What words or concepts are vital to recovery from an eating disorder or psychological disorder like depression? How about ENJOY and HAVINF FUN? What about FEELING EXCITED and FULFILLED or PASSIONATE? As helping professionals we often tell patients and their families how important it is to have good medical care and high self-esteem, but do we tell or teach them that HAPPINESS, ENJOYING LIFE, having a PASSION for something (other then dieting or being thin), and finding a way to HELP OTHERS (that is more direct and engaging then sending an email or even a check to a worthy cause) is also extremely therapeutic and beneficial to ones health and continued recovery? Do therapists take the time or have the time to help patients design a future life (aftercare and recovery) that is pleasurable, self-fulfilling, individualized and not just a stressful climb to the top of the social ladder or the pinnacle of their chosen profession? Who’s job is it really to model the commonly talked about (but less frequently executed) concepts of joy, laughter, self-acceptance, emotional “authenticity”, “serenity” and having “inner peace”.
As a parent and a therapist, I would be the first to admit I have not always practiced what I preach, and it would be good to validate my childrens perceptions and let them know they can be qualitatively different and “better” in many more ways then just making money, having alot of Facebook “friends” or getting perfect grades. It would be good to have a place to talk about THAT with other parents and families too. None of us are perfect and its a good thing to admit it to one another…. and quite relieving. “Letting go and letting God” might be a good idea for some people (12 step programs) but its a little vague for many of us. I’d like to talk about it face to face with others, have more fun together, play more non-competitive games, and do so in ways that allow people to be themselves and not so clinically “different”. Cliff Mazer, Ph.D.