Lack of Imagination
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 7, 2014
The imagination takes us to places that we do not ordinarily think of in our daily lives. The wider the imagination the more one can strive towards a satisfying life with variation and stimulation. Likewise, the lack of imagination results in frustration and anguish. Helping people to imagine their potential is both the role of parents and psychotherapists. Rooney, fifty-two, female, comes to mind. She has a life filled with a daily routine, but she hardly ever varies from that routine. She says she wants to, “but she cannot find friends to do things with her.” “Maybe if you start doing things you like, you will find friends who like to do that too,” I say, challenging her assumption that if her friends will not go with her, then she has to stay home. “What would it be like if you imagined a life where you had more variety, where you were not waiting for your friends to invite you places,” I say, highlighting her passivity. “I would be lonely without my friends,” Rooney insists. “Maybe, but maybe not,” I respond. “Maybe you use your friends as an excuse not to expand your horizons,” I say, thinking that she is painfully dependent on her friends to invite her to new experiences. “Maybe,” she responds, with despair. “I just cannot seem to change,” she says with a heavy voice. “Let’s start by using your imagination,” I say, helping her to rehearse a different life in her head, before she launches into new challenges.