In my previous blog, as the name indicates “Why People Resist Solving Their Problems? (1),” I explained why people resist solving their psychological challenges despite complaining about them, even after asking psychotherapists for help and being offered a remedy.
Addressing the complaint alone, without considering the context and the system as a whole, is not enough to motivate individuals to change. The holistic perspective of our personality and its parts as well as the way each part relates to one another is key to understanding the structure of our personality. The personality or the self is a mental structure that has four characteristics: it is an open and closed system at the same time; its parts build its whole, yet its whole is enforced on its parts and at the end the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Psychological homeostasis is a natural process that maintains the equilibrium of mental states or equanimity that would enable a human to live and perform at normal levels. If our mind does not maintain itself within certain tolerance, we cannot function well. At the same time, if we cannot adapt to shifts in our environment we cannot function either. There is a constant dynamic tension between homeostasis and creative change. Too much change at once can disrupt internal balance. Too little change can lead to stagnation. This is why growing through creative change is critical to our well-being.
In a similar manner, when we look at the self, we can see two forces that push toward different directions. On the one hand, we have the tendency to focus on homeostasis, wishing for a predictable, solid and unchanging state. And on the other hand, there is a need to change and grow to adapt to external circumstances and an internal need to fulfill its potential. If we do not attend to finding a balance between the two systems, regulating and organizing our lives accordingly, we can profoundly limit both the possibilities for growth and satisfaction in our lives and our ability to respond effectively to change.
The psychological homeostasis principle is a force that establishes stability, yet it is a force that prevents change. Similarly, the integration principle of the self/personality to integrate its parts as a unified whole is a force that cements itself and prevents it from change. Accordingly, it is not surprising that the individual resists changing its personality and psychological style even when it brings about suffering that causes the individual to complain and seek change. The individual is fixated and stuck in his position because of the integration principle that keeps his personality as is. The fixation creates the resistance to change his positions, opinions and habits.
Underneath each personality style exists a philosophical view that influences an individual’s decision as a directive toward the future and dictates how the individual acts. Different than scientific theory, the philosophical view that the individual adapts, cannot be refuted. The philosophical theory of the individual is built upon fundamental axioms that create a world view that is logical, legitimate and possible. The world view is a closed system and its integrative principle keeps it intact without the ability to refute it.
Each person has a philosophical view about how life should be and how he or she would conduct themselves, yet this strong philosophical belief is the force that creates resistance when the individual calls for help and desires to change.
From a counseling perspective, all the counselor can do is to present the client with alternatives to different personality style or behaviors while presenting an additional philosophical view that enables existential alternatives. By his free will the individual will decide whether to accept and adapt the relevant alternatives, to study them and to put forth the necessary effort to internalize the cognitive knowledge associated with this philosophy, which would lead him to make the desired change.
As a summary, the person is being enslaved to his psychological nature with limited freedom. His choices and decisions are dependent on his philosophical views and how flexible he can be in regards to adopting other philosophical perspectives, with which he can crystallize a new personal integration. The new philosophical view, which considers the parts as well as it whole self, enables and promotes the personal and behavioral changes that lead to growth, adaptation and happiness.
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