But how is even such seemingly modest change accomplished in therapy? So much of the changes that happen in psychotherapy parallel a gradual process of acceptance: acceptance of life as it truly is, as opposed to the way we wish it to be.
Freud's off-the-cuff comment may seem cynical. But when seen in the light of his own personal suffering from oral cancer during the final 15 years of his life and how he stoically faced that terrible fate, it is a mature and sober commentary on the absolute necessity of acceptance.
Rather than reflecting his profound pessimism about the human condition, as many mistakenly conclude, Freud's remark recognizes deeply and personally the need for courageous acceptance of physical and emotional suffering and, moreover, the high price we pay for trying to avoid or deny life's tragic aspect. More
- Evil Deeds: A Forensic Psychologist on Anger, Madness, and Destructive Behavior