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  • Writer's pictureSacred Heart Mental Wellness

How Do I Know if I Need Counseling || The Catholic Mental Health Assessment

Video Interview with Catholic-Link

February 8, 2022

Katie: Have you ever been to a gym and had a free fitness assessment? Well today we're going to talk a little bit about having a Mental Health Assessment, where are you on this journey of Metal Wellness? So let's talk about it, coming up next.

Hey everyone we are Drew and Katie Taylor with Catholic-Link, sitting down with Catherine DiNuzzo from Sacred Heart Mental Wellness. If you're new to the channel please hit subscribe it helps get the word out and share this video with a friend.

Katie: Anyone, and everyone needs to kinda know where they are on this journey of mental wellness to acknowledge that this isn't something that we've arrived, that it's a process, it a continual muscle that we can strengthen and we can grow. We need to look at this more like fitness and less like a taboo of if I have a problem...its like lets be proactive and so today I just kinda want Catherine to talk us through what are maybe the stages of Mental Wellness and where we can be in that journey.

Catherine: So when it comes to Mental Wellness I like to break it down into three main stages. So the first one I call the "hole". And so we all have holes in our life from things that could be traumas, it could be not the best parents, could be abuse, things that have happened to us. But sometimes there's holes in our life, or things that we just don't like about ourselves. You know, a lot of my case load are introverts who the world tells should be extroverts. Myself, I always imagined that someday I would be a 6'1'', left handed volleyball player who played professionally somewhere but I'm not any of those things.. {laughter} ..and so sometimes that hole is just wishing you were something that God didn't create you to be. But the hole is something that we don't like and a lot of times what we do is we make that hole go away. And we make it go away with what I call sand and these are things that for a second make things feel good. So we can look at drugs, alcohol, could be anxiety, depression, eating, not eating , over exercising whatever they are. Why do people do drugs? Because they work, because for a second you get high and for a second all of your problems go away. But the problem is what happens when we have this hole, and we want it to go away and all we do is keep filling it up with sand.

Katie: Yeah. And those learned behaviors, because the reality is as we practice those they become our learned coping mechanisms, and they do work...for a second and then there's the ramifications and ripple effect and the reality is that the ones that you listed are not healthy and will not lead to long term health which I think is an important aspect, to acknowledge that pattern that maybe we've put ourselves in.

Catherine: And realizing that sometimes our coping mechanisms are things that we learned as a kid that we needed.

Drew | Katie: Yeah, yeah

Catherine: Right, to kinda survive our childhood but then we go into a healthier marriage, or we have great friends and we just don't know how to cope with those things because we don't know how to be in a relationship like that so we just keep doing the strategies and the sand that we know. So that's kinda the first stage. Now the second stage is where I say you know everyone wants a hole to go away, and if I had that magic answer, if I had that pill I could sell I'd give Mr. Amazon a run for his money.

Katie: Oh yeah

Catherine: {laughing} cuz really that's what everybody wants, right. But we can't. So the second phase is, let's get out the sand, and let's see what that hole is, and let's start learning those strategies. That's what we do at Sacred Heart Mental Wellness. We're going to teach you some of the strategies to know and to build what I call the basement of your hole. We're gonna put cement down, some 2x4's right...we're gonna make this a basement. Why do I use a basement analogy? Because if we build our "house" or our life on sand...what's gonna happen when you build a house on sand?

Katie: It's gonna crumble

Catherine: It crumbles right. And if you're wondering like, "where am I at on this assessment" what I ask you to ask yourself is, "am I sitting on the edge of a hole where I've built a house a couple times and every time it falls." Most of the time when somebody comes to my office is their sitting at their hole being like, "I keep building this house, and I'm so tired and it just keeps falling." Because what happens...we try to fill it with sand, we push the sand in. We build the house, it falls. We do the same thing again and we just put in more sand so there's no magic way to make the holes go away so lets build a basement and when you have a basement you don't have to live in it. See when I was a kid, my dad was an alcoholic so for my whole life I thought I was the daughter of an alcoholic but then I learned that I am Catherine, who's dad was an alcoholic...its totally part of my story.

Drew: Yeah, yeah. Its such a slight shift tho

Katie: But such an important aspect

Catherine: But an empowering one...

Drew: Yeah yeah

Catherine: doesn't define me right.

Drew | Katie: Yeah

Catherine: And so the whole part of the second stage is realizing that, that hole doesn't have to define you. And there are some strategies that we can just do in our mind that just makes that little shift that now instead of being sand becomes a structure. And then the last stage is what I call "maintenance" or like building your house. Right, now you have a nice basement now we have to start using these new tools to be in that new marriage, to be that parent you want to be, to love yourself like God loves you. Right

Katie: Or let God love you

Catherine: For all the moms out there who are thinking, "oh this is totally me, like I want to be at that last stage." I want you to take a second and look at yourself through your kids eyes, like when they look at you when you come home and their like, "mommy you're so beautiful and amazing." I always think about like, they don't have sand those little ones. And so they are absolutely looking at you the way that God looks at you and so sometimes when I'm stuck in my hole in my sand...and I'm trying to build it. I take a moment to give myself the motivation of I want to be able to build my house on this structure so that I can see me the way that my kids see me...the way that God sees me.

Katie:'s so good. And I think it helps to know that as you build into that, you know you talked about that shift of like I'm not a daughter of an alcoholic first, I'm Catherine who's dad was an alcoholic like moving from that labeling too. I think we have such a tendency to put labels on people, to put labels on ourselves, to accept the labels that have been given to us and to think that defines us whether thats a personality assessment, or a learning disorder, or a mental health diagnosis and then to realize like God doesn't define you in this box and that doesn't actually define who you are and I think that, that level of how do we build those supports in our structure, in our basement to acknowledge that this is not actually where my identity comes from.

Drew: Well, and I would say that there is only one identity that God cares about and that's your a child of God...

Katie: Yeah

Drew: You area a son of God, you are a daughter of God. You have an inheritance that God has ready for you and thats all he cares about.

Katie: Yeah. So how do I know when I need help?

Catherine: One of the things I think that you have to do is listen to your heart in prayer. IN the quiet of your own mind. I call it the Holy Spirit's kinda like right here, you know the feeling. And if I asked you guys right now and I said, "hey do you want to go get ice cream later?" Immediately you know, yes or no right...and that's that Holy Spirit nudge.

Katie: Is it ever a no?

Drew: {laughing}

Catherine: You just wait, see we goes up into our minds and we start thinking like, "wow Catherine is super cool and I bet ice cream with her is amazing but...I did eat doughnuts with her just earlier today so maybe I shouldn't have ice cream...but I didn't have ice cream yesterday..but she's only here for a little bit..

Everyone: {laughing}

Katie: Okay so maybe there could be a no every once in a while

Catherine: But what happens is that we start getting so in here {pointing to her head} which is of us and its not of God that we don't know if its yes or no. And so I truly feel that in that quiet of our own selves, in that moment in prayer there is a yearning in your heart that you know I just keep putting sand in my hole

Katie: Yeah, lots of ice cream

Catherine: If you keep doing the same things that keep falling and they aren't working. You know I think it sounds kinda sarcastic and I wish there were a sweeter way but in college they would tell us if a a client is struggling and they don't want help just ask them, "how's that going for ya?" Like hows that working? {laughing}

Drew: How's that working out for you?

Catherine: And the reality is most of the their like, "huh...not so well." So if you're listening to this video and you're like oh that's me, that's where you might say that you just need a few extra tools. And what I have learned in mental wellness is that there are again, a couple main things, that for most of the population are just the tweak that they need

Drew: Just a tune up

Catherine: Just a tune up to get all those, just the oil change in a car. Just a little bit right, to just change that thinking a little bit. But sometimes there are hurts that are so much deeper than that, that you need more. So at Sacred Heart Mental Wellness I'm going to teach you all the little tweak things. The little bit to say let's just look at the same thing this way. Try communicating with your spouse this way. Understand your parents this way...right those things, but if you do those and you're still full of sand, and hurt, and shame that's when I would say it's time to go to a counselor and to see that as a really good benefit. But the things I want to teach at Sacred Heart Mental Wellness are things that I spend six sessions going over with my clients with. And so I was thinking, "how could I save them money {laughing} you know cuz I'm a mom I'm trying to make it on a budget in a pandemic {laughing} how can I save them money by teaching them all the things that I need to so that even after that if they're still in their hole we're already ten steps ahead in the counseling process then we were if they hadn't had them.

Drew: I think the thing that I'm excited about all of this is, the fact that it's mental wellness but its from a Catholic perspective right so you can trust it. It's not that you don't know if there's going to be some new know and so right you can get these tools that are grounded in the church, grounded in our faith...

Katie: In the truth

Drew: In the truth. And then as you work through them you can access hey where am I, did these work for me? Alright, dude these work, I'm back in shape now, I'm back on top. Or it's like, nope I still need a little bit extra and now you can look to, or through kinda that Catholic counseling where you know you can work with someone who's not only going to take care of your mind, but also your soul.

Catherine: We're all of those right. Body, mind, soul. And I think that's a beautiful way of saying it is that again like I said in the last video the more we learn about counseling techniques the more see that God knew what we needed when he built our church. Like I'm gonna do it ahead of time, you're gonna fall right. I always say that with confession because in the counseling office sand is always guilt and shame. Almost always. Even if someone hurt us, there's a guilt piece that falls that we put on ourselves that's not ours to carry. And so when I think about how God gave us confession, he gave us this place to say you know what you're gonna fall over and over again. You know He didn't go on the cross and say I expect you to be perfect, He's like hey're gonna keep messing up so I'm just gonna make it so we're always good.

Drew: yeah

Catherine: You know, like He knew that in our faith so when we can take that to our mental health that like God in His creation of our church loved us in our humanity maybe then we could love ourselves in our humanity.

Drew: And I like the piece that they're complimentary of the faith and this mental wellness. It's not like this is the answer and don't worry about church. Or it's not like hey um...

Katie: All you need is prayer

Drew: Yea, right...but don't worry about all these other things that are going on in your mind and so I just appreciate that realness and the fact that these two go together and that's good. Its a beautiful thing

Katie: Yeah. You know we wouldn't say that you're a bad Catholic because you need to go to the gym and workout and like strengthen your's like oh if you believe in Jesus you're just going to be strong, like you're naturally going to be fit. It's all going to fall into place perfectly and so when we look at mind, body, and soul we look at our body and we go okay there are things that I have to do to reach a fitness level. With my mind there's probably some mind habits, some tools that we need to have whether that's growth mindset, some of these things we're talking about here today is just such an important aspect of building those daily mind habits, the way we talk to ourselves especially internally..huh..if we could talk to ourselves they way we would talk to somebody else in that same circumstance...

Catherine: Oh I hear that all the time. And I think that what I really think is so powerful about what you're saying Katie and Drew about bringing it together is that you would never think someone was bad for going to a teacher or to a class to learn something new...

Drew: Yeah

Catherine: You know when you go to the gym and you do the assessment what is the first thing that they offer you?

Katie: A program

Catherine: A personal trainer. Right, you can have someone help you. So God does the work, I've always said that I gave my practice to God a long time ago and before my sessions I'm like Holy Spirit just be my words, just let me be what they need, let me be an instrument in this person's life right now because you do the healing. So in like a personal trainer they teach how to build the muscles that God gave you, they work with what God has already created in his perfection

Katie: Yeaa

Drew: Yep

Catherine: And that is good, and you want that. And I feel like counseling in a way is the same. We're not, I'm not healing anybody honestly, I just work with Jesus and hopefully, I say I just heal the things that make it hard for people to see how much God loves them. Right, so I have the coolest job ever {laughing} but that's all I'm doing is making the pathway for the healing. Because sometimes we have so many of those hurts, those dots that we stick on ourselves that we can't even see that pathway to healing or to peace.

Drew: Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on this show, for doing this series. For our viewers if you haven't checked out the other videos in the series please go back and watch those and then we'll be leaving links in the description of all the resources that Catherine has to offer but is a great place to start. You can kinda gage where you're at and see do I need some of those mental tools.

Katie: We all need those mental tools {laughing} Make sure to share this with a friend especially if of the things Catherine and I have talked about is this idea that we're designed to walk with each other, to help each other but when its starting to get to the point where you're doing the heavy lifting and you're doing the caring, the best thing we can actually do for a friend is to refer them to get these tools and so hopefully this is a resource that you can use to help somebody that you love. That you want to build that basement. That you want to see them move from sand to health and lasting wellness in their mental habits and so go and share this with a friend, comment below with any questions, like it and we'll be praying for you until next time.

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