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Out of the Patterns of Depression

Future Perspective

When we consider the emphasis on immediacy, as well as the mental health profession's extraordinary preoccupation with clients' childhood experiences as the focus of therapy, it is easy to appreciate why people become so intensely oriented to the past and the present, while grossly misrepresenting or underestimating the future. And there is no human condition in which this is more apparent than in clinical depression.

Of all the factors underlying depression, none is more powerful or wider in scope than your orientation towards your own future. Thus, it is vital that your orientation be a positive, realistic and motivating one. The ability to think about the future in positive terms is called, simply, "optimism".

It is unfortunate that people are not routinely taught to be future oriented. Thinking in terms of eventual consequences, of how to take current conditions and transform them into future probabilities, is necessary to survival. You are not born with this ability. Ideally, you learn it as you mature. Those who have a well-developed future orientation practise it automatically, like walking or talking. But this happens only if parents or other significant people in your life serve as examples and encourage you - perhaps even force you - to develop the ability. They do so by requiring you to plan ahead, predict the specific consequences of your actions, and have a variety of specific goals - short term, intermediate, and long-term. Too few people sense the importance of specific goals, because they are caught up in day-to-day living.


  • What drives you?

  • What goals do you live for?