Existential Psychology

Increased Insight Has Its Own Drawbacks

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The entire therapeutic endeavor is based upon the belief that increased insight is a good thing, that becoming consciously aware of the aspects of your life that were once hidden from you will improve your situation. Encapsulated in one line, this belief is that “The truth shall set you free.”

But increased insight has its own drawbacks; trading fiction for truth doesn’t necessarily improve your situation and it certainly doesn’t promise to make you any happier. In fact, it’s entirely possible that you’ll stay much happier by continuing to live with your rationalizations, with the lies you’ve told yourself, since many of these rationalizations are in place to protect you from painful truths that you really don’t want to see.

If you give therapy everything you have your situation probably will improve. You’ll certainly understand your own drives and motivations better. But you won’t necessarily become happier, and it’s worth being aware of this fact from the start so that you don’t go in with a secret hope that is unlikely to come true. There’s another line you’ve surely heard many times, that “Ignorance is bliss.”  The deeper you go into psychology the more you will understand your situation, but you won’t necessarily like the answers you discover.