Reluctance to Enter Therapy, and Neediness

In my latest reading of The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth, M. Scott Peck talked about the challenges of going into therapy, as well as needy people.

I could identify with what Peck was saying.  First, let’s take the challenges of going into therapy.  Why are people so afraid to receive therapy?  And why, once they go into therapy, do they talk around issues rather than just being honest?  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can offer some ideas.  I think that there are a variety of reasons that people fear going into therapy.  They may want to feel that they are doing okay because, otherwise, they’d be racked with guilt, wondering if they are doing things right.  Perhaps they’re afraid that the therapist would rebuke them, or recommend that they do things that they don’t want to do, out of fear, or doubt about their own abilities, or resentment.  In my opinion, a therapist should be gentle.  Some are and some are not.

Peck talks about barriers that inhibit people from undertaking therapy, and he contends that depression can get them on the right track.  If people get to the point where they’re depressed, they want things to get better, and they have some sense that the map that they’re using to get through life is flawed, they may be open to therapy.

Second, let’s talk about needy people.  Peck says on page 99:

“People with this disorder, passive dependent people, are so busy seeking to be loved that they have no energy left to love.  They are like starving people, scrounging wherever they can for food, and with no food of their own to give to others.”

I think that a number of evangelicals believe that becoming a Christian and having a personal relationship with God will take care of this problem.  When people become Christians and cultivate their relationship with God, the spiel runs, then they will feel loved by God and thus won’t be as needy.  Then they’ll be able to love others.  Perhaps there’s something to this.  Maybe it even works in a number of people’s lives.  But it’s not easy for everyone, for people cannot see God; consequently, they may think that they need love from a flesh-and-blood human being to feel complete.  But how can needy people get over their neediness, which hinders healthy relationships?

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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