Form your conscience in advance of the November election, with help from Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde.
New chapel completes IPS renovation
The Institute for the Psychological Sciences gets a makeover.
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
Dave Borowski | Catholic Herald
Students relax in the renovated library. Pictured (from left) Greg Gisla, Amanda Aulbaugh, Rebecca Showalter, Nick Stevens and IPS director Holiday Rondeau.

In a 1995 address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota, Pope John Paul II said, “Only a Christian anthropology, enriched by the contribution of indisputable scientific data, including that of modern psychology and psychiatry, can offer a complete and thus realistic vision of humans.”

In an answer to that call for a complete vision of human beings from the pope, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences (IPS) was founded in 1999 by Dr. Gladys Sweeney.

IPS is an institution of higher learning that awards master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology and master’s degrees in general psychology.

IPS also operates a clinic that offers services to children, adolescents, adults and families. The services cover psychotherapy, play therapy and help with a variety of issues including depression, anxiety, marital issues, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and eating disorders. IPS also provides a variety of assessment services. The clinic offers services on a sliding scale and is open from August through June.

Patients are seen by externs who have completed their master’s degrees and are working toward their doctorate in psychology. All externs are supervised by licensed clinical psychologists on staff at the institute.

Since their founding, the institute has operated at their facility in the Chrystal City section of Arlington, and it was starting to show its age. So last summer and fall, renovations were made to give it a facelift..

Two therapy rooms were added along with video cameras in all therapy rooms. Several rooms were reconfigured and the play-therapy room was redone. The student lounge was expanded and the library was reconfigured. Additional classrooms and a conference room were added. Administrative offices were moved to the fifth floor.

IPS is dedicated to the integration of the psychological sciences through a Catholic understanding of the person. As such, students see their work as a vocation, not a job. They come from across the country to study in an environment of Catholic teaching.

Nick Stevens is a third-year student and a lieutenant in the Army Reserve.

“(IPS) lays the foundation with philosophy and theology in the image of God,“ said Stevens.

After graduation, Stevens has specific plans for his vocation.

“I would like to work with the military in some capacity. (I would like to) help out families and soldiers,” he said.

Greg Gisla is a third-year student from Sacramento, Calif.

“(Our patients) are not a list of problems,” said Gisla.

He wants to alleviate problems in his clients and to allow them to have a good life. He plans to go back to Sacramento where his brother is a medical doctor. Gisla said his brother “sees the need” for this kind of Catholic approach to therapy.

Holiday Rondeau, clinical psychologist and IPS director, said that the majority of their clients are Catholic, but they serve people of all faiths.

“We’re here to support the person,” she said.

It’s fitting that the final renovation project, finished in December, was the chapel. Mass is celebrated daily at 12:05 p.m. by Legionnaires of Christ Fathers Xavier Castro, chaplain or Charles Sikorsky, IPS president. The chapel was expanded to serve the students and faculty in a truly Catholic environment.

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