This article is not the typical article discussing the difference between health care policies of the two political parties. Nor is this an article examining why constituents of one party statistically enjoy a mentally healthier emotional state of mind. It is rather to present an opportunity for the reader to compare one’s mental health/wellness philosophy to one’s choice of political party. Specifically, this writer contends that it is one’s belief system on coping with, and handling life’s challenges that directly moves one’s self to mental health/wellness. It is this very philosophy of how to cope with, handle, and treat each challenge during the many phases and stages of life that plays a concrete role in the political party one votes for or when considering who the President of the United States should be. The intent of this article is not to tell people who to vote for. Rather it is to explain this therapist’s mental health philosophy in its comparison with generally accepted political views to explain a therapeutic approach to helping people. It is this mental health expert’s goal to demonstrate through the use of politics two different philosophical styles of how people help themselves to help themselves live a life of mental health and wellness.
Once you become aware of your mental health/wellness philosophy, if you compare that to the overall philosophy of America’s political parties, it is in this moment of mindful cognitive awareness that you can then choose which party is best for you and for America. It is when one is aware of his philosophy, whatever the subject matter, that one can then make the wisest of choices. Often people operate without true mindful awareness and we make decisions lacking in complete cognition and consciousness. It is in this moment that I invite you to consider your philosophical stance of how to be well.
A few of the many relationships we have includes:
The relationship one has with their spouse, with one’s parents, with one’s children, with one’s boss or colleagues, with one’s own self, including physical health, emotional health, and mental health. The relationship we have in all areas of our life affects our mental health and wellness. Let us look at four relationship examples in a person’s life and think about how it is comparable to each of the general philosophies of the two political parties.
- Marital Example:
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: The choices I make affect the health and wellness of my marital relationship. Therefore, it is up to me to make changes because the choices I make can be the difference that makes the difference for a healthy marriage.
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: My spouse is the problem in this marriage. Therefore my spouse needs to be the solution and change to help us as a couple to be a better marriage, a healthy marriage. It is not what I am going to do. It is what my spouse can do for us.
- Parenting Example:
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: It is up to me as the parent to assure that my child gets what he needs in life. For example, if he has a test, it is my responsibility to teach him study skills so he can be successful. When he has homework it is up to me to take the time to read the assignment and check his homework.
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: It is up to others to help my child succeed. For an example, if my child did not do well on his test, or does not understand how to do his homework, then it is up to the teacher to do a better job teaching him so he does better.
- Employment Example:
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: I must work hard, have a strong work ethic, and do my best each day to succeed. If I am unsuccessful then it is up to me to figure out what steps I can take to improve and grow (e.g., more schooling, different job, work more hours etc.).
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: Others have more than I do. It is unfair. They should share and spread their success and achievement. If I am unsuccessful it is because I did not have the same advantages growing up as someone else and therefore, there is nothing I can do to improve, enhance, and grow. I am owed. It’s a fairness issue.
- Personal Physical Health Example:
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: I will make healthy choices with my eating and exercising to increase the chances that I am physically healthy. I may not have money for a gym membership but my body and health are in my control. Each morning, even if I have to get up early before going to work, I will do jumping jacks, jog in place, do sit ups, and push ups, whatever it takes to stay healthy.
- Mental health/wellness philosophy: The food that is served in many restaurants is making me fat. I should sue them because they made me fat and unhealthy. It is up to the food service industry to change so I can be healthy. The food that is quick and easy to prepare is high in fat and I have no time to cook healthy meals or exercise. Nor can I afford a gym membership. So there is nothing I can do about my physical health.
The following is the simplistic general philosophy of the Republican and Democrat parties:
Republicans overall philosophy: Self-reliance. It is the choices that I make that impact me and my family. It is not about what another (the government) can give to me. For an example, if another person has more money than I do, it is not mine to expect them to share with me, it is my responsibility to figure out what I can do different to make more money.
What three words would you use to describe the Republican party’s general/basic philosophy to live by? A life philosophy of how you would self-identify one’s character?
Hello, my name is ___________. The way I make things happen for me in my life and the way I function, achieve, and help myself cope with life’s challenges is through being: 1) self reliant, 2) empowered, and 3) independent.
If you were to describe your own character, or your teen’s character, your young adult’s character, or the person you hope your child will be when an adult would it be these three words?
Democrats overall philosophy: People are in need of help and support. They are disadvantaged due to no fault of their own. They are the victims of bad luck. Society should pick up others that do not have.
What three words would you use to describe the Democrat party’s general/basic philosophy to live by? A life philosophy of how you would self-identify one’s character?
Hello, my name is ___________. The way I make things happen for me in my life and the way I function, achieve, and help myself cope with life’s challenges is through: 1) looking to others for support , 2) getting help from others, and 3) hope. It is government’s role to pick me up and spread the wealth around.
Psychotherapist/Relationship Expert Says:
As a psychotherapist who specializes in the relationship dynamics between people, it is my contention that for the mental health and well being of self and those we love, being self reliant, having courage and conviction that one must create to make things happen is extremely important. The belief in the importance of the drive for independence is imperative. With that said, it is important to have a network of family, friends, and associates who can provide some moderate help and assistance, from time to time. “Moderate” and from “time to time” is the key. To have an overall basic philosophy that help and support from others is one’s instinct to survive and thrive means that one is not taking ownership of one’s own behavior. Rather, taking ownership of one’s own behavior and holding the life philosophy to confront challenges head on is the way one feels more in control even when life seems out of control.
It might appear a bit of a contradiction for a psychotherapist to express a more self reliant philosophy since we are in a people helping profession. Helping people is what I do, it is what I have done for 18 years and will continue to do. It is my contention that helping others as a professional in an office is about helping people to help themselves get to a better place. I work to help others to be empowered. I offer solution focused strategic counseling, not therapy that creates dependency. I believe in a strength based approach to helping clients discover and access their strength and capabilities to live a life of mental health and wellness. Mental wellness must be achieved through individuals being responsible, self reliant, and independent with moderate support from their network on their life journey. That is a healthy balance, not the other way around. We have all heard of the concept that if you give a man a fish you feed him for a meal, rather if you teach him to fish he feeds himself for a lifetime. This concept is descriptive for my solution driven therapeutic philosophy for mental health and wellness.
What is your life philosophy for mental health and wellness? What is your opinion about which political party’s core life values stance fits your philosophy? What do you want your philosophy to be? What do you want your spouse’s opinion to be, and your children’s? Which mental health and wellness philosophy is best for the needs of America? Which political party would best serve America?
Television Appearance Update:
If you wish to view my interview on FOX 25 News Boston discussing this topic click here.