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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

Questions and Answers

This question isn’t meant to threaten, judge, or attack you or your website in any way. I understand and agree with your explanations in using alcohol, drugs, mobile devices, even religion itself as psychological defenses. But my question is, aren’t psychologists merely using psychology as their own psychological defense? Psychologists seem so quick to call the inferior behavior of others out, but in reality they are running from their own emotional confusion by an incessant drive to be in control of the minds and emotions of themselves and others. And while Catholic psychotherapists such as yourself preach the virtue of humility and letting go, in reality they are a bit hypocritical because they themselves never really “let go and let God.” Instead they use psychology as a mechanism to hide from the wounds of their unconscious. Maybe psychology is just the “highest” form of such a defense. Have you considered that maybe since humans are of the flesh, it is impossible to escape such psychological defenses? Thanks for all you do.

Given that most psychotherapists [1] are not Catholic, I would say that most psychotherapists are, to use your words, “merely using psychology as their own psychological defense.” I can even state what they are defending themselves against: the need to surrender to the truth of the Christian faith. And given that many psychotherapists who call themselves Catholic either do not really live in complete obedience to the true Faith or do not understand the psychology of the Catholic mystics, I also agree with you that these persons use psychology to avoid having to “let go and let God.”

Catholic psychotherapy, as I describe it on this website, has one purpose: to help individuals fully confront and heal the wounds of their unconscious by overcoming the fear of living in complete obedience to the true Faith.

Not all psychological defenses are unhealthy, however; many defenses, such as humor, serve a highly functional purpose. Thus we really cannot “escape” our defenses because, as you say, we are humans of the flesh. With genuine trust in Christ, however, we can be set free from our defensive—and often unconscious—tendency to hide our pain from ourselves. And once we stop hiding our pain from ourselves we can stop hiding our pain from God, and then we can live honest religious lifestyles.


Who wrote this web page?


1. Just to clarify the technical terms, a psychotherapist is someone who practices psychotherapy, and such a person can legally practice under any of several professional licenses: Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), and Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). For more information about these various licenses, and about the difference between psychotherapy and counseling, see my web page (on A Guide to Psychology and its Practice) called Psychology: Clinical and Counseling—and Licensure


Who wrote this web page?


Psychological Healing in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

by Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

A treasure of a resource for psychological and spiritual healing. Information gathered from my websites is now available at your fingertips in book form with a comprehensive index.
Psychological defenses help to protect us from emotional injury, but if you cling to the defense mechanisms that were created in your childhood and carry them on into adulthood—as most everyone does unconsciously—your quest for spiritual healing will be thwarted by overwhelming resentments and conflicts.
Still, God has been trying to show you that there is more to life than resentment and conflict, something so beautiful and desirable that only one thing can resist its pull: hate.
So now, and in every moment until you die, you will have a profound choice between your enslavement to old defenses and the beauty of God. That decision has to come from you. You will go where you desire.

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Where Catholic therapy (Catholic psychotherapy) is explained according to Catholic psychology in the tradition of the Catholic mystics.