Psychotherapy and psychological counseling refer to a process of self-change. However, not everyone wants to change. Even people in therapy don’t always want to change.
Of course, psychotherapy clients want relief from their symptoms, depression, anxiety, and other painful emotions. But at the same time, they don’t want to change the fundamental defenses that would then allow them to develop and overcome their psychological maladies. Most people fear a basic change in their identity, be it positive or negative. (Robert Firestone Ph.D. at psychology today.com).
In plain English, this means that people sometimes are afraid to change because they don’t wish to challenge or change the way they think.
In my experience, the people who get better are the ones who are willing to challenge or change the way they think.
For example: “I’m depressed because I’m constantly doing for others. I never make time for myself.”
So why not make more time for yourself?
“Because that’s selfish and bad. My mother always taught me that. Everyone says it’s bad.”
So why not change the way you think? Being self-interested isn’t bad. It’s a new way of thinking.
Insert anxiety here.
The inescapable point? You’re the product of the way you think. You feel the way you do because of what you think. If you don’t like the way you feel, then you’ll have to challenge and change the way you think. If you don’t…well, you’re going to keep feeling bad.
This is true whether you take antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication or not, and whether medication helps or not — which sometimes it does, but frankly often it does not. The reason medication is usually not enough is that medication cannot make you think differently.
Only you can do that.
If you’re willing, another person can help you think differently, but in the end you’re sovereign over your own mind.
This sovereignty over your own mind is self-evident to some people, while it represents a terrifying prospect to others.
If you’re in the latter category, or if you’re simply confused on the issue, you could definitely benefit from the help of a good, rational therapist. Not because you’re “crazy”, but because the way most of us have been trained to think is crazy. In fact, many of us have never been trained to think at all.
That’s the reason there’s a growing crisis of self-confidence, societal unity, and liberty in the world. Societies and nations are simply people. People with psychological problems cannot handle liberty.
We’re told that democracy dies in darkness. My own take on the subject? Liberty perishes in an orgy of unearned guilt and other psychological conflicts. Psychological problems develop when people hold contradictory, irrational or unsustainable ideas such as, “Someone is coming to rescue me,” or, “I shouldn’t have to be totally responsible for myself.”
If the world is to become more rational, it will take a society of people willing to become more rational themselves. That’s where we are.