Fr. George Morelli
Fr. George Morelli is a seasoned professional in the areas of Clinical Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy. An active pastor and leader, he chairs the archdiocesan Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministry, and is also Religion Coordinator and Liaison of the Orthodox Christian Association of Medicine. He lives in San Diego, California, where he is Assistant Pastor at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church. Fr. George has taught university and seminary courses in psychology and pastoral theology, and supervised doctoral clinical psychology interns. He has authored numerous articles in the field of psychology, and is also the author of Healing: Orthodox Christianity and Scientific Psychology. He can be heard on Ancient Faith Radio through his weekly podcast Healing: Orthodox Spirituality and Psychology. Also a regular contributor to OrthodoxyToday.org, Fr. George has graciously allowed the Antiochian Archdiocese to reproduce his writings on this website. Continuing Education (CE) units for mental health practitioners from the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) can be earned for reading these articles. Click here and scroll down to the articles listed under Orthodox Christianity. Register online, take the course and brief examination, and print the certificate.
You can also listen to Fr. George teach via his podcast at Ancient Faith Radio.
The world is awash with people in all walks of life making excuses. No one in any level of society, government, military, the corporate world, educational, health and religious institutions is exempt from making excuses. Clinical psychologists consider ‘making excuses’ a form of psychological defensiveness. Albert Ellis (1962)i puts it this way: “psychologically, therefore, rationalizing or excusing one’s behavior is the opposite of being rational or reasonable about it.” (p. 433) He then points out the untoward consequences of such defensiveness: “to rationalize or intellectualize about one’s self-defeating behavior is to help perpetuate it endlessly.” (p. 344)
While writing this month’s Chaplain’s Corner, I took time out to cook dinner, during which I watched an episode of the Food Network Show Restaurant Impossible. Chef Robert Irvine goes into an appallingly failing restaurant with his design team with the goal of turning around, in a short time and with a limited budget, failures that can include filthy, outdated interiors, abysmal service, subpar menus and cooking, but, most often, severely dysfunctional interpersonal problems among the owners (many times married and/or family) and between owners and staff (who are often also relatives of the owners). Common to owners, staff and chefs are a myriad of excuses for poor performance. In this particular episode, Chef Robert, with his usual military bearing and tone of voice (he was a former chef in the British Royal Navy), had a one-liner to solve the problem that hits the bull's-eye. He told owners and staff quite dramatically: “Step up and own it.”