday or other celebration, forgetting to pick up an item in the store, etc.
    131. 131.  Some behaviors are beyond imperfection tolerance. These behaviors would rate in the extreme minus range. All have to be dealt with immediately, firmly and with interventions appropriate to the seriousness of the behavior. Adultery would be an example of a behavior that is not to be tolerated and requires immediate spiritual and psychological intervention. Consultation with ones spiritual father or mother, parish priest and scientifically trained and licensed mental health practitioner is necessary. Prayer and the Holy Mysteries of the Church will be the foundation of any spiritual intervention.
    132. 132.  There is another category of spousal behaviors that is beyond imperfection tolerance. These behaviors fall into the category of extreme abuse. This abuse behavior is seriously sinful and immoral and would certainly be considered illegal in most Western governmental jurisdictions. Abuse falls into four categories: Physical, (hitting, battering, spanking, etc.); Sexual, (forcible intercourse, inappropriate touching, glancing, language etc.); Psychological (calling someone by demeaning terms "You idiot, looser" [actually mild, often far worse words or phrases); Neglect (legally denying food, shelter, education, or necessary care).
    133. 133.  Immediate protection from the abuse must be enacted. This may mean physical separation. All laws relating to abuse must be followed, including reporting to the proper law enforcement agencies. As some of these extreme abuse behaviors are illegal, it should be noted arrest and incarceration of the abuser after juridical procedures would result. Medical and psychological treatment should be considered and employed as appropriate. Medical and psychological consultation is a necessity in such circumstances. [Morelli, G. (2005c, December, 04) Abuse: Some Pastoral and Clinical Considerations.http://www.orthodoxytoday.org/articles5/MorelliAbuse.php.]
    134. 134.  A priest may be a mandatory reporter in some jurisdictions (The Seal of Confession is excluded) If an abuser approaches the priest for the Holy Mystery of Confession. Sometimes it can be anticipated what the person is about to say. Many times others in a parish may know something and word has gotten back to the priest hinting at some serious family trouble. Often a priest can "intuit" the problem through the spiritual gift of discernment. In such a case I would inform the alleged abuser you cannot hear his/her confession at this time. The upcoming discussion will not be a confession (thus not under the seal) on a given disclosure. If it can be sensed by the priest that abuse is occurring. All mandatory reporting laws have to be followed.
    135. 135. If the abuser comes to the priest, the priest must attempt to convince the abuser to accept the fact that they have as serious problem and must seek the help that is needed and if illegal activity is occurring to report to the legal authorities. Clergy also have to do all they can to intervene to protect potential victims. This may include referral to appropriate emergency psychological care. In the most serious cases such as a credible death threat, an immediate call to police and/or emergency services would be warranted.
    136. 136.  Bad self-esteem is a type of narcissism (or self worship). St. Paul told the Philippians: "Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others" (Philippians 2:3-4). The Church Fathers warn against the bad self-esteem using the Greek term kenodoxia where keno means esteem that is empty, vain, hollow, groundless, deluded and doxa means glory, praise.
    137. 137.  ―Self-esteem" means a true and honest appraisal of both ones strengths and weaknesses, particularly in reality-based therapies. We see here an inversion of meaning where good self-esteem is close to the patristic definition of humility. St. Peter of Damaskos taught that, "The humble person must possess every virtue...the signs of humility: when one possessing every virtue of body and soul, to consider oneself to be the more a debtor to God ... because one has received so much by grace." Centuries earlier, St. Isaac the Syrian wrote: "The person who has attained to knowledge of his own weakness has reached the summit of humility" [Brock, S. (1997). (Trans.). The Wisdom of Saint Isaac the Syrian. Fairacres Oxford, England: SLG Press, Convent of the Incarnation; Palmer, G.E.H., Sherrard, P. & Ware, K. (Eds.). (1986). The Philokalia, Volume 3: The Complete Text; Compiled by St. Nikodimos of the Holy Mountain & St. Markarios of Corinth. London: Faber and Faber.]
    138. 138.  In terms of the marital (or any) relationship, continuously changing ones self- appraisal (whether virtuous or weak) based on the opinion of others leads to grave instability. It leaves a person with so sense of grounding and stability and makes him vulnerable to manipulation by others. It can lead to a subservience to others that allow a person to be controlled in ways that lead to inappropriate and even sinful behaviors. When a person has a recurring pattern of adopting the opinions of others in their evaluation of himself, depression and loss of self-respect are frequently the result.
    139. 139.  One characteristic of individuals who have an exaggerated need for approval is evaluation sensitivity. They are constantly monitoring the speech, speech pragmatics and body language of their spouses (or others around them) for either their approval or disapproval.
    140. 140.  One can commence a questioning process as to whether the approval of ones spouse is of absolute necessity. This is an important question. It really means asking if it is necessary for life itself, like the critical necessity of air to sustain life. One way of preparing an answer is to pose the question: ―How did you think and feel about yourself before you knew your spouse?‖ Most individuals would answer that they did at some point not see the approval of their significant other as critical in this sense. They were living life without spousal approval. On the other hand, at no point were they living without breathing air. Thus, while spousal approval may be desirable, it is not absolutely necessary.
    141. 141.  It is important to recall our Lords words: "How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?" (John 5: 44). Our holy spiritual fathers of the Church did not use the words "approval" or "recognition" but rather termed it philodoxia or love of praise, warning against it as a spiritual danger. St. Theodoros the Great Ascetic taught: "...love of praise banish[es] remembrance of God from the soul. ..And when remembrance of God is absent, there is a tumult of the passions within us" [Philokalia II]The good saint said that from love of praise would arise a "great swarm of all manner of evil." It influences our moral judgment which involves "scrupulous discrimination between good and evil; and this involves sound moral judgment."
    142. 142.  We must continually reorient our life goals in terms of the one and only real necessity. St. Paul told the Romans what this is: "To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace" (Romans 8:6). It is the Spirit that is necessary for life, not approval from others, not even from one‘s spouse. Rather, the spouses must seek the Spirit together as one flesh. To accomplish this they have to adopt the mind of doing things as "as one flesh;" so that by glorifying and praising God together, in turn His grace will fall on them as "united in one flesh," not in competition with each other, but in blessed union. The good race St. Paul spoke of is not only a sprint run by the solitary runner, but also the relay race of marriage. In this way both, in union with each other, achieve esteem in Christ.
    143. 143.  Cognitive clinical-psychologist Albert Ellis (1962) considered this "need" as one of the major "irrational beliefs triggering emotional dysfunction," he discovered in his clinical research. He defined this irrational cognition as: "The idea that one should be dependent on others and needs someone stronger than oneself on whom to rely." Ellis pointed out "freedom and independence are endorsed in our society." This kind of psychological reliance on another person as an absolute support is considered far off from what is true and necessary for a stable and healthy self-identity. While inter- cooperation and collaboration between people in our complex society facilitates functioning like communication, the production of good and services, transportation, and so forth, it is irrational to maximize this interdependency by forfeiting to others the choices that are properly befitting to oneself. [Ellis, A. (1962). Reason and Emotion in Psychotherapy. Secaucus, NJ: Lyle Stuart.]
    144. 144.  At first glance it may appear that the holy Spiritual Fathers of the Church have little to say on overdependency -- an important constituent in marital discord discovered by researchers studying the interpersonal dynamics of marriage. A closer look at the teachings of the Fathers however, reveals deep intuitions about human nature and relationships that penetrate this type of marital dysfunction. For example, St. Thalassios told us: "Our Lord Jesus has given light to all men, but those who do not trust in Him bring darkness upon themselves" [Philokalia II]
    145. 145.  People with overdependency feel anxious and nervous about making decisions on their own. They feel safe when others make decisions for them. Behaviorally they appear helpless and submissive. Spouses with overdependency frequently ask their partner for reassurance regarding the choices they are making about current actions and possible future goals. Frequently they feel more secure following their partners choices than any they could make on their own and can include every day activities such as recreation and meals or life goals such as occupation and employment. This could be viewed as living in "darkness,‖ as St. Thalassios told us.
    146. 146.  Cognitive Restructuring: The dependent spouse may ask himself for "proof or evidence" of this irrational need. Alternatives may be explored. In this case, asking themselves (aided by a licensed, trained mental health practitioner if necessary): "Was there ever a time in which you were not with your spouse and made your own decision about something?" can be helpful. I have found that patients will first focus on some poor decisions they made in the past, but with persistence a great number of good decisions can be uncovered. Then, clinically - or pastorally - I ask the patient what they can learn from this new information and interpretation.
    147. 147.  Dependency is a characteristic of children. Independence (conforming to Gods Will) is a characteristic of Christian adulthood. This echoes the observation by St. Paul: "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways" (1 Cor. 13: 11). St. John of the Ladder: On Unmanly Fears Step 21 of the Ladder of Divine Ascent, is titled: On Unmanly Cowardness. He describes " ... a childish behavior within a soul advanced in years ... it is a lapse from faith that comes from anticipating the unexpected." The inspired Holy Father pointed out "(F)ear is danger tasted in advance, a quiver as the heart takes fright before unnamed calamity. Fear is a loss of assurance." We will all go before the "dread judgment seat of Christ" as individuals. Our accountability before Christ is an individual accountability. As St. Paul taught: "So each of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12). I cannot imagine Our Lord being pleased with an overdependent spouse going before Him and saying "I couldnt decide for myself which was good or bad, right or wrong, I was afraid to make my own decisions so I let my husband (wife) make my decisions for me."
    148. 148.  Some married couples feel their spouse should spontaneously know and sense what they want and/or need. They may feel that to have to communicate is a sign of a lack of love. In fact it is quite the opposite — not communicating broadcasts a lack of love. In the example of Our Lord, early in his ministry he spoke in parables to those who were "hard of heart." St. Luke comments on the reason why Jesus did not speak, that is, communicate clearly: "But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it…" (Lk 9: 45). But for those whom He loves, because they love Him Jesus says: "…the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father" (Jn 16: 25).
    149. 149.  A wife may tell her husband, "I want you to be a better husband." Or she may say, "I want you to pay more attention to me." Alternatively, a husband may say to his wife: "I wish you would be more caring," or "I sure wish you would be a better housekeeper." These are abstract, meaningless requests (similar to how Jesus spoke "in figures" to those who did not love Him). Abstraction is the mother of ambiguity, which in turn is the mother of multiple interpretations, which in turn is the mother of discord. They keep hurling the abstract words back and forth at each other. Couples who find themselves in "abstract" (or no) communication often come to perceive the other as selfish and even evil. The misunderstood spouse tends to feel angry, deprived, depressed and or frustrated. Sometimes labeling, or name- calling arguments follow. Alternatively stonewalling, shutting the other out, then a veritable marital cold war ensues.
    150. 150.  Behavioral Pinpointing: In the above example, in place of the abstract communication, the wife might say to her husband, "Charlie, I would like to spend at least a half hour before bedtime with you each evening alone together, and just talk and hold each other. This would allow us to share what happened during our day. I would feel much closer to you." "Joe, you are off every other Saturday and sometimes just tinker around the house, I would love to have a Saturday lunch with you for a couple hours and do something together." A pinpointed statement the husband may say to his wife: "Sally, Ill empty the dishwasher and put away the dishes every evening, I really dont like dishes piling up in the sink. I would really appreciate if you would rinse them and put them in the dishwasher right after dinner. Unwashed dishes breed germs and that is a real turnoff."
    151. 151.  The married should be advised that they endure with mutual patience those things that bring displeasure and that they exhort [negotiate] one another to salvation. For it is written" "Mutually bear one anothers burdens and you will fulfill the law of Christ." [Gal 6:2]. For the law of Christ is charity…Therefore, by imitation, we complete the law of Christ when we kindly confer good things to others and sustain the evil actions of others. For the married should be advised, then, they not worry themselves so much on what they must endure from their spouse but consider what their spouse must endure on account of them. [St. Gregory the Great. (2007). The Book of Pastoral Rule. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press.]
    152. 152.  For Orthodox Christians, help is a problematic concept. As an abstract construct help is ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations. The American Heritage Dictionary (1994) defines help as "to give assistance to." This definition lacks, however, an interpretation of the effect of help on others, as well as the motive for giving assistance, to name two important criteria. The scriptural, patristic and spiritual dimensions of help, offering a rich matrix for behavioral evaluation. Consider some examples of what has been called help that may occur in family situations.
    153. 153.  Example I. A newborn infant has soiled itself and the babys parents help by changing the dirty diaper and cleaning their infant. Example II. A real help problem brought to me in counseling several years ago: A physically and psychologically healthy 7- year old is helped by his mother to wipe himself after toileting.
    154. 154.  Example I. A 2-year old is thirsty and asks his mothers help to get him some juice from the top shelf of the refrigerator which is out of his reach. Example II. Another veridical family interaction: A mother, 16-year old son and 13-year old daughter are in the upstairs family room watching television. The daughter asks her mother: "what snacks are in the kitchen cabinet?" The mother helps by going down and reporting back to her daughter. The teenage girl then tells her mother which snack she wants and her mother goes back to the kitchen to retrieve the snack she wants and brings it back to her daughter.
    155. 155.  Example I. A working couple has a school-age child who needs a ride home after a school event. The childs mother is extremely stressed and tired after a grueling day at work. She would have to go out of her way and be stuck in traffic to pick their child up. The father, who had the day off, is quite relaxed sitting around the house and playing videos. The wife calls her husband and asks him to pick up their son. Example II. A working couple has a school-age child who needs a ride home after a school event. The childs mother is extremely stressed after a grueling day at work. The father had the day off, is quite relaxed sitting around the house and is playing videos. She thinks calling her husband would be inappropriate. He would be displeased and she would not be fulfilling her obligation as wife and mother. Tired and stressed as she is, she heads toward the childs school, in traffic jams, for the pickup.
    156. 156. A husband helping his wife who is eager to learn household financing ‗herself‘ by doing all the domestic bookkeeping ‗himself.‘ A wife who insists on helping her husband, who really enjoys cooking, to help the marriage by ‗not‘ allowing him in the kitchen. A husband who helps his wife by picking out the clothes she buys and wears.
    157. 157.  Mindless helping broadcasts a psychological need to nurture. In part this may be related to a mindset of the spouse that unless helping they are not living up to their marital and/or parental obligations. This behavior takes on compulsive qualities so that if nurturing or giving care is impeded, anxiety, guilt or dejection is elicited. Each time mindless helping occurs the doers behavior is rewarded (negative reinforcement of inappropriate behavior) by the attenuated dysfunctional emotion. And the repetition of mindless helping behaviors strengthens the behaviors, thus making the inappropriate behavior more likely to occur in the future. On the other hand, the recipient of mindless helping is rewarded for dependency on others (Positive reinforcement of inappropriate behavior). Dependent individuals are also not provided with the opportunity to learn functional behaviors that they are capable of learning

    ×