Monday, 4 April 2011

Therapy and other myths

(This is an old sore spot of mine, so this may degenerate into a semi-rant at some point.)
I've heard a number of people call what they do for fun, "therapy." Whether the activity is golf, chess, motorcycle riding, hiking, cooking, what-have-you, people use it as "therapy" to unwind and get away from their every-day activities. I realize that not every job is fun; I know that through personal experience. People need to get tensions and frustrations out of themselves and often leisure time activities serve to do that. What I object to is the use of the term 'therapy' for those activities. It seems to place such activities on the level with medication, physical therapy, diet, or psychotherapy.
     Dictionaries say the word comes from the Greek therapeia, and from therapeuein, to treat medically. I feel that applying therapy to leisure time activities, equates our work with disease and dysfunction. Secondly, it implies that leisure time activities have a secondary place (at best!) when compared to what we do to make a living. No doubt, bills must be paid and the bulldog must be fed. Still, I'm saddened by the idea that we are economic animals only, and our work is the source of all satisfaction in our lives and if it isn't, we are diseased or dysfunctional.
     We are more than that. Our soul/spirit/inner being is fed by our work AND our play. Balance is always the thing we strive for; Otherwise, we'd never take vacations. I'm mistrustful of the mindset that places work ahead of the benefits of working, career ahead of life.
     For my part, I've got lots of toys to keep me busy out side of what I do as a career - as much as I enjoy that! But my play is not therapy, permitting me to pour more of myself and my energy into my daily work. My work is more important than that; my family is more important than that and I'd never call them "therapy."

Return to your lives , Citizens! I'm done for today.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if calling a leisure activity "therapy" is an attempt to justify the fun. Or maybe it's just a joke that used to be mildly amusing but has since been told to death.