considered going back to schoolI also feel called to do sofor
counseling/psychology. However, I was frustrated and discouraged by the
secularism so pervasive in this field and have only recently become aware
of graduate programs in different areas of the country that appear to deal
with this issue. Your approach to psychological healing is precisely what
I feel called to do, and I was hoping you might have some advice or insight
on graduate programs you have experienced or would recommend for
ou have good reason to feel frustrated
and discouraged by the secularism in the field of psychology. Those who would
practice Catholic psychotherapy
today face daunting opposition.
In general, there are powerful
hedonistic forces within modern culture that have one primary objective:
to glorify the self in its lust
for unhindered pleasure. One primary aspiration of this agenda is to strip
sexuality of its reproductive function so that an
image of sexuality as sporting entertainment can be projected onto the culture.
And one means to this end is to firmly establish pernicious conduct (such
as abortion, artificial birth control, remarriage after divorce, fornication,
and perversion of marriage) so as to undermine any family values that could
obstruct the activist agenda.
Consequently, you will find that
most graduate schools of psychology function today primarily as propaganda
mills for the liberal plan, both in their academic curriculum and in their
clinical training programs.
Considering the above, here are
some issues that a Catholic student of clinical psychology will face.
Lack of Understanding
of the Unconscious
Consider for a moment what the
most important aspect of Christianity is: to
repent your sins and
surrender yourself totally to Gods will.
Now consider what most so-called Catholics fail to do: surrender themselves
totally to Gods will. Then consider what the task of
Catholic psychotherapy is: to help
clients overcome their unconscious resistance to
surrendering themselves totally to Gods will.
In other words, even though most
Catholics know what the Church teaches about the day-to-day aspects of doing
Gods will, because of their spiritual
blindnesswhich is itself supported by
psychological defensesthey either refuse
to accept Church teaching or they hold secret
fears in their hearts about putting Church teaching
into practice in their lives.
healing for such persons, therefore, it is necessary
to have a working understanding of the unconscious and its defensive
But how can a student of psychology
learn these things if psychology schools fail to teach about the
For the most part, psychology
schools today primarily teach
Therapy (CBT). Why? Well, this form of psychotherapy is most amenable
to propagating the activist agenda. That is, CBT doesnt deal with truth
as much as it deals with getting people to do what you think they
should do. Now, please dont misunderstand me here. CBT is a valuable
tool in psychotherapy, but when you lose a focus on the underlying
psycho-spiritual reason for doing anything you really cannot heal the
soulyou can only manipulate the brain.
Moreover, even when the unconscious
is discussed clinically, it is usually done so (at least in the US) in the
context of Object Relations Theory, a theory that idealizes a
caring (almost maternal) relationship between the client and
psychotherapist. As such, the human bond between two persons is glorified.
This makes psychotherapy into a mothering process of caring for the needs
of the client, and it reduces the therapist to a paid friendor
nanny. And what does this result in spiritually? It implants in the mind
of the client the subtle belief that a caring mother-child bond
with another person is more important than a fathering relationship that
points to the mystical relation with God the Father.
Just as healthy emotional development
depends on a father coming between the mother and
child, to sever the childs emotional enmeshment with the mother, good
psychotherapeutic work must let the unconscious come between the client and
psychotherapist. This means that the psychotherapeutic process must always
involve a symbolic fathering by which clients are led to recognize
and overcome the illusions of their unconscious
identifications with others and, in the process, to heal the
hostility that underlie those identifications.
and Managed Care
Only when you become
to practice independently will you have the freedom to choose to practice
in faithful witness to your
faith. Until you have established a reputable practice
of your own, supported by clients who are willing to pay out-of-pocket for
something more than mediocrity, and that truly safeguards
you will have to cope not only with clinical internships but also
with the Managed Care system.
In any clinical internship, you
will have no choice in the clients given to you, and you will be required
to treat their problems as directed by a clinical supervisor. In short, you
can be required to accept abortion, birth control, divorce, and lifestyles
defiant of chastity as valid aspects of
system is similar, in that unless you treat all the clients given to you
and treat their problems as prescribed by the authority of the system, you
will not get paid. Managed Care has no concern for the soul; it has concern
only for the bottom line of economic profit.
What You Can
Do During Training
In spite of all the obstacles,
there are still some things that you can do to minimize the spiritual damage
of secular psychological training.
Attend a graduate school at a
Catholic university, if you can find one. Or attend a private graduate
that teaches psychology from within the perspective of the Catholic
In addition to the academic training
provided by any school itself, seek out your own personal training at your
own expense. Attend training and continuing education seminars in subjects
such as psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, the use of hypnosis
and metaphorical language, and so on. But, in all of this, filter out any
New Age ideas from the core concepts.
Enter into personal psychotherapy
with a psychologist who practices within the Catholic faith.
In order to comprehend the
psychological aspects of Christianity, ground yourself in the true mystical
basis of the Catholic faith. Study the
mystics who understood how to make religion into a
lifestyle. Then follow their
prayer and fasting to help you endure the
difficulties you will face, to seek protection from all that would
attack you, to overcome the opposition that will be
thrown in your path, and to detach yourself from
identification with the secular world
In essence, your disciplining
yourself to accomplish your task of training without compromising your faith
will actually prepare you to guide your future clients into the same discipline
that can help them heal their psychological problems.
Whenever you encounter clients
whose moral standards (or lack of moral standards) conflict with your own
sense of moral conduct, you will be tempted to tell them that you will not
accept them as clients. To reject a client outright like this, however, can
get you sued for discrimination.
So what can you do?
Well, keep one fundamental rule
in mind whether you are a student in training or a licensed
reject a client for moral reasons. Let the client reject you.
You can adhere to this rule if
you treat the moral issue like any other clinical issue. For example, if
someone came to you seeking treatment for
depression, you might say, There are a
variety of treatments for depression. You could take medications to suppress
the symptoms. You could try Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to control the symptoms.
I work from a theoretical perspective that tries to understand, rather than
get rid of symptoms, so I look for the underlying meaning of things. Youre
welcome to work with me to get to the unconscious roots of your depression,
or you might want to see someone else with a different theoretical
perspective. Then you would let the prospective client make his
or her own decision to accept you or reject you.
In a similar way, if someone
came to you seeking encouragement and justification for behavior that you
know is sinful, you could say, I work from a theoretical perspective
that sees this particular behavior as morally disordered and sinful. There
are other psychotherapists who think differently. Youre welcome to
work with me to learn how to change your behavior, or you might want to see
someone else with a different theoretical perspective. Then let
that person reject you. At least you have done your
Christian duty to give a warning about sin, but
you havent rejected anyone. This, after all, is precisely the way Christ
Institute for the
offers graduate training in clinical psychology that is grounded in Catholic