About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“There is no music worth hearing save that written in the last 40 years.”
— Johannes Tinctoris (1477)

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Ridicule of Therapists
published 18 May 2011 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

Over dinner here at the seminary someone used the word “shrinks” to describe psychotherapists. I cringed and then remarked provocatively, “I happen to have benefited greatly from psychotherapy throughout my long life, so I don’t like to hear that ridiculing word: shrink.”

The group at the table were startled. None of them had ever thought of the matter this way. As our conversation developed I developed the theory that because of the stigma of needing therapy or even the less stigmatized “counseling” some who go or have gone express their sometimes unconscious feelings of shame by making fun of their benefactors.

Presumably the ridiculing word, shrink, came out of the theory that the problem of many clients comes from being “swell-headed” and, therefore, needing their heads to be shrunk. An example would be someone who thinks everyone is watching and judging them in neutral situations. It could take a lot of pride to think that most people are even noticing oneself so much that they would be making judgments.

To end these reflections on a more serious note, I realize that some Catholics have been misled by counselors and therapists who were either half-baked or anti-religious. But, for all of these sad outcomes, I have known many more troubled people who have been brought from dark misery to greater tranquility through good professionals. I have gotten much help from Catholic therapists, but also from an atheist and, even, a Jewish New Ager.

The last one, coming from a similar New York Jewish background to mine, had this explanation of an anxiety I could not understand by myself. I was telling him about how nervous I feel in Catholic work situations because I never know what the bosses really think. Here was his insightful and somewhat funny answer. “Ronda, because Jews lived in Europe mostly in ghettos close in together in apartments, they talked about everything all the time. Irish Catholics, however, came from a country where everything had to be hidden from the English. They talked behind the bushes. If your administrators are mostly Irish Catholics, that is in their bones. So, you’re right to fear that you have no idea what they are really thinking. Maybe you have to trust in God instead of in them?????”

Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.