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IIC 139: Personal Formation with Dr. Bob Schuchts


Our guest, Dr. Bob Schuchts, shares with us his decades of experience as a healer through his discussion of his four identities of love, the four dimensions of formation, the integration of personal formation in the work of the John Paul II Healing Center, the centrality of love in healing, the necessity of felt safety and trust, and the importance of distinguishing the natural from the spiritual, especially with parts and demons.


Dr. Peter: [00:00:00] Your personal formation. That is what we have been discussing for the last six episodes. Your integrated personal formation, bringing in the best of formation resources grounded firmly in a Catholic understanding of the human person. We are exploring, with top Catholic experts, the why and the what of integrating Pope John Paul II’s four dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions. We are getting to the how of your integrated personal formation as a Catholic. In episodes 133, 134, and 135 of this podcast, Interior Integration for Catholics, we covered the best theory, the best models of integrated formation from the church documents. Now we’re getting into the practice of integrated formation. Again, your personal formation. This is where the rubber really meets the road. This is where it all comes together. And Father Boniface Hicks joined us for episodes 136 and 137. Jake Khym joined us for episode 138. It was so good to have him. And I have a very special guest for you now, in this episode, number 139. So let’s do this together.

Dr. Peter: [00:01:31] The integration of the four dimensions of formation within you is essential for you to flourish. That’s the why. That’s why we are investing so much time and energy into this series. Integration is so essential that I named this podcast Interior Integration. And for who? For Catholics. For you. And the why? To help you flourish in love. That is what this is all about, so that you can live out the three loves and the two great commandments, so that you can better love your God in the three persons of the Trinity, with your whole heart, with your whole soul, with your whole mind, and with all your strength, so that you can love God with every fiber of your being, with all your parts. No part of you left out. No part left behind. And so that out of your love for God, you love your neighbor as you love yourself in an ordered way. I want you to embody love. That’s the vision I am inviting you into. And at Souls and Hearts, that’s what we help our members to do. I am Dr. Peter Malinoski, also known as Dr. Peter. I am your host and guide in this Interior Integration for Catholics podcast. I am so glad to be with you. I’m a clinical psychologist, a trauma therapist, a podcaster, a writer, the co-founder and president of Souls and Hearts. But most of all — and this is critical — most of all, I’m a beloved little son of God, a passionate Catholic who wants to help you to taste and see the height and depth and breadth and warmth and the light of the love of God, especially God your father. We all need our fathers, our primary father. And also Mary your mother. These are your spiritual parents, your primary parents. I’m here to help you embrace your identity as a beloved little child of God, a beloved little child of Mary.

Dr. Peter: [00:03:24] And that’s what this podcast is all about. That’s what this episode is all about. And to bring that about, to live out our mission, I bring you new ways of understanding yourself, fresh conceptualizations informed by the best of human formation resources, always grounded in the authoritative teachings of the Catholic Church. So this is episode 139 of the IIC podcast titled Personal Formation with — drumroll — Dr. Bob Schuchts. Personal Formation with Dr. Bob Schuchts. This episode, number 139, releases on June 3rd, 2024. And I just want to tell you some things about Dr. Bob Schuchts. Now, many of you know his work. He earned a doctorate in family relations from Florida State University in 1981, and then spent 35 years as a therapist before retiring from that role in 2014. A long run of actual clinical experiences, down in the trenches, working with real people with their real problems. Dr. Bob is one of the early Catholic pioneers in integrating and grounding therapy in a Catholic understanding of the human person, especially informed by the work of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul the Second. And while in private practice, Dr. Bob taught college and graduate courses in marriage and family relationships, human development, applied psychology, and marriage and family therapy. He’s held adjunct professor positions at Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College in the center for Biblical Studies in Tallahassee, Florida. He’s also taught courses at the Theology of the Body Institute in the Augustine Institute.

Dr. Peter: [00:04:59] So lots and lots of teaching experience here. And he’s the author of the best selling book, Be Healed: Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life. Dr. Bob wrote three more books in that series, Be Transformed, Be Devoted, and Be Restored. And for me, this is the big one. Dr. Bob Schuchts is the founder of the John Paul II Healing Center in Tallahassee, Florida. Let’s just start there. I want to talk about that because I have heard so many personal stories of people who have been so helped by Dr. Bob and his work in the JPII Healing Center. He’s got 11 on his staff now, ten speakers who represent the JPII Healing Center out on the road. He’s the co-host of the Restore the Glory podcast with Jake Khym. Jake we had on our last episode. And I got to know you a bit in episode 79. That was my first direct contact with you, was episode 79 of the Restore the Glory podcast. And you and Jake were such gracious hosts. Just a little bit more. Dr. Bob and his wife Margie raised two daughters and he has ten grandchildren. And it just fills my heart, I am so happy, I am so blessed to be able to have you here with us today. Just so excited that you can be here with us. So thank you for that and thank you for the time. Thank you for being with us here today.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:06:34] Thank you Peter, thank you very much. We had such a good time when you were on with us, and I know it really blessed so many people. In fact, I have a really close friend of mine who listened to that podcast and he has said he’s started to study parts work since then, started to do a deeper parts work. And, you know, that’s one out of 100 people. But I know him so well. That really opened something up for him. That was beautiful.

Dr. Peter: [00:07:05] Beautiful. No, it was such, and like I said, that was actually that episode really helped me because up until now I was talking about this with Jake. My podcast has been largely a solo cast. And so just kind of like seeing how you guys can bring out your guests. I’m in the middle of listening to you and Jake talking with, I think it’s Bishop Andrew Cousins of the HeartSync.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:07:27] Andrew Miller. Bishop Andrew Miller.

Dr. Peter: [00:07:29] Yeah. Bishop Andrew Miller. Yeah, I’m just really enjoying listening to that podcast. And it was so good to be able to spend some time with you. So yeah, just excited to be able to not only have you here with me. There’s a lot of parts of me that are just really excited about that, but also to be able to, in a sense, share you, right, with my audience and the audience of this podcast, you know, on YouTube also, you know, on all the audio platforms. So just so excited. So I guess to kind of get started here, I am really interested. We’ve had the introductions, but I’m really curious if you can just kind of tell us a little bit about your story, what else you would like us to know, just about you? Like what would help us to kind of get to know you better?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:08:15] Yeah. If I can do that using the four identities of son, brother, bridegroom, and father. I think I can tell the story that way in a way that it will apply to what we’re talking about here. We, by the way, are in the middle of a series recording that will be coming out probably about the same time with Jake and his wife Heather on these four identities. And so I’ve really been spending a lot of thought in terms of my own history with these four. And it fits a lot with what you’ve been doing. So as a son, as a little beloved son, as you said, you know all of us by creation are beloved sons of the father. And I was born in 1955. And my parents, in fact, my mom staying with me right now, she’s 89, but my dad is deceased. But my mom and dad got married when she got pregnant with my brother Dave, who is two years older. And so when I was conceived, my mom was told by her mother in law to go sit in the hot tub to abort me just because she didn’t want my dad’s sports and education to be disrupted by a second birth and second child. I felt beloved by both parents from the time of my conception. There was never a question in my mom’s heart or my dad’s heart that they wanted me. And so I think, you know, for those that I’ve worked with and you’ve worked with, that’s a really deep scarring, deep wounding, when somebody feels like they’re not wanted and I don’t know the effect of that from my grandmother, you know, in my heart. But I do know that I felt loved and beloved. And I was baptized a few months later into the Catholic Church. And so I became a beloved son of the church and the Blessed Mother, as well as the Father in a formal way and a graced way, you know, as adopted son there. And for the most part, growing up, in my first five years, everything that I remembered was a pretty happy time. My parents ended up having five more children after me, so seven of us by the time I was ten. And you know, the one interruption in that was a fire that happened in our home where my dad’s father and grandmother were killed. They died of smoke inhalation in the fire while we were away. We were away at my aunt’s graduation. And I think that trauma really had a huge impact on my father, particularly. His mother had died a year before, and I don’t remember a lot of the trauma of that event. I remember some of the episodes around it, but I imagine it was a trauma for all of us, and I think it put inside of me a fear of death. And then the confusion that happens as, I was six years old, confusion that happens when people close to you die. And so that I think was a real marker, in a negative sense, in my identity as a son. But the other really positive one was my mom and dad were both very involved in their faith and very involved in our lives.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:11:55] My dad was a coach, we’d go out and play in the backyard all the time or down, you know, he just loved to play and I remember going to work with him. And my mom taking care of seven kids was often busy, but very tender and compassionate. So I have a lot of good experiences in my identity as a son, up until my dad ended up drinking heavily, becoming unfaithful to my mom and eventually leaving. So that was a real shift in that identity as son. I still knew what my dad loved me, but it was a real sense of abandonment. I didn’t see him for two years. We didn’t see him as a family for two years. And my mom did her best with all of us, but it kind of put our lives into chaos and we moved from our family home. So, there’s a lot more that I can share about that, including the healing process that took place. I shared in a lot of my books the healing process that took place as a family and with my dad. And I’m confident that he is with the Lord in heaven. And he just became, again, a man of faith and a man who served the church in his later years, and really reconciled and healed and asked for forgiveness and became really active in the sacraments again. So I’m grateful for all of that.

Dr. Peter: [00:13:23] I can imagine you prayed for him a lot.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:13:26] A lot, yeah, a lot. And as a therapist, I tried my best to use those skills, which didn’t help at all. But the prayer helped a tremendous amount.

Dr. Peter: [00:13:37] It’s really difficult to be a therapist to your parents. There’s so many reasons why that’s complicated, you know.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:13:44] It’s not good for us either.

Dr. Peter: [00:13:47] Not good, no. And that’s the reason why there’s some limits about that. But yeah, but the heart, right, your heart wanting to reach out to his heart and wanting to love him in ways that you knew. That’s what I’m sensing from what you’re sharing.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:13:58] Yeah, and eventually I was able to spend several times of healing prayer with him, which is something we do in the ministry. And that was absolutely beautiful because it wasn’t me trying to fix him. It was just meeting Jesus in his history. And as I did that, I found out that my heart had been formed so much like his, and he just made different choices. And it really gave me a deep sense of compassion for the choices that he made and why he made them. And, you know, there was reconciliation with my mom and with my brothers and sisters. So I’m just really grateful for the way God worked through all of that. That was really beautiful.

Dr. Peter: [00:14:39] Well, I love it when we can kind of discuss the stories so that the work that you’ve done is not just some sort of pie-in-the-sky theorizing. It’s not just sort of conceptual abstractions that you’ve studied your way to and then have decided to write up and share in your books or to share in your retreats.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:14:58] Unfortunately, it took me into my late 20s before I began to deal with any of that. So the beginning of my teaching and therapy was more theory and and thinking that I was there to help everybody else, and recognizing my own need for healing in my own heart. I would say that one of the things that I learned early on is God’s fatherhood. And when my dad left, my mom would constantly say, God is your father. He will take care of us. And he did. In fact, I’m working on a book right now, Trusting Our Father’s Provision, which had played itself out so much, and in later years developing a relationship, consecration to Mary and Saint Joseph, has also really deepened that sense of my identity as son. So I think that’s good for son, right now. We could go on, but I think that’s a good summary. As a brother, you want to ask something before I…?

Dr. Peter: [00:15:57] No, no. Go on, go on.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:15:59] As a brother, I had actually six siblings in my family. Three sisters and three brothers. And then three more from my dad’s remarriages. And so my older brother Dave, who was the one who was year and a half older than me, ended up dying about 25, 26 years ago. Maybe we could get into that, but basically the rest of my brothers and sisters are all alive and doing well, and we’ve been close throughout the years and it’s been really close knit. If anything, what happened to my parents in their marriage just bonded us together, some in unhealthy ways and some in healthy ways. But, you know, even to this day, I’m just constantly in relationship with my brothers and sisters. And not that we don’t have issues and conflicts, but we have love that’s a solid basis. And my brother Bart is part of our ministry at the John Paul II Healing Center. And so, you know, I’m just grateful there, grateful for that. Even with, there was, you know, issues we had to work through with our brothers and sisters from my dad’s second and third marriage. But there’s a closeness there, too.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:17:19] We have, as an example, my brother Rich and his wife and his kids have spent Christmas here at my house and with our whole family, and they’re close to my kids and grandkids. And so I feel very blessed in that. And then, in the spiritual family, brothers and sisters, it’s just a tremendous joy. I mean, I consider you a spiritual brother and just the just the joy of sharing Christ’s love with each other and and encouraging and growing. I remember being on a retreat with some of my closest friends — my dad, my grandfather, my mother’s father, my mother’s brothers, and my dad was a only child, and then my brothers, including my half brother, and just being on retreat there together and just kind of realizing that brotherhood with everyone. You know, even the ones who are uncles or parents or grandparents. But the thing that I noticed was the level of intimacy with each one, and I had relationship with every one of them. But the level of intimacy was dependent on each of our relationship with Jesus. Because like the closer each of us was with Jesus, the closer we were with each other. And it was just such a beautiful realization of the friendships, the brotherhood, sisterhood in the body of Christ. You know, it’s just like as we get closer to him as brother, he’s our brother, then we become closer brothers and sisters. So then you just kind of know something about each other because we know Jesus together.

Dr. Peter: [00:19:09] Well, all members of one body, right. And yeah, and I really pick that up in also the communion of saints. The communion of saints is not just for those that are, you know, already in heaven. It’s also for us, you know, to be able to be connected. And I think we don’t always appreciate those bonds. We can get kind of atomized. We can get kind of individualistic. And unfortunately, so many family stories are not like the ones that you’re saying, you know, where things have worked out. There are people that are often really disconnected, detached, alienated from family members.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:19:48] Yeah, I’m just really grateful I’ve experienced both sides of that. Closeness before, the brokenness, and then the closeness after. And it’s just a gift, really a gift. If I go to bridegroom, I’d like to look at that identity as starting when we began to date. And I would say even before that, being contaminated by — I was exposed to Playboy magazines when I was third grade, eight years old. And just, how much, even though that was only a very short season, pornography was not an issue after eighth grade, but just even in that short season, how that influenced and contaminated my way of seeing and interacting with women, both from a standpoint of, you know, the lust that that cultivates, but also that shame and the fear that that brings. And so I was kind of awkward with my first girlfriends. I just remember, first one was in eighth grade and then in ninth grade, and, you know, sadly, traumatically, both of them, when I went off to camp two different times, both of them were with different guys when I got back. You know, so I had some pretty big trust… it was right around the time when my dad left, so it was really a hard time of feeling safe to trust in relationship. And so I kind of backed away from dating until I met my wife as a friend in high school, and she was a year older. She drove me to school, and about a year into it, we found out that we had strong feelings for each other. And at her graduation is when it dawned on me — oh no, I don’t want to be without her for the rest of my life.

Dr. Peter: [00:21:35] What a moment, right? When she’s about to launch, right, yeah.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:21:38] She was walking out the door and I was holding the door and we hugged each other. And then it was like, wow, this is, no, I don’t want to say goodbye. And so we made 42 years. She passed away seven years ago. But we were married for 42 years. And as you read, two children and now it’s 11 grandchildren. Although Margie only knew eight of them because my daughter Kristen adopted her two daughters after my wife passed away. And then we have a one-year-old grandson now. So I can say a lot more about as a bridegroom. We had a good relationship, but not an easy relationship in the sense of my woundedness, her woundedness. You know, the love was always there, but the challenges were there. And, you know, we persevered through it. And I would say even in her getting — this is God’s faithfulness. You know, I would pray every day for just a deeper communion between us and to be able to share the Eucharist together. She had quit going to Mass. And when she got sick, she had a rare brain disease. When she got sick, I was able to bring her communion every day. We could share communion. And that last couple of months of life, while she was, I was realizing, we were all realizing we were going to lose her. It created such a beautiful connection and love. You know, sharing communion, sharing family time, everything else took a back seat. You know, I was grateful for the people at work to just kind of take it for that last month, and I could just be present. And so that was really, again, a faithfulness of the Father, of blessing prayers, long time prayers. You know, that God answered in that time.

Dr. Peter: [00:23:35] So that’s the third identity. The identity as the bridegroom.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:23:39] Yeah. And then, you know, the thing is, as a bridegroom you learn that’s not all about you. You learn that some as a brother or sister, but as a as a bridegroom, you learn to lay your life down. And so it helped, it really trained. In fact, I heard a quote the other day, there’s a speaker in the Protestant world by the name of Bill Johnson. Are you familiar with Bill Johnson?

Dr. Peter: [00:24:03] I am not familiar with his work, no.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:24:04] He’s out in California. He had this quote that I just really loved. He was talking about Jesus saying, a prophet is not honored in his own hometown. You know, what he said is, we’re honored everywhere, but in our own hometown, and in our own familiar family members because they see all of our weaknesses, right. And he made this statement that I really loved because it really spoke to my life. He says, before we get too addicted to applause, we get addicted to obedience.

Dr. Peter: [00:24:34] Yeah, absolutely.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:24:35] That’s what we learn in our families, in our most intimate places. We learn to be obedient to the father. And so it’s really that obedience to the father that allows us to give our life to our brides, to whatever extent we’ve integrated and moved in that direction. So I’m grateful for that. I learned a lot through what I suffered in those ways and what my wife suffered in those ways. And, you know, we loved having children together. We were unfortunately influenced by the 70s overpopulation movement and all of that. I was never quite on board, but Margie wanted only two children and contracepted. And it was something I grieved and later repented of in confession. But it was a gift, our children have been a gift. And they live close to me. My daughter Carrie’s in ministry with us. My daughter Kristen was part of our team for years before she had her children, and they’re just great young women now and just very loving and good moms and good wives. And their husbands, I began to pray for their husbands the day that my daughters were born. So, by the time we met their husbands, there was all that prayer there. But I wasn’t sure that these were the ones, you know, there were different reasons to say, well, I’m not sure that was the answer to my prayer.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:26:11] And then to watch, again, watch the Holy Spirit working in their lives. You know, like one hadn’t grown up with faith. He’d been baptized in the church, but hadn’t grown up in faith. But then to watch his transformation take place. And he’s been a great husband and father to his wife and kids. And then my other son-in-law, I had actually met him before my daughter did, and know that he had struggled through different things. And just to see his growth and to see his love for Jesus. And so I’m a really blessed father to see my daughters live in the faith and marry men who live the faith, and then raise the children in the faith. Both my daughters are homeschooling their children, and they’re in the same co-op with each other and share that together. And so it’s just a joy. The kids live within five minutes of me. And so I have dinner with one or the other family or both every night of the week. So that tells you a little bit about my fatherhood. I just have really enjoyed being a father and being a grandfather. And now with a lot of spiritual children around the country and outside of the country, it’s just an identity I take a lot of joy in even though it gets a little overwhelming sometimes. But I remember — do you know who Mother Adela Galindo is?

Dr. Peter: [00:27:43] I don’t. I think I’ve heard the name, but I don’t know her.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:27:46] The two pierced hearts. I would recommend the listeners to look her up. But, yeah, I’ll share this story, because I think this will speak to all of the identities. I met her through several people who knew her well and it took us nine months to meet each other. She’s down in Miami, Florida. It took us nine months to meet each other. And when I finally met her, I was in the convent with her and her sisters. We were in adoration, and when she greeted me, she gave me this — really, she really carries the heart of Mary — and she greeted me with this gaze and with an embrace. And she said, I’ve been carrying you for nine months now, and now I get to hold you.

Dr. Peter: [00:28:35] Wow. That’s evocative, right? Like, wow, wow.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:28:42] And, so even though she was younger than me, immediately became a spiritual mother. But one of the things that she said to me when I was at a place of being kind of overwhelmed by the needs of those I was spiritually fathering. She said, “I have thousands of spiritual children. But I can’t possibly meet them. I carry them all in my heart, but I can’t possibly meet the needs of each of them.” She says, “But Our Lady has given me a charism of her heart, which when I go anywhere, it’s Our Lady who mothers through me.” And she said, “Quit trying to do…” she said, that’s your therapist background. “Quit trying to take care of every person. And allow the father’s heart just to flow through you, out into their hearts.” And it was like such a freeing message, but such a beautiful message. And I think that’s been part of the joy of this season, as we started John Paul II Healing Center. It’s so much less of a work that I have to do. And it’s as Jesus said, it’s not I who do the work, but it’s the father who does his work in me and through me. And when that happens, you know, that’s a place of abiding and trusting, when that happens, there’s great fruit. When that doesn’t happen, then we get overwhelmed.

Dr. Peter: [00:30:10] When you get overwhelmed, yeah. Because it’s humanly impossible to just rely on your natural gifts and expect that you can carry that. I’ve had very similar experiences, with Souls and Hearts, you know, because it is… and there’s so much woundedness out there, as you know. I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. So much woundedness out there. And when people begin to sense that somebody could understand, you know, and there’s hope that comes with that. There’s a desire to reach out. And yes, therapists, you know, we’re used to working with people one-on-one. And it’s a very different model to transition to something like the John Paul II Healing Institute or Healing Center, or to Souls and Hearts, you know, where you’re working in a very different way.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:30:55] Yeah. It is. You do know that.

Dr. Peter: [00:30:59] Yeah. I was comforted by my spiritual director once because I was talking about all the email that I was getting and he said, “There’s a photo of Padre Pio who has…” like a photo of just not Padre Pio, just all the mail he received in one year, in one room that filled up like one, one room. And, you know, he was essentially saying something, I believe that actually the Lord’s talking through you to me. Because I still struggle with how do I respond to everyone, right, and how do I not give individual attention to every email which would require me to have, you know.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:31:30] Do nothing else.

Dr. Peter: [00:31:32] Yeah, essentially that’s true, right at this point. So yeah.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:31:35] Yeah. No, I’m right with you. And yeah, it’s a gift to be able to trust that the father can father and he can use things like this podcast to do that.

Dr. Peter: [00:31:47] Well, and to be humble enough to say, you know, it is not me. One of the one of the things I sense in you is the words of our patron saint, John the Baptist. He must increase and I must decrease, right. Like how do we how do we embody the heart of Jesus. How do we embody all of who he is? How do we become love? That’s really a big theme for me. Saint Thérese of Lisieux, right, discovering that her vocation, late in life, she claims to have discovered her vocation, right, to become love, right. I will become love. And that’s so resonates with me.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:32:24] Late in life for her was what, 20, right?

Dr. Peter: [00:32:27] Yeah, right. And she’s dying of tuberculosis, right. You know, late in life for her, you know, absolutely. And I sense that, you know, as I become more familiar with your work. And maybe this leads into this question around identity, but there is so much that you talk about in terms of the heart. The heart. There’s such a focus on the heart.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:32:49] You know, our logo is an image of John Paul II’s crosier piercing the heart of Mary and Jesus. And it’s our heart, also. Our heart is in their heart. And it’s like the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus are at the very heart of the church. And our mission is transformation in the heart of the church, right. And so every one of our hearts has been pierced by our trauma. And it’s only in those two hearts that healing can really fully occur. And so we’re, you know, the ministry of healing that we encourage and teach and lead people in is just an invitation to enter into their own hearts, and then to allow Jesus and Mary’s heart, to the heart of the Holy Family, the heart of the Trinity — you know the communion of the Trinity — to meet them there in those places of trauma. And that’s what healing is.

Dr. Peter: [00:33:55] You know, I sum this up and you’re saying it in different words, but what heals is love. And God is love, right. So like there’s these equivalences here that we need to be paying attention to. And you know, our Lord says, “Without me, you can do nothing.” That’s not some sort of like, first-century Jewish hyperbole. This is like the imagery of the vine, you know, and the branches, like, if we’re separated, there is no… So whether we realize that or not, whether we realize that or not.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:34:31] That passage was actually a big part of my deeper conversion, that apart for me, you can do nothing. And I was looking at, well, look at all the things I’m doing without you. And he said, look how much fruit there is.

Dr. Peter: [00:34:45] Yeah. Oh, my. Now, I have only recently in my life come to a deep appreciation of Pope John Paul II. Only relatively recently, we’re talking the last 4 or 5 years. So I’m not a student of the theology of the body. I didn’t come through that, kind of through that track or was really unfamiliar with his personalism. In some ways, I feel like, you know, of a lot of the folks that are working in the human formation sort of corner of the vineyard, you know, Jake Khym, Greg Bottaro, you, like a lot of the therapists that are operating, the coaches. Like I’m sort of an outlier that way. But one of the things I’ve really come to appreciate and have been really studying deeply in this series is this Pastores Dabo Vobis and these four dimensions of formation. And I’m just really curious about like, this has been really on my mind. It’s been a big deal for me. And so I’m just curious, like, especially given how much you’ve invested in his work, like what you can tell us about where you are with those four dimensions and the integration of those four dimensions in a really practical, applied way. You know, like rubber meets the road, down in the trenches, working with people, real issues, real problems, like, help me out with that.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:35:58] I’ll do my best. Yeah, I like to stay up in the abstract too, sometimes. So let me just say my understanding in a very quick nutshell of those four pillars, quote unquote. And I’ve heard your other podcast on this, and I love that you’re working towards that integration. I love the title of your work, you know, Interior Integration for Catholics, because that’s so much what it’s about. So I think of the human formation — John Paul II talks about it as kind of the, you call it the roots. It’s kind of the foundational one. Everything else builds on it. He talks about affective maturity as a key there. And I think that’s a huge part of it. I would also include wholeness and wellness as part of that. And what I mean by wholeness is that integration of the person and the healing of the wounds, the forgiveness of the sins. I know that gets into the spiritual, but those sins are also breaches in our integration. They’re places where we become disintegrated. But also the personal wellness. You know, I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to to get to know reform wellness practice. It’s a Catholic wellness program that’s centered in Christ.

Dr. Peter: [00:37:24] Is this like a coaching kind of approach or?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:37:27] Yeah, it’s Jackie Mulligan and her whole team, Bridget. But they really focus on all these areas of our life, which I think are very much a part of that human formation. It’s not just our psychological healing, but it’s the way we care for our bodies, it’s the way we care for our souls, it’s the way we care for our relationships. You know, all of those are a part of that. And I think affective maturity is a good measure of that in the sense of, you know, we have a model of security, maturity, and purity. We use a tree model also. But, you know, security being rooted and grounded in love, which is the healing. But maturity is Ephesians 4; growing like Christ into Christ’s likeness, which is learning to love as Christ loves. And then purity, which is the fruit of that love which is, you know, pure love, which bears the fruit of the spirit. And so how do we cultivate that, you’re asking, how do we make that practical?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:38:29] That’s why I bring up the reform wellness. I think it’s a very practical program of centering on Christ. How do we sleep well? How do we eat well? How do we deal with stress well? How do we play well? How do we live in community well? How do we ask for our needs well? How do we create space in our life? How do we live simply? Those are all really practical ways that we take care of that. But, you know, in my realm, it’s the focus, and your realm also, the focus on that psychological healing and the integration of the spiritual with the psychological. And, you know, actually all four of the pillars being integrated there, because you can’t heal personally without all four of those pillars, you know, they’re all necessary. The spiritual pillar I like to think of as communion with the Trinity. John Paul II talks about this, and, you know, anybody who’s been to our conferences, we always start off with something called human sculpting. And we have an image of the Trinity with three people. You know, we have three people demonstrating that communion of love and the Trinity. And it seems a little hokey to people at first until they begin to experience it. And then it completely changes. I had a priest friend of mine told me he thought it was the stupidest thing he ever saw, and then it caught him off guard. And he prays with it every day.

Dr. Peter: [00:39:54] Yeah, yeah. You start bringing the body in and you start bringing in, like, the immediacy, the visuals, the tactiles. You bring it in, the entire experience of it, you’re going to start tapping into things. And that sculpting is like, that’s much more than meets the eye.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:40:12] It is much more, you know. And so they’re there representing the communion. And then we bring Adam and Eve there. And we show what God intended for us in our love for each other, surrounded and protected in that love. And that’s a picture of communion. But in that communion, we have wholeness, right. So our psychological, our human formation was never intended to be separated from that communion, from that spiritual unity and Trinitarian love. And then we pull them out. And let them and everybody in the whole room, you know, there may be hundreds or a thousand people there, experiencing the pain of that separation. And all of a sudden, both our human personal wholeness and our communion are broken. And then we show through the cross, you know, we actually give an image of Jesus being crucified and the Father being with him and the Holy Spirit coming out and bringing Adam and Eve back into communion as the whole picture of salvation. And it’s really a powerful, powerful image that all of us live in our life day to day. And so one of the things I say is, all the sacraments of the church, all the teaching of the church, all the practices of the church, all the social outreach of the church are for the purpose of bringing us into wholeness and communion.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:41:46] Right. Which then brings us into intellectual formation, right. What is intellectual formation? It’s a formation in the truth. Kind of classically in philosophy and theology, but, as I’ve heard you say, it’s all the aspects of understanding truth. You know, the universities where we’re trying to bring together the whole universe of knowledge together. And I think it’s a disservice when we only focus on one area or another area and a specialization without that well-rounded understanding. And, you know, we have our areas where we’re particular. It was important for us to study psychology, to study family relations, to study all that because of our professions. But we also needed to study the faith. We also needed to study philosophy and theology, read the Scriptures, understand the saints, and understand the rest of the world because we’re relating to people in all different facets of life, and we need to be able to have the language to be able to speak into their experience. And so I think that intellectual formation; the reason why we both have PhDs is because it’s an understanding of truth and how it applies to life is really critical.

Dr. Peter: [00:43:06] Well, to be able to love with the mind, right? To be able to love, as Matthew Walz said in episode 133, he has this model of the four loves and and the intellectual formation was about loving, as you said, loving the truth. And you know, when our Lord says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Right? It’s not just that he’s love. He’s also the truth. These things come together.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:43:32] Yes, yes. And in the world, we tend to separate those out and think that love somehow is separated from truth. And we get a real distorted love. Or truth separated from love, and what we get is a club to beat people over the head with. Whereas when they’re together, it’s power. It’s Jesus. Like he’s together in that. And I’m not sure I’m being practical enough yet, so we’ll get there. But, just to name the pillars. And then the pastoral. I think of two things when I think of pastoral. I think of Jesus washing feet. And he says, “What I have done, you should also do.” It’s the willingness to serve, to take everything in my human, spiritual, and intellectual formation as a gift of service to the other, starting in the most intimate relationships at home and then moving out into the world and all the people that we serve in our profession. But it’s also… As we’re recording, the reading today of Jesus asking Peter if he loved him, and he said, “Feed my sheep, tend my sheep, tend my lambs.” You know when Jesus says, “This will be the judgment. You know, I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was naked. And even without knowing it, you love me there. You met me there.” And I think that’s what we do every day in this work is we’re just saying, “Jesus, we want to love you there, in the sick and the poor and the lonely and the frightened and the oppressed, and the disconnected.” And we all do that differently. You know, we all do that differently. But I think that’s our call is to take everything that’s been formed in us. And then we also need to be formed in that. I can think about in my own life, different seasons of having to overcome different levels of selfishness, which is the real barrier to that. You know, I remember having children and having to get up in the middle of the night, you know. Or first of all, having a wife and having to put my needs second and her needs first.

Dr. Peter: [00:45:46] I resonate with that so much. We have seven children. My oldest is 25. My youngest is 12. And now starting to have grandchildren. And it’s beautiful. And my kids live really close too. Like yeah, it’s really a wonderful thing. But I get asked sometimes like, what was the most difficult one? Was it when, you know, you went from 2 to 3 and you have to shift from man to man to a zone defense or… The most difficult one for me was 0 to 1, like having that first daughter, like my first child, that was like a whole revolutionary thing because it just exposes so much of like of the work that needs to be done. For me, 0 to 1 was the most difficult transition of all.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:46:27] Yeah, I’ve seen that also with my children. And again, there have been different challenges, but once you get past 3 or 4 it’s like, downhill from there, right?

Dr. Peter: [00:46:37] It’s gets easier. And you know what, they’re still different. But there’s some things you learned along the way. Like I mean there’s some things that are, yeah. So yeah, so we talked about it, but my oldest sometimes, we still talk about it, right. And there’s a reality to it that she was sort of our practice child.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:46:52] Like you’re the experiment.

Dr. Peter: [00:46:55] Because I had theoretical children before I had actual children. I had children in my own mind about what a parent was like, and the actual children were nothing like the theoretical children I had. So, yeah.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:47:06] Yeah. My brother Bart, when he’s sharing at conferences, particularly, when he does the day of equipping, we’ll talk about the father’s delight. And he’ll say, you know, when I had my firstborn and I was just so full of joy and delight. And then I saw all this stuff all over her body. But I still had a delight. It was just hard to touch her and pick her up. And I was glad when they cleaned her off. And then I picked her up, and then all of a sudden she pooped in her diaper, and he just kind of goes on. But he says, “But my delight never stopped.” So, yeah, I think that stretching continues every day. I think it needs to continue every day. And stretching on both sides. Probably for you too. It’s not just stretching of, coming out of myself to lay my life down for another. You know, that’s every time we do an act of love, we’re doing that. But it’s also having boundaries, which is sometimes harder than the act of laying your life down. You know, because people don’t understand. They don’t approve. They don’t like it. They feel abandoned, whatever. All the things that we’re so sensitive to. And I think that’s a real challenge.

Dr. Peter: [00:48:16] That was a big fear that my wife Pam had with especially our sons. If I set limits and boundaries with them, will they hate us? You know, will they go away? Will they abandon us? And that was something that we had to work through as a couple. It was some of our biggest disagreements were in our sons’ teenage years, you know, just around like, what’s the difference between mothering and fathering, right. And you know, and what does that look like.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:48:41] Yeah, yeah. And not always on the same page. But there’s a great complementarity there.

Dr. Peter: [00:48:47] Yeah. Absolutely. Like I can appreciate, you know, the difficulties, you know for example, that your mom faced in having to, how do I raise, you know, without an intact family structure. You know.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:49:00] It’s just so hard. My heart goes out to all those families that are trying to do it by themselves. So do you want to bring me more practically in those questions?

Dr. Peter: [00:49:10] So if I were a fly on the wall, with some of the work you do, and I have not yet been, all right. But I’m getting more and more interested. I hear more and more things. I lived in a hole under a rock for a lot of years. Like going back to what you were saying before, I was actually really concerned about actually getting out into like public speaking or doing any kind of podcasting or anything for 15 or 20 years. The first 15 or 20 years of my career, I was really quiet. Part of that was seven kids, you know, a homestead, farm, you know, we had a lot going on. But part of it was, like I was concerned about losing my soul. You know, this whole idea of. And I’m very Carmelite in my spirituality. So I’m like, the contemplative aspects of this are so primary. I was close with Dr. Ted Sri. In fact, met him when he was 23. 22 actually. I met him when he was 22, when he was working in the corporate world and we’ve been friends. He’s the godfather, he and his wife are godparents of one of my kids. We’re godparents of one of his. And he was encouraging me because we’d have these great conversations into the night and so forth about, like, the integration of psychology and spirituality. And he was bringing in all these theological principles. He said, we’ve got to get you on the road. We’ve got to get you kind of talking. And I would be like, nope. Because I’m afraid that I would not be able to do this. And again, you can see the pride in that. Like, I don’t know that I have the gifts to do this, not understanding at that point that it’s actually God that does it, right. Like, you know, and so yeah, kind of came to this later in life and reluctantly, you know, with Souls and Hearts. So yeah, so really resonated with the quote that you have. And I hope that you’ll send that to me. The one about. Yeah, definitely. We’ll get it up on the YouTube thing too. But I want to see, I want to, yeah, get an idea of like, if I was to fly on the wall, what does this look like in the lived experience?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:51:00] So which wall are you on? Are you on the wall of my therapy when I was a therapist? As a teacher?

Dr. Peter: [00:51:05] I’m on the wall of the JPII Healing Center, the John Paul II Healing Center. And I’m on a retreat with you, or I’m doing one of your programs, and there’s a lot of different things you got going on. So pick one that, you know, might be of interest.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:51:19] So we’re a center without walls, if you will. We don’t have a particular retreat center, but we use retreat centers or use churches or whatever as, as those walls.

Dr. Peter: [00:51:31] Because that’s what I’ve heard a lot about. I mean, like when people come to me and they’re telling me about their experiences, they’re like, I was on retreat, you know, and it was amazing. And so, yes, let’s start with what it might be like to be on one of your retreats.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:51:42] Okay. So we have a lot of different kinds of retreats. So help me narrow in here.

Dr. Peter: [00:51:48] Well, let’s skip the ones for bishops. I know you have very specific retreats for populations, because I, you know, all of you bishops that are listening, we’re going to have to skip that in the interest of the broader. But yeah, for like layman, lay women, who are mothers, fathers making it in the world, who need to get away, who need to get recentered, you know, who want to work on something like that. Something for the general population.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:52:09] Okay, so we’ve got four of those basically, okay. We have our Marriage Unveiled marriage retreat. We have our Healing the Whole Person. We have our women’s retreats, Undone women’s retreats and our men’s retreats that are going to start again.

Dr. Peter: [00:52:23] So healing the whole person. That’s what I’m attracted to. Let’s go to that one.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:52:29] All right. So we have the great gift of having Sister Miriam as part of our team. And Bart, my brother Bart. Plus we have others on our team like Kim Glass who isn’t a speaker but is very vital to it. And our backup support. So I’ll bring you through the three days of the conference, okay? Just quick overview. The first day we just give that picture that I gave about healing is an encounter with God’s love that brings us into wholeness and communion. So I start with that, start with the Scripture, start with who Jesus is, start with what salvation is, do the image with the Trinity. And we also start with the Caravaggio image of Jesus on the night of resurrection with Saint Thomas.

Dr. Peter: [00:53:18] Oh, wow. Okay.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:53:19] And have people contemplatively pray with that.

Dr. Peter: [00:53:22] That, Caravaggio is one of my favorite. There’s, just this powerful, evocative stuff. Look that up. We’ll put a link to it in the description.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:53:31] So that’s on the front cover of our workbook. So we have people start there. You know, after Bart does the introduction and gets everybody comfortable, and he has a good sense of humor and just gets everybody engaged. And then I hand it over to Sister. And Sister has this incredible way of speaking right into the hearts of people in a way that few people I know do. It’s part of the depth of her work and her going through her own healing process, and her own faith and integration. Those four pillars are really well integrated in her life. Then we’ll have adoration. She’ll lead people through a meditation, and it may be a meditation, like the Walk to Emmaus and this person’s own walk to Emmaus and Jesus revealing himself and meeting the place where the person has lost hope. That would be an example of the first night. You know, we have also our worship leaders, Colleen or Danielle are leading people in song in the evening also. So Bart does a day of equipping the next day. And then in the evening, the next evening, we come back and talk about facing our brokenness. And I start by talking about the seven deadly sins, and about how the seven deadly sins are idolatries, and talk about the wounds that are caused by our sins and the sins of others.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:54:57] And then I share some of my own story. I do all three nights. I share some of my own story, and Sister and Bart share some of their own story. And then Sister comes and she talks about the seven deadly wounds. And it’s a phrase that I coined, kind of parallel with the seven deadly sins. And the seven deadly wounds are abandonment, rejection, fear, powerlessness, hopelessness, confusion, and shame. And so she shares some of her story with that. And then we talk about — you ask about models of integration. We have a model of the trees, of the roots being either rooted in Christ or rooted in our self, ungodly self-reliance. And then the tree rooted in ungodly self-reliance, bears the fruit of the seven deadly sins and the wounds. And the tree of life bears the fruit of Christ and the fruit of the spirit. We also have a model of what we call wounds, beliefs, and vows. So it’s a picture of a heart and the barriers around the heart. And so there’s an image of what happens when we’re wounded. And again, a wound is any place where we haven’t received the love that we needed. Or love’s been distorted.

Dr. Peter: [00:56:18] Well, let me stop you right there, because that is so critical. People need to understand that that’s what wounds, that’s what sin is in its essence, is a lack of love. It’s an absence of love where love ought to be. And so I just love that you are working that in. I had to jump in. And so get you back in your stream.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:56:39] I’m glad you emphasized that. And yeah, it’s those wounds of the absence of love that affect our hearts. Because our hearts are made for love. And so anything that our hearts experience that isn’t love becomes a wound, becomes a trauma. And what happens is we then form beliefs around that. Beliefs about ourselves, which are what call identity lies. Or beliefs about God and other people, which we call judgments. And so those distortions keep us from the truth, the truth of who we are, the truth of who God is, the truth of who other people are. And when we get out of the truth, we then treat people and ourselves without dignity, which is without love. And then the outer circle is what we call vows, inner vows. And those are the inner resolutions of how I’m going to save myself, you know.

Dr. Peter: [00:57:36] These are the promises, what I would think of as the promises of the parts, right? These are the promises of the parts so that this never happens again, right?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:57:43] That’s it, that’s it, that’s exactly it. Yep. Different language. Same, we’re observing the same reality. We even define it as the promises we make to ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. And then we do, we have confession available that night, but then we have a demonstration of the same sculpting that we did the night before, human sculpting. But now we include the seven deadly sins and the seven deadly wounds. And we bring it into the present moment. So this couple is now themselves with these seven deadly wounds and seven deadly sins. And we bring the angels in, and Joseph and Mary, along with the Trinity. And it’s powerful. It’s very powerful. And we then lead the whole room through a renouncing prayer. At the end, as they see this picture of what they’re dealing with in their own life. And then it’s an objective reality. We then can do it. So you can hear the integration of the pillars there. You know, just like all the pillars are working together there, in all of them. And then the next day is two talks, nine till four on Saturday. So the morning is Encountering the Father’s Love. So after the worship songs, I’ll start with talking about God Is Love and then talking about my own wounding and healing journey. In more depth. And then I lead people through a prayer experience. And then I hand it off to Sister. She talks about her own journey, talks about forgiveness, and how crucial forgiveness was, leads people through a deep healing forgiveness prayer. And then Bart takes it from there, and he tells his story and leads people through really a deep encounter with the Father’s love at the end of this.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [00:59:28] And so by this time, after all three of those segments in the morning is just people were really deeply touched by the spirit, the presence of… One of the things people say in the evaluations is from beginning to end, I felt the presence of God’s love and the presence of the Holy Spirit, and I felt safe in a way that I rarely feel safe. Just because of the way the space has been prepared, the people on the volunteer team, the way they’re caring for people, and then just the safety that’s created in the talks and everything and the prayer experiences. And then after lunch, we just talk about living in freedom, how do we live this out? And we give a whole lot of tools for how to live it out. And then we have a great closing where we’re able to bring this all into thanksgiving, and then people praying for each other in the room. And so it’s such a beautiful picture of seeing the whole church ministering to each other with such love and tenderness. And it’s just beautiful. And we ask people who’s receiving from God. And, you know, just the majority of people are saying, yeah, God really touched me. And we see that on the evaluations.

Dr. Peter: [01:00:39] Thank you for walking us through that. And I’m sort of connecting dots about, okay, there’s elements of this that are really about human formation. You know, the telling of stories, the togetherness, the sort of raw, natural material that Jake and I were talking about in the last episode. And then the intellectual part of this. It sounds like there’s a lot of, you know, information that you’re sharing about, like just what is real, especially about trauma, what is real about sin, what is real about these things that impact us, right. And then the spiritual formation, right, with the prayer, with the sense of being in community. And then the pastoral dimensions that you’re modeling in terms of the reaching out, the caring for the sheep that are wounded, the lambs that are lost, you know, the sort of sense of. And I would again think about it not just in terms of each individual, but also just like what’s alienated within us, right? The lost sheep within us, the lepers within us, the tax collectors within us, the Pharisees within us, right. So, and that’s one of the things that Father Boniface really brought out and Matthew Walz too, was that, you know, where the integration happens is in the person. It doesn’t happen in the program. I mean, ideally, you have some thought about how the program should be integrated or how the work should be integrated, but ultimately where it matters, where the integration really comes to fruition, is inside the person that we’re accompanying or that we’re with.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:02:06] Yeah, very well said. And I love that, you know, the tax collector in us, the Pharisee in us, the prostitute in us, they’re all there. And if we have eyes to see as we pray with the Scriptures, we will see all those parts in us. And that’s the beauty of the Scripture, because it speaks to the reality of our condition. I would add, too, as one of the things I say in the conferences, our internal integration will always lead to greater communion, and our healing of our relationships will always lead to greater personal integration and healing. That those two things aren’t separate.

Dr. Peter: [01:02:44] They work both ways. Yeah. Well, Saint Thomas Aquinas, you know, talks about how we cannot love our neighbor more than ourselves. That the degree to which we can have union with another is maxed out at the degree to which we have unity within ourselves. And he talks about how the way we love ourselves is the root and form, it’s the template for how we’re going to love others. And so, I mean, this is what you’re getting to. But that’s the thing. It cuts both ways, right. Sometimes we need to be able to connect outside of ourselves, to be able to have that healing happen within. Sometimes we need to heal within to be able to connect outside ourselves. And so there’s a dynamism and a reciprocity there.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:03:23] Yeah I’m in wholehearted agreement there.

Dr. Peter: [01:03:28] Beautiful. Now let me ask about, if you don’t mind, I’m curious about when people come in. And again, I think about this in terms of parts. And I know you have a fair amount of familiarity with parts. We’ve talked about that in episode 79 of your podcast, Restore the Glory. I’m hearing about it in this episode 100 of Restore the Glory with Bishop Andrew Miller. What about when people come in and they’ve experienced, let’s say, spiritual trauma or trauma that has had spiritual consequences? And one of the concerns I had — I raised this in episode 79 with Jake, you know — is when there are really negative, problematic God images, where parts are like angry at God, afraid of God, you know, desperately fleeing from God, who would have a difficult time, these parts have a difficult time if Jesus is brought in right away. You know, if God the Father, let’s say, there’s really toxic father images, right? How do you think about that? How do you manage that? How does that play out in the work that you do?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:04:30] Yeah, that’s a really good question. So, two different ways. I’ll give you two different answers to that that complement each other. One is, one of the things we do in some of our conferences is something called the Immanuel Prayer approach, which was developed by Doctor Karl Lehmann, who’s a psychiatrist and a Christian. And one of the things that he says is when you get back in touch with an encounter with love, it can either be divine love or human love. You know, divine love mediated through human love. And what’s important is you connect to the love. And you experience the gratitude that changes your whole brain wiring. And able to connect to God that way, whether it’s directly or indirectly. So, you know, some of the parts work that you described on that episode of working with a part, my self, before I bring God in, is sometimes appropriate. I did a virtual conference last week, or it was earlier this week. It was with a group of people that are going through our video series on healing the whole person. And they just asked, and I can’t do this all the time. I can’t do this most of the time. But they just asked, it was in a particular climate where I was able to do it. They asked me if I would meet and they sent questions. And one of the woman had been violently sexually abused by her father and didn’t have trust with God, and another was betrayed by her husband in an infidelity and didn’t have trust. And so they asked me to speak to that. And so I started off talking about trust in general. You know, how trust is the the foundation of our receptivity. And that where we’re wounded, trust is wounded. It’s a fundamental thing that’s wounded. And so I just brought them through thinking about their own history and where trust was broken and how that’s affected the way they see God, the way they see others, the way they see themselves.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:06:35] And then I went through, and it was a small enough group that I was able to ask each of them on the Zoom. And I said, I want to put before you the three members of the Trinity and the three members of the Holy Family, Jesus being in both of those. So the five of them. And I want you to just in prayer, as I go through each of them, rate on a scale of 1 to 10, your level of trust with God the Father, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, with Blessed Mother, with Saint Joseph. I could have included the saints and people in their family, but I just stayed there. And so the one who had been violently sexually abused had a very low trust level with the Father. She had a low trust level with Jesus, and felt abandoned by them. Felt better about the Holy Spirit. Didn’t connect to Joseph, but had this great trust with Blessed Mother. So when we got to the point of how do I deal with these barriers that I have to trusting the father, I gave her two examples. I said one is, allow Mary to bring you there, because of her trust in the Father. And just you build that trust with Mary. And let her build the bridge. I said, or, if you’re safe enough, you can allow yourself to feel the rage that you feel towards the Father for abandoning you. I know you’ve had episodes on this in your podcast.

Dr. Peter: [01:08:08] And that came up with Karl Lehman’s, Dr. Lehman when you did the interview with him, Restore the Glory, right?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:08:13] Yeah. And so I think any of those, any of those. Basically it’s abiding and allowing the Holy Spirit to show you what this particular person needs. And so if it’s a listener right now saying, what do I need? That’s a question to ask the Holy Spirit. Where can I trust? Where can my heart rest? Is it with an aspect of myself that I can trust, as a beginning place? Is that somebody in my life that I feel safe with? Maybe a therapist or a friend or a spouse or, but somebody where I feel safe. Or do I feel safe with somebody in the Holy Family, or somebody in the communion of saints or somebody in the Trinity, and then just work from that safety.

Dr. Peter: [01:09:00] Well, that’s exactly what’s really big in the trauma world right now, as far as psychotherapy, is to find a secure attachment figure. They would call it a resource. And Dr. Peter Martin, a clinical psychologist out of Lincoln, Nebraska, has done amazing work with that in terms of actually rating scales, kind of like what you’re describing with the different members of the Trinity and different saints and sort of helping people to find what I would call a spiritual confidant. Sometimes even like your guardian angel, because sometimes I’ve noticed that when I’ve worked with people who have suffered, like really physical sexual trauma, the guardian angel seems safer because there’s not a material body, you know, there. And so, yeah, to be able to connect. But have you come across folks that, you know, find that it’s just too much, too overwhelming, too much intensity at the retreats, like they can’t bear it. Or is there like some way of a holding environment? Or how do you handle it when people may come in and they they may not be well established, well grounded in terms of this, because I imagine you can’t screen everybody beforehand and so forth. And people have wounds, yeah.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:10:13] So again, I don’t know what I don’t hear. From what I hear there are usually a couple people in a conference. You know, let’s say we have 1000 people there. There’s usually a couple that get identified. There may be more, but a couple get identified. But it’s part of what the training of the local team is there for. And sometimes they’ll have priests or prayer teams available to help that person. And we try everywhere we go, to have a resource of spiritual directors and therapists, including we have links for your guys’ stuff on our virtual conferences so that people know that they have places to go if they have too much. And we also now, because of Covid, have a virtual component to our conference. And so if people feel like being present with other people is too much, they can go home and they can do it at their pace for the next two weeks and just really go slow. So we have also had people who start feeling triggered and then feel so safe in the environment that they can work through it and be okay.

Dr. Peter: [01:11:23] And what happens after the retreat? So let’s say I do the,

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:11:28] Healing the whole person.

Dr. Peter: [01:11:29] Healing the whole person. Yeah, let’s say I do that retreat. And it’s an amazing experience. And I am like, okay, this is really amazing. What kinds of things can happen afterward for people like, what’s the aftermath?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:11:42] That’s the Living in Freedom talk, is kind of directing them to what the steps are afterwards and providing the resources. And some of the resources are resources that we have and some of the resources are the resources in the community or the larger church. So as an example, people often, before they bring us to a community, to a region, have book studies where they’re preparing their hearts, and then they may have book studies afterwards so people can continue afterwards in a community to do that. They may be referred to a therapist. We have what’s called an “I AM” prayer ministry training, that we have satellites available for people to be a part of that so that they get trained in being able to work through this personally and then work through this with other people and practice it in prayer. We talk about spiritual direction and spiritual discernment and community and, you know, just a lot of aspects that we try to highlight for people. And recognizing that this is where the challenge was, you know, when we went from small conferences where you could meet everybody, and we can’t be present to every person. And so that’s always a challenge. Our video series, now that we’re doing in communities, is a way for the communities then to continue the work with the people and surround them with people who they feel safe with in a smaller environment.

Dr. Peter: [01:13:11] It’s always a challenge to figure out how to scale things so that, you know, the goodness doesn’t have to be immediately mediated by Dr. Bob. You know, like, yeah, because it just becomes too limiting. And one of the things that this, one of the missions of this podcast is to be able to connect people in, especially with resources that integrate this human formation. We have a focus on human formation, somewhat of a focus on intellectual formation as well. We’re really focusing on the human formation arithmetic so people can do that spiritual formation algebra. But so, that’s why, you know, I see you as a pioneer, but also like a coworker in this little corner of the vineyard, because there can be so much spiritualizing, spiritual bypassing, there can be an attempt to elevate what’s really in the natural realm into the spiritual realm. Everything from, you know, for example, renouncing an emotion, for example, trying to cast out, you know, a part, you know, as though it were a demon. You know, those are really obvious examples. But there can be also, like more subtle examples, like the sort of being used as a throwaway line, “Well, we just offer it up.” You know, instead of acknowledging like what it is that we’re addressing, you know.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:14:24] Yeah. Very true. You’ve probably done some of this work too, but I worked with people with satanic ritual abuse and there was clearly spiritual warfare there. But some of them had been so abused because people were trying to cast out their personality parts that had been fragmented, and it was further abuse. And you even before we sent him to the exorcist, you had to be really careful about what the exorcist team knew and understood about parts, and about the different fragments and everything else so that they weren’t abusing further.

Dr. Peter: [01:15:01] Right. And it’s tricky, because I don’t have a lot of experience in working with situations in which I sensed or was verified that there were actual demonic influences heavily going on right away. But when I did, in two cases where I did have that, it seemed like the demons approached the most vulnerable, isolated, alienated, detached parts. And in fact, in one case, you know, there was this sense that the part was a demon, the sense was that the demon was the only one that would talk to me. That was sort of the motivation to kind of be able to engage with the demon. And I was talking about this with some spiritual directors and folks that are in the know about this sort of stuff, and it makes sense that that would be a place where there could be an entry. And then the hope is that that part would blend, take over, you know, and consolidate more of the influence. So this is not just a spiritual thing. This is not just a spiritual thing. It’s not just a natural thing. You know, it’s certainly not just an intellectual thing. It’s an integration that we have to be thinking about, you know.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:16:03] Yeah. That’s why I think it’s wise for both spiritual directors and exorcists and therapists to have an understanding of their own formation in those four pillars, because when you run up against those things, certainly you want to refer out what you’re not capable of addressing with the Lord. But you also want to be sensitive, really sensitive to those areas. And I’ll give you another example. When I went to a Steubenville conference youth conference one time and there was about 5000 kids, and it was under Bishop Jacobs, and there was all these priests doing deliverance with these kids. And they weren’t seeing the parts that were being manifested. And so once they got training in that, all of a sudden now they could minister to these kids in a different way that was really helpful for them as opposed to traumatizing them in that way. And as you said, it’s the access points are the places of the brokenness, the places where the exiles are. And when that healing happens, the demons don’t have any room there.

Dr. Peter: [01:17:13] Well, even “diabolos,” the Greek, is like the scatterer or the divider, right? And the opposite of the integration. And I do think that our Lord wants to work with our innermost selves, you know, and our innermost selves can be a bridge, you know, a conduit to our parts. You know, we were talking about that in episode 79 of Restore the Glory. So that there is an ordered way that respects the dignity of the human person’s capacity to choose the dignity of freedom.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:17:42] That’s key. Yeah. That’s key.

Dr. Peter: [01:17:45] Wow. Well, the time just seems to have, like, gone by so, so quickly. So I’m going to invite you to take a moment, Dr. Bob, and just kind of go inside and check in, you know, maybe pray about this a little bit, connect with your parts, and maybe there’s one more point or two more points that you know, that come up that seem really important for our viewers or listeners to be able to take in from you. So just it’s an invitation to settle in and check that out.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:18:18] All right, well, I’m actually having an image of something and hearing a word. So I’m going to just follow it and see where it goes.

Dr. Peter: [01:18:27] Beautiful.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:18:27] Okay. The image is an image of an eye. And what I hear is, “the ability to see.” You know, what comes to my mind is the story of the blind man with Jesus. And just the recognition for every one of us. This is part of humility. Just a recognition that all of us are blind until we’re enabled to see. That so much of integration is seeing. You know, Jesus says, “when the eye is single, the body is full of light.” And, you know, going back to that description of the devil scattering and dividing and fragmenting. What happens is our vision gets fragmented. You know, we experience that as confusion. We experience it as distraction. We experience it as being pulled in a lot of different directions. And it’s really a reflection of the broken parts inside that we haven’t seen yet. And one of the beautiful things about integration work and dealing with the parts is, you’re not just listening to them, but you’re seeing them. And I don’t mean that imaginatively. I mean that in terms of your perceiving their reality, you’re perceiving what’s going on inside of you, in a way that you may have been blind to beforehand. And as we come to see, as Jesus opens our eyes and you know, the one blind man, it was a series of stages of his vision being restored. As our vision is restored, we become whole and full of light. And it’s that light that casts out the darkness. And so I think that’s the thing that the Lord’s, I want to finish with.

Dr. Peter: [01:20:32] Well, and that’s what I’m going to encourage all of you to really engage with is to look and sense and see not only what might need healing or help or transformation inside, but to seriously consider the means. To take that seriously, not just in the spiritual. I don’t know how many clients have come to me, and they’ve tried to apply spiritual means, you know, almost exclusively throughout their lives, sometimes for decades. To be open to different ways that our Lord has laid out before time began. Before you were born, he knew every single issue you would have. And he had a plan for accommodating, for taking greater good out of every trauma, of every negative experience you would have. So there’s a plan behind all of this. If we were open, if we look, you know, I’m also reminded of seek and ye shall find, right. And so to be able to see, Domine ut videam, is what Bartimaeus said. You know, “Lord, that I may see.” And so I really love to be able to close it on that. And I appreciate you bringing to us clarity of vision, Bob. It’s just so good to to be with you to share in the wisdom of one who’s been out there for a long time. You know, 1981, I think you got your doctorate, right. So, wow, you know, so thank you. Thank you for that. Thank you for being with us. And we are going to make sure that we get up in the description and the YouTube, links to the John Paul II, John Paul II Healing Center. We’re going to get links to your books, which we didn’t spend a lot of time discussing, but I am just starting to get into Be Healed, starting at the beginning of that, even though it’s been out since, I don’t know, 2007. When did that come out?

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:22:24] 2014. It was 2014.

Dr. Peter: [01:22:25] 2014. Okay. Yeah. And so for folks to be able to take that in and then also just more information about Restore the Glory and other endeavors that you’ve got going on. So we’ll put that in the description for this episode on YouTube. Make sure that you check us out there, like us, subscribe, all that stuff. As we break into that space, we’ve started to bring in a whole new audience through YouTube because it’s such a big search engine, people finding us. So as we make this transition from being an audio-only podcast now to being a video, you can really help us out and coming and liking and commenting and so forth with that. We’re going to roll through some announcements. Our next episode, episode number 140, will be on Monday, June 10th from 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Eastern time. Join me for an experiential exercise, for a Q&A about personal formation. This is a chance to be a part of all of this. We’re going to be able to come together. We’re going to be able to work through things in person together — well, in virtual person together. Register for that at for Interior Integration for Catholics. It’ll also be on the description for this episode on YouTube. We’ll also put it out in our semi-monthly reflections. Really looking forward to that. So register at And we can take 100 registrants. Again, check out the previous episodes in this series, episodes 133 134, 135, 136, 137 138.

Dr. Peter: [01:23:56] We focus on human formation here, also some intellectual formation at Souls and Hearts, with some emphasis also on these others. We’re getting more integrated and we do that in community. So if you are a Catholic who holds what the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches is true, and you’re inspired to work on your own formation, but not alone, not as a lone wolf, but in a community of other Catholics journeying together on a pilgrimage to flourishing in love — then check out the Resilient Catholics Community at our landing page at Come join us. A pilgrimage to better human formation is so much better in the company of other pilgrims, and we’re opening for new applications. Our upcoming cohort, Saint Gertrude the Great, that opened on June 1st. We’re onboarding our largest cohort ever for our foundations experience. As part of that, you will take the PartsFinder Pro. I told you a lot about that in the last episode. It’s 16 measures to help you identify your parts, the roles within your system, helping you to understand those alignments and polarizations, helping you to understand yourself better so that you can better love yourself and why? Not so that you can just be self indulgent or pamper yourself. That’s not what it’s about. It’s so that you can love your God wholeheartedly with all of your being, and also to love your neighbor as yourself. The RCC is made up of companies. These are small groups of 7 to 9 RCC members who meet weekly and journey together.

Dr. Peter: [01:25:23] There are always all men or all women, but we also have special companies for therapists, priests, spiritual directors, coaches and those who work in lay ministry. As part of that, you’ll have a companion, sometimes two companions, to accompany you daily, checking in briefly about how you’re working your formation plan, sharing experiences. Check out the informational video from May 21st that’s now posted, along with new testimonials from our RCC members. You’re welcome to reach out to me if you have questions about the RCC during my conversation hours, you can call me on my cell phone 317-567-9594, 317-567-9594 every Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Marion is available. She’s our lead navigator at the Resilient Catholics community. She’s available at Also, for questions, you can also email me at, and my staff will get back to you about that as well. All right. So once again, just a huge thank you to you, Dr. Bob, for not only for today and the time we’ve been able to spend together. It’s just been so good to to be in your presence and to be able to to share this experience. But also for all that you’ve done in the last decades. I don’t even know how to say it. But again, thank you so much for being an instrument in the hands of God. And thank you for being with us here today.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:26:50] Thank you. Thank you Peter. It’s a gift. And great to be on your podcast and share with your audience also, and we’re really grateful for what you do.

Dr. Peter: [01:27:01] And with that, we will bring this to a close by invoking our patroness and our patrons.

Dr. Peter: [01:27:07] Our Lady, our mother, untier of knots.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:27:11] Pray for us.

Dr. Peter: [01:27:12] Saint Joseph.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:27:15] Pray for us.

Dr. Peter: [01:27:16] Saint John the Baptist.

Dr. Bob Schuchts: [01:27:18] Pray for us.

Special thanks to the Human Formation Coalition, who provided the support to make this transcript available.

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