A Headshrinker's Guide to the Galaxy

Psychoanalytic wisdom for everyday life

How to Gain Strength Through Difficult Experiences

A strong mind can only be developed in the crucible of challenging experiences. Read More

You almost got it!

You almost got what the fourth ingredient is. It's not the ability to learn from pain.

It's having a defined GOAL for the therapy.

Look at the metaphor you used at the start: "But it is not a passive process. It doesn’t just happen. Metaphorically speaking, the recipe only works if we get into the kitchen and start cooking."

Don't you realize that no one can start cooking in the kitchen without having an end product in mind? That the process of baking a cake is very different from the process of making a kosher lasagna? Going into the kitchen and cooking without a goal is a guaranteed exercise in a lousy outcome.

As with cooking, so with psychoanalysis. And in my opinion, if the goal is as amorphous as "personal growth" or "happiness" or "resilience," the outcome will be as unsatisfactory as cooking without a goal. The goal needs to be something like: Having a better and more frequent sex life. Now, that's attainable.

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Jennifer Kunst, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst, working with adults and couples in her private practice in Pasadena, CA.

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