Why be a shrink?

It seems that often those who pursue psychology and psychiatry are trying to understand themselves. Some of these are also trying to make sense of the people around them. Pat Santy discusses this in the entry A most ingenious paradox – part I.

Psychological defenses may be difficult to detect by the user unless conscious thought and emotional honesty are applied to the problem; but they are often fairly obvious to a disinterested observer who can clearly see the distortion of reality that is being displayed. Sometimes the observer may be truly flabbergasted by the degree to which an individual is able to deceive him or herself.

The application of “conscious thought and emotional honesty” is what this blog is all about. That leads to seeing ourselves through others and trying to figure out an appropriate way to create change first in ourselves and then, perhaps, in others. As Pat describes, when we neither run nor fight we have stress. That stress is a ‘mature’ process as we try to solve and deal with problems rather than avoid them or beat them into submission.

Basically, the elusive process of psychological maturation requires the capacity to sustain and tolerate paradox, or ambiguity.

In Part II, I will show how the mature psychological defenses–humor, anticipation, suppression, sublimation and altruism–do exactly that: help the individual achieve a reconciliation with the painful ambiguities and paradoxes of his life by maintaining “a creative and flexible tension between irreconcilables” and by allowing “conscience, impulse, reality, and attachment all to have places at center stage.”

It is not as if this is an accepted goal. This blog has been on the receiving end of people who chose to fight rather than think. That helps no one.

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