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Page Contents: Healing sadness with psychotherapy.                    

 

How does psychotherapy help a sad person who has a sad existence, when those circumstances can’t be changed? In other words, how can therapy change reality—outside of drugs, talking oneself into “positive thoughts,” or otherwise masking the truth with a labeled “condition?” If there is real reason(s) to be sad, what can therapy do other than teach the patient to pretend they aren’t sad?

 
Psychotherapy does not change reality, nor does it tell you to lie about reality. In fact, it teaches you to see reality precisely as it is, clearly and honestly.

Furthermore, part of seeing reality clearly is seeing the past for what it was. Through psychotherapy you can face up to and heal all the emotional wounds from the past that linger in your heart as a festering bitterness that stains everything around you. Once this bitterness about the past is cleaned up—so that your heart is filled with forgiveness and love, rather than hate and anger—then you can face the present and the future honestly and confidently, without illusions.

Sadness is the result of feeling that you have been victimized; once you step outside the “victim” role, you can see the world objectively and face life confidently. In other words, even though psychotherapy does not change reality, it can change your attitude to reality.

As I say elsewhere on this website, life is brutal and unfair, but it doesn’t have to be misery.

 


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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