Interior Integration for Catholics

{{ show.title }}Trailer Bonus Episode {{ selectedEpisode.number }}
{{ selectedEpisode.title }}
{{ selectedEpisode.title }}
By {{ }}
Broadcast by


Dr. Peter reviews the deep attachment needs and the deep integrity needs we all have, which so often drive our behaviors in ways that can be problematic. We also begin with the first steps of a program to identify and address those unmet deep needs, including an experiential exercise.

Show Notes

  1. Intro:  This is Interior Integration for Catholics, it's great that you can join us, and today we are wrestling with the deep attachment needs and the deep integrity needs that Catholic spouses have. 
    1. In this life, we all have deep attachment needs and deep integrity needs
    2. We all struggle with deep attachment needs and deep integrity needs -- whether we realize it or not.  
    3. And some of those needs are unmet.  They cause us difficulties and suffering and tension in our important relationships
    4. Those unmet needs are part of being human in our fallen world.    
    5. How we choose to handle those attachment needs and integrity needs really determines how well our close relationships, especially our marriages go.  
      1. How the husband chooses to address his attachment needs and integrity needs will have a huge impact on his relationship with his wife
      2. How the wife chooses to address her attachment needs and her integrity needs will have a huge impact on her relationship with her husband.  
    6. Meeting these attachment needs and integrity needs well is foundational, essential for you to have a psychologically sound, a solid marriage relationship.  
    7. Today, in episode 62 of Interior Integration for Catholics, released on April 5, 2021, the sixth in our subseries on sexuality in Catholic marriages
      1. And it is titled:  Unmet Attachment Needs, Unmet Integrity Needs 

      1. we won't just lay out all the definitions of our terms
        1. what are attachment needs, Dr. Peter?  

        1. What are integrity needs? 

      1. We're not just going to discuss how these needs impact the rest of the marriage relationship
      1. We're not just going to explore how sex in the Catholic marriage bed is impacted by these needs and our responses to them
      1. No, wait, there's much more
      1. We're going to also dive into how do you engage with these needs constructively -- how do we start on a course of action to really meet these needs.  So stay with me until the end and you will get really specific recommendations for setting up a personalized program to have your personal set of attachment needs and integrity needs met.  

      1. This is such an important area that we are going to spend some time on it, more than just this one podcast.
    12. I am Catholic psychologist Peter Malinoski, and I am bringing my 20 years of experience in the clinical trenches with real Catholics with real problems to bear on this question of attachment needs and integrity needs in this episode for you.  
    13. This podcast is part of Souls and Hearts, our online outreach -- check us out at
      1. Souls and Hearts is all about shoring up our natural foundation for the Catholic spiritual life, all about overcoming psychological obstacles to being loved and to loving God and neighbor.
  2. Brief Review 
    1. Each episode stand on its own, no need to review if you don't want to, if you're just jumping in here that's great
    2. I do review from time to time because reviewing helps with spiral learning, with retaining things
    3. And because this podcast is programmatic, episodes build on each other, we're not just doing little isolated soundbites of information, odd, assorted nuggets.
    4. This is meant to be a program in your Catholic human formation to help you focus inward on your interior integration -- to help you bring together the different parts of yourself into unity and harmony in the natural realm
    5. So let's do a quick rewind here, just to catch you all up to date:
    6. [Insert review/rewind sound effect]
    7. I introduced the model of a Catholic Canopied Marriage Bed to represent the sexual life of a married Catholic couple in Episode 58.  
    8. The Catholic Canopied Married Bed has these interrelated parts
      1. The floor -- A deep abiding trust in the Presence of God and His Providence -- we started here in episode 59
      1. The four legs -- these four supports hold up the Catholic marriage bed.  
        1. Leg 4.  Internal Family Systems Approaches to understanding myself and my spouse
          1. Covered this conceptually in episodes 60 and again with a story of a Catholic couples' problems in a sexual relationship in episode 61.
        3. Leg 3.  Understanding my own and my spouse's attachment needs and integrity needs   -- this is what we are focus on today.
          1. In Episode 57 we discussed how the one main psychological reason why Catholic marriages fail is our response and reactions to deep unmet needs
        5. Leg 2.  the wife's commitment to her own interior integration, her own human formation
        6. Leg 1.  the husband's commitment to his own interior integration and his own human formation

      1. The frame and the box spring -- the firm, unwavering commitment of the husband his marriage vows and the wife to her marriage vows -- separately.  Independently
      1. The mattress  Empathetic attunement
      1.  Two pillows:  Self-acceptance and Spouse-acceptance 

      1. Bottom Sheet, the fitted sheet:  sexual attraction, the intensity of sexual passion -- the eros
      1. Top Sheet:  Communication between the spouses
      1. The blankets:  human warmth, emotional connection
      1. Four Bedposts 
        1. Mindset
        2. Heartset
        3. Bodyset
        4. Soulset

      1. The canopy and the curtains -- to protect privacy and propriety or to hide dysfunction, exploitation, even abuse.  

      1. The sham, the bedspread, and the bedskirt -- Used to cover up the real bed, give an impression of the state of married life to the world.  

      1. All of these elements work together.  Dynamic model, which can change over time.  

  3. The Windup / the Hurdle -- What is our situation here?
    1. [Definition time sound effect]:  Definitions:  We all have attachment needs and we all have integrity needs
      1. Hard to find good summaries of these needs, hard to find good definitions, so here are my definitions.
      1. Attachment needs = The needs that a child has for a deep and enduring emotional and relational bond with a caregiver, usually a parent, who provides a felt sense of closeness, security, understanding, reassurance in times of trouble, for affection and warmth, and a sense that someone really is looking out for my best interests.  

      1. Integrity needs --  drawing from self-psychology here, Heinz Kohut  = The needs a child has for a sense of identity has the following features:
        1. A separate existence from others --  I exist in my own right, a separate person
        1. Is bounded, has boundaries
        1. is stable over time and across different situations
        1. Self is regulated
        1. Is integrated -- coherent interconnections inside between aspects of experience -- self-cohesion
        1. Is active, with agency, can effectively function in the world
        1. Is morally good -- ontologically or essentially good and thus has intrinsic value and worth, apart from others' opinions.  

    1. Conditions for Secure Attachment -- Daniel Brown and David Elliott -- 2016 Book Attachment Disturbances in Adults -- emphasizes the subjective experience
      1. A felt sense of safety and protection, deep sense of security felt in the bones
        1. Not just being safe, but feeling safe
        1. Failure of protection is harder to integrate into  the life narrative, harder to make sense of that abuse.  

        1. Need for protection is absolutely fundamental.  

        1. Parents who are protective, but not overprotective -- overprotecting children actually leaves them vulnerable to all kinds of problems because of not being able to handle the experience of struggle, trials, and failures.  

      1. Feeling seen and known heard and understood -- felt attunement
        1. Not just being seen and known, heard or understood -- feeling it, experiencing it
        1. Parents having the not just the awareness, but the capacity to respond to the child in helpful ways, conveying that understanding.
        1. Example of Dad loves you, but he just doesn't know how to show it.  Well, that's not enough.  It's not enough that Dad has good intentions and understand his son, that understand and those intention have be manifested in real behaviors that are attuned to his son.  

        1. Recognizing the child's immediate behavior, the child's state of mind, inner experience and the child's developmental capacities
          1. e.g. forcing two year olds to share.  

      1. Felt comfort, reassurance
        1. Not just the actions, but it actually being soothing and helpful with emotional regulations, for example by calming fears 

        1. As this is repeatedly provided by the parent, the child gradually develops the inner capacity to self-soothe.  

      1. Feeling valued, delighted in, cherished by the attachment figure
        1. Joy in who the child is, not what the child does -- "delighting in the child's very being."
        1. Parent believes in the child's goodness -- the child is precious, worth sacrificing for.     

      1. Felt support for the best self
        1. Felt sense that the parent wills and works toward the highest good for the child.  

        1. Parent believes in the child, believes in the chi
        1. Frees the child to explore, experiment, discover, and experience both successes and failures.  

        1. Donald Winnicott 1971 play is the medium for self-development -- the parent not needing the child to fit a particular mold or agenda to meet the parent's need or expectations.  

        1. Bringing out the uniqueness, the individuality of the child, the child's interests, gifts and talents, 

        1. Parent handles the self-assertion of the child, navigates that well so the two can be separate but near.  

    1. Conditions for Integrity
      1. All of the above.  Each one of us needs help to develop our sense of self, our identity
      1. I exist 
        1. I am not dead.  Extreme cases Cotard's syndrome -- walking corpse syndrome.  
        2. Cutting behaviors -- seeing the blood flow proves I am alive.  
        3. Feeling the pain proves I am alive.  
        4. Sexual behaviors -- e.g. orgasm from masturbation
        5. Suicide as a way of seeking a pseudo integrity --  If I feel that I don't really exist, then perhaps I shouldn't exist.  Fraud to go on living physically when I am psychological dead, emotionally dead, spiritually dead.  
        6. Mass shootings -- a way of being noticed as existing.  I am alive, I matter.  
        7. Some people who don't struggle with existence issues often don't understand how these can be such a major problem for those who do struggle with them.  

      1. my existence is separate from others --  I exist in my own right, a separate personIs bounded, has boundaries
        1. Running away gestures or behaviors by children -- physical distancing -- hiding -- divorcing

      1. My identity is stable over time and across different situations -- there is a continuity
      1. I can regulate myself -- I have some self-control.  
        1. We need help from others to learn to manage ourselves -- to internalize the control  

      1. Is integrated -- coherent interconnections inside between aspects of experience -- self-cohesion
        1. Awareness of our parts
        1. Understanding of our parts -- we have been understood.  
          1. Not enough to be understood by others
          2. I need to understand myself.  

      1. Is active, with agency, can effectively function in the world
        1. we've learned social norms and social graces
        1. We've developed talents, capabilities.  

      1. Is morally good -- ontologically or essentially good and thus has intrinsic value and worth, apart from others' opinions.  
        1. Parts that are lepers, outcasts, unredeemable sinners, tax collectors.

      1. We also need to make good choices -- seek what is good, true and beautiful in life
        1. Seek and ye shall find
        1. We need to tolerate the suffering that goes with changing and growing.  
          1. The Rose:  November 1979 written by Amanda McBroom and sung by Bette Midler

It's the heart, afraid of breaking
That never learns to dance
It's the dream, afraid of waking
That never takes the chance
It's the one who won't be taken
Who cannot seem to give
And the soul, afraid of dying
That never learns to live
  1. We need to change and grow, try new ways of being and acting.  
  2. The Vision -- here's where we start to bring everything together.  We have attachment needs, we have integrity needs.  We also have parts.  Now we can lump along as we have been, same old limited understanding, same old patterns, same old results.  But what if there were a way to bring these insights about needs and parts together, to understand ourselves and our parts in new ways?
    1. Definition of parts:  Discussed this at length in episodes 60 and 61.  Parts:  Separate, independently operating personalities within us, each with own unique prominent needs, roles in our lives, emotions, body sensations, guiding beliefs and assumptions, typical thoughts, intentions, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  Each part also has an image of God and also its own approach to sexuality.  Parts experience them differently
    1. Attachment needs and integrity needs are carried by our parts.  Our parts carry our needs.  This helps us to make so much sense out of our experience.  For us to be able to recognize the parts within us and with others helps so much to bring clarity out of confusion, direction out of being lost.  
      1. Because parts may be in awareness or out of awareness in any given moment, we may or may not be conscious of our attachment needs and integrity needs.  
      2. Parts with their attachment needs and integrity needs may be activated as well, by external or internal factors.  
      3. Parts are on a mission to have attachment needs and integrity needs met.  It's the most important thing for them, often a life and death issue.  
      4. So that means they will also try to get them met in our sexual relating -- you heard all about that in episode 61 with Jeff and Joanne and how their parts were working to get their needs met in their sexual encounter.  
      5. And that can be a real problem, if those needs really are for a father and a mother.  
      6. Idealized Parent Figure Protocol Brown and Elliott
      7. As Catholics, we don't just have our earthly father and mother.  As Catholics, our earthly father and our earthly mother are secondary parents.
      8. Our primary parents are our spiritual parents -- God our Father and Mary our Mother.  

    1. Only God can ultimately meet our attachment needs and our integrity needs
      1. St. Augustine in his Confessions, 398 AD, early 40s  You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

  4. So how do we begin to address these deep unmet needs in a deliberate, reflective way.  
    1. Make time.  This is going to take time.  Many people allocate exactly no time to their human formation.  Some will make time for prayer and for the spiritual life, but they don't think about the psychological lives, their natural foundation.
      1. Can you find 15 minutes or even 10 or 5 minutes per day, at a consistent time to focus on your parts and on your attachment and integrity needs?
        1. If not, then you will need some personalized guidance -- therapist or close friend -- some type of individual personal relationship.  

        1. Write down when that will be.
        1. Often before prayer
        1. I do it 7 times per day.  7 minutes.  

    2. Second, listen to the following reflection.  Only about 6 minutes long 8 minutes long only about 10 minutes long, only about 12 minutes long.  To help you get in touch with your needs.  Take an inventory.  
      1. We want to know what your needs are.  Part-focus -- part by part
      2. Seek and ye shall find
      3. If that seems like too much, get support.  Therapy.  
        1. IFS therapist.
        2. Free course on Souls and Hearts -- A Catholics guide to choosing a therapist.  
    3. Share what you found with someone you trust.  Make a list of who you might trust with such things reach out. 
      1. No one to trust?  Get a therapist.  
    4. Reflect on your spouse's needs, or another loved one.  
  5. Reflection 
  6. Closing
    1. Next episode will be all about human formation of the wife and the husband in marriage, with a focus on these attachment needs and integrity needs and how they are held by parts.  We will have another example of how these play out in the sexual relationship. And we will start working toward understanding your spouse's parts and the attachment and integrity needs those parts hold.  

    1. Trying out a new idea -- an individual conversation hour -- I promise you I will be on my cell phone from 4:30 to 5:30 PM Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 13 to talk with any Interior Integration for Catholics podcast listener about our podcast episodes. Let's have a conversation.  I want to be accessible.  There is no need to email me beforehand or text me or anything like that, just drop in and meet with me by phone.  I'm available.  My cell is 317.567.9594.  I like the phone or Zoom a lot better for relating than email or texts.  Not phone therapy, but really a chance to get into a good conversation about the podcast.  Your reactions, your feedback, whatever you want to talk about with regard to this Interior Integration for Catholics podcast.  And these conversations are private, I won't use anything from them in the podcast without your permission.  

    1. It's hard to work on your parts without help -- cue the Resilient Catholic Community.  
      1. If this discussion of parts resonates with you -- what would it be like to be working on your human formation, your human development as a Catholic with other Catholics who have the same goals?  What would be like to form real relationships with other on the same path, to journey together? 
      2. Get on the waiting list for the RCC --  go to to sign up -- there's no obligation to join, but you will get all kinds of cool free stuff.  
      3. I have a special event just for people who are on the RCC waiting list 
        1. Our people on the waiting list have been so patient, I am so appreciative, so for those of you on the waiting list, you are all invited to a Zoom meeting 
        2. On Tuesday, April 6, 2021 from 7:30 PM to 8:45 PM Eastern time

    1. Premium Podcasts each week for our Resilient Catholic community members and our Interior Therapist Community members where we go deeper.  

  7. Patronness and Patron

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Resilient Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation. We look for God's providence in all that happens to us, in accord with Romans 8:28, grounded in an authentic Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also join our online community around this podcast at