The renowned 20th-century psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, based much of his work on the concept that “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.” While there is much meaning embedded in this statement, one of the main aspects here is “purpose.” For those struggling with issues of mental health, this purpose must be found in their pursuit of recovery.
From the outside looking in, many people may not understand the depth by which those in the professional mental health care field delve into when working with their clients. On the surface level, mental health care may just look like a series of treatment modalities or the implementation of a recovery plan. However, Beneath the surface, personal goals are being made and emotional milestones are being met.
Rediscovering Self in the Pursuit of Recovery
One could argue that recovery without purpose is like a car with a half a tank of gas. The half tank may get you to where you need to go, but when it’s time to go further down the road, there is not enough fuel to get you there.
For individuals that are seeking help for their mental health struggles, it is important to remember that these individuals often present emotionally vulnerable mental health states. These states can be both a boon as well as a potential barrier for the mental health care professional. First, they can be a boon in that an individual is ready and willing to seek help, as the vulnerability can be a sign of openness and readiness. However, these states can also be a barrier because they can present the need to navigate a fine line to avoid turning such vulnerability into fragility.
For this reason, incorporating a “self-discovery” element into a recovery plan is crucial. Helping an individual rediscover themself can help them communicate how their disorder is affecting them, both broadly and specifically. Ultimately, not only does self-discovery help build confidence, but it also helps build and strengthen the client/professional relationship.
Rediscovering Purpose in the Pursuit of Recovery
As previously mentioned, purpose is the “fuel” by which a recovery plan runs. Yes, therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can get to the underlying issues of mental illness. However, only purpose can drive an individual’s motivation for recognizing and processing such issues effectively.
Many people outside of the mental health field are also under the misconception that mental health treatment works as isolated instances. They often overlook the fact that recovery is not about a short-term “fix”, rather it is about a long-term “journey.” This is also why the idea of purpose is so vital; purpose is what keeps an individual invested in their recovery, rather than complacent in it.
So, how do you keep a client invested in their recovery? How do you get them to understand the foundational importance of purpose? You get them to set goals.
The Importance of Setting Goals in Recovery
We here at The Phoenix Recovery Center believe that there is no “finish line” in recovery. Thus, the concept of completing recovery is a fallacy.
Now, that is not to say that there are no milestones that can be met in recovery. At The Phoenix Recovery Center, these milestones can be seen quite clearly in that we are a transitional recovery center. Our clients move from residential treatment to intensive outpatient programs to general outpatient programs to community integration.
However, other aspects of purpose-driven recovery are often less seen. These are how we keep our clients motivated to continue their recovery journey after they leave our care. This may be through continued work with an individual therapist, group therapy, a 12-Step group for those struggling with addiction, and/or family therapy for those working to heal alongside loved ones.
The Importance of Focusing on Both “24 Hours at a Time”, as Well as Long-Term Recovery
In 12-Step recovery, there is a running idea that it is a program full of paradoxes; “You have to give it away to keep it,” for example. One of these paradoxes is the concept of focusing on one day at a time to achieve long-term sobriety. It is the same concept as purpose-driven recovery.
For mental health care professionals in the pursuit of the best outcomes for their clients, providing clients with the tools and techniques they need to discover their purpose in recovery is crucial. It can make the difference between a client’s life that is merely manageable and a life that is beyond what they once imagined possible.
Dr. Frankl also said, “For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” This is what we as recovery professionals can offer our clients: meaning in the moment that can then last a lifetime.
Get The Help You Need
For many in the mental health and addiction recovery realm, treating the physical and psychological symptoms can come easier than treating the more personal ones. Being able to help an individual rediscover their purpose in life can be just as crucial as helping them get a specific substance out of their system. Finding deeper meaning in recovery can be vital for ensuring long-term success and avoiding a potential relapse. Addiction recovery is about much more than the wreckage of the past, it is also about the purpose for the future. For more information on how to help your clients with their deeper needs for purpose and understanding, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.