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EDITORIAL: Counseling unnecessary, unproductive in self-centered society

By Mirror Reflection
On April 25, 2012

Because we live in an individualistic society, we have the need to express our distress to others. However, because the people to whom we tell our emotions are themselves self-centered people, they often do not care.

People struggle to find a medium in which they can vent, and counseling strives to provide a place where people can just talk without the interruption of an individualistic voice.

In effect, counseling exists because it provides a space wherein a person becomes an object of attention and where someone who is trained to deny himself or herself just listens.

In his book "Man and His Symbols," psychoanalyst Carl Jung briefly argues that therapy comes from our societal need to confess our shame, which itself stems from the Catholic confession. The modern counselor is like the medieval priest, he says.

It is unfortunate that, as Jung eloquently points out, we live in a society that makes us experience deep indignations that we feel we must confess. However, there is no need to confess our shame to an unknown other, so one must question the validity of the counseling profession as a whole. The counselor does nothing but listen, which has no effect because it is so passive.

If a person understands himself or herself well enough, which can come about through deep thinking, serious reading and reflective journaling, then he or she will find the solutions to crippling problems. There becomes no need for a listener.

In short, one should take time to discover oneself and not run to counseling centers. As the German philosopher Friedrich Neitzche said, "The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the price of owning yourself."

Rational people should avoid the self-centered tribe to understand who and what they are - alone and with dignity.


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