Father Thomas James
When I started therapy a few years ago, I was a newly ordained priest who was quite successful on the outside but hurting a great deal on the inside. If all my issues could have been put into 2 major categories, they would have been: dad issues and issues with women. (Funny: my initial evaluation before entering the seminary had already spelled this out; there was just no urgency at the time.) After much struggle, I believe it was my previous therapist who quite literally cured me of the former. He had taken my fixation and need for an older male authority figure to guide and control every dimension of my life (manifested in relationships, first with my dad, then with various religious superiors and spiritual directors) upon himself, and then turned it back on me, thus empowering me to become my own man, becoming my own father, we might say. I realized over time that he was making use of Dr. Baars’s therapy of love and affirmation, providing me with a type of fatherly love and empowerment which I had never received, so that in the context he provided, I could finally grow into a fuller masculinity. His death occurred not only after I had received what I needed from him, but also at the same time as my dad’s, which although devastating, I was finally able to handle.
God knew exactly what He was doing as he exited and Karen entered. I had formerly been close with a woman like yourself, who had consecrated her life to God and was like an older sister to me. I had hoped that she would have been an ongoing support to me as a priest. However, after my ordination our friendship painfully fell apart for reasons that I still don’t fully understand to this day. I am utterly convinced that whenever God takes away from us something that we cherish it is only because He wants to provide us with something better. As my need for so much help in relating to women, coupled with my own lack of self-love and confidence as it relates to that, was the next area of healing to conquer, the Lord couldn’t have possibly sent me anyone better than you. You have been giving me exactly the affirmation and love that I have needed to grow in this area, as we discuss all these issues, basically acting as a counterpart to my former therapist for my emotional well being. Baars speaks of providing what is missing in one’s upbringing, and in the spiritual life we speak of “spiritual fathers and mothers”. When it comes to my emotional healing, I see it as my first therapist and you providing me with the fatherhood and motherhood needed to bring me that much closer to completion as a man. I don’t know if you are even aware of all this, and I couldn’t possibly list each individual detail, but I have soaked in our conversations like a sponge.
Our talks are consistently one of the major high points of my week. The fact is, although you give tremendous advice about things like living a balanced life and pairing Christian values with common sense, and you’ve explained so many things to me about women and relationships, it is the person that you are which has brought about the majority of my growth and healing in this area. There is so much obvious conviction present in how you live your life, and there is so much obvious love and affirmation conveyed in your ministering to me. This is true in everything from your tolerance and encouragement in hearing about my ignorance and faults, to yourcongratulating me when I have succeeded. Your love for me as a client, a person, and a priest is so evident, and is exactly, in my humble opinion, what Dr. Baars intended in providing me with a foundation upon which to build a better and more complete self. It is this foundation that has led me to find a greater happiness both within me and in the world around me. It also goes together with what many have recently expressed to me as I try to employ this manner of ministry, which is that my fatherly love for them enables them to connect better with Jesus, just like yours better enables people to understand and connect with our Lady. In addition, all this is true about you on multiple levels, as your helping me is not just about affirmation, and not just about great advice, but also about the specific concern of my striving to grow in a greater respect and appreciation for women, according to God’s intentions, which I cannot help but see increase as I listen to you each week. Once again, there are so many more details to the story, but I feel that it’s only right at this time that I should at least express to you how much I respect and love you. (!!!)
Thank you for helping me so much.
Call Karen at (484) 895-8050 or fill out the contact form