From Jennifer Fulwiler's interview with me in today's National Catholic Register online:
Abuse victims are sometimes resistant to seeking healing because they fear that it will involve reliving traumatic memories. Is that a necessary step for finding peace in Christ?The full interview is on the National Catholic Register website.
It’s very important to distinguish between what are appropriate psychological methods of healing to be done under the care of a qualified mental-health professional and what are appropriate spiritual approaches to healing. For example, for victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, there is a type of psychotherapy whereby a person relives certain traumatic experiences. For some people, that can be therapeutic. However, if done outside of a controlled setting with a medically qualified practitioner, it can be dangerous.
Moreover, there is a theological problem with telling people that Christ can only heal you if you relive each memory. You can see this when you look at how he heals people in the Gospels. When Jesus healed the leper in Galilee, did he touch every single part of the leper's body? Of course not. The leper said to him in faith, "If you will, you can make me clean." Jesus simply stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean."
The message in the Gospels is that our wounds are cracks where Christ's light can get in. When we open ourselves to his healing light, we can trust in faith that he'll reach all those dark places. Whether or not I can consciously remember every single thing that was done to me, all those experiences contributed in some way to who I am today. So when I offer my whole self to Christ, and ask him to enter in, I am asking Christ's precious blood to bleed into all my past. Carrying that image of the Precious Blood and the light of Christ entering into my entire life is much more beautiful than trying to force myself to review every single wound.
Thanks so much to all the readers who have been praying for me as I have undertaken this work. Please keep up the prayers for me and for all those whom I hope to help find healing in Christ through the lives of the saints, particularly for adult victims of childhood sexual abuse. If you are a writer and are interested in interviewing me about My Peace or having your website be part of my upcoming "blog tour," please e-mail me.