Who is Dr. Belinda Walker?
I’m a wife, mother of two teenagers, and a school psychologist in private practice for the last 20 years.
How would you explain Psychology to a lay person?
Psychology is actually an extremely broad term but for my practice it is about the practical side of psychology that focuses on trying to help parents, children, and families function at the best of their abilities given their own personal problems as well as the problems within the culture of the day. I work mainly with school-age (preschool through college) children/adolescence so the problems can be related to developmental delays, psychiatric diagnoses, learning disabilities, dysfunctional families, death, divorce, etc. A psychologist helps to identify the causes of problems and offer suggestions for treatment and coping skills for things when there is no cure.
As a Christian Psychologist how would you describe Sigmund Freud?
Dr. Freud was a brilliant man in many respects but because of several flawed premises in his theory his psychology has lead many people to despair. Classic psychoanalysis is not often used in treatment because of its lengthy process and lack of cost effectiveness. His theories on child sexual development and the states of ego identity are excellent and I continue to use aspects of these theories today. However, as a provider who uses cognitive-behavioral approaches I do not dwell much on the intra-psychic issues. Children, also often lack the insight necessary for analysis. Teens often benefit from more analytic approaches.
Is there an alarming increase of psychological related issues in the world today?
Yes, I believe there is an alarming increase but at the same time we need to be aware that the diagnostic manual that “defines” what is called mental illness is a very politically influenced book. It is supposed to be based upon sound scientific research but much of the information is removed or added based upon political pressure both within the field of psychology and from the special interest groups in the public. Effective treatment is hindered both by this problem with diagnostics as well as what is “allowed” to be treated. I’m waiting for a special interest group to form for psychotic individuals who advocate that this is a valid way to believe and to call this mental illness is to be prejudiced against their kind (only partly tongue in cheek).
Is psychological treatment really effective?
Yes, psychological treatment can be really effective when it provides the tools necessary for the person to heal. Working with children provides a much more positive outlook because we can identify symptoms early and prevent some of the more serious long-term problems that can develop when one goes untreated. Early intervention is a crucial component for effectiveness.
How do you combine being a wife, mother and Catholic in your field of work?
I live in a secular world and do not discuss my religion with clients (unless they are Catholic and welcome it as part of the supportive treatment). I pray for my clients morning and evening and God is an integral part of what I do; in fact He does it not me. It is extremely difficult to combine my work with my family and my practice always comes second to my husband and children. I have made sacrifices in my professional life that have cost us both financially and in my own career development but I do not regret a single decision. My first vocation is wife, my second is mother, and my third is psychologist.
Do you think there is a relation between the use of violent video games and gun related crimes?
Let me put it this way; the more time a child spends playing violent games the less time the parents have to spend with them teaching them about LOVE, God, morals, values, and kindness. We spend time on what we place value on. If a child plays two hours a day and prays 5 minutes; which will have the most influence. Most children and youth who play violent video games will not grow up to shoot anyone. Most people who grow up to shoot someone engage in violent play/fantasy for significant amounts of time prior to acting.
What is so unique about the Catholic Faith for you that you aren’t just another Christian out there but Catholic Christian?
The EUCHARIST. My non-Catholic Christian friends have a profound love for Jesus but they lack the intimacy that I have with my LORD. I can go to our chapel 24 hours a day and be in His direct presence. My Christian friends have no concept of this body/soul connection. The second difference is FAMILY. The Catholic world is one of family. God is my father and Jesus is my brother (all Christians believe this). But I have my Mother Mary, my big brothers and sisters (saints in heaven), the pope (my father on earth), my pastor (my father on earth), and all of you in this mystical body of Christ. I am never alone. It may be a big, noisy, confusing family but we will go to heaven with the help of each other.
Is prayer effective from a psychological view point?
Prayer is the most effective thing. From a psychological and spiritual term it is a behavioral indication that we have hope. Without hope why bother to pray?
Do you have any message for the youth?
Grow up and be good parents. It is the most important task we can have. Whether you are a priest, or sister, or brother, or married, or single, be a good Parent. Father everyone. Mother everyone. Love everyone. Read Theology of the Body and awaken yourselves to the unique gift God gives us in each of you.
Dr. Belinda Walker has been working as a psychologist in the Houston area since 1992. She is a graduate of the School Psychology doctoral program at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. You can visit her website at BelindaWalker.Com