Aristotle and the Golden Mean; How we can use it in Therapy

A client the other day started talking about Aristotle and the “Golden Mean.” I asked her for greater clarification and remarked that it was a wonderful way to think about our own goals when it comes to dealing with extremes. This led me to finding out that Aristotle, of ancient Greek philosophy, defined  “Golden Mean” as “the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.” For Aristotle, this was a call to virtue.

When we are faced with extremes or opposite ends of the spectrum, problems will arise. Let’s look at courage: if we were to take courage to excess it would create recklessness; not enough courage? Cowardice. Same can be applied to almost any virtue or characteristic. If we take shyness for example, one end of the spectrum will has us feeling isolated from others to the point of social anxiety/disengagement and if we are so free of shyness that we are unaware of social graces, we can also turn people off, leaving us feeling left out.

So how can we apply the golden mean to everyday, modern life? By focusing on moderation. It is through balance that we can begin to work towards the middle. When we are aware that we are getting too close to one end of the spectrum, we can begin to work towards reasonableness by actively creating goals that will get ourselves there.

The Golden Mean; what a wonderful phrase to keep in mind as we continue learning and growing 🙂

Photo credit: http://Photo by Tbel Abuseridze on Unsplash

Like this post? Consider subscribing!


Leave a comment