Interior Integration for Catholics

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Dr. Peter asks you to seriously consider how well you know yourself and how well you know your spouse. He offers an Internal Family Systems approach to understanding both the multiplicity and the unity within both the husband and the wife as we continue this series on sexuality and Catholic marriage.

Show Notes

  1. Intro: Welcome to the podcast Interior Integration for Catholics 
    1. Interior Integration for Catholics brings to you in each episode the best psychological information essential for your human formation, knowledge that is fundamental in shoring up the natural foundation for your Catholic spiritual life.  
    2. This podcast helps you focus inward on your interior integration -- to help you bring together the different parts of yourself into unity and harmony with God in the natural realm.
    3. In this podcast, we confront the tough internal questions we Catholics have in our day-to-day lives, we confront head-on our struggles in the natural realm, the psychological difficulties that keep us from fully loving our Lord and our Lady in a deep, personal, intimate way and living out our vocations, including our vocation to Catholic marriage which necessarily brings in both sexuality and religion.
    4. And we're dealing with sexuality and religion in this episode for two primary reasons: first to free you to love God our Father, Jesus our Brother, the Holy Spirit and Our Mother Mary more and more over time and 
    5. Second, to love you neighbor as yourself -- And who is your neighbor?  If you are married, your first neighbor, your closest neighbor, the neighbor toward whom you have the most responsibilities is your spouse.  Because of your marriage vows.  
    6. I’m clinical psychologist Peter Malinoski and I am here with you, to be your host and guide.  
    7. This podcast is part of Souls and Hearts, our online outreach at, which 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.
    8. We are celebrating our one year anniversary.  First podcast launched March 20, 2020
      1. Success
        1. The majority of podcasts don't make it to 14 episodes
        1. Because of you
          1. Very niche audience
          1. This one has risen to top 10% based on downloads
          1. Tells me there is a hunger out there.   

      1. Gratitude
      1. Appreciation
      1. Your support increases my motivation.  

    11. This is episode 60, released on March 22, 2021
    12. And it is titled: How Well Do You Really Know Your Spouse?  
    13. This is the 12th episode in our series on sexuality, the fourth in our subseries on sexuality in Catholic marriages 
    14. Continuing with the model of a Catholic Canopied Marriage Bed to illuminate what happens sexually in Catholic marriages.  
    15. Episode 58 -- I provided you with the model of a Catholic canopied marriage bed.  
      1. Remember this canopied marriage bed represents the sexual life of a married Catholic couple.  
        1. The floor -- The Presence of God and His Providence -- we started here in the last episode, episode 59
        2. The four legs
          1. Leg 1 -- the husband's commitment to his own interior integration and his own human formation
          1. Leg 2.  the wife's commitment to her own interior integration, her own human formation
          1. Leg 3.  Understanding my own and my spouse's attachment needs and integrity needs   

          1. Leg 4.  Internal Family Systems Approaches to understanding myself and my spouse
            1. We are really exploring this leg first, in this podcast episode.  

        5. 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
        6. The mattress  Empathetic attunement
        7.  Two pillows:  Self-acceptance and Spouse-acceptance 
        8. Bottom Sheet:  sexual attraction, the intensity of sexual passion
        9. Top Sheet:  Communication between the spouses
        10. The blankets:  human warmth, emotional connection
        11. Four Bedposts -- imagine two spiral intertwined, like the double-helix structure of DNA
          1. Mindset
          1. Heartset
          1. Bodyset
          1. Soulset
        16. The canopy and the curtains -- to protect privacy and propriety or to hide dysfunction, exploitation, even abuse.  
        17. 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.  
      2. Review:  So we've only just begun with this metaphor.  Now starting in the next episode, we are going to walk step by step through all the elements of the Catholic marriage bed, through all the components of married Catholic sexual life.  We're going to cover all the bases slowly and thoroughly so that all components, all the pieces become clear. 
        1. We will look at what each part of the Catholic marriage bed looks like when it is healthy as well as what can go wrong with each part of the bed.  
        2. Just as important, how all the pieces of the marriage bed, healthy or unhealthy are related to each other, how they interconnect and how those elements of Catholic Married sexual life can change over time.  
    16. Over and over and over again, I have had Catholic couples in my office discussing their marital problems, their sexual problems.
    17. And over and over and over again, I come to the same conclusion -- Catholic couples who are married, 5, 15, 25, 40 years or more do not really know their spouses.  
      1. They know a lot about their spouses
        1. biographical details
        1. They know a lot about behaviors their spouses do
      4. But their internalized image of the spouse, their working model of the spouse is way off
        1. Very two dimensional
        1. Very simplistic
        1. Interpreted through our own filters and lenses
      8. Lots of reasons for this and we'll get into them today.  
    18. So this episode is titled What You Don't Know About Your Spouse Can Hurt Both of You.  
    19. So get ready, prepare yourself for light bulbs to switch on and shine brightly as we explore new and much clearer ways of thinking about sexual life in Catholic marriages, grounded in the perennial teachings of the Catholic Church and informed by the best of psychology. 
  2. The Windup / the Hurdle -- What is our situation here.
    1. Five Bold claims:
      1. You don't really know your spouse.  

      1. Your spouse doesn't really know you.  

      1. Your Father doesn't or didn't really know your mother
      1. Your mother doesn't or didn't really know your father
      1. And you don't really know you.  

    1. Not just talking about troubled marriages here.  Not just talking about Catholic marriages in general.  I'm also talking about those Catholic marriages that you admire.  

    1. In these days, very few people really deeply enter into the phenomenological world of anyone -- anyone else or even oneself.  

    1. Bold claims.  Explain yourself, Dr. Peter.  I don't know my wife?
      1. Not a nice thing to say
      1. Not a comfortable thing to hear'
      1. Maybe even a little insulting
      1. Psalm 139:13-15 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
      1. The Unconscious -- so much about ourselves that we don't understand
      1. Old days of doing assessments -- 15 years, Taught it.  
        1. Expert in psychological testing
        2. Fitness for duty assessments -- Air traffic controllers
        3. Some people coming in to really understand themselves better

      1. Not understanding ourselves leads us to confusion and distortion in understanding others.
      1. We don't understand ourselves because so much of us in unconscious, mysterious.  

    1. Prove it, Dr. Peter
      1. One question:  
        1. Used to ask it while having people looking at themselves in a full length mirror in my office.  
        2. Instead of Dr. Malinoski, the seminarians of one diocese nicknamed me Dr. Malinoscopy.  

      1. Who is your Spouse?
      1. Beloved child of God, cherished by God, your Heavenly Father, tenderly loved by your Mother Mary,  part of Christ Himself in his Mystical Body, a partaker in God's divine nature?  

      1. We see these realities as through a veil -- I Corinthians 13:12 -- For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully, just as I also have been fully known. 

      1. I do not make the claim that I really know myself or my wife.  I thought I did.  I and I think I do better than most husbands know their wives, but that's not saying much.  Just a relative measure, not an absolute measure.  

    1. And this is a real problem
      1. Not knowing your spouse compromises your ability to love your spouse
      1. Not knowing yourself compromises your ability to love yourself
      1. Three elements of loving
        1. Benevolence -- willing the highest good for the other and being ready to sacrifice and suffer to bring about the other person's good
        1. Capacity to Love -- your ability to love
          1. Spiritual formation -- virtues 

          1. Human formation
            1. Self-awareness
            1. Empathetic attunement
            1. Personal Development on the natural realm.  

            1. This is what I focus on in this podcast.  All about human formation.  Shoring up the natural foundation for loving God and loving neighbors.  

        1. Constancy -- not just one-off acts of charity, but holding a more and more consistent position of charity.  Possessing the virtue of charity toward the spouse.  

      1. And where does this ignorance of your spouse most clearly make itself known?  Where is the place where the lack of understanding between Catholic spouses most clearly revealed?  Where does the lack of self-awareness of each spouse and the lack of empathetic attunement between spouse most clearly broadcast itself?  Drumroll   In the Catholic marriage bed.  In the sexual relating of the spouses.   That's where you see it most clearly revealed.   
        1. Quiet desperation -- often wives
        2. Don't ask, don’t tell
          1. Unspoken bitterness, resentment
          1. Unmet needs, illusions
          1. Shame
            1. Body Shame
            1. Sense of unworthiness

        5. No frame of reference
        6. Others miserable too.  
        7. Confusion
        8. Settling -- as good as it gets.  

  3. The Vision
    1. Old option, the old way -- keep on the way you are going.
      1. Keep understanding yourself and your spouse in the same way, keep acting in the same way, keep the same pattern and dynamics, it's not likely that things are going to change for the better
      1. Pray about it -- God can work miracles, right?  "O God, please help my sexual intimacy with my spouse improve…"  That’s good.
      1. But what if it's not enough -- what if God needs you to work on your sexual intimacy issues in the natural realm?  He won't intrude and work magic or miracles if parts of you want to keep the status quo, if there are parts of you that are resisting changing.  

    1. What if there were a new way to really understand both yourself and you better
      1. As a psychologist looked for ways to help married couples for the last two decades
      1. Not just about relieving distress, but also about deepening the intimacy, deepening the relationship, including in the sexual realm
      1. Not just as a psychologist, not just as a clinician, but also in my own marriage with Pam.

    1. Introduction to Internal Family Systems
      1. Developed by Richard Schwartz  

      1. Discussion of Parts -- introduced parts in episode 49
        1. Separate, independently operating personalities within us, each with own unique prominent emotions, body sensations, intentions, typical thoughts and beliefs, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  
          1. How can we separate personalities within us.  Dr. Peter, it sounds like you're saying that each of us has multiple personalities.  You're not saying I have multiple personalities, are you?  ]
            1. That's exactly what I'm saying.  

          2. Parts are like the different characters inside Riley, the star of the animated Pixar film "Inside Out"  -- remember that -- Anger (red), Sadness (blue), Joy (yellow), Disgust (green), Fear (purple)
            1. Remember how of those internal actors would take over the control panel within her and then she would act as if she were just that part of her?  So when anger took over, she would get into conflict with her father?
          4. So we can see a part as a distinct mode of operating -- prominent emotions, body sensations, intentions, typical thoughts and beliefs, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  
            1. example husband comes home from demanding management job in human resources at the end of the day, all day dealing with employee problems, and he tired, worn out, no patience, feeling put upon by the children.  Just wants peace and quiet and something to eat and to veg out.  
              1. Wife says to herself "My husband is in his 6:00 funk again." 
              2. That "funk" is a mode of operating.  
              3. The husband has been taken over by part, we would say he is blended a part.  
              4.  That parts has a particular set emotions, body sensations, intentions, typical thoughts and beliefs, desires, attitudes, impulses, interpersonal style, and world view.  Let's break it down.
                1. Emotions:  Irritation, frustration, annoyance
                1. Body sensations:  Tense shoulders, slight headache
                1. Belief: Relating with people is all about their problems and all about pressure from the executives about minimizing risk and liability.  Relationships are draining, costly.  

                1. Thought -- Wife wants to tell me about her day, which means telling me about all the problems with the kids and expecting me to help solve them.
                1. Intentions -- wanting to get away from people, rest, recover, try to recharge batteries.  

                1. Desires:  To eat and to have the house quiet
                1. Attitudes: Somebody owes me something for all that I do
                1. Impulses:  To yell, to shut everybody up
                1. Interpersonal style: Grouchy, cold, non-communicative, avoidant
                1. World view:  Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?  Bony fingers.  Bony fingers.  

              12. Husband is not always in that funk.  Often, after supper, after vegging a while, he can reemerge and be much more pleasant and relational, in an entirely different mode of operating with the kids.  
            2. Let's say the wife, in a very human way blends with a part of her in reaction to her husband's 6:00 funk. 
              1. Emotions:  She gets sad, sense of despair
              2. Body sensations:  Sinking feeling in her stomach, desire to curl up.  
              3. Belief: He doesn't really care about me.  
              4. Thought -- He's treating the kids too sternly, he's too inflexible.  It's one thing for him to be unkind to me, but doesn't he see how hard he is on the kids?
              5. Intentions:  I want us to be a happy family together.    
              6. Desires:  I want him to care for me and the kids.  
              7. Attitudes: Helplessness
              8. Impulses:  To give up, throw in the towel.
              9. Interpersonal style: Very cautious, walking on eggshells, tightly controlling emotional expression toward the husband.  
              10. World view: It sucks to be married to him.  He brings us all down.  We just have to take it.     
          5. Goal in Internal Family Systems:  Internal Integration.  Parts coming to together under the leadership of the core self
            1. Orchestra model

        1. Get forced into extreme roles -- attachment injuries and relational traumas
        1. Three roles
          1. Exiles -- 
            1. most sensitive -- become injured or outraged.  Threatens the system, external relationships
            2. Exploited, rejected, abandoned in external relationships
            3. Want care and love, rescue, redemption
            4. shame.  Need for redemption 

          1. Managers
            1. Protective, strategic, controlling environment, keep things safe
            1. Obsessions. Compulsions, reclusiveness, passivity, numbing. Panic attacks, somatic complaints, depressive episodes, hypervigiliance.

          1. Firefighters
            1. Stifle, anesthetize, distract from feelings of exiles
            1. No concern for consequences
            1. Binge eating, drug/alcohol use, dissociation, sexual risk taking, cutting

        1. Parts can take over the person
          1. Like in Pixar Movie Inside Out -- anger taking over the control panel of the main character Riley
          1. We call it blending.  

        1. Parts can have a different love languages -- Five different Love Languages -- Gary Chapman.  
          1. Words of affirmation
          2. Quality Time
          3. Acts of Service
          4. Gifts
          5. Physical Touch

        1. Parts have different attachment styles, different ways of connecting.  

        1. Parts have different histories of sexual experiences
        1. Parts have different reactions to sex and relationship issues
        1. Parts can shift abruptly.  They can shift abruptly during sexual intimacy between spouses. 

        1. I don't know ourselves when I don't know my parts.
          1. St. Paul in Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.

        1. I don't know my spouse when I don't know his or her parts.  

        1. So many parts are hidden.  Consider themselves or are considered by other parts to be unacceptable, unlovable, unworthy, dangerous, harmful, inappropriate, or whatever.  

      1. IFS on the Self -- (recorded)
        1. Self defined as the seat of consciousness
        1. Self can be occluded or overwhelmed by parts
        1. When self accepts and loves parts, those parts transform back into who they were meant to be
        1. Self-led mind is self-righting.
        1. self -- Active inner leader -- more than mindfulness
        1. Parts find the relationship with the self very reassuring
          1. But to reap the benefits they have to unblend from and notice the self
          1. This is frightening can challenging to parts
          1. Agency in the parts -- parts are making decisions about unblending in IFS model

        1. Intrinsic qualities of the self
          1. Curiosity
          1. Compassion
          1. Calm
          1. Confidence
          1. Courage
          1. Clarity
          1. Creativity
          1. Connectedness
          1. Kindness

        1. The self can be easily occluded, obscured, hidden by protective parts who take over in response to fear, anger or shame
          1. General state for most people is to be quite blended
          1. Leads to self-absorption

        1. Goal is to have the core self be governing our parts during our relational and sexual intimacy, to have that recollection in the natural realm.  

  4. The Fine Print / Action Plan
    1. We will continue to work through sexual intimacy topics in this podcast -- see if your spouse will join you.  If your spouse has joined you, let me know!  I want to hear it --, text me at 317.567.9594.  

    1. Continue to identify your parts -- do you have a part that's like the 6:00 funk part from our example today?  What are your typical, identifiable modes of operating?  Write them down.  The next step is to start identifying the ones that are active when you are sexually intimate.  Keep drawing your bed and labeling it or use a picture of a canopied marriage bed.  You don't have to be a great artist -- but start drawing your own marriage bed, with your own insights, you own realizations.
    1. Next episode will be all about illustrating how parts become active in sexual intimacy between partners -- we're going to go through examples of how that plays out to help you really grip on to the concepts.  

    1. More help:  Alison Cook, Kimberly Miller "Boundaries for Your Soul"
      1. Known Alison and Kimberly for years now in Christian IFS circles, beloved colleagues
      1. First and only book I've ever reviewed on Amazon

    1. Jenna Riemersma "Altogether You"  IFS grounded in a Christian Anthropology, wants that integration of IFS with Christianity.  
      1. Met Jenna earlier this month, in a meeting together
        1. Really wants to promote IFS
      3. After meeting her, more excited to read her new book, came out late last year
      4. Resource page

    1. Tammy Sollenberger:  The One Inside: An Internal Family Systems (IFS) podcas‪t -- comes out weekly on Fridays.  Got to meet Tammy earlier this month as well.  
      1. Really committed to getting the basics of IFS across, making IFS more accessible to the general public, breaking down the concepts to make them easier to understand.

    1. Jay Earley's books -- more than a dozen books.
    1. But 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. I will make a brief presentation about Catholicism, Sexuality and Parts
          1. Then We will have an "Ask me anything" section to field your questions or comments and have a great discussion
          1. Then I will discuss the Resilient Catholics Community -- the RCC focus on human formation, the monthly themes for the RCC, the membership benefits, our office hours, the weekly premium podcast exclusively for RCC members, our private app with discussion boards, subscription rates
          1. Then we'll discuss what you are looking for in an online community and answer questions about the RCC community  

          1. You can also send me questions via email at or via my cell at 317.567.9594
      4. For current RCC members -- we have a premium episode coming out on Tuesday, March 23, 2021 IIC 60A Getting to Know the Parts Who Take Over During Sex

    1. Catholic therapists who listen -- a community just for you.  reopening the Interior Therapist Community.  Landing page  
      1. Unique opportunities to work on your formation as a therapist, and your formation as a human being.  As therapists, we often have parts that focus so much on other people, caring for others that there can be significant neglect of our own parts, our own systems, our own integration.  The Interior Therapist Community helps with that.
      2. Two slots open for Catholic Therapists in our Foundations Experiential Groups.  Go to to find out more.  
      3. IIC 60T What is Holding Me Back From More Deeply Understanding My Clients' Sexual Lives? 

    1. Subscribing to this podcast -- Spotify, Apple Podcasts, google play, amazon.  Share the Interior Integration for Catholics Podcast on social media -- sharing buttons are on our website at  -- get your word out there, with your personal recommendation -- how these episodes have helped you.  Share them, let others know. 

    1. Feedback.  Let me know how these episodes are landing with you -- -- some of you already have.  Get in touch with me on my cell at 317.567.9594 or my email at
  8. IIC 60A Getting to Know the Parts Who Take Over During Sex
  9. IIC 60T What is Holding Me Back From More Deeply Understanding My Clients' Sexual Lives? 
  10. Blurb for Transistor:  Dr. Peter ask you how well you know yourself and how well you know your spouse.  He offers an Internal Family Systems approach to understanding both the multiplicity and the unity within us as we continue this series on sexuality and Catholic marriage.  
  11. 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