Article by Dr. Simplicio Dang-Awan Jr., Diplomate CPSP-Philippines
There are many people who may be unreal or inauthentic. One way to understand the word is to talk about inconsistencies in one’s life-way. When one smiles on the outside but angry on the inside– one is not authentic. One who says he is a Christian, but his actions insult Christ whom he claims as his Lord, or one who says I ‘m humble and modest, but shows pride and arrogance to others is indeed not authentic.
Authenticity is one goal of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), because one is to subject himself/herself to self-awareness. This is like seeing your face through the mirror. Your group members will help you understand why you talk or behave the way you do with their feedbacks. This is called processing in CPE. We need to process ourselves as to
- Why we tell a lie.
- Why we behave the way we do.
- Why we cannot express ourselves.
- Why we get angry even for small things.
- Why we become intolerant and feel angry if our wish is not followed.
- Why do we easily cry when scolded.
Has crying became our coping mechanism or not? There is a cause for every issue that we grapple with in life. We need someone who can mirror to us our behavior.
Example: Why are we angry with some elders who are of the same age as our father. This was the behavior of Pablo. His CPE Supervisor asked him to recall where that anger started out. The Supervisor suspected transference. Pablo then told a story about his dad, who enjoyed ridiculing him for urinating on his bed when he was 12 years old. He could not fight his father, of course, when he was young. When he became a person with authority, he shouts at elderly for little or no reason. He is transferring his hatred for his father to another person who is as old as his father then regrets after hurting the elderly. There was transference indeed as suspected. So Supervisors, and Pastoral Counselors in general, should be suspicious.
Another example is a Pastor who was delivering a sermon in a Church, when suddenly he saw a member texting while others are listening to him. He then burst into anger and castigated the person who was texting. He regretted showing his temper before his congregation. When he went into CPE he was encouraged by his Supervisor to look back into his upbringing, if there was any incident that may have triggered his anger. Then he recalled, “When I was in grade 6, I was scolded by my Teacher when I was reading a note passed by my classmate about a girl I like very much. Then he stopped lecturing and singled me out as one who does not listen to him when he is teaching us. I was so embarrassed in front of my classmates– especially the girl who laughed with the others at me.” That boy hated his teacher and when he became a Pastor he did the same to someone in his congregation. Why? Yes because that anger was not processed. In 2 Cor 5:17 says, “He who is in Christ is a new being, the old was gone and the new has come.” This is easier said than done. Unless the old and dirty behavior is processed and identified and thrown in the garbage, the old behavior may come back sooner or later.