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Rudolf Allers

Practical Psychology in Character Development


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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.

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Rudolf Allers