In a previous entry, I complained that the official associations of Catholic/Christian mental health professionals haven't addressed the emotional aftermath of abortion in their conferences and journals. There are several such organizations.
Controversy has ensued.
Before getting to the mail, let's look at two bright spots.
Bright spot #1. Lumina is sponsoring a seminar for mental health professionals on March 21, 2003 in the New York area on the subject of post abortion trauma, with speakers David Reardon of The Elliot Institute and Theresa Burke, PhD, author of the 2002 book, "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion". Burke is a psychotherapist and the founder of Rachel's Vineyard. You can read more about the conference at the Catholic Therapists webpage. That page also identifies some practicing Catholic therapists who are familiar with post-abortion recovery.
Lumina is a post-abortion referral service. Their conference is a Good Thing! But it is not the same as an official Christian mental health organization offering general training in the emotional aftermath of abortion to all its members.
Bright Spot #2. ADEC, The Association for Death Education and Counseling, is a national, secular organization for grief counselors. Their 2003 Conference, which takes place March 19-23 in Cincinnati, includes a presentation on Post-Abortion Trauma and Unresolved Grief by Celia Ryan. Celia Ryan is a Christian mental health professional and grief counselor who facilitates the Rachel's Vineyard retreats in Washington, DC.
Now, on to the mailbag.
Thumb up from an official of one of the Christian mental health associations:
"I am in your corner."
Thumb sideways from someone with the (Catholic) Institute for Psychological Studies:
"Just because IPS does not have anything specific on our website addressing the issue of post-abortion stress or depression does NOT mean we are unaware of it or discount it."
That's good to know. I invite them to give this work a higher priority.
Thumb down from an official of one of the associations:
"You are really a one-issue writer at the moment. You are being pretty hard on a massive group of Christian therapists. While I sympathize that perhaps we Christian therapists don't have web links that satisfy you, there are a myriad of issues to which we attend daily, and post abortion grief and guilt is just one. How would you know [that the professional associations of Christian mental health providers have not addressed the emotional aftermath of abortion in their journals or conferences]? On what basis do you make such assertions, since you give no supporting data? I suppose you have poked around a bit and when you found nothing, you thought it would be a good thing to sound off to your audience about the inept Christian therapists. Such shabby treatment of folks who are on your side, is inexcusable."
From a Christian counseling journal editor in the same organization:
"I cannot think of any articles that deal specifically with post-abortion
distress or counseling."
Thumb up from another board representative of the same organization:
"What a grand website. Like war and executions, our civilization as a whole been or become desensitized to the issue of abortion and post-abortion grief...[private, harrowing story about a post-abortive client he saw recently]...Grieving has no boundaries. And however we, as a culture, much more the Catholic/Christian community, refuse to acknowledge the wound that remains the only (however muffled) sign that
a baby was once upon a time, then we become that much more reduced to complex machine-like consciousness. Carry on with your work."
"You are correct about the mental health field. I too am post-abortive and suffered for a great many years before I finally found someone who had any knowledge and was able to address my pain. My background is in addictions. I worked as a counselor and would always be horrified because so many of our clients had abortions in their past and no one would address this, so, they came in and out of treatment. I am convinced that a great many women would not be taking meds or would be addicted if someone had addressed this pain. The good news is, there is no way it can be ignored anymore because too many women are speaking out. I have also been speaking to therapists and am finding a willingness and desire to aquire the knowledge, so that is a good step."