Psychotherapeutic Dangers – The Nutters Running the Nuthouse

‘Sin is never the worst thing that can happen to a man.  The worst thing is the refusal to recognise his sins.’ – Bishop Fulton Sheen

‘It is good to talk’ ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ ‘Don’t bottle things up!’: All these phrases sound like good advice and following them at times can be of great benefit.  Having a trusted person that you can talk to, who ‘gets it’ and who gives solid advice is a great gift to have. However, these benefits are ultimately based on who you talk to and what advice they give you. This is especially true when it comes to advice on ethical behaviour.  We need people around us to help us recognise ourselves clearly as we do not always see or wish to see certain sides of ourselves.  This article explores the dangers of psychotherapy, particularly in relation to cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and shows why it is often not ‘good to talk’ to psychological professionals, especially those who don’t recognise immoral behaviour for what it is and, as a result, give dangerous and potentially soul destroying advice and guidance.

In a previous article, ‘2+2=4?’, I gave a satirical example of how a psychologist can encourage people to doubt obvious realities.  In another article, ‘Validating Emotions’, I spoke about how emotions are important but that the ultimate guide on whether they are ‘valid’ or not is whether they are in accord with reality.  This article explores how psychotherapy, especially CBT, can encourage you to stop you thinking in concrete ways about reality, can promote immoral behaviour and can encourage subjectivism and moral relativity.

Psychotherapeutic approaches, e.g. CBT, can be useful if it is used by someone who wishes to direct people towards the truth. They can be harmful weapons in the hands of those who do not believe there is an absolute truth or who are confused about the truth.  In the article, ‘2+2=4?’, I used a satirical example to try to highlight this point. But let us take a more concrete example to illustrate what I mean:

A young woman comes into a therapy session saying that she has been feeling really anxious and depressed over the last few months. It soon transpires that she has had an abortion recently.  She feels guilty about this, believes that what she has done is wrong and that she should not have done it.  She has been raised with some Catholic beliefs.  She believes that she may go to hell for what she has done but has not gone to confession about it.  She says that she has thoughts about how bad she is and believes she is a murderer. She goes to a psychologist.  The psychologist believes abortion is a woman’s right and that society only imposes its biased attitudes and prejudices on women who have had abortions. The psychologist believes that this is what causes most of the feelings of guilt or regret in these women (as the Psychological Society of Ireland and many of its members believe- see here).  The psychologist sees this woman’s anxiety and guilt as signs of ‘cognitive distortions’ (see footnote), i.e. they are not in accord with reality.  The psychologist tells the woman that she is experiencing the cognitive distortions of ‘heaven’s reward fallacy’, i.e. believing that there is some ‘global force’ that punishes bad behaviour and rewards good behaviour, ‘labelling’, i.e. calling herself ‘bad’ or a ‘murderer’ because of the abortion, ‘emotional reasoning’, i.e. allowing her feelings to strongly influence how she views the truth, ‘shoulds’ fallacy, i.e. imposing rules on herself and feeling bad when she doesn’t live up to them, and ‘black and white’ thinking, i.e. believing that abortion is wrong and not seeing the grey areas.  The psychologist outlines how these ‘cognitive distortions’ have manifested themselves, e.g. cultural/social conditioning, living in a patriarchal society, high emotions, etc., and helps her to see that abortion is not murder but ‘healthcare’.  The psychologist discourages the guilt that the woman is experiencing and discourages the need for confession.  The woman initially feels better as the psychologist seems kind and caring. She also takes comfort in the fact that it is a psychological authority that has told her these things.  She comes to believe the words the psychologist has spoken as she does not have a strong foundation in the Catholic faith and has some of her own issues with it. She arranges to see the psychologist again to help her work through these ‘cognitive distortions’. 

This is a hypothetical example, but I believe that this is close to the reality for women who seek support from modern psychological services today. The sad thing is that the guilt and anxiety will surface again at some stage and they will appear in all sorts of destructive ways later in the woman’s life.  They will continue to fester until the woman is consumed or destroyed by them.  This is the sorrowful reality for many people who visit modern psychological services today.

CBT is useful but only in the hands of those who have an accurate understanding of what a human being is and what the purpose of life is.  It can be used to encourage people to reflect on whether they are interpreting a situation, their behaviour or their thoughts accurately.  The bedrock for this interpretation is reality. If someone’s thoughts or emotions are not aligned with reality then this can cause serious psychological and emotional difficulties. This is why it is essential that a professional that uses CBT has a firm grounding in and an accurate understanding of reality.  In the hands of a professional who is detached from reality (and there are many of them operating in the world today) CBT will be toxic and corruptive.  Instead of encouraging people to deal with and face reality, they will encourage them to run away from it by telling their clients that they have cognitive distortions or telling their clients that they can not see reality as accurately as they can.  As Fr Ripperger notes, ‘Psychology has caused an enormous amount of damage by preventing people from appropriating their problems. This occurs when someone commits a horrific act which later affects them mentally. The psychologist comes to knowledge of it but tries to assure the person that he is ‘OK’ and that he should not concern himself with it.  Often this is done in order to avoid causing emotional disturbances.  The problem is that it is a denial of reality and denying reality has never helped any mental patient.’ (‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’, p. 96)

Overall, one must be very careful about the professionals you decide to confide in. Psychological professionals are trained to empathise with you and gain your trust. They also hold a position of authority which can encourage people to take the nonsense they speak seriously and follow what they say or advise.  This is especially true if they have a few letters after their name. Although they lack wisdom, they are usually of high intellect and they are able to use convoluted and ‘sophisticated’ arguments citing evidence and science to convince you that they are right and you are wrong.  Some also have the power to take away your rights, put you on compulsory treatment orders or contact other services, e.g. social services, if you persist in your ‘cognitive distortions’.  Some people may respond that it is only humble to not trust your own judgement too much and sometimes we must follow the advice of authorities and those that know better than us.  This is true in some instances and it takes prudence to understand when one should and should not follow the voice of authority. However, one must remember that humility is a willingness to live in accordance with the truth’ (‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’, p. 292).  If you know that what the psychological professional is saying is false or you do not believe it to be true, it is not humble to follow their advice as it is not humble to live one’s life in accordance with falsehood or error. Be on guard. Follow what common sense and the Faith tells you. As Our Lord says, ‘Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Be ye therefore wise as serpents and gentle as doves’ (Matthew 10:16)

One last note: If you are somebody who believes that there are absolute truths and believes in Catholic dogmas, e.g. people either go to heaven or hell when they die, people who die in mortal sin go to hell, or even if you believe that there are scientific facts, e.g. there are only two sexes, abortion is the murder of an innocent human being, be very careful going to any psychotherapist or psychologist today. They will likely see these beliefs as some form of ‘cognitive distortion’, e.g. black and white thinking, a fallacy of fairness, a ‘should’ mentality, an ‘always being right’ mentality, etc.  Due to the training they have had and the lies and falsehoods they have been exposed to and accepted, e.g. the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) and its members promoting abortion and homosexual behaviour,  it will be highly likely that they will work at ways of ‘helping’ you to see things more clearly, i.e. their way or the ‘new’, ‘liberal’, ‘enlightened’ way.  Be on alert to this. Ground yourself in the truth and stand firm in it.  In these times where it is hard to trust figures in authoritative positions, Professor Charles A Dubray’s words are particularly salient: ‘It is necessary to learn how to use one’s own reason and to practice the difficult art of criticism so as to distinguish truth from falsity, and thus to become able to steer one’s own mental life, to think for oneself, and no longer depend too exclusively on the thinking of others.’ (‘Introductory Philosophy’, p. 5)

May God bless you in your endeavours to ‘distinguish truth from falsity’.

Footnote: The cognitive distortions listed above are a selection from the article, ’15 Common Cognitive Distortions’ from one of the most popular and influential websites for psychological advice, psychcentral.com.  Overall, this article pushes subjectivism and moral relativism as the right way to think.    

The City/Country Divide

‘Take me away from the city, and leave me to where I can be on my own’ – Opening line, ‘Summer in Dublin’ – Bagatelle

Across the world, people regularly speak about a city/country or urban/rural divide.  This is often spoke about in Ireland with much jovial and fun filled banter about the ‘Jackeens’ up in Dublin and the ‘culchies’ or ‘boggers’ down the country.  There are many stereotypes thrown at one group to another but often the differences we speak about are exaggerated rather than grounded in reality. (Go to any Gaelic football or hurling match and you will see how banter between the counties is all part of a good day out and this exaggeration is all part of the craic). However, in saying the above, it must be noted that there are differences in attitudes between those living in city and rural areas. These differences were clearly shown in the different levels of support for the last three Referenda in Ireland.

The last three Referenda in Ireland have shown a clear division between city areas and rural areas. For example, in the homosexual ‘marriage’ Referendum, the five areas that reported the highest support for this homosexual ‘marriage’ were all in the Dublin region. The five areas that were least in support of this unnatural ‘union’ were all rural areas, i.e. Roscommon-South Leitrim, Donegal South West, Cavan/Monaghan, Mayo and Donegal North East.  In the abortion Referenda, the five areas that had the highest support for abortion were all in the Dublin region. The five areas that were least in support of this atrocity were all rural areas, i.e. Donegal, Cavan-Monaghan, Mayo, Roscommon-Galway and Offaly.  Again in the most recent blasphemy Referendum, the five areas most in support of removing the Second Commandment from Irish law were in all in the Dublin region while the five areas least in support of it were rural areas, i.e. Donegal, Roscommon-Galway, Sligo-Leitrim, Cavan-Monaghan and Mayo.  So what is causing this city/rural divide?  Why is it that city dwellers are so much more likely to support legislation that promotes immorality and destroys natural laws? While not getting into the historical reasons for this division, this blog takes a brief look at some of the psychological/social reasons why this is the case.

Don’t forget the bog’:

Before I explore these questions, I must admit that I was once a city dweller who believed that he was hip and ‘progressive’ in his attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. I supported feminist causes, supported homosexual ‘rights’ and I was disgusted to see pro-life protestors outside of hospitals that provided a service that I believed women needed.  During this period, I would be a frequent customer of ‘hip’ coffee joints and trendy bars.  At one stage, in the space of about one month, I went to the theatre twice and the opera once.  I used to like telling people about how cultured and progressive I was and how backward they were if they didn’t agree with me. Some people were more impressed than others with my attitude. I told my father, who is from a farming background in rural Ireland, about these trips to the theatre and opera. I clearly remember him looking at me with some disdain and then saying, ‘Now, don’t forget the bog’. I did not quite understand what he meant and I was too proud to really give it much thought at the time but the phrase stuck with me. Now that I have thankfully seen through many of the errors of my ways, I believe that I finally understand what he meant.  At a psychological level, ‘forgetting the bog’ is what is causing much of the craziness we are seeing in the voting patterns across Ireland, especially in our cities.

So, what does it mean ‘don’t forget the bog’?  It means ‘don’t forget your roots’ and ‘don’t be getting carried away with yourself’ or ‘don’t be getting notions of yourself’ as we say in Ireland, i.e. thinking you or your generation are more enlightened than anyone who has ever come before you.  This forgetting of one’s roots and getting carried away with yourself is one of the main reasons we see the disparity in voting patterns between city and rural constituencies. In the city, one is exposed to all sorts of distractions and temptations.  This can stop people from thinking clearly as their intellect and will are weakened and darkened by the temptations they give into. Their minds often have no time to analyse things in a deep and consistent manner. There is a constant stirring up of the passions in the cities, whether it be through advertising or other messages or images that are designed to entice our sensual appetites. This makes it hard to see things clearly as Fr Ripperger notes in his book, ‘Introduction to the Science of Mental Health’, Passions affect the intellect’s ability to judge the truth of the matter due to loss of tranquility of mind which is necessary to judge truth.’  For those who wish to think deeper about moral issues (or at least look like they are doing so), they are often attracted to the arts world where shows, plays or movies are packed full of subtle and not so subtle ‘progressive’ messages.  For example, I remember going to a play, ‘The Risen People’ at the Abbey Theatre, which, on reflection, was a form of Marxist propaganda. After this play, the transgender activist, Panti Bliss, was given an opportunity to spread his message of transgender ‘acceptance’.  He received a standing ovation at the time. I was one of the first up to applaud him as, at that stage, I was truly beginning to forget the bog. 

Environments can make sin repulsive or attractive to us, for our surroundings affect us all.  But we can choose the environment we wish and can ruthlessly reject the one that leads to trouble. – Fulton Sheen

The modern city is a place which is noisy, busy, distracting, full of temptations and packed full of toxic messages promoting unnatural behavior. In this environment, it is more difficult to see the truth of things clearly.  Some people manage to keep focused on the truth but, voting patterns show that many more people in the cities, compared to those in the countryside, have lost touch with reality.  Across Ireland, but especially in the cities, there are clever ploys to distort reality and pull people’s minds in nefarious directions. People, especially young people, are exposed to much error and to many lies that are often dressed up as ‘progressive’, ‘tolerant’ and ‘compassionate’.  One’s passions are stirred, one’s will is weakened and one’s intellect is disturbed by the confused messages and images it is exposed to.  If exposed to this environment for a long enough time, memories of a different way of seeing the world can fade into the background and one may eventually start thinking that homosexual ‘marriage’, abortion and insulting God are ‘progressive’ and ‘rights’ that people need.  People in rural areas do get exposed to toxic images and messages, especially through the media and advertisements, but it is not on the same scale or at the same frequency as people in the city. It is easier to ‘not forget the bog’ in the countryside and store images and memories of a healthier and more sane society.  All of the above contributes to the heightened madness we are seeing in the cities.  As city dweller’s intellects become more darkened and confused, as false and immoral ways of viewing the world and human behavior become the social norm, and as city dweller’s wills become weaker, these patterns only increase and the toxic ideas, attitudes and behaviours only spread further. However, we still have a choice…

So I’m leaving on Wednesday morning,   trying to find a place where I can hear, the wind and the birds and the sea on the rocks, and where open roads always are near’ – Start of second verse, ‘Summer In Dublin’ – Bagatelle

So if you are someone who is living in the city and your mind is confused or you feel bewildered and are leaning towards ‘progressive’ ideas, I highly recommend that you take a break from the city and connect with the countryside and your roots once more.  Detox your mind from the toxic messages you are receiving daily.  Take time out to analyse whether the way you are thinking is grounded in the truth.  Stop thinking that people in rural Ireland are ‘behind the times’ and are only following what their forefathers believed.  Those in rural Ireland are closer to the truth than you realise. City folk have more to learn from ‘boggers’ and ‘culchies’ than any lessons they can provide us boggers. Rather than seeing country people as mindless followers, it might be worth checking if the ‘progressive’ thoughts that you maintain are really the truth or just a product of the environment you find yourself in.  Countryside breaks may help to give you a brief return to sanity. These breaks can give you a glimpse of what peace of mind is really like but they won’t solve all your problems. It makes me think of the show on BBC called ‘Escape to the Country’.  It sells commercial dreams of getting away from the city madness.  This appeals to people as many people are looking to escape and experience freedom. In general, it is good advice to try to escape toxic environments but this show never addresses the fundamental problem of the toxic ideas that may have built up in people’s minds due to the influence of modern city living.  One must also overcome one’s darkened and false way of seeing the world if one is to truly escape. Changing one’s environment is a start; changing one’s mind, heart and behavior, so they conform with the truth and reality, is the solution.