The problem easy button.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.


Pushing the button.
Photo courtesy of

Where did I put that easy button that solves everyone’s problems?

Have you seen that commercial where there is an easy button and you push it and the problem is solved?

Do you ever wish there was one of those buttons?

Clients come for counseling and they talk about how bad their life is, how they wish that family member would change and so on.

What they don’t usually talk about is what they are willing to do to get this situation to change.

So if we had an easy button for your life problems – would you hit it?

Surprisingly many people would not be willing to hit the button.

Say you have a lot of anxiety and you could hit this button and all your anxiety would be gone, a very large number of you will pass on that opportunity. Why won’t people hit the easy button when it is sitting there on the table in front of them?

One reason is that our problems become like old friends. We are used to our particular brand of suffering and we are afraid that if this problem were to be solved then there would be other changes in our lives, changes that scare us. The terror we know is less scary than the one that might be around the bend in the path we have never trod.

For people who suffer from anger, depression or substance abuse, their problem can become a part of who they think they are. Depression like Anxiety keeps you from doing things. That fear protects you from trying and therefore you don’t have to worry about making mistakes. You can’t do it because of Mr. Anxiety, Mary Jane or Miss Crystal, so it is not your fault. If we take your anxiety from you and you were able to do things – guess what. Some of those things would not turn out well. You might even make some mistakes.

The cost of having an illness that prevents you from doing things needs to be balanced with the risks that if you did those things they will not all turn out perfectly.

With the freedom to make choices to decide how you want to live your life also come responsibilities. You need to own your choices, the good and the bad. Freedom has its risks.

Sometimes it is nice to have someone listen; understand what we are going through. Life can be hard and having a supportive person can be a great comfort. That person should not be someone who convinces you to hold on to your misery because a life free of suffering is just too scary.

I accept that many of us have had to live with pain. Pain may be a part of the human condition, but the suffering, that is optional.

One thing the counselor should not do is become a co-conspirator with the client and begin to tell them that they should give up. That with your problems there is no way you could be successful and so, of course, you should not try.

Despite the reality that giving up is bad advice no matter who tells you to do it, we all from time to time tell ourselves that we need to stop trying. The risks of solving our life problems are just too great.

So if the problem-solving button were in front of you – right now – hit it and your problem will be solved – will you do it? Are you ready to take that chance?

What will it take for you to be ready to leave those problems behind?

That button, that key to solving your problems, it has been there all this time, deep down inside you. You should know by now that your life can be happier if only you chose to let go of the suffering and make the most of your life with or without the pain.

The anger, the anxiety, the addiction, they may have been your long-term companions but they are not your friends. Kick them to the curb and get on with your life.

Every great epic story involves a hero and a quest.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at

9 thoughts on “The problem easy button.

  1. Pingback: Do emotional problems, depression and anxiety, time travel? | counselorssoapbox

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    • Interesting question. Yes in a way you can change your DNA. We used to think that DNA was one thing. You get blue eyes or brown eyes. That is not always true. Now we know there is a thing called “gene expression.”
      When you are young your hair color, determined by your genes, might be black. As you grow older that same persons hair color, controlled by the same gene, will be gray or even white.
      Genes switch on and off characteristics over your lifetime. Chemicals, environmental pollutants can change the way genes react. A baby exposed to a mothers drug use before birth can have changes in their brain as a result of their drug use. Later in life they have experiences and can learn or unlearn a lot of what happened to them.
      The brain is in fact “plastic” and can change based on experiences. Thoughts are one kind of experience.
      I am not a geneticist and can’t explain all this but I know that people are able to change despite coming from a family with a genetic component of risk for a condition. So in a way you can change your genes and the way they affect your life.


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