Our expert says:
Yes, I absolutely NEVER EVER recommend that someone see a cleric or religious figure for counselling on a life problem, because in my long experience, though clerics are often happy to opblige, they rarely have any actual skills and training to be effectively helpful.
Of course, if you searched my archives well, you'd see that when the person is speaking of a primarily faith-related, spiritual problem, I do advise them to seek religious advice, which shrinks are not qualified to give.
Now, I think we agree more than we disagree. You point out that in many situations, ultimately, the individual needs to find their solutions in themselves ( and, of course, to carry them out !). That is where any properly trained shrink would encourage them to do just that, rather than imposing solutions from the Great Book of Solutions. Why I recommend CBT so much is because that is exactly what that method does - helps the persopn review possible alternative approaches, to test and evaluate them, and then to choose their own Best Fit solution and to stick with it. And this is where I worry about religious figures who have NOT had proper training in this area of work, who tend to deal with problems and issues outside of their expertise, and too often try to impose solutions they hold with extreme certainty, whether or not they fit or suit the individual. One Size Fits All, as they used to say in adverts for support underwear !
Because ultimately the Answer needs to come from the individual, doesn't automatically mean every individual will be able on their own to discover it and operationalize it. And if you watch, often we are hearing from people who have already tried the solutions that they could think of, and when those don't work, are seeking further advice.
Also, because there are obvious limits on the extent to which through this forum mechanism we can ask all the relevant questions and review all the answers and work progressively through the various alternatives they have, its wise to advise they also consult a shrink, even for a couple of sessions, to do they necessary work in which their role shopuld be active and crucial.
You'll notice I never recommend forms of shrinkery such as hypnosis on its own ( in which someone alese takes pwer and responsibility from you and imposes a single solution they devise ) ; or psychoanalysis, because it also works from fixed principles, disempowers he individual, and tends to take years to achieve very little.
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