The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy IX: The World of Aspirations

The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy IX: The World of Aspirations

The world of mental illness begins to unravel, in my estimation, when we recognize that life now is being led by many of us in the “age of anxiety”. It is an age that comes with the virus, VUCA-Plus and all of the other social ailments that I (and many other people) have identified. The call for psychological assistance—and particularly psychotherapy—is great in this age of anxiety. Very few psychotherapists in North America are without clients right now. Furthermore, there is a deeply felt focus of the request for psychotherapy. Potential clients want the pain to go away and seek out psychotherapy to eliminate the pain. It seems that we not only are living in an age of anxiety, but also in an Age of Hedonia (the search for pleasure and absence of pain) Ever since anesthetics were introduction into medical practices during the early 20th Century (Morris, 1991), the desired immediate outcome for most patients has not been the elimination of the disease or injury, but rather elimination of the pain. With increased anxiety, we are that much more interested in seeing the anxiety and accompanying pain go away—whether this is through the use of drugs, engagement in other addictive behaviors (such as gambling or shopping) or knocking on the door of a psychotherapist.

Rosmarin is fully aware of this request for help during a psychologically challenging period of time:

My 0ffice has been inundated with phone calls. Yes, the prevalence of mental disorder has increased substantially, and many inquiries have been from people with diagnosable conditions. But a sizable number of cases involved “adjustment disorders,” which are not mental illnesses. They are symptoms that occur in response to stressful life events.               .

It is here that we see Rosmarin begin to frame his own ideas regarding what is ailing his clients/patients. They have “adjustment disorders” created at least in part by stressful life events and circumstances that I have already identified. He is not only doing some reframing of the ailments, but also identifying some specific support services that are of greatest value in addressing these adjustment disorders:

I am delighted that my sessions-with these people; all over Zoom, have been relatively inexpensive for them and have had good effects. In one instance, a middle-aged woman came in having experienced a single panic attack, thinking she was “going crazy.” Our 50-minute meeting focused on correcting her misconception, and she needed no further intervention. In another instance, I saw a young man who had started to feel significantly sad and lethargic for the first time. I helped him strategize ways to remain socially and physically active during quarantine, and he never slipped into clinical depression.


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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