Zoe Anthouli's approach to therapy

"Anything, anything would be better than this agony of mind, this creeping pain that gnaws and fumbles and caresses one and never hurts quite enough." Jean-Paul Sartre

Sartre believes that humans have free will. Free will is defined as the ability to make a choice about your current state of being at any given time, no matter your life's circumstances or your past experiences. He believes that what people are mostly afraid of is the freedom that goes along with free will as you will be making a choice and you will be responsible for the consequences of the choice you have made. Sartre does not deny human suffering but he believes that it is up to us to make the choice on how to better our lives. Sartre's view is that the interpretation that you give to your random life's event is the problem and not the actual event.

However, if you have ever experienced pain, then you know that given the choice, you would have stopped the pain. I know that depression is disabling. I know anxiety or stress are also disabling. If you are experiencing mood disorders for example, then most likely your interpretation of everyday events is coloured by your current state of mood. This clearly affects your life.

On the other hand, Freud dismisses the idea of free will. He believes that choice is merely an illusion as every choice we make is the sum of all of our past experiences and that our drives behind our decisions are located in our unconscious mind. Nonetheless, Freud did agree with Sartre in that people do avoid freedom as it involves responsibility. "Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."

Nevertheless, the choice to take the responsibility in order to alleviate your symptoms lies on to you. As I have previously mentioned, therapy is a process and it requires that you want your problem resolved and that you understand that unfortunately there are no quick fixes in life. Psychological stressors are experienced by most people and they are not problems that one should be ashamed of. It is rather your own increased self-awareness that leads you to recognise that your difficulties and that is healthy as it paves the way to being open in treating your psychological distress as well.


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