I’ve been dedicated to helping people for about 4 decades. For the last three I’ve been a professional psychotherapist. I’ve been successful because I’ve had a philosophy, based on the mystical foundations in Chabad Hasidut, that the preferable way of healing is by focusing and strengthening the positive rather than fighting with the negative. I have used this in many settings for over 20 years.
About 15 years ago Martin Seligman began a movement in psychology called positive psychology. It opened up scientific research in the same direction that my religious philosophy was guiding me. In the past 8 years this field of psychology has begun to produce practical suggestions for a fulfilled life. While the new focus on happiness, fulfillment and resilience is fantastic, there is still a way for positive psychology to go. They still need to integrate the research on the positive aspects of life with rectifying the negative. I’ve been doing that and the new research has greatly enhanced my skills and insights.
One area that has touched my heart is when healthy people need to care for needy loved ones. It can “drive them crazy.” Not that the care-takers contract mental illness, G-d forbid. But the can easily get overwhelmed by the demands of their loved ones. This is true for all types of loved ones, but it is especially true when the loved one has a mental illness. The problem is made worse when therapist begin to look for problems to fix in the care-takers lives. These people need a positive perspective to develop coping skills that fit their personal situations. With that goal in mind I now work with overwhelmed care-givers and coach them to develop workable plans and assist them to carry out their plans. While this may sound easy, when life is overwhelming and emotional, coaching can be an essential ingredient for a successful and fulfilling life.
So here’s to your well planned, well executed, fulfilling life!
Ari Hahn, LCSW PhD (ABD)