Presented by: Jennifer Madere, MA; Frank Moncher, PhD; Cynthia Hunt, MD; Fr. John Szada, PhD; Anna Pecoraro, PsyD
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The Rite of Exorcism requires that a mental health evaluation be done by a licensed professional before an exorcism is approved by the local Catholic diocese. Mental health professionals may also help individuals and families recover and find freedom from the psychological antecedents and sequelae to the spiritual affliction, and build (or rebuild) their lives, personal identity, and relationships.
This presentation will focus primarily on the roles of the mental health professional in assessing and supporting persons who are or have been possessed; however, some generalization may be made toward working with persons who experience other spiritual afflictions. Attendees will acquire a general understanding of diagnostic and ethical dilemmas regarding the assessment, differential diagnosis, and treatment of persons presenting with suspected or confirmed possession and be referred to professional literature and other related resources for further study.
- Attendees will be able to: describe the type and scope of the roles that mental health professionals may fill in the process of psychological assessment and treatment of persons seeking exorcism ministry.
- Attendees will be able to: name several potential ethical and boundary concerns known to commonly arise during the course of treatment with clients who are recovering from severe spiritual afflictions.
- Attendees will be able to: articulate the importance of initial and continued differential diagnosis, and collaboration with other professionals and clergy during the course of treatment with persons recovering from severe spiritual afflictions.
Jennifer Madere is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor in private practice, and founding partner of Intuitus Group in Cedar Park, Texas. She is an EMDRIA Approved Consultant and EMDR Therapy Training Provider. Jennifer earned her BA in Psychology from Benedictine College, and MA in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. She has accompanied child and adult survivors of trauma on their journey of healing in psychotherapy since 2003. In addition to serving her clients, Jennifer supervises new clinicians, and consults and conducts training on treatment of complex trauma, pathological dissociation, and EMDR therapy. Jennifer has presented internationally on the research, assessment and treatment of Dissociative Disorders since 2014. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Psychotherapy Association, the EMDR Training Task Force of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, and the Consultation Practices Task Force of the EMDR International Association.
Frank Moncher received his Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology from the University of South Carolina in 1992, and was on faculty of the Medical College of Georgia from 1993-1999. From 2000-2010. He taught at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences. He is licensed as a clinical psychologist in Virginia and Washington, D.C. Over the past 19 years he has consulted in diocesan marriage tribunals, and with religious orders and dioceses to provide psychological evaluations of candidates for religious life. Since 2010, Dr. Moncher has worked for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington consulting in various ministries.
Dr. Cynthia Hunt is a graduate of Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. Her professional experience has included Board Certification and practice in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychiatry, which includes a year of fellowship training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She currently maintains an active practice at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, where she is the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry. She is also an Adjunct Faculty Member of St. Patrick’s Archdiocesan Seminary in Menlo Park, CA. She has been privileged to serve the Catholic Church over the last 12 years in the Exorcism and Deliverance ministry as psychiatric consultant to priests, exorcists and Bishops and is on the Advisory Board for the Pope Leo XIII Institute. She has been invited to give presentations on this topic in many settings including Priest/ Clergy Days, Deaconate Training, National Meetings of the Catholic Medical Association and the Catholic Psychotherapy Association as well as conferences with laity and SCRC. Dr. Hunt has also worked within the Catholic Medical Association for many years and has served as President of the Fresno Guild, member of the FIRE Committee, and as a speaker for CMA national and local conferences. She is currently a CMA Board Member and is Chair of the national CMA Opioid Task Force, meeting with Health and Human Services in Washington, DC. Recently she participated in representing North America at an International Meeting on Addictions at the Vatican through the Dicastery of Integral Human Development. An accomplished pianist , Lay Carmelite, and member of the Board of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests, she has been blessed with her husband of 27 years and their three children.
Father Szada is a priest of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Since ordination in 1978 he has served as parochial vicar, full time hospital chaplain, pastor, and is now currently chaplain to a monastery of Discalced Carmelite Nuns in Elysburg, PA. Since 2011, he has also served as the official exorcist of the Diocese. He received a BA from Penn State University in Foreign Service and International Politics, an MDiv from Mount St Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, a BS in Psychology from York College of Pennsylvania, and an MS and PhD in Psychology from Capella University. Father Szada is currently a member of the Catholic Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the Catholic Psychotherapy Association and the International Association of Exorcists. In addition to his work as exorcist, Father is spiritual director to numerous individuals, engages in counseling and conducts days of reflection and retreats.
Anna Pecoraro, Psy.D., is an associate professor at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) of Divine Mercy University, where she serves the APA-accredited Psy.D. program in clinical psychology and the MS in Psychology program. She is a licensed psychologist. She is also a professional musician.