Why Psychotherapy and Why "Happiness is Within Reach"?

"I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
― Rabindranath Tagore

My reasons for doing psychotherapy have changed over time. When I was young, I chose psychology largely because I knew I would need to work to support myself and I wanted to have a job that interested me. Looking back, I naively imagined nice little heart to heart talks with clients, sort of like the ones I had with my Mom and Dad as we pondered the problems of sisters and brothers, who were probably pretty normal, but did not always get along. Like most of us, important but imperfect experiences of belonging, with all the ups and downs, were patterned early in my family life.

As a young adult, I was blithely unaware of the responsibility to others, many others, that would be involved in a career as a psychologist. I was even more unaware of the ways in which those profound responsibilities would lead to a deep sense of belonging; a sense of my place in the world. In grad school, I was drawn to theory—what makes people do what they do? I found that theories of psychology met my need for exploration and creativity. As the years went by and my work progressed, I found I had a bit of a gift for helping others, often by helping people to make sense of what was happening in their lives, and to cultivate a sense of meaning and purpose.

Now, I am in the later stages of my career as a psychologist. I still sleep and I still have dreams, but like the poet quoted above, my life experiences, especially all the years of helping, have taught me that belonging and service are closely connected, and that together they are a sweet and never ending source of joy. This why I do psychotherapy and this is part of the reason I like to say, "Happiness is within Reach."
― Dr. Lori L. Ladd