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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

What's your purpose in life?


Yesterday, I had a full roster of clients, and it seemed that a common theme came up with many of them: the lack of purpose in their lives.

It is easy to lose one's way in life and become depressed and anxious.

Doctors tell people that their depression is related to problems with the neurotransmitters in their brains and that anti-depressants will help. Sometimes they do somewhat, but anti-depressants do not get to the deeper issue which is a lack of purpose and meaning in one's life. What to do about that?

A lack of purpose and meaning in one's life is best addressed by a conversation with someone who is trusted, who understands, who can ask the right questions to help the person examine his/her life so the person can understand better what makes him/her tick, and what (s)he prefers in creating a more satisfying and fulfilling life.

This review and search takes a caring relationship. It is a process, not  a technique or "interention."

With many of these clients, I ask them what they want to have gotten out of life in the next 1, 3, and 5 years. Usually they have no idea. They draw a blank.

It is this lack of hopes, dreams, and aspirations that is the problem.

As W. Edwards Deming said one time, "If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there."

Without a sense of purpose, people are lost. They are wandering in confusion, perplexity, distress.

The three basic questions that we all struggle with throughout our lives whether consciously or unconsciously are: "Why was I born." "What is the purpose of my life?" "What happens when I die?"

The research clearly has shown that psychotherapy works. People do start to feel better and their functioning improves. In fact, research has shown that psychotherapy, in the long run, gets better outcomes than medication.

People often call the office for the first time and their presenting complaint is "I am looking for someone to talk to." What do you suppose they mean by this? They have plenty people to talk to, but they have no one to talk to more intimately about the deeper concerns about their life. It is in this deeper discussion that one often finds, clarifies, and begins to recognize one's purpose in life.

2 comments:

  1. Medications don't work beyond what would be expected from a placebo. Talk therapy works. I know because I've done it and it helped immensely. Not quickly but over time it made all the difference.

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  2. Thank you Roy for your comment. Your experience is very common and your post indicates that you have informed yourself about medication use in managing mental health problems.

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