Dr. C.H. Patterson

Sayings of the Sage
of Asheville

On Psychotherapy   |   On Human Relations   |   On Religion

O N     P S Y C H O T H E R A P Y

  1. Psychotherapy developed in society as a source of help for those whose self-actualization is impeded by lack of, or poor, interpersonal relations.
  2. Psychotherapy is being with, not doing something to, the client.
  3. The paradox of psychotherapy: By research we determine what it is that makes psychotherapy effective, but when we try to reduce this to techniques it is no longer effective.
  4. Skill training has set back - or delayed - progress in the education of counselors and psychotherapists by more than 20 years.
  5. We are living in an age of technology. The age of technology is leading to the technologizing of human relations, including psychotherapy, in the guise of training in interpersonal relationship skills and techniques.
  6. Suggesting, advising, guiding, recommending, pointing out, etc, puts the therapist above the client. And it prevents the client from achieving his/her own insights and solutions.
  7. Too many counselors operate on the assumption that there are general answers to problems which must be given to the client, or to which the client must be subtly led. But there are no general answers - there are only specific ones for each client, which the client must find for her/himself.
  8. By accepting everything the client says at face value, without trying to fathom some deep psychodynamic meaning, and by responding at face value, any deep psychodynamic meaning will either come out eventually or will be unnecessary for a therapeutic change resulting from the authentic relationship provided by the therapist.
  9. Psychotherapy does not simply involve a relationship: The essence of psychotherapy is that it is a relationship.
  10. Much of the effect of techniques in psychotherapy is the result of the placebo. Much is also the result of the relationship, even where techniques are emphasized. Little, if any, is the result of the specific techniques .
  11. Three basic rules for psychotherapists: 1. Keep your mouth shut - you can't listen while you are talking; 2. Never ask a question - except when you don't understand what the client is saying ; 3. Keep in the responsive mode - the client initiates, the therapist follows.
  12. An old Arab proverb says that God gave humans 2 ears and one mouth, so they could listen twice as much as they talk.
  13. To treat clients differently, on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, sex, class, age, religion, etc, etc is real discrimination.
  14. The foundation for multicultural counseling and psychotherapy: "We are all more simply human than otherwise" (Harry Stack Sullivan).
  15. There are two kinds of therapists: The facilitators and the manipulators (who prefer the term intervention). The vast majority of current practitioners are manipulators.
  16. Three kinds of people have difficulty in becoming psychotherapists: those who are highly cognitive, those who are highly extraverted, and men.
  17. "The psychoanalyst's job is to help the patient, not to demonstrate how clever the doctor is" (Freud).

O N     H U M A N     R E L A T I O N S

  1. Extreme diversity leads to divisiveness and conflict.
  2. The so-called hard sciences help us to understand the objective world; psychology helps to understand ourselves and the subjective world in which we actually live.
  3. Although good people outnumber the bad, the bad cause havoc because they act, while the good argue and procrastinate.
  4. It appears that the human race has not evolved to the place where people can live together peacefully and avoid the possibility of assured mass destruction. At the rate evolution progresses it will never happen in time to save the race.
  5. The purpose of life is simply to live, to go on living.
  6. We are not rational beings, we are rationalizing beings.
  7. Paradox: Certainty leads to closed-mindedness and lack of change; yet uncertainty leads to inaction. Uncertainty is good for science, but it is not possible for individuals.
  8. The most frequently violated law in psychology is the law of parsimony.
  9. Pop psychology books are like the proverbial Chinese meal: their content doesn't last.
  10. One of the most difficult things in the world is to live with another person.
  11. Life has no intrinsic meaning.
  12. The meaning of life is not something that is there to be discovered; it must be created by each individual.
  13. Although there may be an ultimate truth, we can only approximate it in our lives.
  14. What some label dogma others call truth. It is dogma when you don't agree with it, truth when you do agree.
  15. When does a theory, a practice or an accepted truth become dogma?
  16. Democracy is the dictatorship of the majority. But the majority is dictated to by powerful minorities.
  17. The world is ruled by the bottom line. Greed is the greatest sin, the root of all evil.
  18. Society's truths are the perceptions and beliefs of the majority.
  19. He will be missed, they say, when a well-known figure dies. But the world goes on - even the most important people die. We come, we stay awhile, we go.
  20. By definition half the population is below average in ability or intelligence. Yet we persist in expecting all students to achieve at or above the average.

O N     R E L I G I O N

  1. Humans have created God in their own image to meet their need for a reason for existence and assurance that death is not the end.
  2. If God had created humans he/she would have done a better job.
  3. If God had created the world it would not be in the condition it is now.
  4. Each culture has created its own God or Gods and its religion.
  5. Religion is used as a carrot and a stick (Heaven and Hell) to control behavior.
  6. Religion is not the only, or the major source of values and ethics. Values and ethics evolved out of the experience of living together: they are the rules for social existence.
  7. God does not heal; faith heals.
  8. Faith can lead to change, but it is not only faith in God. Whatever we have faith in is effective.
  9. Beliefs affect behavior. Anything we believe strongly can change behavior.
  10. Beliefs are the source of the placebo effect.
  11. People want, even need, to believe in something beyond themselves and the visible world to give meaning to life and hope for something after this life.
  12. Prayer does not achieve specific or concrete things; it helps those who pray feel better.
  13. Prayer is not answered by God, but by those who pray.
  14. Religion is the source of many good things - art, music, literature. But it is also the source of much that is bad - wars, persecution, prejudice, discrimination and denial of freedom and rights.
  15. Dilemma: While there is no convincing evidence for the existence of God, belief in God can be a positive influence in a person's life.
  16. Paradox: There is no God, yet belief in God is a powerful influence on behavior - for good or bad.
  17. Spirituality is not necessarily religiosity.
  18. The spiritual is not a separate realm. There is no location for spirituality. It is an aspect of psychology, residing in the mind.
  19. Love of God is abstract. Love of others is concrete.

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Copyright 1998, C.H. Patterson
Email: sage1@mindspring.com