Mental health and the matter of “willing and choosing” has a close linkage. It’s apparent, viewed from the perspective of self creation, healing, wholeness, action. I also call or describe this psychological principle as “taking responsibility for your self.” As Sartre put it, we are the authors of ourselves.
A patient, Benjamin, has a recurring dark side to his mind in viewing his present predicament. He constantly blames others for his debts and business bankruptcy, his physical illnesses, and his family disintegration. And with avoidance of personal responsibility comes Benjamin’s string of psychological disorders, such as anxiety panic attacks, depression, obsessive compulsions, and substance addictions.
Each one of us is a “constituter” of the world we find ourselves in. We author the form and meaning that we give not only to our internal but to the external world as well. We each process events, circumstances, and relationships in our lives through our own neurological and psychological apparatus. Through the accretion of these individual choices, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and our failures to act in constructive ways, we ultimately manufacture our selves and our worlds.
We cannot avoid this personal responsibility, this freedom of “willing and choosing” for our selves. No matter what happened to us, done to us, from the outside, we remain our own primal world “constituters.” We remain responsible for our own response and existence — nobody else. Those who deny, ignore, or become unwilling to take responsibility for themselves end up remaining sick or stuck. Such principle is a highly essential visible denizen in all psychotherapy treatment.