4 minutes

Can psychotherapy heal the world?

I try not to speak on topics that are outside of my specialization, but this time I would like to make an exception. First, because issues related to psychology have become my passion in recent years. Secondly, I have the belief that the key battle for the form in which our planet will survive, and the role that humans will play or not play on it, takes place in the sphere of what “talks” in our heads. These issues are also closely related to the turbulence that we are and will be witnessing in the coming years. This text is a sharing of my own thoughts, an attempt to seek answers to certain important questions in my opinion, rather than providing answers as such.

Although I myself have not yet used traditional psychotherapy sessions, I appreciate its role. I have had the opportunity to talk to many people who have used it, as well as with therapists themselves. I also notice that in the younger generation, among people entering adult life, there is a much greater desire than in the past (e.g. among my generation) to understand themselves at an early stage of life. An expression of this is the high interest in various forms of studies or courses related to psychological issues. Often – I get the impression from conversations – this is due to the internal conviction that since “I have a problem with adapting to this world, something must be wrong with me.” So they try to understand what it is.

I am aware that within psychotherapy there are many schools and techniques used. However, from my conversations, most people who have used this or that form of psychotherapy believe that “it gave them something.” It allowed them to see new dimensions of their own lives, in particular, to connect who they are today and how they behave with their past (mainly childhood). The common message was that working with a psychotherapist helped them better adapt to the world in which they live, in their own way to alleviate the pain of life in this world. Often, this feeling of relief was associated with an improvement in the ability to cope in interpersonal relationships (private and professional), setting boundaries, better communication, etc. In this context, therapies are very important because if people using therapy are even slightly “more comfortable” in the world, they probably inflict less pain on others – from my own experiences and observations, the more we are injured ourselves, the more we have a tendency to hurt others, often in a completely unconscious way.

However, among the people I have met, I have not found anyone for whom psychotherapy has caused a radical transformation. By radical transformation, I mean a completely new view of the world, recognizing that there is something wrong not only with us as individuals but also with the “system” that we have created and within which we function as human civilization. This is where I feel the greatest dissatisfaction with psychotherapy – it focuses on helping people cope better in the world that exists.

Psychotherapy does not address the full spectrum: the problem is not only within us, but also within the system/world, and many of our problems (sufferings) are related to the fact that the world we live in is full of absurdities, imperfections, and potential self-destruct mechanisms. Therefore, in its current form, a significant part of psychotherapeutic actions may contribute, perhaps unknowingly, to reinforcing the system in which we operate: alleviating internal pain reduces desperation and the need for change.

This, in my opinion, is the main reason why the world, despite the fact that the history of psychotherapy is over 100 years old and the present times can be considered as the “golden age” of psychotherapy, does not, in my belief, become better. Yes, it has its ups and downs, but generally, we are standing still. One of the founders of contemporary sociobiology, E. Wilson, summed it up very well: “Man still has emotions at the level of the Stone Age, institutions from the Middle Ages, and technology with divine possibilities.

Perhaps this is why many people today see humans as a “weak link,” and those fascinated by technology see the solution in homo cyberneticus – a combination of man and machine. Is this really what we want? Is this the only possible option? Personally, I believe it is not. The right path is to reach the full potential that is within humans, but psychoanalysis/psychotherapy alone certainly does not suffice.

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