My first book contribution is out! 📖🌱
I collaborated with cross-cultural psychology researchers from University of Derby on a book titled “Ikigai: Towards a psychological understanding of a life worth living” (Yasu Kotera and Dean Fido, Eds.). Ikigai (生き甲斐) is a Japanese word often translated as “purpose in life” or “life worth living” in English literature. However, it has been also argued that this word cannot be exactly translated in English, since it is not a logical or a philosophical concept; it is an experiential, everyday life phenomenon that moves (or stagnates) one’s reason for living.
This is similar to the French term “raison d’être” (translated as “reason for living”); however, most Japanese philosophers are clear that ikigai is not at all about reason but about the unity of experiences, senses, feelings, and thoughts that make us feel alive (which could include fulfilling relationships as well as professional fulfilment – we need not choose one or the other).
My particular contribution is to chapter 1, in which I explore ikigai and psychotherapy: “As Mathews (1996a) succinctly points out, there are considerable disagreements about what form of ikigai is best suited for everyone. While some argue that ikigai may be found in the pursuit of one’s own individual dreams, thus explicitly defining it as a form of jiko jitsugen (‘self–realization’: Kobayashi, 1989), others conflate ikigai with ittaikan (‘a sense of oneness’), arguing that only through commitment to a group (e.g., family, culture, work) can one arrive at an authentic meaning of life. Although it is acknowledged that the source and sense of ikigai differs for each individual, there are still attempts to establish a universal definition for this concept (Mathews, 1996a). Similar debates around meaning of life and psychological wellbeing occur in the practice of psychotherapy. Although much of the discourse in psychotherapy revolves around psychopathology, discomfort and suffering, the very premise of psychotherapy as a form of treatment is that psychopathology can be alleviated by addressing unmet needs. According to Miller (2004), ‘A need is the lack of something experienced as essential to the purposes of life. It expresses itself as suffering. If the person is aware of the existence of a way to stop suffering, the need expresses itself as a desire’ (p. 36).”
My chapter follows with a discussion of how CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and psychoanalysis seek to attain psychological wellbeing with patients (if they seek to do so at all). You can read the chapter here: https://concurrentdisorders.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/CHAPTER-1.-Health-benefits-of-ikigai_-A-review-of-literature.pdf
Full book available open access here: https://concurrentdisorders.ca/ikigai-towards-a-psychological-understanding-of-a-life-worth-living/