San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Can people ever really change?

Natalie Garvey D.

Natalie Garvey D.

Q: My husband and I have recently separated, and I was wondering about your perspective on change. Can people truly change?

A: The possibility of change absolutely exists; however, it must be initiated by the one making the changes and not imposed by another. 

When you really want to change a habit or quality about yourself, mindfulness practices are integral because they cultivate an active awareness of the path to change. Deepak Chopra recommends five steps to manifest that change or attain your deepest desire:

1. Get clear on your intentions and desires.

2. Establish yourself in a state of restful awareness.

3. Release your intentions and desires.

4. Detach from the outcome.

5. Let the universe handle the details.

Although each step is integral to the process, the first one of becoming clear about your intentions is crucial. Developing your intentions in detail is what opens the doorway to change. It is helpful to write them down, draw them or make a scrap board. When you see a tangible representation of the change you want, it is easier to remain clear about where you are going. Chopra uses terminology like “universe,” which can represent whatever embodies a person’s perspective about religion or spirituality. The point is to cultivate and harness the intentions of change and release them so that they can begin to take life and flourish.

Natalie Garvey D., M.Psych., is a California native and an eight-year resident of Costa Rica. Recognized by the Costa Rican Professional Psychologists Association (4496), she dedicates her professional time to accompanying others on their paths to self-discovery and healing. Send your questions to

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