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Posts tagged "Psychotherapy"

Another Week Ends: John Henryism, Fargo, ISIS, The Modern Mind, and Halo Losers

1) A trio of articles surfaced recently about the psychological relationships between work ethic and mental health. It appears that anxiety is on the rise, especially for achievers. The first one of note, from The Atlantic, introduces the phenomenon of “John Henryism,” claiming that there is a paradoxical health risk to those who happen to […]

The Priesthood of All Couples Counselors

Building on last week’s Fargo post, some food for thought from pages 119-120 of writer-philosopher-‘religious atheist’ Alain de Botton’s provocative How to Think More About Sex (other brave portions of which we excerpted here):


“In a perfect world, all couples would be visited by a psychotherapist on a weekly basis, without even having to put themselves forward for the service. The session would simply be a regular feature of a good, ordinary life, as the Friday evening meal is for Jews, and would offer some of the same cathartic function as this ritual. Above all, neither party would be made to feel by society that he or she was crazy for having therapy–which is currently the main reason people neglect to see therapists and therefore slowly go crazy.

This ideal therapist would take a history of a relationship, explore its current tensions and try to serve as a catalyst for the sort of change that the couple themselves were too weak, busy or confused to bring about on their own. She would remind her clients that every exchange, however minor, had meaning and could set off a chain of recriminations and resentments that would prevent them from wanting to have sex. She would teach them to treat the complicated business of being in a relationship with extraordinary care. She would ask them both to arrive at every session with a list of issues that had arisen during the previous week, and insist that they each listen to the other’s complaints compassionately, without resorting to angry self-justification or injured self-pity… She would review their individual psychological histories and endeavor to help make the couple aware of some of the ways in which, because of their particular pasts, they might both be likely to distort or misread reality. And when arguments did flare up, she would urge each of them to see the other as being wounded and sad rather than malicious or spiteful.

This therapist would belong to a new kind of priesthood, designed for an age that no longer believes in religious forgiveness and understanding in the afterlife but that is still very much in need of those same qualities in the here and now.”

Addiction, Psychotherapy, and Paul Tillich

We all have our doubts about Paul Tillich (heresy, philandering, or the embarrassingly earnest Christian existentialist phase you had in college), but he crafted some seriously good Protestant ethics in a small tract called Morality and Beyond. With his trademark psychological acumen, he’s one of the few ethicists who casts the question in Law/Grace terminology. […]

The Pros and Cons of a Shrunken Life: Psychotherapy as Release Valve

The cover story of the NY Times Magazine, “My Life in Therapy” by Daphne Merkin, is jam-packed with insights, many of which are relevant to us here. I don’t know about you but I’ve always found the kneejerk suspicion of psychology in certain Christian ciricles pretty embarrassing (not to mention completely unnecessary). Indeed, we at […]