Deutsch: Schicksal / Español: Destino / Português: Destino / Français: Destin / Italiano: Destino

Destiny in the context of psychology refers to the concept that the course of an individual's life, including events and experiences, is predetermined or influenced by external factors beyond their control. This notion can impact how individuals perceive their own lives, decisions, and the degree of control they feel they have over their future.


In psychology, destiny is often explored in relation to determinism, free will, and personal agency. The concept touches on whether people believe their actions are driven by fate or if they have the autonomy to shape their own lives. This belief can significantly affect mental health, motivation, and behavior.

One key aspect of destiny in psychology is its relationship with the locus of control. Individuals with an internal locus of control believe they have the power to influence their outcomes through their actions. Conversely, those with an external locus of control believe that external forces, such as luck or destiny, play a larger role in shaping their lives. This perspective can lead to feelings of helplessness or empowerment, depending on the individual’s belief in their ability to influence their own destiny.

The notion of destiny also intersects with concepts like fatalism, where people believe that they are powerless to change their future, and self-fulfilling prophecies, where a person’s belief about their destiny can influence their actions in a way that makes those beliefs come true.

Historically, the idea of destiny has roots in various philosophical and religious traditions, often linked to the concept of predestination. In modern psychology, it is examined through the lens of cognitive and behavioral theories, particularly in understanding how beliefs about destiny influence behavior and mental health.

Special Considerations

In psychological therapy, addressing beliefs about destiny can be crucial. Therapists might work with clients to shift their perspective from a deterministic view to one where they feel more in control of their actions and future. This shift can be pivotal in treating conditions like depression and anxiety, where feelings of helplessness are common.

Application Areas

Destiny in psychology is relevant in several areas:

  1. Clinical Psychology: Understanding clients’ beliefs about destiny can help therapists tailor interventions that promote a sense of agency.
  2. Educational Psychology: Encouraging students to adopt an internal locus of control can improve motivation and academic outcomes.
  3. Organizational Psychology: In the workplace, fostering a sense of control and personal agency can enhance job satisfaction and performance.
  4. Positive Psychology: Promoting beliefs that individuals can influence their own happiness and success.

Well-Known Examples

  • Carol Dweck's Mindset Theory: Dweck's work on fixed and growth mindsets highlights how beliefs about the ability to change can impact personal growth and achievement.
  • Learned Helplessness: Martin Seligman’s research demonstrates how a belief in lack of control over outcomes can lead to passivity and depression.

Treatment and Risks

Beliefs about destiny can pose significant risks to mental health. Individuals who feel their lives are controlled by destiny may experience:

  • Learned Helplessness: A state where they feel unable to change their situation, leading to depression and anxiety.
  • Fatalism: The belief that they cannot change their fate, resulting in a lack of motivation and effort.
  • Stress and Anxiety: Over events perceived as uncontrollable.

Therapeutic Approaches:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Helps individuals reframe their thoughts and beliefs about control and influence over their lives.
  • Empowerment Strategies: Encourage taking proactive steps and setting achievable goals.

Similar Terms

  • Fatalism
  • Predestination
  • Locus of Control
  • Self-fulfilling Prophecy
  • Determinism

Articles with 'Destiny' in the title

  • Anatomy is destiny: Anatomy is destiny refers to the Freudian contention that a number of major Personality characteristics are determined by one's gender. "Anatomy is destiny" is a phrase coined by Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis


In psychology, destiny pertains to the belief that life events are predetermined by external factors, influencing individuals' sense of control and agency. Understanding these beliefs is crucial in various psychological practices, including clinical therapy, educational settings, and organizational environments. Addressing and potentially reshaping beliefs about destiny can significantly impact mental health and personal empowerment.