Poignant transformations emerge from the depths of despair, but they result, if one is fortunate, in the heights of renewal. Certainly this was true for me, and many of the people I’ve known or worked with. What could be more precious than the gift of liberation from crippling despair, of being freed to pursue what deeply matters? What could be more critical than participating in – really grappling with – the rescue of one’s soul?
Yet what I’m seeing today throughout our culture is an increasing tendency to skip over this grappling part of the equation and to shift abruptly to the transformational part.
Today, how many children [not to mention adults] are encouraged to work through their torment – or even to supplement their medication with an emotionally supportive encounter?
The most popular [psychological therapies] today, such as medication and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), are often short-term and have a mixed record with regard to effectiveness. The emerging view is that they are helpful for relief of symptoms such as negative thoughts, poor appetite and phobias, but questionable when it comes to complex life issues, such as the search for meaning and purpose, and the struggle with love.
Kirk Schneider goes on to describe the transformation that is sometimes available when people have the support and the patience to work through their grief and their fear to a renewed elation and sense of wonder that is larger than our suffering.
Read the rest from Kirk Schneider at Aeon.co