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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

We were without doubt guided to your website by the Holy Mother. In my early childhood (from 5yrs old) I was some five years in foster home and suffered almost daily violent physical, psychological, racial, and emotional abuse. I was also sexually molested by a male colleague of my foster father and feared for my life on that day. I buried this for over forty years only to wake up in November 2016 with my life “over the cliff” in a moderate/severe emotional breakdown.
I converted to Catholicism some 11 years ago having traveled a spiritual journey initially in Pentecostalism and then through various denominations until Christ guided me to the His true Church and all the riches therein.
My wife and I have always followed a traditional and mystical Catholic pathway, and so your encouragement to to pursue a mystical path of healing was welcome and necessary. I also kept a devotion to Our Lady Undoer of Knots for some four months initially. Whilst the encouragement (via your site) on that mystical path was necessary, much of the psychoanalytical explanations brought light to so much confusion.
I am now some nine months on the pathway of recovery and back to work after seven months away. It has bothered me that even in this tenth month of recovery I do still have daily issues (anxiety/desolation) which are uncomfortable but manageable through turning to the cross, surrender and resignation to God’s Will, and devotion to the Holy Mother. Can I suppose that issues even after ten months would not be uncommon and probably expected? How much I would like to reach that place where these daily issues have passed; however, the spiritual growth through this dark time has been the great reward.

Outline of the Answer
• Childhood trauma
• Emotional Torment
• Admitting Helplessness
• Undoing the Knots

Now that you have awakened to the truth of your childhood trauma, the memories of that abuse will, in the future, always be a part of your psychological experience. That is, those memories can be hidden through psychological defenses but they cannot be erased from your mind. Furthermore, whenever those memories come to your mind, there will be temptations for you to savor thoughts of anger, hatred, and revenge, despite the fact that you know that acting on those temptations would be a sin.

Because the temptations are a natural aspect of our humanity, and because the understanding of the need to resist sin is an aspect of the spirit, you will find yourself in a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, as Saint Paul described in his letter to the Galatians (5:17). It will be a conflict between serving God and serving your own satisfaction. In psychoanalytic language, this sort of psychological conflict can be called a snarl, or a knot, in your unconscious mind.

Emotional Torment

So, as difficult as it is, these sorts of temptations will occur throughout the remainder of your life. Your memories of abuse will want to send you into anger, anxiety, and doubt. You will be tormented with false beliefs that send you into self-sabotage and procrastination. You will want to harbor anger at your abusers, you will feel anxious about the future, and you will even doubt whether God cares about you. It can be emotional torment at times.

Only through healing work will the pain be alleviated, and only through desire and prayer can the work be sustained; only through trust in God’s justice and providence will the anger and anxiety be contained, but even then, because the memories of the abuse cannot be erased, temptations to anger and anxiety will always be a threat.

Admitting Helplessness

Although many persons fall prey to defenses of sexuality, drugs, alcohol, or food to numb the emotional pain, the only healthy remedy is to encounter and feel the pain through persistent healing work and then to have a willingness to sit calmly and quietly before God in prayer with all your emotional pain.

Feel the pain—but feel it without anger. Admit that you cannot make others act as you would like them to act. Admit your helplessness before God. Admit that without God you are nothing. Admit that only God can protect you. Feel the nothingness and accept it. Accept that only in your helplessness and nothingness will you ever receive a mission from God to do anything meaningful in the world.

Still, in the midst of all this torment and helplessness, renounce the false beliefs that say, “I don’t matter” and “I am worthless” in repetitive vilification. Cling always to the belief that to God you are precious, and that if you renounce sin and seek to live a pure and holy life, in His great mercy God will guide you through the pain.

Undoing the Knots

In essence, this sitting with the pain and giving it to God is a way of fighting a battle against evil with no weapons other than your love for God. And what a gift it was that through Our Lady it has been revealed to you that this healing process is not a matter of cutting away the pain and getting rid of it but is instead a matter of undoing the knots of your unconscious through psychological exploration, spiritual scrutiny, and steadfast, quiet prayer and trust in God.

So even though these daily issues will never pass in this life, the joy is that in fighting them in every moment with love for God you can stay intimately close to God through Our Lady Undoer of Knots.


Mary, Undoer of Knots, veiled, as 
          adapted by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

Our Lady has never appeared without a veil in any legitimate apparition.
Therefore, to depict her without a veil is sacrilege.
Accordingly, for love of her dignity, I have corrected this image.


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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.