Most immediately, I mean "my philosophy about psychotherapy," but everything I say here can be extended to my philosophy about life.
We come into this world as a non-person, and, somehow, over the years, we become a person. The process is complicated, fraught with risks, and it never goes perfectly. Never.
The fundamental tension is that between our burgeoning individuality and the demands of the world outside us. There is a cost to meeting the demands of the world. There is a cost to refusing to do so, or not being able to do so. The person we become lies somewhere on a spectrum between complete non-compliance and complete compliance.
I'm not here as a defender of compliance. Not even close. But I'm also not a defender of infantile fantasies of living a life without demands or obligations. The goal of therapy, as I see it, is to help the person you are become better able to navigate the incredibly complex dynamic of compliance, non-compliance, costs - and rewards.
Our most essential traits originated in our efforts to survive our childhoods. This is true no matter how good, bad, or ordinary our childhood was. We became who we are in a very particular compromise between resisting and embracing the world in which we developed.
Today, as adults, we live in a larger world that is far larger than our childhood one. At times it will resemble our childhood world, but it is mostly different. And yet we still have these traits from another age that came into existence for purposes that mostly no longer apply. They seem like part of us much of the time, but they don't always serve us well. This is the area in which therapeutic change is centered.