What is the ideal result of psychotherapy?

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If a person were to reach the ideal psychological state what would that person be like?

Whould she be passionate? Political? Would he be a peaceful person.

What is the teleology of psychology?


-- Ken West (zpublic1@cwo.com), January 24, 2003


Big questions! Maslow would say the ideal would be "self actualization." Rogers might emphasize congruence. Freud focused on "making the unconscious conscious" so that people would be more rational. Certainly a healthy person has a tolerance for ambiguity, the capacity for joy and other positive emotions, the capacity for aloneness (solitude) as well as a capacity for intimacy. A healthy person can be both passionate (capable of strong emotion) and dispassionate (able to set emotions aside and to examine an issue rationally). That person would know when to be political, for the good of others, and when to maintain peace--thus, they'd have the capacity to make complex judgments (discernment, if you will). They would be symptom-free (and of course symptoms are myriad, and a single symptom might be the focus of therapy) and have positive qualities as well. In any case, there is no single answer: that's why we have multiple theories of personality and schools of psychotherapy. For the same reason there is no single "teleology of psychology," and there are many different psychologies with different philosophical bases. A good overview history text, and an overview of personality theories, will be required before you can answer these questions.

-- Hendrika Vande Kemp (hendrika@earthlink.net), January 25, 2003.

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