Catholic Psychotherapy

Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS; Catholic Psychotherapist; Founder of Marian Apostolate of the Laity

Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS; Catholic Psychotherapist; Founder of Marian Apostolate of the Laity

Peace in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Jayson M. Brunelle, M.Ed., CAGS.  As a fully trained Clinical Mental Health Counselor, I provide specifically Catholic Psychotherapy to individuals seeking relief from a host of psycho-spiritual maladies, including, but not limited to, major depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD, scrupulosity, schizophrenia, substance-abuse disorders, and a host of additional psychological and spiritual maladies.

My theoretical approach is based on a “Christocentric” anthropology. This is simply to say I believe that every human being has been created in God’s image and likeness. I further believe that it is the universal vocation of every human person to work toward holiness, as an adopted child of God the Father – through, with and in Christ Jesus – with the goal of eternal participation in the very Triune, Divine Family Life of God for all eternity. Thus, it is my belief that our common, shared purpose in this life is to be of assistance to each other in uniting our will with the Divine Will of God, in Whom we find our greatest peace, happiness, joy and contentment. It is in His will that we shall find our peace. Here, I like to quote the great Doctor of the Church, St. Augustine, who so eloquently stated, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord; and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”

It is also for the above stated reasons that I pattern my therapeutic work on the “Serenity Prayer,” which reads, “God, grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to Change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.” This first stanza of this prayer-poem encapsulates, in my mind, the fundamental goals of therapy, which are (1) learning to accept life on life’s terms; (2) making a very clear delineation between those aspects of our lives which can, should and must change – usually our attitude toward people (ourselves included), places, things and ideas – and those other aspects of our lives over which we have little to no control, which we must pray for the grace to accept as being manifestations of God’s permissive will.

While I do not consider myself a practitioner of Freudian Psychodynamic Theory, there are certain tenets of Freudian thought to which I ascribe, such as a belief in the existence of a pre-conscious and an unconscious mind; the use of ego-defense mechanisms (such as denial, repression, projection, reaction-formation, et cetera) in an ongoing effort to maintain ego-syntonia, or intrapsychic homeostasis. Finally, I do ascribe to the Freudian depiction of the tripartite human psyche, comprised of id, ego and superego, each of which vie for control, thereby giving rise to a sense of neurotic anxiety at times.

Finally, I do ascribe to certain other evidence-based psychotherapeutic techniques, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, sometimes abbreviated as simply CBT. CBT is the term that has been given to the work of a number of groundbreaking practitioners and theorists, including Albert Ellis, Aaron Beck and David Michenbaum, collectively. The underlying idea at the heart of CBT is that it is not the activating event that leads one to his or her emotional / behavioral response, as so many believe; rather, it is one’s belief about the activating event that leads one to feel and behave as he or she does. Thus, according to this faulty thinking framework, it becomes essential to identify what Aaron Beck has identified as the Cognitive Distortions that lead us to jump to all sorts of conclusions. Such cognitive distortions include (1) All or Nothing / Black or White thinking: An example of this is the young woman who must maintain a perfect GPA at all costs. When she gets a B+ on her final, she spirals out of control, stating to herself, “I’ll never be any good at anything. I can forget about that perfect GPA of 4.0, and I can also forget about any possibility of a future. I’m ruined!!!” We readily see how ridiculous this is, yet many of us succumb to this very type of All or Nothing thinking. Another example would be a young man playing a game of baseball. After having lost this particular baseball game, he makes the self-statement, “I’m on a losing team because that’s where I belong – with all the losers. I’m a loser and I’ll always be a loser.” This is a clear example of Labeling. We can ask, is it true that the team has never won a single game? The answer is very likely a resounding “No.” Moreover, instead of stating, “Well, we lost this game, but there will be many more,” this player decides to label himself and his entire team as losers. These are all examples of faulty thinking, or cognitive distortions that can be corrected through a process called Cognitive Restructuring.

By the end of our first or second session, I will tell you how I see your case at this point and how I think we should proceed. I view therapy as a partnership between us. You define the problem areas to be worked on; I use some special knowledge to help you make the changes you want to make. Psychotherapy is not like visiting a medical doctor. It requires your very active involvement. It requires your best efforts to change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. For example, I want you to tell me about important experiences, what they mean to you, and what strong feelings are involved. This is one of the ways you are an active partner in therapy.

I expect us to plan our work together. In our treatment plan we will list the areas to work on, our goals, the methods we will use, the time and money commitments we will make, and some other things. I expect us to agree on a plan that we will both work hard to follow. From time to time, we will look together at our progress and goals. If we think we need to, we can then change our treatment plan, its goals, or its methods.

I would consider it an honor to walk with you on your God-given life-journey, and to assist you in making the best possible decisions for yourself.  I am available for “in vivo” (i.e., person to person) therapy, telephone and video conference therapy.  I can be reached at jaymbru@gmail.com, or I may be reached by phone at 1-860-207-0517.  I look forward to hearing from you.

God Bless You!!!