Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Enough to get by or...thrive?

“For most of its history, psychology has concerned itself with all that ails the human mind: anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions. The goal of practitioners was to bring patients from a negative, ailing state to a neutral normal, or, ‘from a minus five to a zero’*. I realized that my profession was half-baked. It wasn’t enough for us to nullify disabling conditions and get to zero. We needed to ask, What are the enabling conditions that make human beings flourish? How do we get from zero to plus 5?” Dr. Martin Seligman, APA president, Time magazine 1/05.

What struck me is that this describes not only the field of psychology, but is a description of the helping professions in general. Have you ever stopped to think about this? A system that is oriented this way creates an impact on us all. If all a practitioner has been taught to do is to get you out of the ailing state and into neutral normal--it isn't long before you the client come to think this is the best you can expect. This locks enormous amounts of people into maintaining status quo and settling for mediocrity.

To his question: "What are the enabling conditions that make human beings flourish?"--they've been right there in front of us all the time! It's what Life Puzzle is all about--acknowledging the physical, emotional, thinking, sexual and spiritual SELF. And that 'normal' isn't a neutral enough to get by--"normal" is to thrive! And to thrive, we wake up each day to take responsibility for those 5 dimensions of our SELF, making choices in the 16 core areas.

Let's make "thrive" the normal we all expect! Imagine what a fun world that will be to create!

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