Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Clinician's Guide to Treating Guilt

The Guilt Cure proposes a new theory of guilt that can be very helpful to therapists. It puts guilt in a totally different perspective that can help alleviate the pain and suffering it inflicts. Existing theories of guilt are based on the conventional idea that guilt’s primary function is in the protection and maintenance of morals. While guilt certainly contributes to the protection and maintenance of morals, most guilt, in fact, stems from thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that violate no religious, divine, or legal ordinances. Thus, guilt is far more morally neutral than we would ever suspect. Guilt’s moral neutrality stems from its more important psychological role in the creation and maintenance of consciousness and in the workings of the self-regulatory system of the psyche. It is consciousness of guilt’s significant moral neutrality that helps alleviate its pain.

This seminal body of work about the psychological implications of guilt reaches deep into humanity's collective experience of guilt and finds persuasive psychological reasons for guilt's role and purpose that go far beyond conventionally held religious explanations. The Guilt Cure examines the many faces of guilt, including its  function in the creation and maintenance of consciousness, its place in the self-regulatory system of the psyche, its effects on our psychological development, and its impact on our mental health and wellbeing.

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