Demosthenes Gaveas
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"Yes man changes!"

How much pain and equivalent courage is needed to say I will change? Is hope a blessing after all? How many dead ends do you have to be in to seek change? How many times have you not said "today I change" and you remain the same or almost the same? How many failed attempts and how many failures can one endure? How many times will you say "let's start all over again"? And all the stations of your life? Are they deleted that easily? The ones who were crushed by our mistakes? What will you say to them? "I'm sorry, but have I changed yet?" All that accumulated memory? All those promises? The ones we believed and the ones we made others believe? What to change in a society and a place where not only nothing changes, but the "work" gets worse? The illness of the friend, the parent, the loss? Those that have been and those that will come? Changes that we didn't ask for, but that knocked on our door and that I feel are lurking in some corner? Will life take the initiative to change, as it has done for centuries now? If so, then where am I? Do I have a say in all this?

With these thoughts I had already arrived at my appointment. The look of the children and their parents waiting to see the mental health specialists "burned" me inside. Right after the good morning with him Child Psychiatrist, Psychotherapist and Director of the Child Psychiatric Clinic Center, Mr. Dimitris Karagiannis, I expressed my dismay at what I had just witnessed.

"Indeed, but you don't know what good things are done with these children!" he replied and his gaze lit up. He had already set the tone for the "watershed" interview that would follow, on the occasion of it edition of his new book entitled "Does Man Change?" by Armos publications.


– Coming to meet you, I observed the apartment buildings with caged apartments, the smudged city and I thought of Aris Konstantinidis who called the houses containers of life. If architecture is the city's identity, then by extension it is our identity as well. What change can we achieve in such an environment of ugliness?

Ugliness is a fact, just as it is a fact that it comes to destroy. So the problem is not that there is no beautiful aesthetics, it is not that something is produced that we may not like, but there is something that comes and destroys the beauty that actually exists within the city. There is wear and tear, you can see its touch everywhere and all this points to a more general impression. It's where people look for an alibi and finally everyone finds their alibi in order not only not to create something good, but to spoil whatever good there may be.

But we have to admit that there is also health, which also resists inside these cages of apartment buildings, as you characterized them, there is also life. So we cannot talk only in terms of external aesthetics. We should also talk about the beauty that can exist in a family living in a small house. I can see the beauty in the balcony of this family where the woman will have spread her clothes on it in a very beautiful way. 

Rigid is the opposite of creative

What I want to say is that we have to take into account and the microclimate which is created in the city and every man, every family, every couple, has the right and obligation to create this microclimate, which then it will also become the structure upon which they will build their lives.

Therefore, whether it is the external ugliness, or the economic difficulty that invades and makes it difficult for all of us, or whether it is the questioning of some value systems, which comes through globalization or through the internet, we must understand that it is not the destruction of the world, instead it may be the possibility of producing something good. So instead of complaining and protesting about graffiti in the city, let's try to make beauty in our lives. 

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

– Speaking about the relationship between building and man, you say in your book that permanent structure implies rigidity, a permanent flow of chaos. Where is man in the age where everything is deconstructed and flow is the dominant factor to the point where we don't have time to follow any developments?

This boundless flow is precisely that point where everyone tries to escape the moments, thereby losing sight of long-term goals. That is why we suffer at a social level. We have learned to look ahead to the next election, if not sooner.

On a personal level, if we just look for the moments, then we end up lacking a continuity to set us and the structure which in turn will allow the new to exist. This pursuit of moments hides the denial of death, the fear in the face of death, as when the goal, the meaning, is lost, then we are in a panic and we do not know where to start and that's when we become consumers of situations, people, relationships and lose the concept of creator.

The awareness of personal responsibility, while demanding, is also liberating. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

Because if I set a goal I can defend creativity, which cannot be stagnant, cannot be rigid. Rigid is the opposite of creative. Thus we escape from the chaotic, which also cancels the concept of creation.

Change as a slogan and Santa Claus

- For years now, the Greek has been asking for change. It is the favorite word of our politicians and yet nothing seems to change, but we are in a constant retreat. Are we incapable of change? Where do you find the anchorages or fixations?

Change as a political slogan sells and often sells for the same people who treat it as a promise and reuse it as a disentanglement with the previous situation, that is, again as change. When people ask for change to be given to them by others, they are in a childish attitude since they do not take personal responsibility. 

Populism is the enemy of change at the collective level Dimitris Karagiannis "Man changes"

Although i must say santa is real. Of course, this means that some adults will have to go buy gifts, find the money for them and then take care of creating the appropriate festive atmosphere. Then yes, there is Santa Claus. But if we think like little children and expect every politician to be that Santa Claus, who will bring us presents, then at some point we will wake up and admit that he doesn't exist.Only taking responsibility in our personal lives can bring about change and slogans about political change, without the corresponding assumption of responsibility on the part of the citizens, are nothing more than an empty shirt.

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

– Do we as Greeks need psychology to change? Since we have the philosophy. Our ancient ancestors had as a guide, among other things, "the right philosophers die studying" could this not be a guide today?

Indeed, our ancient ancestors said study of death, memory of death by the Fathers of the church. It was an important factor in life. But today in western societiesthe great taboo is death, not sex, in any form, as some believe. Facing death becomes something forbidden. Just to point out that in the recent revision of the DSM, the diagnostic criteria of the American Psychiatric Association, grief was removed from the normal conditions and included with depression. This means that even mental health professionals refuse to talk about death and see it as a normal function of life. 

However, ignoring the reality that our life has an end, leads to the denial of the possibility of our life having an end, with the ancient Greek meaning, i.e. purpose. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

Sure, he who denies death lives forever with death. But whoever knows how to read death well begins to wonder what the important meaning of life should be, tries to give his own personal answer, which will allow him to think about what is important, what is really worth. Of course this particular question causes difficulties, but it also does something else, it moves you forward. Answers can and are produced that are liberating, and then surprises can arise that take us out of the jams we have when we see our present as if there is no future or when we live only in the present. 

Processed mourning does not simply end with its resolution, but graces the mourner and makes him a teacher of life. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

This is the most important thing about death and that is why in our own therapeutic approach (the existential systemic approach) we ask the question "where are you going?" "what do you want to be;". Even older adults we will ask the same or ask “the problem you bring me how do you want us to see it? How do you want us to deal with it?" I mean we return again to the concept of responsibility, to define things yourself and not to be defined by any problems.

I have to say, about the concept of death, that if Western societies blame him, traditional societies risked suspending life in the name of death. If for some Westerners there is no life after death, in traditional societies there is danger from the logic that this life has no value and only the hereafter is important and true. It is exactly the same logic that puts death as more important than life, while in our case death gives meaning to life.

From the salons of Vienna...

– Since you mentioned the West, how did the psychotherapy from the salons of Vienna that concerned a certain class of people become dominant in a society like ours which until a few years ago was rural? Does the ordinary, everyday working man have the psycho-intellectual tools to grasp the various concepts? Is this just another fad? 

If I can't "meet" a family of any economic and educational class and talk meaningfully about their lives then I've lost it, and psychotherapy that can't touch them is a denial of psychotherapy. If psychotherapy ispretentious language, a glossary between some closed groups that indulge in a vocabulary then we are on a dangerous path. Genuine psychotherapy is just the opposite. To meet the other and to serve him. Because healing is always this concept of serving.

Can words change a person? In order to change your life, you must change your narrative, through the prism of which you read your life. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

Woe to the glossary if it is the same in different cases, but woe also if the meanings you have to share, if the positions you have to give do not have the same solid foundation. So we are talking about the same life issues, which are universal and we have to shape them into the ways of being of each one.

Secondly, if psychotherapy is a fad, then it is a dangerous fad. These seven-step-change-your-life-type Americanisms are of the same logic as the political slogan of change. We are again dealing with a scientific populism and I would like to underline that the people who go to these "experts" are also responsible and complicit, because they basically do not want to see themselves, to try to gain a substantial self-awareness.

So indeed there is surface psychology which hurts because it asks people to adapt to life, yet we dare and differentiate. In England currently insurance companies are asked within four – five sessions to finish, they don't care if the other person is an alcoholic, what they are primarily interested in is that the other person be functional and be at work on Monday. Therefore, if we are talking about such a psychotherapy that can make them docile organs so that they can be produced by the machine, then it is certainly not a good thing when we on the other hand ask such questions.

Relationships and healing

– How did people in the past manage to cope with very difficult situations and bring about change without the help of an expert? 

Every genuine and honest relationship is healing. The same applies to in-office psychotherapy. There can be no healing if there is no genuine relationship. The friend who will push you through a difficult time instead of having your back can be healing. The relationships, the looks we can receive during our life, in difficult times, from people who won't feel sorry for us, who won't make observations, who won't give us advice, but will surround us and tell us, "go ahead, you've got it", knowing the difficulties and not hiding them, all this is therapeutic. People who are fighting their own lives can act as role models for all of us and be healing just by existing and living! This is also an honest way for someone who does not sell his ideas, but lives honestly with what he stands for. These are the standards of livingthat give you courage and can help us make changes.

Man changes as long as he keeps his relationship with the other open. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

Therefore the original relationships, the community structures that existed in the past, became healing structures. In mourning, for example, there was the community, the extended family, but today they were getting smaller, what are we going to do? So we have the responsibility as adults to create such structures. They will no longer be gifted structures, they will not belong to the extended family, but to the friends we choose, to the relationships we create so that they are authentic and can not only be for the difficult moment, but also be for the beautiful things that we can to share. The beautiful for which they can motivate us and enable us to think creatively, to be inspired to do something more.

Modernization of tradition

- The family and the communities are shrinking, the Greek is in a division with himself, those around him, with his history but also with his tradition. If you don't love and accept what defines you, how will there be change?

We have a responsibility to read the tradition in a way that corresponds to today. Not to be a memorial for tradition, but to make it a functional tool in the now. When we talk about tradition, in art, in culture, in our culture, we cannot talk in terms of a previous period because that is too myopic. Different why not take the tradition back to the Neanderthals? And are they not part of our tradition? So why dwell only on the previous 100 years and not the depth of the centuries?

So again, what is tradition? Tradition, if we want to be honest, is functionality. Make functional use of what is available around you. See the traditional houses which do not have the same roofs everywhere. If we put a Peliorite roof in the Cyclades then the house will be dysfunctional and certainly not traditional, since in the Cyclades there is a roof that is designed to collect rainwater. If the logic of the Cycladic terrace was applied to Pelion, then in winter it would collapse from the snow. So traditional is functional, what corresponds and what you use in the place and time you are. They are the tools you have and with them you are looking to find functional solutions. 

Change your mind, but stick to your principles. Change the leaves, but keep the roots intact. Victor Hugo (at the beginning of the first chapter of the book "Does man change?"

To be more clear, traditional they are not just some elements of the agricultural period of our country, but it is the way of thinking, the way of being, that produced them. Traditional is not embroidery, flokati, traditional is where there was a need for a blanket, for some heating, they made it but be careful, not only at the level of need but they put desire and beauty. They had the ability to beautify the necessary and they did not live in deprivation relying only on the materials they had.

If we want to be traditional nowadays we have to be very inventive. We have to do a thousand crazy things, take advantage of anything digital. At the same time I point this out, we must be careful not to become someone else's tools. That is, to keep the concept of staff that existed within the traditional. Not everything was the same. Even from place to place, neighboring villages differed and applied different techniques to the same subjects. That's where the beauty lies, in the personal. They avoided the flattened, the uniform. This is what we have to keep as traditional today.

Let's negotiate our difficulties

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

– In your book you "play" with the concept of time. You argue that change is directly interdependent with time. The time of decision to change. Propose a journey that goes straight into the future in order to bring about a radical reversal of past data, with the personal responsibility of the "traveler" as a vehicle. But what if there has been a series of unfortunate events and the evil spirit is not our fault?

At times in our lives we feel difficulty facing the issues we have to deal with, this is also experienced by many experts in mental health issues. So people treat difficulty as something bad. The subjective feeling of discomfort, sadness, fear, pain, feeling of helplessness, feeling of impasse, anxiety, tension, they register it as something only negative, as a dysfunction. They then begin to wonder "what was the fault", "where was my fault?", "who is to blame?", "is it the other person's fault... is it my fault?". A situation is created where all these negative feelings are registered as failure. But let's see it as it really corresponds. Too many issues that make it difficult for us in our lives are not issues of dysfunction but purely developmental.

To put it simply: a 2.5-3.5 year old child is sure to change shoes before they wear out and this is not because the shoes or the child's foot are problematic, but because the child's foot grows faster. So here there is a difficulty as we have to pay to get new shoes as the child grows up. But here we have a blessing! So these are the developmental problems.  

People who try to avoid stress, eventually stress catches up with them. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

In every phase of development we also go through a phase of destabilization. In destabilization the feelings that arise are not pleasant and we risk registering them as negative, when they are not. What we should think in similar cases is: "if at this moment I'm struggling it's not because something bad has happened, but because I'm going and aiming for something better to go somewhere else". 

Those who are able to negotiate the difficulty will be able to find themselves at a higher level of functionality.

The student who gives national exams and aims for a more demanding school will struggle much more than the one who won't take the exam or who doesn't care about the exam, he will feel charged, but he has to look to the future and think about what he is fighting for. The same is true in couple relationships, which sometimes make it difficult, not necessarily because someone is to blame, but because they are moving to the next stage of development. People who end their relationships when they are faced with a difficulty, are exactly at that point where they will be recycled, where they will experience the same thing again with the next partner. That's how far they'll go. On the contrary, those who are able to negotiate the difficulty will be able to find themselves at a higher level of functionality. 

When unpleasant things "knock" at your door

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

- You write in your book: "In difficult times, borrow from your future!". And if the future looks like a thriller? 

What we are about to experience is not a thriller. As the years go by and so do we,I wish we will experience more difficult situations of those we have to deal with now. 

If they succeed the wishes of people who wish us on our birthdays "to measure them", what does that mean? It means they wish us to be weaki, to lose a lot of strength, to have gone through many illnesses, to have mourned many of our own people. Isn't that what they wish for us? It's not a thriller it's a sure thing that will happen...the track in our life's development is difficult. So I repeat that this is something developmental, you lose some powers but you can gain in wisdom, if of course this thought process has started much earlier and not at the last moment, because then malice and misery are added. Thriller lives like an ending, one that makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

– Go back to the student or the couple and see them a few years in the future? I feel that we ignore that in the journey of life there are many traumas, failures, disappointments, the list can be long. 

Again we are talking in childish terms, in terms like, "I will play when I finish my lessons". Students often say: "when I enter the university I will finally live". Then what will happen is that they will sink, as is often the case today with students. It's like they've been burned in the previous phase and then let go and sink. This is helped by both the professors, many of whom do not care, and the university institutions with their lack of care. 

Children's attitude it is also the student's thought that after university all jobs will be open to him. Of course, with such anticipation, disappointment is a given. What we must know from the start is that we will always fight. So both in personal and professional life the self-evident thing is to produce, to solve problems, to face difficulties. That's the obvious one, that's it the exciting game of life. 

– Yes, but what would you say to the middle-aged unemployed in Greece today, or to the cancer patient who knows he has only a few months to live? 

My second is easier to answer. I struggle every time I have to meet with people who are in this phase because their time is precious and concentrated and there is no room for misery, self-pity and false comforts. Next to them I have lived very difficult, unbearably difficult moments, but at the same time very rich and very meaningful. That is why I told you that it is easy for me to answer. 

Anyone who wants to talk in terms of self-pity in such cases is already dead and not only that. It's like he wants to drag everyone around him to die too, or they feel guilty because they will live. 

Those who have decided to stand differently are wonderful and live many lives during these months and this is not a figure of speech, it is something I have experienced.  

Disappointment is the death of human relationships. A different kind of suicide...Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

As for the unemployed middle-aged man, as an identity I don't like it. That is, as if he is going to define himself with a term which, if he accepts it, will become an element of his identity. When I ask people what they do for a living and they say retired I ask them again and comment "I didn't ask you what you don't do, I asked you what you do." 

"Unemployed" cannot be an element of our identity, it can be a phase we live through. So the one who will find himself in this phase should look at what he can use from his previous course, ask himself about many issues and find solutions. 

i can't feel sorry for him I have never felt sorry for any human being so far in my life, why should I feel sorry for a middle-aged man who if he has his health can find solutions. It may seem harsh what I say but I am not a politician to feel guilty. But I have to make sure people don't drown, to awaken and develop the powers they have. While it looks like what I'm saying is harsh and it looks like I don't understand, in fact it's just the opposite, I care. If I feel sorry for the middle-aged unemployed what should I do with the new couple who gave birth to an autistic child or whose child has myopathy and he will never walk, he will be in bed and his mind will work, while he will need constant help and be in danger of any infection? 

– Really, what are you going to say to them? What change will they make in their lives when change has come knocking at their door? 

The first thing I have to say honestly and clearly is that I wouldn't want the slightest thing to happen to me. If we don't speak like this then we are mocking them and these people will have the right to be angry and either openly or when you will not be present, wish you the same. Well, I'm very wary and careful to give easy comforts and advice that will indicate that I don't really share them at all. 

But at the same time that something very difficult has happened to them, my concern is that they will not self-destruct, that life will dominate and much more that they will be the ones who will seduce their child or get joy from it despite all the difficulty.  

From experience over the years, I can tell you that not all, but many, in such moments, after the first shock, when they have decided in their life to face it, then they face it and gain many joys. 

People who have a severely retarded, autistic child have much more joy if they really stand up in life. A word for their child who did not speak, the joy can be greater than having a child who would enter the university and this because there have been many attempts, because they have struggled. That is, they can have such celebrations of life that are not fake. The condition is that they do not drown and sacrifice themselves with their child, but to move forward with their lives themselves and in the progress of life the child may also find himself with any difficulty. 

Differentiate yourself 

– At this point I would like you to define for me how you perceive the change. What is change? 

For me genuine change is differentiation. It is a continuous development, an evolution, which is not always continuous, it is not always step by step. It can also look like discontinuities, jumps. Although they may seem to happen instantaneously, there has been an internal process. We are talking about authentic changes, where the processing was present all this time and at some point there was also the kinetic factor that allowed their appearance. Change is an ongoing development that is not quantitative, that is not necessarily measurable. The change I wish for is to become more and more ourselves. 

In the era of Political Correctness 

– Constants that were in effect are in the crosshairs. Political correctness prevails which can silence or marginalize. Differentiation can mean resisting what prevails as right, and the consequences can be leveling. You previously expressed your opposition to the psychiatry of grief by the American Psychiatric Association, how do you operate in this new context? 

I actually react because if bereavement is psychiatricized then it means that antidepressants should be sold to all those who mourn. Also inside they put her in the same category premenopausal tension, i.e. the week before menstruation when women see them blacker, more difficult. Consider 25% of the world's population taking anti-depressants for a week, you realize what a turnover of billions we are talking about. Therefore the psychiatrist who won't diagnose bereavement as depression risks being fired at least as graphic, unscientific, so it should be thrown out. 

It is true that there are risks. Political correctness prevails. For example the reluctance in America to say Merry Christmas. So the answer to the globalized era, in the genuine society of peoples and persons, it is the Muslim should say Merry Christmas to the Christian and the Christian should say Happy Ramadan to the Muslim. Not to lose both. This we can persevere and achieve, not to be afraid. 

In the end, however, the societies that prevail over time are not those that have a punch, but those that inspire life Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

I think we are in danger of being marginalized by ourselves and not necessarily by the system. Marginalization happens when defeatism overwhelms us, when we lose our intelligence, our ingenuity, when we lose our magic, our determination to do things differently. 

Us for example we are preparing a campaign with all the ways and all the scientific powers we can have to reverse the decision of the American Psychiatric Association and I hope that after some years we will be able to be proud of it. 

We must not lose our heroism and I don't mean him as self-destructive. Heroism does not mean that I have to sacrifice my life for something good to happen, but that I give meaning to my life by transcending my individuality. In the new situations, let's not focus on the risk of marginalization, but let's talk about smarter solutions that correspond to today. 

Person and Person

– You use words and terms of metaphysics and even theology, as for example you favor the concept of the person over the individual. 

We cannot speak of a spirituality that has no reflection in reality because then it is not genuine spirituality. If spirituality is about some closed spaces, some closed groups, then it is not spirituality but a idiosyncratic ideologization that produces closed lobbies. Genuine spirituality can resonate with all people because values will either be universal or they will not be true. 

Individuals are connected by the necessity imposed by survival...The person exists within the freedom and will that life dictates. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

On the concept of person in relation to person. It is not an abstract concept that only comes from certain places. When we do therapy in families, we emphasize that the problem is not individual to the child, but has to do with him relate. We reframe the problem and thus you automatically relate it to the need for the existence of the person and not the closed individuality that various diagnoses place on it. The systemic view automatically requires the concept of the person, so it has spirituality, but spirituality also has materiality if it is to be true. 

Will the Cyborgs do psychotherapy?

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

– What change are we talking about when, as you say, the laboratory offers the change. When we have a mix of biological and digital material? When the intervention in the brain is the question and the metahuman is just around the corner? When the majority of citizens are ready for this change? Look at the example of the Swedes how willing they are to implant a chip in their body. Will they understand Cyborgs through psychoanalysis? or will we have the psychiatry of society with pills and spectacle? 

Both are viable prospects if we are left and become robots we. 

Robots are not something of the future. There are now fully integrated digital programs that learn and become autonomous from their creators. In humans the chips are already being introduced, we have seen, as you commented, the positive reception from the Swedes. So these are situations that exist today and the creators of these digital situations are no longer talking about virtual reality, but about augmented reality. On the other hand, if we deny all the new elements, we have been thrown out. Those who demonize the new tools, those who deny them are ultimately the ones who succumb. 

So we have to know them, handle them, to be shareholders of the new reality and to be able to put spirituality into it as well. The answer to all this is, no complaints, no confinement in closed situations, which are deadly. To open up to life. 

– What mental immune system do we need to develop and how does a family prepare their children for a world of insecurity and rapid change? 

As for the parents. They cannot deny the digital world to their children because either their children will be thrown out or the parents themselves will be thrown out of their children's world. What is the most important thing that parents can bring to their children? Will they be able to give them life experiences? If the real world of the family has joy, is the child at risk of Internet addiction? No, is the answer. If the parent loses his joy, sees only dangers and threats, vents only sadness and denounces this whole new situation, what will he do? He will essentially advertise this condition to his child, and just as he himself will be addicted to misery, so his child will become addicted to something that promises to get him out of it. Of course it will be another dependency

What language do teenagers speak?

– How is the nihilism of today's teenagers translated? Do they want to say something and don't know how to articulate it? Is there a language to translate them? 

And of course there is! When they feel the essential absence of the parent, when he is locked in his inadequacies, his anxieties, his fears, his difficulties, in individual pursuits or in individual pleasures, which act as a means to escape from the difficult situation he is in, then they will have to find some other spaces in which to feel existence and get an identity. They will join some groups and it won't matter what identity they get. The important thing is that they will feel that they belong somewhere and this is what I wrote in my previous book: "make destruction your joy, joy of destruction". That's the motto. That is, where they have despaired and have felt that they cannot be happy, by destroying they are acting out, an enactment of their inner world

Dictatorship of DNA. Truth or myth? 

Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

– Can we talk about psychotherapy today when we can intervene in the brain? There is even talk of removing unpleasant memories. Heredity doesn't play a role? How long does the chronic confinement in a vicious cycle of life allow us to make any change? 

I support first of all that this linearity applies to anyone who does not release their freedom. 

When I have a person in front of me in the first 20 minutes I know how his life will go in the future and I unfortunately fall in. I assure you that this is not something magical. After I get some clues about his past, I then take clues about his present, put them together, and extrapolate them into the future. In my experience the odds of how his life will turn out are predictable to me. Based on his data and if he decides to go on autopilot we know that there will inevitably be a predictability. 

On the other when I have someone in treatment and we've been together for a long time, I lose the ability to predict, because that is where his freedom is activated. I have seen amazing changes when people decided to take life into their own hands and moved forward very strongly. But I have seen others they return to the same whenat some point they were left to fate and they stopped defending their changes. If freedom is activated, things cease to be predictable. 

Yes, certain elements characteristically follow us throughout our lives. Some issues even of our physical existence, our height, our weight, our characteristics, also affect psychological elements, which do not change. But I can choose who I decide to be, as long as I choose.   

…The fundamental belief called genetic determinism…creates a picture of people as unwitting victims…this leads to the attitude of victimhood.

– Again, are we really free to decide change when we are captives of our DNA and our brains? 

There is the DNA that gives us hereditary factors, there are the first 5 years of our life, which shape a lot of elements for our personality and our character, but now there is also the blessing of the digital age that gives us new data and I am not talking about theories, in my book it is the only chapter that I have infinite bibliography. 

In the last 15 years we have two Nobel prizes in medicine which went to American biologists who refer to epigenetic. That is, where the given DNA is modified. Where it is proven that our lifestyle can and does affect our given DNA. These are not theories, we are talking about findings. 

Those who speak of the DNA dictatorship, they are old-fashioned and of limited scientific knowledge. I admit that there is its dynamic, there is its truth, but that is not all. Also, we have revolutionary data that rule in the field of neurology and overturn all these traditions, which wanted our brain to be the "black box", the "closed box", from which all decisions emanate. 

Those who stubbornly decide to make a change in their life, should act based on what they want to achieve and not on their spontaneous, that is, their behavior learned from the past. Dimitris Karagiannis "Does man change?"

Beliefs that we are just executive organs of a brain are overturnedwhich are only biological facts that existed in our lives and each one was endowed with them and thus we are bound to follow them. 

It turned out that we are the neuroreceptors, dopamine, serotonin that define our lives, that is, if we will be depressed or psychotic. Right now we have Nobel Prizes in medicine again, in the last decade, talking about neuroplasticity, where the brain they are no longer given areas on which our lives depend, but are circuits, electronic circuits, which can be developed, to are modified and to be formed even with the decisionsus. 

That is, when I decide to determine my life, to change my life and stick to it, then I also affect my brain and I form new elements for him with which I can now walk. Of course there is what we say brain economy, that is, our brain reads the new events through its data so as not to spend energy, and anything new he goes to read it in the old way he knew. Well, we are in danger of saying "man does not change" and to confirm this, when we do not decide to change or are left on autopilot. The brain changes! Man changes, and it is now digitally proven that it can happen through the conscious decisions we make. 

What is not freedom?

– Hopeful and liberating. But you mentioned the phrase "to release our freedom". Freedom from what? 

It's not "from what". If we talk about "freedom from..." then it is a liberation which differs from genuine freedom. 

Liberation is escaping from a given situation that I don't like either on a personal level or on a social level. When we try to get away from something we don't like that's a good thing, it can be a driving force, but it can't be the end, because those who go to just get away from some situations in the end don't realize that they are in a new situation probably and worse than the previous one. 

Genuine freedom is "freedom to..."

Look at the history of our people. After the liberation struggles we had at all levels, from ancient times to today, what followed were civil wars. What did we want to escape from? From a conqueror, from an unpleasant situation, but we didn't know where we wanted to go. We hadn't worked out the model we were going to next, so liberation then led to a state of internal war.

Tthe same is true in our lives. So this is where one has to see that freedom is not just escaping, it is not a "freedom from", but genuine freedom is "freedom to...". That's why we talk about life meaning, that's why we talk about personal meaning, that's why we talk about the future that helps you make decisions for today, because that releases true freedom.


Δημήτρης Καραγιάννης: Αλλάζει ο

Dimitris Karagiannis is a Child Psychiatrist - Psychotherapist, Director of the Child Mental Hygiene Center. Doctor of the Democritus University and Professor at the Frederick University of Cyprus, he has taught in the further training of the Maraslei Academy and in post-graduate university programs.

He is a member of international scientific companies and organizations dealing with mental health and psychotherapy.

He has founded with his partner Eleni Karagiannis the therapeutic and educational "Antipoint" Institute in which mental health professionals are trained in family and group psychotherapy based on the existential systemic view.

He deals with the problems of marriage and studies the terms of functionality in human relationships.

His clinical work, based on highlighting the uniqueness of the human face, utilizes the mental powers available to every person, regardless of their psychopathology, and proposes the Eucharistic way of life as a response to the deterioration of everyday life. This view governs his books that have already been published: Love or Nothing, Injustice that Hurts, Cracks and Touches, School Refusal. He also participates in collective volumes, such as For Life and Family, Domestic Violence, Balkans and Mental Health, Incest and Therapeutic Framework, Theology and Psychiatry in Dialogue, Children with Hyperactivity Syndrome and Conduct Disorders, Human Communication.