We have been taught to think that a very large percentage of the population is “normal.” By “normal” I mean a group of people well-adapted emotionally and behaviorally who have few anxieties, depressions or addictions, who have well-functioning relationships and who are for the most part, happy. We are also taught there is a small segment of any population that is emotionally troubled — those with emotional and behavioral symptoms of distress, unhappiness and problematical relationships. However, in almost forty years of clinical psychiatric practice with patients and their families, I have not found anyone who is “normal.” This is true even for family members who do not seek treatment. Every person is emotionally conditioned in some way. This conditioning shapes and skews the personality from mild to severe degrees. This leaves each person with problems understanding himself, the significant others in his life and with varying degrees of poor emotional functioning and unhappiness. To some extent, we all have emotional problems.


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