Psychic Determinism


“I really want to quit, I’m just not ready!”

“I’d love to keep dating, but my work schedule is just too busy these days!”

“I know I need to get back in the gym, I just can’t find the time.”

Psychic determinism is an abstract concept used in certain forms of psychotherapy. It basically means that people make happen what they want to make happen. Another way of describing this is through an unconscious process. Forces outside (or “beneath”) someone’s vision seem to be driving them. It’s the role of therapy to try and tap into this unknown space.

Avoiding Solutions

When patients enter treatment at CeDAR, we offer a wide range of available recovery services for them to embrace. These include counseling, spiritual insight, exercise and physiology, peer support, or medication approaches. Each of these methods is different, but all connect in the areas of health and recovery from the disease of addiction.

We often have patients who make excuses for engaging in any sort of recovery support. They aren’t interested in sober living. They feel that enrolling in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) would be a waste of time. They describe that the spiritual themes of 12-Step are “not for them.”

It isn’t until we have exhausted all of the available options do we realize that the person has far too much resistance for clinical care. This doesn’t mean that the person will be unable to recover, but it can represent ambivalence around change. People who both feel a strong need to change as well as readiness will find some things suited for them.

Overcoming Resistance

How can we explore psychic determinism in real-time? This is where the role of the therapist comes into play, especially as it pertains to the subtleties of life. Do you have appointments with a therapist but always need to reschedule? Do you continually talk about your plans for the future, but these never seem to materialize? If you are working an actual therapy process, it’s the therapist’s job to help you talk about this resistance.

As you might guess, this can be a bind if the goal is to get someone to engage. A resistant patient would have a hard time exploring what drives them, including their own resistance. It can be a vicious cycle in which someone reports that they are regularly seeing a therapist but “never getting anything out of it.” If this applies to you, maybe you need to look a little deeper.

Read more CeDAR Education Articles about Psychotherapy