It is likely that depression, anxiety, and anger come from heritable personality traits that can only be ameliorated, not wholly eliminated. This means that, as a born pessimist, even though I know and use every therapeutic trick in the book about arguing against my automatic catastrophic thoughts, I still hear the voices frequently that tell me, “I am a failure” and “Life is not worth living.” I can usually turn down their volume by disputing them, but they will always be there, lurking in the background, ready to seize on any setback.
So one thing that clinical psychology needs to develop in light of the heritable stubbornness of human pathologies is a psychology of “dealing with it.” We need to tell our patients, “Look, the truth is that many days—no matter how successful we are in therapy—you will wake up feeling blue and thinking life is hopeless. Your job is not only to fight these feelings but also to live heroically: functioning well even when you are very sad.”
–Creator of “Positive Psychology” Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.
Professor of psychology at University of Pennsylvania
Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding
of Happiness and Well-being
(Kindle Locations 887-890). Atria Books.