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Volume 4, Pages 638-648
Research Article

Clinical Holistic Medicine: A Psychological Theory of Dependency to Improve Quality of Life

1The Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgåstraede 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Division of Community Health, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel
3Faculty of Social Science, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Academic College of Judea and Samaria, Ariel, Israel
4National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem and Zusman Child Development Center, Division of Pediatrics, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel

Received 30 November 2003; Revised 4 August 2004; Accepted 5 August 2004

Academic Editor: Daniel T.L. Shek

Copyright © 2004 Søren Ventegodt et al.


In this paper, we suggest a psychological theory of dependency as an escape from feeling existential suffering and a poor quality of life. The ways in which human beings escape hidden existential pains are multiple. The wide range of dependency states seems to be the most common escape strategy used. If the patient can be guided into the hidden existential pain to feel, understand, and integrate it, we believe that dependency can be cured. The problem is that the patient must be highly motivated, sufficiently resourceful, and supported to want such a treatment that is inherently painful. Often, the family and surrounding world is suffering more than the dependent person himself, because the pattern of behavior the patient is dependent on makes him or her rather insensitive and unable to feel. If the patient is motivated, resourceful, and trusts his physician, recovery from even a severe state of dependency is not out of reach, if the holistic medical tools are applied wisely. The patient must find hidden resources to take action, then in therapy confront and feel old emotional pain, understand the source and inner logic of it, and finally learn to let go of negative attitudes and beliefs. In this way, the person can be healed and released of the emotional suffering and no longer be a slave to the dependency pattern.