Do you seek a Therapist only when you have a problem, a disorder or an issue? The answer is no.
Therapy and therapists have changed over the years. Though Psychology traditionally dealt with problems and disorders of the human mind, the new trends in Psychology have changed the way Therapy is practised. The latest (and 5th) psychological wave is called Positive Psychology, and it focuses not only on human flaws, deficiencies, pain, and escape from unhappiness, it also focuses on well-being, contentment, excitement, cheerfulness, the pursuit of happiness, and the meaning in life. This approach believes that everyone has the potential to be happier, more motivated and more effective in everything that he or she does.
So, here’s the simple idea. Everyone can become better, regardless of whether there is a current area of challenge or not. This works in two stages:
Stage 1: Awareness
Stage 2: Change
The first part is essential to the second part. The change can be big or small, it can be for a thought, a behaviour, an emotional reaction, a habit, a relationship, a perspective or even a plan. Though sometimes it’s easy to know what needs to be changed, more often than not, it’s difficult to spot it and therefore difficult to change. In fact, most of the time, we are not aware of all our thoughts. That’s because the messages (or thoughts) in our brain that travel the same pathway over time become automatic, something like reading, driving and riding. This means that we might have those thoughts (and the associated emotions and probably the corresponding behaviour) automatically, without even realising. Now, this is fine for most of our thoughts but the concern is that some of our faulty and problematic thoughts and habits become automatic too. In order to become happier, more effective or more successful, the faulty thoughts and habits need to change and the therapist or counsellor/ coach can make the transition smoother.
There’s another angle to this. With age, change can be difficult but not impossible. The good news is that we can retrain our brain to develop new neural pathways. That’s where the therapist comes in. The newer therapy practices can teach clients to harness the power of shifting one’s perspective so that they can maximize the potential for happiness, not just in crisis but in everyday life too. The findings in Positive Psychology not only give us a concrete idea for improving our own quality of life, but since positive emotions boost job performance and create ripple effect in the entire organisation, it can bring great improvements in the workplace and work performance too.
It’s time to see Psychology not just as a disease model, but also as a way to achieve wellbeing and a way to flourish in life as well.