I read a lot of Hollywood stars who go to psychotherapists, psychiatrists and psychologists for a handsome fee just so someone will listen to them. These mind professionals choose from a range of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, reality therapy, Kent therapy, transactional analysis, etc., to use on their patients/clients. Psychoanalysis and psychotherapists use free association based on Sigmund Freud’s theory of the id, ego, and super ego. Reality Therapy developed by William Glasser gives more stress on the individual’s present action rather than his past experiences and present mental health. Transactional analysis developed by Dr. Thomas A. Harris concentrates more on the Parent/Child recordings in the mind of the individual and the Adult perception of reality. A modern author, Dr. M. Scott Peck, stresses an individual’s discipline and sense of responsibility for his overall well being.
Other people try the more popular radio programs for advice from the DJs who either take the callers seriously or just make fun of them on air.
When a person commits a sin, depending on his religious upbringing, background and morality, the peace equilibrium is, in most cases, disturbed. There are sins which one may see as petty like saying a white lie or just being plain lazy. Some sins are committed for the first time by a person. Other sins are more serious which may pose a serious danger to the society, the family, or to the person committing the sin. It is the disturbed equilibrium which causes a psychological or spiritual contraction, so to speak, where the tension gathers strength in the person, until the tension reaches to a point that it seeks release. The person feels a sense of guilt or remorse and wants to revert to his former peace of mind. A person, if he has a strong conscience, will not find peace until he feels a sense of forgiveness and starts anew with a clean slate. In contrast, a person with little or no religious and moral background can take the tension until it reaches to a point that his conscience is hardened and he does not feel any pang of guilt anymore. This peace equilibrium in the mind or psyche of the person is what makes for a good mental and spiritual health. Without this peace equilibrium being restored in the person who commits a sin, he may drift from day to day unfocused, ineffective and even self-destructive.
Jesus said,”… If your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Mt. 6:23) It is this light within us which we must attempt to be always light, so we will not be engulfed in darkness. When Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation, He was acting as our Spiritual Therapist. He knew that like the prodigal son, we will feel the need to go back to the Father, even if it may be repetitive in the process, He knowing fully well how weak we are. Jesus said in the Diary of St. Faustina that He is always waiting for us in the confessional. He knows that time and time again, we will need healing of the spirit, mind and body. For this purpose, among others, Jesus instituted likewise the Sacrament of the Priesthood so the priest will be an “alter christus,” another Christ, to hear the confession of His faithfuls. No one can take the special place of a priest who is the only person who can hear confession in behalf of Christ. Christ has exalted His priests so much so that even the angel who was giving Holy Communion to St. Faustina did not arrogate that special and exalted office for himself.
Priests are, so to speak, modern therapists looking after the overall well being of their penitents. The seal of secrecy assures them that they can open their minds and hearts to the priests with a deep sense of trust and confidence. And they serve without a handsome fee because they do that in the name of and in behalf of Christ, their Big Boss.