"My being proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit finds joy in God my savior."   Luke 1:46

Your November Newsletter
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, and spiritual distress.
Research on Gratitude (thanksgiving) and Religion/Spirituality
A 2005 study by Emmons and Kneezel found correlations between grateful emotions/tendencies and conventional religious practices as well as spiritual self-transcendence.  A controlled study done in 2009 “Can Prayer Increase Gratitude?” by Lambert and others provided significant evidence that prayer does indeed increase gratitude.  A 2009 study by Krause discovered that the effects of ongoing economic difficulty on depressive symptoms are especially pronounced for older people who are less grateful.  Another 2009 study by Krause and Ellison reported among other things, that people who feel they are closely connected with other individuals feel especially grateful to God.  Dr. Ken can provide you the references for these studies if you request them.  Try an attitude of total gratitude for a few days, and see how you feel.
End of the Year Giving
Please consider Gratia Plena for your charitable donation this November or December.  We are a 501(c)(3) and so your donation is tax deductible.  Your generosity allows us to serve those who may not otherwise be able to afford counseling.  On our caseloads are mothers and fathers, middle and high school students, married couples, and engaged couples, pastors and religious women.  With God’s grace, we are helping those suffering from depression sometimes with thoughts of suicide, anxiety that is interfering with school or work, addictions that are threatening marriages, and/or many other conditions.  We integrate spiritual growth and development as part of the recovery from mental illness and addictions, working as a wellness care team in our office.  Because we are a non-profit and use a sliding fee scale, Gratia Plena will only survive with the support of the community.  We are here to serve you.  Please be a Good Samaritan today and consider yourself part of our mission.
Loving and Eating Well
This ongoing psycho-spiritual support group for women led by Dr. Ken has been meeting every Monday evening for nine weeks now!  New members can join any time.  We meet at 5:30pm in the Stafford office for one hour, and the cost is only $10 each meeting.  If you sometimes eat to manage emotions such as loneliness or emptiness, please come walk the road toward healing with us.  We are considering starting a second group session that would meet on Saturdays.  Email or call if interested.
Blog Articles
After a break from blogging over the summer, we are writing and posting again.  Here are some recent articles, in case you missed them:
The Social Dimension of Wellness (part of a series by Dr. Ken)
Thanksgiving for Disability (Thanksgiving article by Dr. Ken)
Light Out of the Darkness (Advent article by Mary Kay Malicki)
2013 NCPD Conference
Dr. Ken attended the recent conference of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability, representing Gratia Plena.  The conference was hosted here in Houston by the Archdiocese, and Cardinal DiNardo spoke at the banquet and celebrated Mass for the attendees.  Dr. Ken brought back lots of new information and ideas, and will share these with the community via Facebook or Twitter in coming weeks.  He was given an excellent 27 minute DVD entitled “Welcomed and Valued:  Supporting People with Mental Illness in Parish Life.”  Gratia Plena staff would very much like to present this at your parish.  The video and brief presentation can be done in a one-hour session.  Please call or email to schedule a time.
Why Use Art in Spiritual Direction?
Art Therapist and Spiritual Director Jaqueline Fehlner seems to express and capture much of what we have found on this topic at Gratia Plena, and these points capture many of the reasons why our own Spiritual Director Mary Kay Malicki makes such good use of art in her spiritual direction sessions:
  • “Places the emphasis on the relationship and process rather than the product or aesthetics.
  • Allows the person to choose ideas/issues that are most relevant to her/him or materials with which he/she is willing to work. The person is in control and responsible for their own work.
  • Taps into the unconscious material and gives the person a visual voice when there are no words or few words to express what is deeply or painfully felt.
  • May be a safer way to express intensity of negative feelings, thus offering a cathartic release and the possibility of working through these feelings.
  • May enable a profound non-verbal communication with self and with the therapist/spiritual director as well as with group members.
  • Works well in individual and group treatment process.
  • May be abstract or realistic.
  • The person chooses how much detail to put into his/her work. More can be added to the artwork at a later date.
  • May be used with flexible themes/open-ended directives in a treatment or Retreat program.
  • Is, over time, a concrete record of progress.”
Mary Kay Malicki works in our Stafford office and is available for appointments with a flexible schedule.  As is the tradition, at Gratia Plena we do not charge a fee for spiritual direction…but most people offer a donation (which is much appreciated at Gratia Plena).
Year of Faith and the Liturgical Year are Winding Down
The Year of Faith (2012-2013) launched by Pope Benedict concludes on November 24th.  We hope that you took some form of action to deepen your faith, and that your efforts bore fruit in your life.  If you have not yet done so, it’s not too late to do something!  Make a leisurely tour of the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in downtown Houston and study all of its beauty.  Select and organize a novena with your family.  Look up the Catechism of the Catholic Church and take some time to read some of the interesting sections.  Pray for vocations each day.  Pray outside an abortion clinic.  Or if you haven’t made a confession recently, make a special effort to do so this month or certainly during Advent, which begins Sunday, December 1st.
New Date for Dr. Ken at St. Laurence
St. Laurence has moved the December 11th marriage presentation for couples to February 12th.  Put it on your calendar for 7-9pm.  More details and a reminder on this event will be in our January newsletter, and in the St. Laurence Sunday bulletin.
Video of the Month Recommendation:
We recommend this month not a book or a movie, but rather a short video about a middle school football team:
It has been viewed by over four million people!  We think that it summarizes quite well our Christian call to reach out with love to others.  All people want to feel included, even people with disabilities.  In next month’s newsletter, watch for our “Book of the Month” recommendation.

Disclaimer: Gratia Plena and its staff do not receive any compensation or earthly benefits from recommending books, movies, music, websites, blogs, apps, et cetera…
Copyright © 2013 Gratia Plena, All rights reserved.

Contact Us:
10701 Corporate Drive, Suite 190, Stafford, TX 77477
(832) 532-0129 (office) 
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