How to recognize—and eliminate—common obstacles to your normal spiritual development.
Your advisor? The pioneering Catholic psychologist who proved the importance of religion. And not just any religion. Dr. Rudolf Allers, a younger contemporary of Freud, argued that only the Catholic view of man could explain abnormalities and produce positive personality changes. He alone linked moral and spiritual growth to mental health.
Of all Dr. Allers' works, this was both his most ambitious and his most practical: an in-depth explanation of how character is shaped in childhood and afterward—and a helpful guide to rooting out character defects, curing (and preventing) developmental problems, strengthening virtues, and recognizing dormant potential, in both children and adults. Now it’s back in print for the first time in decades.
Keys to steady spiritual growth that lasts
- Why “the formation of character is closely bound up with the nature of the moral and, further, of the religious life”
- Do you, or your child, have a faulty “character ideal”? It can cause misdirection and bad decisions
- The virtue most important to steady personal growth. The vice most destructive
- Common ways we deceive ourselves, inhibiting real self-knowledge
- The possibility of deep character transformation, as in some conversions. Examples from saints’ lives
- Mistakes to avoid in child-rearing (early childhood and adolescence)
- What is the right family environment to favor high achievement in children?
- Three forces that shape character
- Leniency vs. severity in child-rearing: Two Scripture verses to guide you
- The essential ingredient of effective punishment
- This Protestant belief about man’s nature -- shared by some Catholics -- can stunt psychological growth
- Four factors that lead to anti-social behavior in children. The spiritual component
- The “ethics of work”
- The attraction of the forbidden
- Common personality types, and their problems
- Character differences between male and female. Problems of upbringing unique to boys vs. girls
- Helping your adolescent through the necessary stage of “self-discovery.” The (less important) problem of sex
- “Difficult” children
- Environment and heredity in the formation of character
- When character flaws become “rigid”
Central to Dr. Allers’ unique approach is his certainty that dramatic character change comes despite fixed habits and past mistakes. He proves this, placing the highest value on the Church’s accumulated wisdom about human nature, and draws freely from Scripture, the lives and writings of the Saints, and the teachings of great theologians.
PLUS: Root causes of common problems like
Adolescent difficulties * Anxiety * Bed-wetting * Compulsiveness * Daydreaming * Deceitfulness * Defiance * Discouragement * Disillusionment * Disobedience * Effeminacy * Fearfulness * Gossip * Hedonism * Homosexuality * Impulsiveness * Indecisiveness * Infantilism * Inferiority complex * Insecurity * Loneliness * Lying * Masculinity in women * Masturbation * Obstinacy * Over-compensation * Over-sensitiveness * Pridefulness * Rebellion * Regression * Scrupulosity * Sexual sins * Speech impediments * Suicidal tendencies * Superstition * Tale-bearing * Theft * Timidity * Vengefulness * Willfulness * Weakness of will
An excerpt from Practical Psychology in Character Development: It is not hard to prepare a child for the trials and obligations of life, and to teach him that success is not everything and greatness of no account. It is hard to prepare him to live with those who crave only for success; who regard their fellow men merely as means to their selfish ends; whose ways are dark and devious; who have no understanding of frankness and kindness, but believe everyone’s conduct to be dissimulation; who regard the people in their environment as enemies instead of fellow workers; who are unable to conceive of any values that are absolute and not relative, because they are the center of their own cosmos; who therefore know of nothing more worth striving for than self-exaltation and tasting all the possibilities of passing pleasures. despite all counter-efforts, this type is enormously on the increase.
It is the type of man without backbone or stability. This is not the place for us to enquire why so large a number of people today have lost their balance, and wander in a state of complete bewilderment. What primarily concerns us is the fact that this type corresponds to a transitional phase of human development. For the period of adolescence exhibits a similar attitude and line of conduct. It could be said with some reason that our epoch suffers from a kind of “fixation at the juvenile level.” It shows a shortage of people who are fully adult.
“A very practical volume dealing with the nature and transmutability of character, the characteriology of the sexes, neurosis, ‘difficult’ children, and self-upbringing.” —America, 1931
“A great deal to recommend it to the clergy, physicians, teachers, psychologists, social workers and parents. It has a special merit for Catholics.... The discussions of sex have unusual merit, for he presents clearly and helpfully the more or less ignored or poorly and wrongly understood factors.” —Commonweal, 1931
“High value.... With a Thomistic conception of man’s psycho-physical unity, Dr. Allers has explored the findings of his predecessors and contemporaries, leaving unused nothing of real value.” —The Catholic World
Detailed 3-page table of contents
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