Mikołaj Czyż
Psychotherapy and Seminars
11 4 2015

“What am I doing this for?” – a web app about addictions

The “What am I doing this for?” app aims to facilitate reflection about using behaviors and substances.

Addictions are a very significant problem for individuals, a nightmare for families, and the source of many serious societal challenges. They are common despite the huge amount of suffering they cause, and the amount of attention and resources devoted to treating and preventing them.

Important experiences

People lay themselves on the line in their search for experiences and feelings that are important to them, but, for various reasons, inaccessible to them. Some only dream about them secretly, or remember parts of nighttime dreams in which they feature. A person may be drawn to a feeling of deep, refreshing relaxation and peace, for example, or the opposite – concentration, productivity and precision.

Substances (e.g. coffee) and behavior (e.g. sex) affect peoples’ moods and experiences. If they appear to be the only way to attain the states of mind people desire, it is likely that they will be used more and more.
This is a universal pattern, which may lead to addiction. Everybody is affected by it to some degree. You can read more about this here.

Knowing one’s own needs

Even before a full-blown addiction develops, one can 1) understand its meaning in one’s own life more fully and 2) become more conscious around this problem.

The knowledge gained through using “What am I doing this for?” helps the user to understand his or her own needs and difficulties. Treating addictive behaviors as significant and as something that can be decided upon facilitates a healthier and more proactive approach to coping with them.

Therapeutic practice and process psychology theory indicate that the use of substances and behavior will not fully provide the experiences that the user expects. Substances produce effects which only partially fulfill the hopes that are placed in them.

“What am I doing this for?”

The aims of this project are prevention and increasing understanding of addiction-related phenomena. At the same time, it forms part of a research project.

Research results

The use of a contemporary format allows users to access the questions without embarrassment (through a smartphone, for example) and supports their questioning process – wherever they are.

The application is not a replacement for addiction treatment.


I would like to thank Michał Duda and Agnieszka Serafin for their help with this project.