Developing Self-Compassion

Issues this post seeks to address:

  • What is self-compassion?
  • How does practicing self-compassion reduce guilt?

Posts related to this post:

Internalized Guilt

I once had a Catholic friend tell me about something called “Catholic guilt.” It refers to a persistent feeling of guilt and remorse for having done something wrong. The perceived offense may real or imagined, easily identified or unidentifiable. “Catholic guilt” is a popular enough concept that it’s made its way into common vernacular, though research on the actual degree of guilt Catholics experience as compared to others has had mixed results.

I don’t know whether Catholic guilt is “real” or not; it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine that stricter internalized moral codes could be associated with more feelings of guilt, since there would be more opportunities to violate some aspect of that code. As with many western, Christian religions, the belief in the relative inadequacy of humankind to God promotes the idea of needing to be “better.” The drive for self-improvement, self-control, and discipline are virtues that improve a person’s moral standing, and makes them “better” than they would otherwise be. Continue reading “Developing Self-Compassion”

Normality, the Fermi Paradox, and Faith – A Rational Perspective

Issues this post seeks to address:

  • Are there rational arguments for having spiritual/religious faith?
  • How can the assumption of normality and the Fermi paradox be understood as faith-affirming?

Posts related to this post:

The mental health field maintains a complex relationship with religion. In a 2009 survey of 1,500 university faculty across the U.S., psychology professors emerged as the least likely to believe in a higher power, when compared to professors in other disciplines (Gross & Simmons, 2009). Where less than 10% of accounting professors identified themselves as atheists, 50% of the psychology faculty surveyed denied belief in a higher power.

Continue reading “Normality, the Fermi Paradox, and Faith – A Rational Perspective”

Doing No Harm

I’ve decided to edit this post, following a series of misinterpretations and evidently poor communication on my part that led my someone to contact my supervisor at work to complain. I’m saddened that some people seem to presume that my intent is to break down and diminish faith or instill doubt in church leaders. My intent was only ever to suggest that policy change can help protect our most vulnerable members. I feel passionately about this because I work on a daily basis with those who were mistreated or abused when they were in that vulnerable position. Since the time my post was published, the LDS Church released a statement revising the policies for children being interviewed by church leaders. I’m glad this has happened and am hopeful that continued efforts will lead to greater safety for everyone. If you would like a copy of my original post, you can request one using the contact form on my website.

The Long Game

I work with a few teenagers in my private practice. They tend to be older teenagers, since I tend to enjoy working more with people who are able to self-reflect and think about their thoughts and emotions.

One byproduct of working with older teens is learning how to navigate the sometimes treacherous waters between the teen and their concerned parent. Often, parents who bring their child to therapy do so in the hope that whatever problem they see will get corrected – their child will start doing better in school, stop drinking/smoking, or become more compliant at home. The tricky part comes when the solutions that the parent might see as valid (which they’ve already tried) haven’t worked, and sustainable solutions that could work for the teen seem invalid to the parent. Continue reading “The Long Game”

Developing Identity

During my last year of graduate school, I had to complete a clinical internship in psychology. I did my internship at Purdue University, located in West Lafayette, Indiana. While we were living there, Cielle and I sometimes had to get creative to find things to do. One of the activities we found relatively nearby was to visit a large Amish community, where they offered meals and tours. Having grown up in Houston, and spending most of my life in the western states, I didn’t really know much about the Amish when we visited this community. I knew that they lived simply; they wore pretty traditional clothes and travelled by horse and buggy. I was aware that they seemed to prefer keeping to themselves, and I actually felt a little intrusive coming to their community, even though the tours, meals, and goods they offered visitors was clearly a significant source of income. Continue reading “Developing Identity”

Religiosity in the 21st Century

People believe some weird things. Until the 19th century, the predominant narrative about why people became sick had to do with the balance of four “humors” of the body – blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. For a physician living before the advent of modern medical research, that model was absolutely sufficient to explain a variety of illnesses, given adequate use of assumptions. For us living now in the 21st century, we can look at this model and chuckle at the expense of our forebears, thinking, “How in the world did they ever think that?” Continue reading “Religiosity in the 21st Century”