When I ask this question some people are puzzled. They want to feel better, that should be obvious. Some even tell me that because I am a psychologist, I should know. People come into therapy because they are in some kind of psychic pain. To get out of psychic pain and also to stop the causes of pain is what we call emotional maturity. What does emotional maturity look like?
That question has been long debated by philosophers and psychologists alike. Sigmund Freud said, “Love and work are the cornerstones of our humanness.” In other words, the aim of psychotherapy is to be able to love fully and consistently and to be productive and creative at work.
Another response comes from William C. Menninger, MD (1899-1966) He is one of the cofounders of the Menninger Foundation, for much of the 20th century the gold standard of mental health treatment. The Menninger Foundation was founded in 1919 by Dr. Charles F. Menninger and his sons, Drs. Karl and William Menninger. It consisted of a clinic, a sanatorium, and a school of psychiatry, In 2003, the Menninger Clinic moved to Houston.
THE CRITERIA OF EMOTIONAL MATURITY
* The ability to deal constructively with reality
*The capacity to adapt to change
*A relative freedom from symptoms that are produced by tensions and anxieties
*The capacity to find more satisfaction in giving than receiving
*The capacity to relate to other people in a consistent manner with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness
*The capacity to sublimate, to direct one’s instinctive hostile energies into creative and constructive outlets
*The Capacity to love