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Kevin Fleming on Half or Superficial Answers

The beginning of my illusive half-truth model of life started to rear its ugly head for the first time in my consciousness. The doctor wasn’t completely wrong for chastising me. I was young and brash, and I had broken some of the rules. I initially denied this and got the empty pleasure of being right, but not happy. Only later did I realize that what bothered me more than his carping was something that lay hidden inside or underneath his words: my job was not to find or even look for innovative therapeutic strategies, but to keep the professional waters calm. The only problem was that the half-truths and psychological formulas the instructors were using didn’t go far into the process or mystery of finding real solutions or optimal responses to human conflict or pain. I was grateful for my training but I wanted something more than worn-out reactions and half-answers. ¶ A half-truth is always a representation of some part or aspect of a situation. But if we take it to be the whole truth about that situation, we can go dangerously wrong. I’ve come to feel that psychology is full of half-truths. So many popular books and feel-good gurus trade on half-truths. We are always in danger of falling for a half-truth if it gives us enough to validate our first reactions to a situation, eases our discomfort, and keeps us from doing the hard work of penetrating through to the full truth of the problem or problems we confront.

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