Hear the Word

Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus

Christian - Non-Fiction
151 Pages
Reviewed on 07/06/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Hear the Word: Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus by Raymond Biersbach is a self-help book that will help people understand Catholic Psychotherapy. The author takes Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 13, to help the reader understand what Jesus wanted to say and how that can help you become more grounded. While most people believe religion doesn’t fit in well with medical science, the author disagrees. He takes the reader step-by-step to help them understand what Jesus said and how they can apply it to psychotherapy. He first clears up the “setting” of the parables and then shares the “resources” that will aid psychotherapists to help their clients. He also draws up good arguments for including faith in the therapy and how it can be beneficial for both the therapist and client. The book is filled with resources that will make it easier for readers to connect with their faith while working on their mental health.

Hear the Word is a very helpful book. The way Raymond Biersbach used illustrations to explain the parables and then explained the settings made it easier for me to understand. I particularly enjoyed the resources section of each chapter; he explains what we are supposed to get from the parable and his personal experiences as a psychologist. His personal experiences made it easier for me to understand and reflect a little better with each chapter. Plus, it was rather encouraging to read his experiences because it felt like talking to a friend. The “suggested reflections” was where he asked questions of readers and made them really dig deeper into their mind and soul for the right answers. I felt incredibly calm reading this book and felt at peace. This can be a really educational and encouraging guide for psychotherapists who are trying to grow and for readers who are trying to improve their mental health.

Lesley Jones

In Hear the Word: Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus by Raymond Biersbach, the seven parables in the book of Matthew are more than just stories; they have both a positive and moral aim. There are underlying messages that may be hidden at first glance but if you can decipher them, the advantages are abundant. As you read the parables using this guide, you will be able to step back and objectively view negative situations with a new perspective. The purpose of this book is to link the world of psychology with Christian theology and help anyone with an interest in the human mindset. If you feel a distance from your faith or you feel a need to connect with God or you simply want to integrate your therapy skills with theology, then understanding the lessons of the parables is a perfect starting point. Jesus' parables are a great example of the obstacles and situations people have to face in modern times. Depression, stress, negative beliefs and self-defeating behaviors are just some of the topics covered. The seven parables help you see the wisdom beneath the surface and build awareness in our unconscious thoughts which trigger our beliefs and behaviors.

Hear the Word by Raymond Biersbach is definitely one of a kind with subject matter that not only inspires deeper spirituality, but also psychological enlightenment. The parables are stories we are all aware of but the meaning behind them is so profound, relevant, and revealing of human behavior. I believe anyone who wants to develop their communication skills to help others, especially those suffering from mental health issues, will find plenty of benefits from this guide. I loved the weeds in the soul analogy; for me, this was extremely profound. There are excellent sections on effective questioning and listening techniques as well as getting the maximum benefit from journaling. The resource section is a fantastic source for further reading. The Magnificat is another resource that is superb to help decipher the messages in the parables. "All that Jesus asks from anyone is a willingness to listen and to let his words planted in them grow to produce good results."

Kimberlee J Benart

If you’re interested in the application of Christian anthropology to mental health, Hear the Word: Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith by Deacon Raymond Biersbach, Ph.D., might be for you. Intended as a resource for therapists, clients, clergy, professors, students, and others, it “stitches” faith and psychotherapy together using the parables (The Sower, The Weeds, The Mustard Seed, The Yeast, The Treasure, The Pearl, and The Net) in Chapter 13 of the Gospel of Matthew. Addressing topics such as why Jesus used parables, the importance of listening, and relating the parables to mental health challenges in the modern world, Deacon Biersbach also provides questions for reflection, summary tables of unique aspects of the parables, references, some illustrations, and an index.

In Hear the Word: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus, Deacon Biersbach combines experience as a psychoanalyst and as a deacon in the Catholic Church to give a thoughtful and meaningful perspective on mental health issues from a position of faith. The material is well-organized. The writing style is direct and professional in tone yet understandable and approachable by readers from a wide spectrum of knowledge on the topic. A sincere wish to provide useful resources for mental health practitioners, as well as inspiration for individual faith journeys, shines through. Deacon Biersbach invites the reader to consider the words of Jesus as a springboard to better mental health and stronger personal faith. Although specifically framed in terms of Catholic teachings, the resources could be useful to a person of any religious tradition.

Christian Sia

Hear the Word: Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus by Raymond Biersbach is a powerful book with strong inspiration for Christian readers and anyone seeking to find meaning and to live a life filled with hope. The book is a reflection on the seven parables of Jesus, and each of these parables contains a specific message that applies perfectly to our life. The author allows Jesus' gift as a teacher and friend to come out beautifully through the writing. Jesus often sat down when he taught, for instance, and I loved the comment the author makes about small and symbolic gestures like this one: “Sitting down with someone face to face is an inviting stance. It invites a two-way conversation. When I worked as a psychotherapist I also sat down to talk with people. With each person it was a gesture of structured intimacy, focused attention, and a refusal to seek postural dominance.”

The author invites readers to sit down with Jesus and to listen to him, and then he unveils hidden gems from the parables and, with unusual intelligence, shows how Jesus’ message is one of hope and healing for the contemporary reader. This book shows readers how to walk with God, opens a fresh perspective of intercourse between God and man. In a voice that is powerful yet compassionate, the author invites readers into a conversation and shows them how listening to the parables allows God to become part of their own story. Deacon Raymond Biersbach’s writing shows readers how the seven parables can be models of their own stories and how they hide and reveal; readers will understand how outward signs around us can have “unexpected inner meanings, and, conversely, that inner meanings can be found in outward realities.” The writing is gorgeous and the conversational style the author employs compels the reader to engage in the conversation. Hear the Word is a wonderful gift of faith that unveils an inner spiritual world for readers to explore. The suggested reflections part of the book challenges readers to look deeper and to seek a stronger connection with God and with their fellow man.

Romuald Dzemo

Hear the Word: Catholic Psychotherapy and Faith: Reflections on Seven Parables of Jesus by Raymond Biersbach is a brilliant book that explores psychotherapy from a Christian perspective. The author demonstrates that Jesus was the best therapist and the book explores his method of teaching and healing through the use of parables. The author uses Jesus’ parables to draw applicable lessons for both followers of Jesus and anyone seeking to connect more deeply with his humanity and with God. Occasionally making parallels to real-life situations and his own ministry, the author unveils the hidden power of Jesus’ words, showing readers their deeper meaning and helping them to read their own stories through the lens of the parables.

Deacon Raymond Biersbach is an expert in his field and he renders the message so simply that it reaches the reader easily. Each chapter ends with points for reflection, which gives an opportunity for readers to work on themselves and on their relationship with God, with others, and with themselves. The unique teaching style of Jesus has many lessons in itself, and the author uses it to show readers how they can interpret the outward signs they see around them as they use these to reach deeper levels of intimacy with God. Hear the Word is a wonderful tool for therapists to heal readers by helping them see their place in the economy of salvation and how their stories are a reflection of what Jesus teaches in the parables. The writing is impeccable, crisp, and down-to-earth; the quality reveals mastery and the ease of the writer with his subject matter. This is a great book and a powerful companion for readers seeking light, love, acceptance, and inspiration on the journey through life.