Being Human Podcast - Episode 97: The Saints, Our Psychology, and Healthy Self-Denial w/ Dr. Bryan and Amy Grace

podcast Jan 01, 2020

Welcome to Episode 97 of the Being Human Podcast: The Saints, Our Psychology, and Healthy Self-Denial w/ Dr. Bryan and Amy Grace

Flogging, hair shirts, extreme fasting…Some of the saints went to extreme measures to mortify their bodies, which can lead us to wonder if we need to do the same to attain sanctity. In this episode, Dr. Greg, Dr. Bryan, and Amy Grace dive into discussion about healthy vs. unhealthy self-denial, and how our psychology impacts the mortification of our bodies. 

Discussed in this episode:

  • How do we reconcile self-denial with self-care?
  • The true purpose of mortification of our bodies; 
  • The balance needed between paying attention to our emotional and bodily lives while not allowing them to dictate every choice we make; 
  • The danger in picking out particular stories or data points from the lives of the saints to justify a specific point of view; 
  • When self-denial becomes detrimental to our spiritual and/or psychological lives; 
  • The temptation to pride that is part of the practice of penance;
  • The importance of examining motives behind self-denial to ensure behavior is happening from a place of freedom versus a place of compulsion;  
  • Determining the particular attachments that interfere with intimacy with God.  


Resources mentioned or relevant:

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About Dr. Greg and the CatholicPsych Institute

Dr. Bottaro is a clinical psychologist and founder of the CatholicPsych Institute. He received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, a graduate school that integrates Catholic philosophy and theology with sound, empirically validated psychology.

Before his degree, Dr. Bottaro discerned a religious vocation with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFRs). He lived four years in the Bronx, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. Under the mentorship of Fr. Benedict Groeschel, this experience helped him form a spirituality based on Abandonment to Divine Providence which he now applies to psychological principles in his practice. He learned from Fr. Benedict how to discern God's voice and live a life in service to others.

Six years after leaving NYC as a friar, he returned as a psychologist. The CatholicPsych Institute began there in 2012 and has since grown to 5 offices with 12 therapists serving clients around the globe.

Dr. Bottaro now lives in Connecticut with his wife Barbra and their seven children. He actively avoids watching the news and spends his free time thinking up crazy new ideas on how to make the world a better place.