Authentically Catholic psychotherapy based on St. Thomas Aquinas
April 6, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – It’s undeniable that there are millions of people in the world today struggling with mental and spiritual illness. I often think to myself: If only they were aware of the work of Conrad Baars, they could be living the life God desires them to live.
Conrad Baars was a Catholic psychiatrist born in the Netherlands in 1919. He incorporated the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas into his practice after initially following the theories of Sigmund Freud. On my podcast today, I spoke with Christopher McDonald, a Catholic therapist, about how he uses Baars’ teachings at CatholicTherapists.com to help those who are suffering.
McDonald told me that one of the most important aspects of Baars’ philosophy is the idea of affirmation. No, not the “affirmation” that the world uses to deceptively encourage people to continue living in sin, but the type of affirmation that helps people strive for holiness.
“Affirmation … has nothing to do with positive statements that we say to ourselves or to others,” he told me. “Affirmation is the idea to reaffirm, to make solid a person. Jesus is the model … [affirmation is] simply love.”
McDonald also said that he believes the true pandemic going on in the world today is the “lack of affirmation.” It’s the lack of the nuclear family unit and the strength that parents give to children, he said. “This is having a devastating effect on the children who grow up and they're not adequately affirmed, so they cannot adequately affirm their [own] children. And it goes on and on. You see the slow erosion in family, the slow erosion of society.”
“We live in a culture of the un-affirmed,” he continued. “There is affirmation where there is authentic love.”
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