As clinicians, we have never been proponents of diagnostic labeling of clients, or ourselves for that matter, although we have certainly experienced more than a fair number of individuals who make their way to our door clutching a DSM numerical code that supposedly explains their malaise. Those initial sessions are often centered around a heartfelt discussion of the usefulness or harmfulness of these labels and the purpose they serve to move us toward or away from a more effective living out of our lives. In time, most clients will agree that these terms serve no real benefit and we will collectively discard them as we undertake our time of moving in the direction of greater authenticity of the self. No single descriptor captures the essence of anyone's personhood, and it seems that we are all better served by focusing on the potential that lies within to grow and develop in ways yet unrevealed. A label simply seems to say, "This is who we are now" and quite often seems to indicate as well, "and this is all we will forever be!" At Intentional Living, we simply do not believe that to be the case - ever - for any of us.

Then isn't it paradoxical (or perhaps hypocritical?) that we would banter a pseudo-diagnostic label around? Since our society demands that we maintain a culture of diagnoses, we propose what we think may well be a new dominant label for our day and time: Intention Deficit Disorder (IDD). IDD would be defined as the pervasive pattern in the pace of our lives that surrounds each one of us as we go through the motions of what seems to be required to meet the needs of each day, falling exhaustedly into bed at night, only to resume the same pace the next morning. Most of us are doing our best to manage all that is expected of us and, while we may long to slow it down a bit, we perpetuate the harried pace, going through the motions of what is ours to do without much forethought as to its purpose. In this state, most of what we do is based on rote reaction as opposed to thoughtful and intentional response.

If there was a clinically identifiable state known as IDD, perhaps the recognizable symptoms would include:

  1. The tendency to live life without purpose.
  2. An overwhelming feeling of indecisiveness.
  3. The absence of passion for anything or anybody.
  4. Taking others for granted.
  5. Reacting to what others might say or do (as opposed to consciously responding).
  6. The inability to make conscious choices for how to live one's life.

In next month's article installment we'll discuss how one might avoid some of these pitfalls of Intention Deficit Disorder.