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Fr. George Morelli: Chaplaincy and Counseling Articles and Reflections

image Fr. George Morelli is a seasoned professional in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. An active pastor and leader, he chairs the archdiocesan Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry, and is also Religion Coordinator and Liaison of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine. He lives in San Diego, California, where he is Assistant Pastor at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Fr. George has taught university and seminary courses in psychology and pastoral theology, and supervised doctoral clinical psychology interns. He has authored numerous articles in the field of psychology, and is also the author of Healing: Orthodox Christianity and Scientific Psychology. He can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio through his weekly podcast Healing: Orthodox Spirituality and Psychology. Also a regular contributor to OrthodoxyToday.org, Fr. George has graciously allowed the Antiochian Archdiocese to reproduce his writings on this website.

CE credits can be earned through SavvyCE, www.SavvyCE.com, #27447.

You can also listen to Fr. George teach via his podcast at Ancient Faith Radio.

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Chaplain's Corner + True Happiness

by Fr. George Morelli

There is a tendency in our society to point to outside events in and of themselves as the cause of our happiness or unhappiness. This is followed by the idea that individuals have limited power to control their emotional responses to such happenings. While it is true that physical assaults, depending on their gravity, could certainly harm us, psychological assaults are a different matter. Emotional responses, such as demanding expectations and overevaluations are often triggered by irrational beliefs specific to each individual. These irrational beliefs have been noted by the observations of clinical cognitive psychologists, such as Albert Ellis (1962, p.72)1 and others.  Especially in this day of instantaneous social media, I want to make clear that in no way am I condoning or excusing the proliferation of socially deviant egregious behaviors, such as bullying, harassment or sexting. However, understanding that we can develop control over our emotional reactions to such untoward events can aid us in walking a path leading to true happiness. Failure to do so leads to a cascading scenario of untoward events. A particularly nasty situation may in reality be quite unpleasant. However, a strong emotional reaction to it, which is also unpleasant, just adds to the problem. Furthermore, the more strongly emotionally reactive we are to such events, the less effectively competent we are at coping with them or in solving unpleasant events that can be changed.2 Thus, though we are now undergoing another bitter event, it is one which we can do something about.