Catholic Counseling Services: Progress Ministry Spotlight

June 29, 2020

Catholic Counseling Services is a place where God is included in therapy without any type of restrictions.  The ministry offers faith-based therapy services in the Diocese of El Paso that is open to everyone regardless of religion, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. 

Executive Director Jose Castrellón, LCSW and Susan Martinez, LCSW, both clinical social workers, have served the Diocese of El Paso for more than 30 years.  They bring hope and consolation to those who desperately need the peace of God in their lives, especially during these trying times.  Martinez strongly recommends that you create a schedule that includes exercise, arts and crafts, or house projects to decrease the levels of anxiety and depression.  

Catholic Counseling Services is currently offering sessions via telephone, Skype video call, and one-on-one sessions at the Pastoral Center by appointment.  According to Castrellón, “This is the only place that I can talk about God and I am able to use scripture to help people.”  Susan Martinez said that a significant number of clients see an improvement in their levels of anxiety and depression when they apply faith to therapy.

Jose Castrellón has helped the Catholic community for over 40 years and utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which helps to relieve negative beliefs that are formulated as a result of loss or trauma and reduce hyper vigilance. According to the EMDR Institute, it is "now recognized as an effective form of treatment for trauma and other disturbing experiences by organizations such as the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization and the Department of Defense."  Castrellón worked with a refugee who witnessed the murders of her mother and daughter in Mexico during the drug cartel wars.  She could not sleep or handle any type of social encounters following the tragic loss.  With EMDR, she was able to sleep again and deal with grief normally.

Catholic Counseling Services has been a ministry in the Diocese of El Paso since 1938.  It started as Catholic Social Services and has undergone several name changes and programs as well.  This ministry has been recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization since 1941.  Catholic Counseling Services is vital to the community because it's the only setting where you're permitted to talk about God in therapy without any type of restrictions. 

Catholic Counseling Services wants to expand virtual therapy counseling sessions using Zoom video conferencing and you can help with a donation.  You can reach them at (915) 872-8424 or here en español.  Catholic Counseling Services is a ministry supported by Progress, the Catholic Ministry Appeal.  Martinez and Castrellón are able to continue to provide therapy and offer spiritual counseling to the community during these extraordinary times because of donors like you and a grant from the Progress Appeal.  For more information about the Catholic Ministry Appeal, please contact Progress Coordinator Martha Marmolejo at 915-872-8412 or at

Photo by Joe Najera

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