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IDON’T know whether it’s true or not, but the story goes that a man came to an ancient philosopher desiring to learn wisdom. The philosopher took the man out into a river and then suddenly wrestled him down under the water.
Just at the point of drowning him, the wise philosopher hauled him out again and said, “Now, what did you say you wanted?”
The poor guy was just gasping and wheezing, begging for air.
“Well, when you want wisdom as much as you want to breathe,” the philosopher told him, “then you shall have it.”



How much does anyone want psychotherapy? Happiness—or the appearance of it—is what most people today seem to value. And many psychotherapists seem to think their job has something to do with helping people fulfill their desire for happiness; psychotherapy then becomes not much more than building up your sense of denial about the vulnerability of human existence.

Many people, therefore, enter psychotherapy hoping to get rid of pain. Some people even manage to use psychotherapy to hide from their emotional pain. But a competent psychotherapist won’t let you hide from your past or your future, and in competent psychotherapy you will be encouraged to take up the “cup” of your destiny, however much you might wish it would pass from you.

Moreover, unlike medical surgery, psychotherapy must be performed without anesthetics. It will be necessary to be aware of the process, to feel the pain, and to look directly at the “ugly” gore inside of you. It’s no wonder, then, that most people are afraid of it all.

You will find many claims out there for an easy way to achieve physical and mental healing. But I predict that if you follow such a path—a path not grounded in discipline and hard work—you are likely not to find anything more than self-indulgence. True, one part of you might find something resembling health, but other parts will remain unhealed, angry and fearful. The only escape from the darkness of the easy way is to seek the light and pay the price of genuine healing.

In other words, psychotherapy should be serious business. It shouldn’t be about getting rid of problems; it should be about making peace with your problems, taking responsibility for your life—even if you didn’t ask for it—disentangling yourself from the desires of the world around you, and discovering something about a human potential you didn’t even know you had.

So remember: it’s your life. Treat it with reverence and respect. That’s how I do psychotherapy. You might not find happiness, but you will have a good chance to find peace and joy: to discover integrity and encounter the beauty of life itself. To do this, though, it will be necessary to want psychotherapy as much as you want to breathe.


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FOR THE SAKE OF TRUTH this website about the practice of Clinical Psychology does not accept any advertising.

Therefore, if my work has been informative and helpful to you, please send a donation in appreciation, even if it’s only a few dollars, to help offset my costs in making this website available to everyone without advertising.

Gratitude is joy to the heart!


Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
San Francisco


Throughout this website, my goal is simply to help you realize that although life can be painful, unfair, and brutal, it doesn’t have to be misery.
The practice of good clinical psychology involves something—call it comfort—which does not mean sympathy or soothing, and it certainly doesn’t mean to have your pain “taken away.” It really means to be urged on to take up the cup of your destiny, with courage and honesty.




from the

The Spiritual Depth of Clinical Psychology

A collection of texts from the writings of
Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.

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A Guide to Psychology and its Practice



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San Francisco


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