Articles Christian Living 

Therapy, sin & modern idols

I’ve often heard Christians say they struggle talking about sin for fear of coming across as judgemental. It’s an understandable concern but a largely unnecessary one.

Sin, not just as an action but as an idolatry, can be identified by its destructive consequences and you don’t need to step into a church to hear about. Step instead into the therapist’s office.

Late last year the Guardian published this article about therapy in Britain today and the estimated one million people who visited a therapist. One of the therapists interviewed said,

“The fundamental issue is always, who am I? How can I be in the world? The questions people used to take to the priest and the wise woman: self, relationship, existence.”

The challenge for the Western church is to offer the hope of the gospel that goes far beyond the ability of even the best therapist.

Internet porn addiction

“A lot of young men make daily use of porn on the internet. I’ve worked with quite a few who have been sent by their girlfriends because they think they have a porn addiction. And they probably do. But they don’t see it as a problem, so they tend not to stay.”

Body dysmorphia

“There’s a huge pressure on everyone to look a certain way, and it’s coming from everywhere.”

Workplace insecurity

“There are a lot of very vulnerable families out there, and I think we’re going to reap what we have sown. If we don’t provide a strong base for families, the consequences are not good; children’s capacity to thrive, on all levels, is affected by their family life.”

Multiple relationships

“The biggest change is that people are experimenting with all kinds of relationship styles: not living together, not having children, constructing three- and foursomes that exist over time, and much more involvement in what is known as BDSM or kink. At the same time as the growing trend in polyamory, the government is trying to privilege traditional marriage with tax breaks and so on. It’s fascinating to see how people are rebelling against the government in their intimate lives.”

Social Anxiety

“I’m seeing a lot of people in their 30s. There’s a feeling that life is difficult and complex, that it isn’t working out…what they really want in life versus what they feel is expected of them. Our internal world is often in conflict with the world we occupy with others and society.”

Work/life clash

“I also see people overwhelmed by the pace of work who have decided they want a better quality of life, rather than material gain. It’s happening earlier, from around 30”

Domestic overload

“I’m seeing a lot of people who are struggling. Mothers juggling way too many balls – working, managing the finances and the family, and not feeling supported by anyone. Fathers feeling trapped either in work or unemployment, needing to pay the mortgage, feeling like wage slaves and unappreciated in the household.”

Social media addiction

“I see a wide range of people – students, couples, professionals, semi-skilled people – and 60% of my clients are men. Internet addiction is something I’m seeing a lot of. Not just pornography but social media: YouTube, online gambling, forums, it is addiction across the whole range. It’s interfering in their day-to-day life – studies, work or relationships – so they come to me to try to break away from that or manage it. At the moment they’re all male, from a student to a businessman in his 40s.”

Relationship breakdown

“I am seeing a large number of people in mid-affair or dealing with the aftermath of an affair. The gender fluctuates.”

stress

“There’s a lot of stress now surrounding work. Where there are lay-offs, those left behind are having to do more as their funding is cut and everyone’s responsibilities increase, but without more support. Managers are finding it very stressful and everyone is much more scared about losing their jobs.”

Read the whole thing here.

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