Sister Karen Cote, IHM, Psy.D., Director of Outpatient Services for Saint John Vianney Center had her article “What to know about candidates with a history of depression or anxiety” published in Horizon Magazine’s Summer Edition. Horizon Magazine is a publication of the National Religious Vocation Conference. Mercedes McCann, RSM, Ph.D., Leadership Relations for Saint John Vianney Center responds to the article below.
Sr. Karen Cote’s Article on Depression and Anxiety
In her article, “What to know about candidates with a history of depression or anxiety”, written in this month’s Horizon magazine, Sister Karen Cote presents a concise, clear, and thorough description of symptoms, treatment, and consequences of depression and anxiety particularly as seen in candidates for religious life. As Leadership Team members and formators, men and women are placed in the tenuous position of being both the agent for the candidate and the agent for the community. As Sister aptly points out, the bottom line is whether or not the individual is able to live religious life in a manner that is true to the charism of the community and whether or not the community is in a position to support the individual not only in the formation process but also throughout his or her life. While the hope is to be open to anyone who is desirous of religious life, the reality is that not everyone can sustain the intensity of the lifestyle without succumbing to greater depression and/or anxiety. This may have a deleterious effect on the individual as well as on the community.
Should a person be admitted to the formation process, it is important that attention be paid to the symptoms Sister outlines and, should those symptoms appear in the individual, they be addressed immediately. Saint John Vianney Center is poised to aid formators and Leadership Team members to assist in the assessment process prior to admission to candidacy and to aid the community and the individual in working through the depression and/or anxiety through outpatient and inpatient treatment should those symptoms persist. No matter where an assessment takes place it is optimal if the assessor is a religious him or herself. A psychologist who is a religious is in a position to know both the psychological and the religious life issues that may pertain both in the formation process as well as throughout an individual’s lifetime.
For any questions or information about assessments at SJVC, contact us at 888.993.8885.