28 May 2014

Therapeutic Culture Kills the Soul

Like I said. . .our therapeutic/self-esteem culture is creating generations of self-absorbed narcissists: 

Could Rodger's fury at the world for failing to flatter his self-image as a good, civilized guy be a product of the therapy industry, of the therapy world's cultivation of a new tyrannical form of narcissism where individuals demand constant genuflection at the altar of their self-esteem?

Unfortunately, the Church -- especially religious and clergy -- are not immune to the temptations of Feel Good Therapy and the constant demand to have "felt needs" met regardless of costs. 

How quickly do we ship problem priests off to treatment in an expensive facility (i.e., "Priest Spas") rather than a monastery for fasting and prayer? How easily do some religious abandon their vows to the lure of The New Universe Story, or the inticements of Drumming Retreats for the Primitive Male Soul? Or give up on Scripture and the Church to run after divination through the Ennegram?

Dioceses and religious orders need to wake up and smell the failure of these therapeutic traps. They do not attract vocations. They do not demand the kind of hard sacrifice that Christ warned us was necessary to find him along the Way. Why would any young man or woman want to enter a diocese or a religious order to get the same warmed over New Age garbage that they can get at Barnes and Noble for $9.99?
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  1. Manufactured "rites of passage" stand to do nothing, and at another extreme may cause some harm. In a society that needs real men, dropping an adolescent in the wilderness with a knife, a loincloth, and a task serves to show both the society and the individual male the seriousness behind being called a man and taking that place in society. We need rituals, we need the sacred - but, really, drumming retreats for the primitive male soul?? And I thought it was only the people out here in the PNW who had retreats encouraging such nonsense. The New Age mentality is so "normal" out here that it is challenging to find a priest who thinks there is anything wrong with it and quite normal to find homilies riddled with it. So it moves from the priests and religious down to the people - and people become so accustomed to being validated that when someone finally speaks the Truth, they cry "foul!" It is potentially a very big problem.

    And, yes, I do think the pervasiveness of this mentality will easily produce more and more like Elliot Rodgers.

  2. Anonymous7:43 AM

    (singing) Everybody loves me baby, whatsa matter wit chew?
    Do you have the option of asking for a different method for treating whatever ailment/problem a priest/religious is having?
    It would be hard for me having done something wrong, turning down a spa! I would wonder if they were trying to trick me...

    1. Of course there are legit organic/psychological problems that have to be handled medically. . .my problem is with the tendency to treat moral/character problems therapeutically.

  3. Anonymous9:20 PM

    AH! You are one of the few that recognize that character can be disordered! And a moral problem!
    But a spa wouldn't treat that very well. But you are not the only one bemoaning the way the psy field has gone down the drains. The current model to treat people is set up for neurotics and that doesn't bode well for those who are not neurotic!

    1. Anon, tell us more about the current model being set up to treat neurotics. . .I've never heard that before. Thanks.

    2. Anonymous6:09 AM

      One who has been trying to change it was Dr. Simon. He dealt with mostly criminals in a prison setting and tried to expose the model they were supposed to use was for neurotics not character disturbed individuals. Although some things could co-exist at the same time (a disturbed character could have been a victim at one time) it was denying the obvious that they knew what they were doing and liked it. There was not much to help them become non repeaters as they were not being treated correctly. This loosely goes over into normal psy help also. His theory, with the current climate we live in, morals being flushed daily, the rise of character disturbed people will increase and the models set up will do no good in helping the person/people involved.

    3. Fr., regarding the subject brought up by Anon, do you know this site?

    4. Excellent! Thanks, MFT. My years working with sexually abused border personality disordered teens prepared me for a lot of what I see in dysfunctional religious life. . .not religious life as a whole. . .just dysfunctional rel. life.

    5. Anon., that all makes sense. There's got to me more $$$ in treating neurotics than in directing flawed characters back to virtue. I worked for a number of yrs. in an adol. psych hospital. Our chief head-shrinker followed the "object-relations" school of treatment for BPD pts. It worked well. . .but slowly. Unfortunately, only in-pt tx makes O-R tx possible.

    6. Anonymous9:33 AM