When people are not at their best, it can be difficult to find the energy or brain space to commit to reading a full-sized book. All the books in this series are short, affordable, and accessible.
From the Introduction
No one does well when all they are offered is survival from day to day, when they live in an anxious, fearful state all or most of the time. Human beings need more than just existence to be well. Yes, there is dignity in coping for a little while if things are difficult. Bad things happen and sometimes it isn’t anyone’s fault. But if coping is what life has to offer to most people, then I can see why as societies we have such a problem with mental health. This book is about an approach to human beings, to psychology and psychotherapy and to life that is not just about functioning.
A few years into my work as a psychotherapist, I began to realise that my profession doesn’t need to exist. We already know all we need to know about how to raise whole and thriving human beings. We know how to nurture children to grow into adults who can do a great deal more than just survive and therefore will not need psychotherapy. But we don’t use this knowledge.
Despite the fact that we know what humans need in order to thrive, we do not seem to have the will to offer the best conditions for everyone to develop to their full potential. Farmers don’t just throw seeds on the ground and hope for the best. They know how to give their crops the best conditions to develop their full potential. If farmers operated their farms like we run societies, we would starve. Perhaps psychotherapy exists because we are starving psychologically and spiritually.
Everything in nature has an in-built need to develop to its full potential. But we humans are unique in that for us, developing our potential includes a need for purpose and meaning. Nature wants us to continue to exist to make more copies of ourselves so that our species continues. But we, humans, need our life to mean something. Even if we are physically well and live a long life we might not feel fulfilled unless we have a sense of meaning in our existence.
But we already know that psychological (and therefore also physical) symptoms are an indication that people are not moving towards the fulfilment of their potential. They are surviving but not thriving. People often describe this as feeling ‘stuck in a rut’ or that life feels ‘dull’ or ‘pointless’. Even people who are financially well off and might have ‘everything you could wish for’ can feel this way. For a human being, a life without purpose or meaning feels empty. Even people with learning disabilities, people at the end of their lives or people with advanced dementia still have a need for purpose and meaning all the way to the end. Sadly, this is often overlooked in their care. Prolonging life is often prioritised over our human need for a meaningful existence.
I have a job as a psychotherapist because we are a self-aware species. We know when we suffer or are unhappy. We know that we don’t choose when or where to be born or to whom. We know we are going to die someday and we have no idea when or how. We know we will lose people we love and if that’s not enough, we also worry about our purpose and the meaning of our existence.
No one comes to therapy to ask for advice on how to survive physically. My clients come to therapy because they are not happy in some way with their life, their work, their relationships or themselves. Their soul is hurting. They are suffering and they don’t want to die feeling this way. Many clients tell me they don’t want to pass on their unhappiness to their children.
Therapy Without A Therapist is a write up of everything I do in therapy with my clients. The book explains what therapy is and what it isn’t and the difference between psychotherapy and counselling. It describes the framework I use in my work with my clients, which most people can put into practice and get the same results, even without seeing a therapist.
The links provided here are to the Amazon UK site but the book is available on Amazon worldwide. I hope you enjoy the book and find it useful.
As always, I welcome readers’ feedback
Please don’t forget to leave your feedback on the Amazon site. Detailed feedback can be very useful to people and can help them decide whether a book is for them or not.
Other books in the series:
Booklet 1 – Grief and Adjustment to Change
Booklet 2 – Don’t Put Up With Anxiety: Cure it!
Booklet 3 – Trauma & Its Impact: What you need to know