Evaluation of Accusations Against Priests and Religious

We have extensive experience in evaluating accusations against priests, causes of false accusations and in assisting priests in addressing conflicts in those to whom they minister.

The Justice for Priests new publication to help accused priests is an excellent resource.

Manual of Self Defense

Evaluation of Conflicts in Self-Giving

About Us

We offer assistance in developing marital and families seminars and resources for helping couples come to a deeper understanding of how marital conflicts can be alleviated. We also offer conferences to clergy to assist in their ministry to addressing the serious emotional and personality conflicts in marriages and children. We have given many conferences to clergy in dioceses on the origins of stress and emotional or personalilty conflicts in priestly ministry.  We have given presentations to formation teams of seminaries and to seminarians on growth in affective maturity on self-giving.

The Institute of Marital Healing is staffed by a group of professionals whose clinical expertise is matched only by their compassion and their desire to promote healthy marriages. We warmly invite you to learn more about the people in our practice.


Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D.

Over the past 35 years Dr. Fitzgibbons has consulted with priests from many dioceses and religious communities. He has authored articles in The Priest on identifying and resolving conflicts in priestly relationship and on identifying and resolving loneliness in priestly life.  He has given conferences on these topics in many dioceses.  He has given conferences on growth in affective maturity to spiritual formation teams at a number of seminaries and to seminarians. 

He coauthored Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope for American Psychological Association Books with Robert Enright, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin.

In 2011 he coauthored articles on the causes of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in view of the John Jay College report on context and causes and on distinguishing deep-seated homosexual tendencies from transitory same sex attractions in candidates for seminary and religious life. 

His work with priests has been recognized by the Vatican and he has been appointed as a consultant to the Congregation for the Clergy. Dr. Fitzgibbons teaches at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family at Catholic University of America. He trained in psychiatry at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center.


Peter Kleponis, Ph.D.

Dr. Peter Kleponis is a Licensed Clinical Therapist and Assistant Director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in Conshohocken, PA. He holds an M.A. in Clinical-Counseling Psychology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA and a Ph.D. in General Psychology from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. His doctoral thesis evaluated the relationship between narcissism and spiritual well-being in 200 Roman Catholic seminarians.

Dr. Kleponis has over 18 years of professional experience working with individuals, couples, families, priests, religious, seminarians and organizations. He specializes in marriage & family therapy, pastoral counseling, resolving anger, men’s issues, and pornography addiction recovery. He is Certified in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Sexual Addictions by The American Association of Christian Counselors' Light University and by Dr. Mark Laaser's Freedom Begins Here Program.

Dr. Kleponis is founder of the successful Integrity Restored Recovery Program for pornography addiction. He travels extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad educating people on how to win the battle against pornography through his Fighting Porn in Our Culture and Winning! conference program. He has presented conferences to numerous dioceses, colleges, seminaries, religious communities, parent’s groups and other Catholic organizations.

Dr. Kleponis has also been a guest on EWTN television programs such as Women of Grace, Franciscan University Presents, and Crossing the Goal, and is a regular guest on Relevant Radio’s On Call program and Catholic Answers. He is author of two books: The Pornography Epidemic: A Catholic Approach (2012, Simon Peter Press) and Integrity Restored: Helping Catholics Win the Battle Against Pornography, 2014, Emmaus Road Publishing.


Neal Niznan, M.Div, M.S.W.

Neal addresses many of the emotional weaknesses many men have in self-giving in his clinical work.  He is very sensitive to the challenges in priestly life.  He has a master's degree in Pastoral Ministry from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University.  He trained in social work at Rutgers University.




Thomas O’Brien, Ph.D., Ed.D.

Dr. Thomas F. O’Brien has a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology and worked twelve years at a psychiatric hospital. He has experience in the formation of priests having taught Pastoral Psychology and Counseling at Saint Charles Seminary for a number of years. He has been active in counseling priests and speaking to gatherings of priests for twenty years. He is invited yearly to conduct a workshop for deacons at the Seminary. Dr. O’Brien was ordained to the diaconate in 1988.


Ian Buterbaugh, L.S.W.

Ian Buterbaugh has extensive experience with youth & young adults, both from his educational and professional experience, and from his previous professional experience as a college campus minister and as the assistant coordinator of CYO for the Diocese of Allentown, and as a Theology teacher at a diocesan high school.  Ian also has clinical experience with marital and family conflicts. 

Ian takes an eclectic approach to clinical mental health, recognizing the uniqueness of each individual.  He particularly focuses on insight-oriented therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and forgiveness therapy.  Ian’s passion for integrating an authentic anthropology into the mental health field drives his mission of being an excellent clinician.  His theological studies have greatly influenced his worldview, certainly including the writings of Pope St. John Paul II, and especially his Theology of the Body.  Ian received a Master’s of Social Work from Marywood University, and is a Licensed Social Worker through the state of Pennsylvania.

Ian spent 2 ½ years as a seminarian and earned a degree in Theology. Before entering into the seminary, Ian studied theatre at DeSales University, and worked for 5 years in theatre.

Our mission is to strengthen Catholic marriages and families by educating spouses, marital therapists and clergy about common causes of conflicts in marital self-giving and effective approaches to alleviating such conflicts. 

Our mission is to strengthen families by educating parents about common causes of emotional and behavioral conflicts in children and by providing effective approaches to alleviating such conflicts. 

Dr. Fitzgibbons has coauthored the second edition of a textbook on the treatment on excessive anger in adult and child psychiatric disorders in the field of positive psychology for American Psychological Association Books, Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope.