Friday, May 27, 2005

Your article reveals an astonishing level of ignorance

Your article reveals an astonishing level of ignorance regarding both Nietzche and more fundamentally, on the practice of psychotherapy. Your misunderstandings are so many in number that I hardly know where to begin my commentary. However, to save you some time, I will say unequivocally that the practice of psychotherapy, or its pursuit of "self-actualization", does NOT mandate a rejection of spirtual beliefs, ethics, morals or religious beliefs. Quite to the contrary. The purpose of therapy is simply to develop a personality that is more functional in its ability to participate in its environment. Functional simply means "successful", a meaning that is typically defined by the client, and is not imposed by a therapist. Some people want to be more successful in their spiritual lives, others want to match their behavior with scriptural instructions. The goals that people bring into therapy are as diverse as the general population. No competent therapist would impose their world view on their clients. The notion that contemporary therapy is a derivative of Nietzche's philosophy is pure fantasy. Next time you are entertaining this silly notion try having an in-depth discussion on Nietzche's philosophy or particular books with a local counselor or even Psychologist. You will be quite disappointed to discover that they are unfamiliar with his work --- this general ignorance of Philosophy in general and Nietzche in particular, absolutely eliminates the notion that therapists are consciously using elements of Nietzche in treating their patients. You are seriously overestimating the educational background of most therapists ---- they are NOT that intellectual.There are many more arguments against your thesis, but the fact that the alleged purveyors of "values" are unfamiliar with your "villan du jour" makes the assertion of teaching Nietzche to patients completely absurd. You need to rethink this, perhaps read a bit on the history of psychology . . .


A psychologist who is familiar with Nietzche and finds his work useless in a therapeutic setting

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for the letter. I agree with you that not all therapists are as Leanne Payne, a Christian therapist said “post-modernist subjectivist.”

What I’m saying is that God created reality-material and moral- so that there is a “mandated” or objective right(good) or wrong(evil/sin). This is called the Christian world view. Therapy as taught by the authors I mentioned in the article hold that the self or parts of the “unconscious” decide what is right or wrong. For example, in the materially objective case if one drinks poison, one will get sick or die. In the morally objective case if one holds that there is no objective right or wrong only the self or parts of the self fulfilling itself, then you have Maslow as well as Adler cheerleading for pedophilia.

I agree that most people including therapist don’t realize they are using Nietzschean ideas. For example, you don’t realize you’re using Nietzschean ideas in your argument. Over and over again in the letter you are saying-in various expressions- that one should not “impose” one’s values(opinions) on other’s values(opinions). But when an objective moral good(a child’s innocence) is abused by an objective wrong(pedophilia) then one must “impose” a punishment(jail the pedophile). The question you must ask yourself is are you a subjectivist like Maslow and Adler or someone who holds that there is objective moral reality like Leanne Payne?


This article should be mandatory reading in 1st year theology as well as youth ministry or cross-cultural missionary workshops.
As a 34 year old Catholic seeking to understand objective reality and conform to it, I really enjoyed your article "Nietzschean Psychoanalysis and the Boston Catastrophe".

Keep up the great work. I look forward to reading more of your articles.



Hi Fred,

That article was awesome!
As for the references to objective truth, I have a number of books on
my shelf that I will send to you later.
I have to tell you that after I read your article, it strengthened my
resolve not to be afraid of modern psychology and philosophy.



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