NM asks: “Could you tell me if Hagiotherapy is ok?”
First, hagiotherapy – which means “holy therapy” – refers to a technique used since Medieval times to treat the sick by contact with relics of the saints, pilgrimages or other religious observances.
Second, hagiography refers to a modern therapeutic model developed by Father Tomislav Ivancic, founder of the Center for Spiritual Help in Zagreb. Fr. Tomislav, who is a member of the International Theological Commission and has given retreats to the Swiss Guards at the Vatican, developed a therapy based on the pathology of the human soul and how to treat it. Influenced by Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, Salvifici doloris, his psychotherapeutic method focuses on purifying one’s life of dysfunctional behavior patterns and is based on the fact that evil causes destruction of the personality as well as of the spirit. For instance, evil persons tend to be miserable, hateful, desperate, impatient, etc., while the spiritually healthy tend to be honest, patient, brave, forgiving, etc. One of the main instruments used in treatment are holy texts, particularly Scripture.
This therapy was originally developed by Dr. Prokop Remes from methods of pastoral therapy and spiritual assistance that were being practiced in the underground Czech Catholic Church during the communist regime. Dr. Remes used it on patients at the Psychiatric Clinic in Prague and for treatment of addicted individuals who were both believers and non-believers. A comprehensive theoretical system was later conceived.
Fr. Ivancic began using it at the Center in 1994 and says it can be applied to all persons, regardless of their belief system, because it is based on the natural moral law.
You can read more about Fr. Ivancic’s work here.
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