Superstitions are said to be created as a long-established form of coping mechanism during uncertainties or out-of-control circumstances. Superstitions about certain things in life provide a comforting feeling for believers amidst chaos and confusion.
It is a questionable postulation that superstitious behavior that implicates largely mental action, as opposed physical behavior, could even be considered behavior because it is not observable. — Ann Olson Psy.D.
While others find no harm believing in superstitions, there have been concerns from medical experts especially those who are mainly concentrated on mental health that these beliefs would affect how believers understand and accept therapy or counseling.
Superstitious Belief Is Rampant
Do you find yourself knocking on wood when you said something foreboding, and you want to reverse or counteract what was spoken? Or are you spooked by seeing 13 falling on a Friday or a black cat crossing your path? Are you that person who does not walk under a ladder and instead go around it? These are just some of the usual superstitions we grew up knowing, and some are still advocating up to this day.
According to a poll made by Gallup, it was found that about 25% of Americans are quite superstitious; that’s about one in four people living in the country. That number says a lot about following certain beliefs that usually have no scientific basis.
Thoroughly confused, I was informed that knocking on wood ensures that you don’t “jinx” something you really want to happen. Rather than question the logic of this deeply illogical practice, I latched on. — Emily Green Psy.D.
Where Superstitions Originated
One would wonder – where did all these superstitious beliefs originate? Somehow, whoever invented these notions must have some foundation, right? Psychologists explained that superstitions commenced from certain traditions around the world and ended up in households all over the world, which have, by some means, made quite an impact on people’s behavior towards certain things. Much of these also come from life’s uncertainties, wherein if you yearn for something, you’ll find comfort and control in superstitious behaviors.
When people are faced with chaos and uneasiness, it makes them feel like they are losing traction and control; therefore, the tendency is to find solutions for the lack of oversight from outside sources such as superstitions.
What About Rational Thinking?
Reality is, being overly superstitious significantly affects a person’s state of mind and behavior, influencing everything related to mental health issues and therapy. From a person’s performance and preparation for a specific challenge to the responsiveness to given placebos, the effectiveness of specific psychological illness treatments is wholly dependent on the patient’s responsiveness and positive thinking. Therefore, when superstitions are getting in the way of treatment, it’s time to take it down a notch or completely disregard the belief. This should be done to make way for scientific approach when dealing with mental health conditions.
Every behavior we repeat offers a reward. It doesn’t matter if the reward isn’t obvious. — Teri Woods Ph.D.
What’s disconcerting about being superstitious, especially if it concerns mental health, is the way people would understand and accept the diagnosis thinking that it’s just some sort of supernatural event in a person’s life which can be eluded or conquered easily. People’s performance to achieve goals that are elicited from superstitious behavior disregards the process of learning how goals should be met.
Superstition And Therapy
In therapy, if a superstitious patient’s uncertainty for obtaining mental health goals is heightened, there is a possibility that the superstitions are also increased. However, if provided with a lucky charm, they will become more positive in the outcomes, and their performance in conquering their conditions becomes more pronounced.
Whatever the setting may be, superstitions become precarious when they start to interfere with wellness and activities of daily living.