I recently had the opportunity to attend the annual Catholic Psychotherapy Association Conference in Atlanta, GA, with Dr. Peter Kleponis and Fr. Sean Kilcawley. It was an incredible event with great speakers and topics and mental health professionals with their eyes on the science of psychology and their hearts on the mercy and healing power of Jesus. All in all, a true blessing to be there. If you happen to be looking for a Catholic therapist, please check out their member directory here.
While I was there, I got to spend some time with an old friend, Dr. Paul Vitz, Professor Emeritus, New York University and Senior Scholar for The Institute for the Psychological Sciences and Divine Mercy University. Of course, when two old friends from New York get together, what do we talk about…porn and masturbation. Just kidding, we caught up, spoke about family, work, etc. but then did speak about porn, masturbation, sexual crises in Church and society, and what a great, enlightening conversation we had.
Paul recently wrote an op-ed piece titled “The Sexual Crisis is a Crisis of Character: A Psychological Perspective”, I’d like to share some highlights from the article and conversation with you:
- The “sexual crisis” in our country began in the early 1950s when it was common to attribute all of our psychological problems to sexual repression and moral prudishness based upon current( at the time) interpretations of Freud and psychoanalysis.
- Late in the 1950s and increasingly in the 1960s, psychologists began emphasizing that the “self” should choose its values and way of life.
- The ideology of “I have my truth, you have yours” led us to where we are in the sexualized culture today, with many people choosing selfish goals
- Good news is the “Positive Psychology” movement (started about 20 years ago) is still gaining ground in recognizing the importance of virtue and character
- According to Dr. Vitz: “self-control has been found to be a good long term predictor of a flourishing life”
To quote Dr. Vitz’s final paragraph:
“What our culture needs now is to recognize again what we once knew… that the good man and good women are persons of good character. For men, this means recapturing control of their sexuality and their aggressiveness. And this time around, psychology can probably be of help.”
There is hope and there is healing possible from pornography and sexual addiction. Here at Integrity Restored, we have learned that true hope and healing need three components:
- Good science-based counseling and therapy, which is open to the inclusion of the spiritual life
- Strong, candid spiritual direction and commitment to spiritual growth, open to the inclusion of scientific psychology
- Accountability through 12 step programs, recovery groups, men’s groups etc.
This is a battle we can win through prayer, education, counseling, accountability and yes, hard work. But, it is winnable, there is hope and healing is possible!
May God bless you all,