Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 130 of 154 
Next page End Contents 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135  

making, and so on. We have to feel responsible and able to
think before we take problem solving seriously; otherwise, we
let authorities, writers, friends, and others think for us. This is
an important attitude to bolster our independence. 
Faith: In a religion, in priests and healers, in science, in spirits, in others, in
ourselves, in drugs, in treatment and so on. Beliefs in sources of help, such as
science or religion, have a powerful influence on our lives. Over 90% of
Americans believe in some kind of higher power, a superior being or
force. Awesome powers and consequences are thought to be involved: God
answering each person's prayers, determining everything that has ever
happened or ever will happen, arranging for ever-lasting life in heaven or
through reincarnation, providing an intimate, personal relationship with the
supreme being, and so on. In addition, many people all over the earth (and
since prerecorded times) depend on God or spirits to heal physical diseases,
to bring good weather, to provide necessities, and to relieve mental suffering.
Examples: faith-healers like Oral Roberts, witch-doctors in Africa, medicine
men among the Indians, Buddhist devotion to ancestral spirits, and shaman in
primitive tribes. 
Keep in mind that 75% of the people on earth today have no
access to modern, scientifically based medicine...or to psychotherapy
or psychological self-help. For that 75%, spiritual help and community-
family support is all that is available. Even after modern medicine and
psychotherapy are make available, it takes a generation or two for a
culture to give up the old beliefs and accept the new. For example,
90% of Native Americans felt helped by going to the tribe's shaman
but only 40% felt helped by mental health counselors (Cordes, 1985).
Having faith in your source of help is a critical factor in determining it's
effectiveness, especially in religious and psychological treatment
(Frank, 1974). In fact, in some instances, the power of your own belief
system--the "suggestion or placebo effect"--may be much greater than
the drug, faith healer, religion, therapy, or self-help method you may
use. In addition, belief in culturally accepted healing methods--
religious or scientific--is often powerfully reinforced by a caring
community and by a supportive family. There are many reasons why
the things we believe in actually work for us. Knowing the truth,
however, about what really works and why should help us in the long
As observed in chapter 6 on depression, becoming more "in tune
with" a protective, caring, loving, omnipotent God is surely
spiritually and emotionally uplifting. With religion, life definitely has
some special meaning; you become significant. What could be more
reassuring and comforting than to be approved of and loved by God?
Many people who are lonely, depressed, anxious, self-critical,
purposeless, and lost would be well advised to investigate the benefits
they might get from a carefully selected and loving religious group.
There are thousands of books attempting to persuade people to
become religious and depend on God. Norman Vincent Peale would be
an example. Many studies, however, have found little or no
relationship overall between religiosity and honesty, helping others,
Previous page Top Next page

« Back