(This section includes a few personal details and outlines the rationale for Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT). For academic/professional experience, see ‘CV’ section)
About Me – Martin McManus (BA, MSc (Psych), Adv. Dip. (CBT)):
Born and raised in the quiet midlands of Ireland, I grew up kicking the football over the roof of our home or against the garage door with my neighbour, climbing trees and occasionally fighting with my brother. This was the safe river I experienced before growing up and venturing out into the sea.
During my restless teenage years I was, as The Libertines (‘Can’t Stand Me Now’) sing, ‘Cornered the boy kicked out at the world/ The world kicked back a lot f-ing harder‘. Despite this rebelliousness against the confines of reality, I managed to achieve good marks in school, especially in history and science.
In my twenties I took a different approach to reality. I trained in Sociology and Psychology. Encouraged by modern sociological and psychological ideology, I tried to use what I deemed as ‘sophisticated, complex and profound’ theories to morph the truth and to try to convince others and myself that the truth, especially moral truths, were not really knowable. While studying, reading and researching I was, ‘ever learning, and never attaining to knowledge of the truth.‘ (2 Tim 3:7). This helped me to justify the hedonistic and nihilistic lifestyle I was leading. This approach eventually fell to pieces as reality kept on rearing its head and the truth would not stop knocking on my door. So I had two options – keep battling against the truth and give myself licence to continue my behavior and lifestyle or face up to the truth and embrace the path to true liberty. Thankfully, I choose the second option.
The sea journey, with its smooth and rocky patches, has taken me to different countries where I have met many fellow voyagers, many of whom were struggling to steer their vessels in the storms that came their way. This experience has helped me to gain a good understanding of myself and an extensive insight into what makes the human soul tick.
Insights from Work Experience:
Having worked in the mental health, addiction and homeless services for the last ten years, I saw that the treatments people were receiving were of little or no value to their recovery from psychological distress. Getting one’s job done, following guidelines, filling out paperwork, diagnosing and drugging, and keeping a safe distance from ‘clients’ or ‘patients’ was more common amongst professionals than sitting down and really getting to know the person who had come into the services. Many professionals I met were courageous and worked in the field because they really wanted to help people but, too often, they were burnt out due to heavy workloads or they were under pressure to comply with unhelpful and restrictive guidelines that were often dictated by vested interests, e.g. pharmaceutical industry. Throughout this time I saw how scientific truth was disregarded for pharma propaganda that was dressed up as ‘best practices in care’. I noticed how much easier it was for professionals to go along with these practices, pick up their weekly wage rather than rock the boat and try to do something different, more effective and truly caring. When you do try to do make these changes, I learnt, by experience, that you will be hit with tons of bureaucracy, much apathy and managerial resistance to prevent you challenging the status quo.
I also noticed how any remnants of Christianity and Christian values, e.g. seeing the dignity and importance of each human soul, were being squeezed out of services. During my training in psychology (‘the study of the psyche/soul’), counselling and various therapies, there was no emphasis on the importance of the soul or focus on the true spiritual realities of life. Thus, I have established ‘Truth and Freedom Therapy’ to provide better assistance than what is currently being offered in public and NGO services for those struggling to cope.
Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT) – getting back to basics:
‘The time will soon come when a modern philosopher who returns to common sense will be hailed as one of the most original thinkers of all time’ – Bishop Fulton Sheen (‘God and Intelligence in Modern Philosophy’, published 1925)
There is nothing new in the approach that I take. It is only a return to common sense. However, let me outline how I came to this common sense therapeutic approach.
While doing research on personality and culture at Victoria University at Wellington (NZ), I discovered, through statistical analysis, that life satisfaction is intimately bound up with one’s sense of personal freedom across the world. Feeling free or having a sense of freedom is one of the greatest experiences of life. Examining personal freedom across countries and cultures closer I noticed that there was no obvious trend, e.g. citizens in some countries deemed unfree by ‘enlightened’ academic standards rated themselves as more free than citizens in countries deemed more free by these standards. One consistent pattern that I did notice was that Catholics, whether in Nigeria, Chile or Germany, rated themselves as more free than any other group. This pattern only became more evident the more Catholic beliefs people had.
Truth and Freedom Therapy (TFT) is born from the fact that you cannot truly be free without knowing and following the truth. The more truth you have in your life, the more you are aware of your own truth, i.e. the more you know yourself and your personal story, and the more you follow the truth, the more free you will be. TFT builds on therapies, such as, cognitive behavioural therapy, that encourage the use of reason in dealing with life’s problems. Its difference is that it focuses on helping people find out the objective truth and finding ways to cope or come to terms with it. This is in contrast to other therapies that prioritise how people feel or think about a certain situation or issue over the truth of the situation or issue. While being grounded in common sense and truth, this therapy takes a compassionate, gentle and soul/person centred approach to distress.
We all need help keeping afloat at times. I endeavour to use the passion, skills, knowledge and experience I have to help you find or regain the spirit of liberty in your life and to help you to find ways to sail your vessel to the safe harbour.