The most common service that we provide is individual psychotherapy, also called individual therapy or counseling. These sessions are generally about an hour once a week. This varies with specific circumstances. Therapy or counseling involves talking with a professionally-trained staff member who knows about mental illness, addictions, or marriage/family problems. Because all Gratia Plena staff are Catholic, we are able to integrate spiritual themes with counseling as it applies and if the client is interested in this. Most of those we serve are Catholic, and so many of our clients do appreciate this type of integration.
Individual therapy can be used for adults, teens, and children. For children at a certain age, play therapy techniques may be used to facilitate communication and discussion. Therapy ends when the person feels like the goals have been reached.
If a person does not find satisfactory improvement through counseling, then this should be discussed and some adjustments made. This might mean trying a different counselor or a new approach. The important fact to consider is that for most people, therapy does help. There is great research support to indicate the many benefits of counseling. There is hope.
Pastoral counseling is very similar to therapy except the staff member providing this service has some theology-related degree or training as well as mental health training. The pastoral counselor may be a priest, deacon, or a consecrated religious woman although times it may be a layperson.