This is a guest post by Dr. Darrel W. Ray, founder of Recovering from Religion, and founder and project leader of the Secular Therapist Project. Conflict of interest alert: I am currently in therapy with a therapist I found through the Secular Therapist Project.
Thanks to Greta for providing me the opportunity to talk about The Secular Therapy Project. In 2011 and 2012, as I was speaking on our Sex and Secularism research and on book tour for my book, Sex and God, I had a steady stream of people coming to me and emailing me to ask about psychological help. Many of their stories were horrendous. Typical was a former Catholic man who said, “I was really depressed about my marriage and recent loss of my job when my wife suggested we go to a counselor. We searched and finally found one that seemed qualified and reasonably priced. I had recently stopped going to Mass with my wife and seriously doubting the whole Catholic thing. Needless to say, the counselor we chose was Catholic, her book shelf was full of Catholic counseling kinds of books. Within two sessions, I could tell this woman was more interested in our “spiritual” life than the issues we faced in our marriage. As we revealed more to her, I could tell her own biases from her expressions and the direction she tended to take in the discussion. My wife was perfectly satisfied with her, I was furious. I did not go to a counselor to get told how to make a perfect Catholic marriage. I’d been there and done that. We had done Catholic marriage encounter, among many other things in our 24 years of marriage. It always made her feel better, but ultimately drove me out. At my insistence, we dropped that counselor and searched for another. The new one turned out to be a New Agey kind of therapist that talked about energy and spiritual alignment. I was out of there in two sessions. The next one turned out to be evangelical, but he was somewhat better than the others. I lasted four sessions with him. Where the hell can I find a secular counselor?” [Read more...]