Mental health and Christian compassion.
When I was taking a course on Confession and Absolution, one of the texts I used as an ancillary to the official text was the Reverend Francis George Belton's 1916 A Manual for Confessors. Within this fine book was an extended discussion of the "treatments" that flowed from the work of Sigmund Freud (all the rage up until the 1950s). The coverage of Freud was excellent, and prescient--Belton insisted that the Christian priest not succumb to the theories of Freud, for they lacked any objective evidence behind them. This is one of my favorite quotes from Father Belton: "Any system of body or mind healing should be based upon sound scientific principles. The issues at stake are too grave to admit of loose empirical treatment."
Why I am addressing this? Because, lamentably, I continue to find priests and professors still enthralled by the idiotic notions of Sigmund Freud. Even those who now willingly admit that his system has no scientific merit will still say "He was a great thinker!" or (even worse) "He may have been writing fiction, but it was a fiction that spoke great truths!" The trouble is, Freud told his readers, and his patients, that he was speaking truth and fact, not mere rhetoric or fiction. And, in truth, study after study has shown his system of "treatment" to be, at its very best, completely useless. At its worst, when it was applied to people suffering from conditions like autism, it made people worse and ruined lives.
Nowadays the threat may still come from the quackery of Freud, but it may also come from New Age gurus or other fad therapies. When Christian clergy counsel people with behavioral or mental problems, and when they choose to refer people to mental or behavioral health professionals let us keep in mind the words of Father Belton: "The issues at stake are too grave to admit of loose empirical treatment."