Here’s the deal. Because you are a human being, you are built for joy. This means your human system, which includes your mind, nervous system, and physical body, is wired to experience joy. Your desire to be happy is not a mistake on your part. You should seek out the fullest expression of your human life, which will naturally include more bliss and joy, more playfulness and calm. When all your systems are in balance, the thrilling potential of your human life starts to actualize. You begin living your deepest desire. If you feel very little, or no, joy something is amiss. You’re system is out of balance in some fundamental way.
When one or more of our systems are thrown out of balance, disease and anxiety result. A history of trauma or neglect can deeply derail the functioning of the human system. A mind full of fear, self-loathing, paranoia, or harsh judgment can lead you to shut down. You end up pinching your life down into a manageable range instead of broadening up and taking more of life in. This act of creating smallness inside runs counter to a human being’s desire to learn, grow, and fully express one’s inner desire. Suffering is the result.
Psychotherapy isn’t only about getting rid of problems. It should, as a matter of course, explore the fullness of the client and help him or her to really spread wings and take flight into the grandeur of a life made rich by risk and fulfillment—a life that expands playfully into the unknown. It should help clients find a natural balance in their systems so that joy naturally starts to bubble up from the deep and ever-fresh essence in each of us.
Good psychotherapists understand this and work on themselves. We educate ourselves about nutrition, exercise, neurology, family systems, existential concerns, spirituality, etc., in order to balance ourselves and let our joy and pleasure in life shine forth. When this happens, we are better able to help our clients find a resilient and stable balance for themselves. Then therapy becomes an interaction between two people who are working to actualize their potential to be happy and free of suffering. It becomes a sacred and thrilling endeavor.