What’s an Adolescent?

Adolescent is a Latin word meaning to grow up or nearing maturity. Anyone who actually has an adolescent in their house will be tickled to know that the word is very closely related to alere, another Latin word meaning to eat. Whereas the word teenager simply denotes that one is between thirteen and nineteen years old. In the States we tend to forget that nineteen year olds are teenagers because we become legal adults in all things except alcohol and tobacco consumption at eighteen. It is interesting to note that teenager is simply a demarcation of time, whereas adolescent takes a more qualitative approach to the maturing adult. Adolescent carries with it the … Continue reading What’s an Adolescent?

What is Emotion

The history of what we mean by the word Emotion is a fascinating example of the variety of meanings, and changing hierarchy of importance among the different meanings, a word can have. Emotion is based on a Latin conjunction of ex movere or to move out but is first used by the French in the 1700s to describe a mental disturbance. The English phrase “He’s out of his mind” is probably closer to the original meaning of the word emotion than are the more benign contemporary meaning of this word. Emotion does not come to mean a category of feelings including happy, sad, mad, and all the rest until the 1800s and … Continue reading What is Emotion

Active Recollection

Mindfulness Meditation and books like Mindsight by Dr. Dan Siegel have received, especially among psychiatric circles, much attention in recent years. Even the Simpsons and South Park have, in their unique ways, made reference to Mindfulness in their latest seasons. Nevertheless, it is a frequent reaction among Catholics and Christians to instantly reject practices which look too much like eastern spirituality, however I hope that my readers will hear me out on what I believe is a healthy use of Mindfulness practices in the Christian Spiritual Life. Active Recollection is the name given in the Christian Spiritual Tradition to practices which when … Continue reading Active Recollection

Investiture of the Letterman

Where Soto Street and Whittier Blvd meet in the City of the Angeles sits a collection of buildings which has housed the young men enrolled at Salesian High School since 1958. The year after the school was founded saw the institution of the schools Letterman Society. Every year the young men who are enrolled in this society, the schools oldest, hear in the second reading at Mass about those who persevered in the combat, those who “washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev 7:14). This is because it is the schools tradition to invest their … Continue reading Investiture of the Letterman

Feeling Like It

Often times students will put off homework, essay writing, and studying until they, “feel like” doing it. We all know that at some times we are more disposed to activity compared to other times. Often we find after class that we need a break, some fresh air, more coffee or a cigarette. In the Ethics Aristotle tells us that the virtuous man, the man who does things well also does them easily and with happiness. Wouldn’t it be nice if our homework was done easily and made us happy? Lets take up a different example than homework. It is easier to talk … Continue reading Feeling Like It

Some Thoughts on Spiritual Direction

It is a rare week that one of my coreligionists doesn’t ask some version of the question, “I go to spiritual direction, why would I need a therapist?” While I do not presume to be able to perfectly explain the difference I do hope to offer some useful thoughts along these lines. I look forward to your comments to help us all understand this difference. Both spiritual direction and therapy are concerned with matters of the heart. One clear difference between the two is that spiritual direction includes the forgiveness of ones sins, though we recognize even this is not … Continue reading Some Thoughts on Spiritual Direction

Reflective Listening

The work of the psychologist is to bring his client to a greater participation in his life. One of the psychologists fundamental tools is reflective listening. Lets look at what reflective listening is and why it is such a powerful way to help our clients grow. To listen reflectively means to hear what another is saying in order to present it back to them. Not merely the simple repetition of the clients words but rather, it is the ideas and feelings of the client which are represented to him by the therapist. For example if a client is speaking about … Continue reading Reflective Listening

What is a Therapist

Those working the field of psychology are generically called either a therapist or counselor. Each of these titles present interesting histories. Therapist is from a Greek word meaning minister to or to heal. Thus the title physical therapist makes a great deal of sense, it belongs to those who minister to or heal the body. It is interesting that we use the word Doctor to describe someone who heals the body. This however is the result of university politics at its best. A doctor in it’s original meaning is one who can teach, who can explain a doctrine. Thus in strange reversal teachers are real doctors and doctors are actually therapists. Hopefully I … Continue reading What is a Therapist

The Role of Mentors in a Teens Life

It is no revelation to parents that adolescents – teenagers – require different parenting skills than younger children do. This is never more apparent than when the adolescent, raised in a family with a clearly articulated morality rejects this in favor of the predominant culture. While we do not pretend to delve into all the possible reasons for this rejection we do hope to offer some practical resolutions for parents living with these periodically rational animals – their teenagers. From their first day children are exposed to the various conclusions of their parents moral teaching. Often times this exposure comes in … Continue reading The Role of Mentors in a Teens Life