Let us work toward healing in our relationships.
Gratia Plena
Full of Grace
Our Mission:
to provide counseling which is faithful to the teachings, values, and traditions of the Catholic Church.

Our Primary Services:
Evaluation and Treatment for mental illness & addictions.

September 18, 2012
September is a busy month…

  •  September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month  An estimated 23 million children and teenagers in the US are obese or overweight.  That rate has tripled in the past 30 years.  For the first time in American history, children may have shorter lifespan expectancies than their parents.  Read more:

  • The second week of September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month  Do you know the warning signs of suicide?  Remember this mnemonic:  “IS PATH WARM”  Read more:

  • And this week is National Wellness Week, which is part of Recovery Month.  Wellness means overall well-being.  Dr. Ken feels so important about this topic that a multi-part series examining it will begin soon on the Gratia Plena website blog.  Do you know the 8 dimensions of wellness?  Read more:

Grief and Loss
Each year since the terrorist attacks of 2001, September 11th is a day when Americans remember the tragic events of that day with a heavy heart.  We grieve over the death of loved ones, but we also mourn losses we consider to be untimely even if we don’t know the person intimately.  There are actually many different types of losses in life, and feelings of sadness may stay with us for some time.
Normal family transitions can also be a time in which loss is experienced, even where there is also joy at the same time:  such as when a young person goes away for college for the first time, or if when an older person retires.  We may feel loss when a material item is stolen from us, or if it breaks or is sold.  We may get very attached to a certain place where we have lived for a while, and feel some loss when we move.
We may feel grief over a loss of dignity that may come with aging or illness.  A young person can feel a loss of innocence through an event such as a rape or abortion.  It is not unusual for such losses to leave us with a mixture of feelings such as anger, guilt, anxiety, and sadness.  Our sleep or eating may be disrupted.  We find ourselves catching colds more frequently than normal.
One of the important ways to begin to deal with grief is to be in touch with the uncomfortable feelings, which can be difficult because our natural tendency is to want to push painful feelings aside.  We can attempt to “medicate” feelings with work or other busy activity, drugs or alcohol, food or sex, and so on.  Attempts to avoid painful feelings nearly always will fail us.  Instead, we can work on being in touch with feelings by reflecting on them, writing in a journal, talking with a trusted friend or family member, or consulting a spiritual director or counselor.
A second action is to do something if we get stuck in our grief, and the pain just won’t go away.  While there is no precise time limit to grief work, if a year or so has gone by and we are still struggling with grief as if the event or events happened just recently, then it might be time to take action toward getting unstuck.  Again, while this may unfold on each person’s own pace and the person has a right to guide his or her own recovery, if grief is presenting a problem then there is help available.  There may always be some sadness or pain about a significant loss, but the distinction is that it at some point of recovery is no longer interfering with life going forward.
A good place to start is by lifting up the issue to God who knows intimately our pain and suffering.  Ask God to guide you in this path of recovery from grief.  Also check around for grief support groups.  A priest or deacon at church may be of help.  And most professional counselors are experienced in helping people get unstuck from a difficult grieving process.

Upcoming Events:

  • Dr. Ken will be making two presentations at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Rosenberg, September 26th and October 3rd on:  “Our Faith:  Sexuality and Healthy Relationships.”  The first week is for junior high youth and their parents, and the second is for those in high school and their parents.
  • Dr. Ken will be training peer recovery counselors at Woodlands Church (the faith community of Pastor Kerry Shook).  This training takes place across seven Saturdays from September through November.  It is for a limited number of individuals and thus not open to the public.
  • Dr. Ken will be making two presentations at Sts. Martha, Mary, and Lazarus Church in Kingwood on the topic of pornography, October 30th and November 6th.  The first session is for the youth, and the second is for parents.
Dr. Ken's Book of the Month Recommendation:
I’d like to share with you an old book this month, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life by the late great Fr. Henri Nouwen.  In this little book which was first published in 1975, Fr. Nouwen encourages the reader to reach out (1) to his or her deepest inner self, (2) to others in the community, and (3) to God.  He views this as a process that occurs in stages:  a movement from personal loneliness to solitude (our connection to or relationship to self), the movement from hostility to hospitality (connection to or relationship with others), and the ultimately most important movement from illusion to prayer (our connection to or relationship with God).  Consequently, the book is divided into three sections.  I recall that when I read this book in the late 70s or early 80s during my college years, I was particularly moved by the first section about solitude.  As many young adults have recently headed off to college for the first time or are returning to university after Summer break, it may make a nice “I’m thinking of you” gift from a parent to a student.  However, I believe that anyone on the spiritual journey may appreciate the profound wisdom in this book.  You can probably find it on Amazon for $10 or less.  In next month’s newsletter, watch for Dr. Ken’s “Movie of the Month” recommendation.
Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and Dr. Ken do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending books, movies, music, websites, blogs, et cetera…
Copyright © 2012 Gratia Plena, All rights reserved.

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(832) 886-6850 
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