Would You Label A Baby?

NewbornImagine that one of your best friends has just had a baby.

You visit her to congratulate her and see the newborn. She hands you a tiny bundle, the child’s sleepy eyes look up at you as a tiny hand grips your massive finger.

After a delightful while you return the baby to your friend.

Your friend looks down at the baby and says :

“You are worthless”

“Your are not good enough”

“You are a failure”

What would you think?

You would probably be shocked and you would almost certainly disagree.

You would argue that it was ridiculous and cruel for her to label a newborn child in this way.

No one starts off worthless, not good enough or a failure; that is something you are taught to believe about yourself along the way.

You might have been taught very well and come to believe these labels implicitly and even blame yourself for being that way.

Take one of the critical thoughts you have about yourself – one of those damning descriptions you know to be true.

Imagine, once again, that you are going to visit a friend who has just had a baby.

When you get there you realise, with a start, that the friend is your mother and the newborn baby is you.

Your mother hands you the tiny bundle that is you, the child’s sleepy eyes look up at you as a tiny hand grips your massive finger.

Look into that baby’s eyes and try to apply your damming description to her (or him).

Does that description really fit?

If it doesn’t fit the newborn you then you must have learned this idea about yourself along the way and if you still believe that description is true then you have been well taught indeed.

In either case what has been learned can be unlearned.

One definition of therapy might be unlearning what isn’t true (even if it seems like it is).

Full disclosure: the overall idea for this post came from a suggestion at the end of this article about Self Acceptance and Self Rejection by Steve Andreas.

Who I work with

One of the challenges of working in private practice is explaining clearly who you work with and what troubles them.

I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to do that effectively and, quite by accident, I come across a poignant video that does that job perfectly.

This is who I work with

Our common fate from Rikke Kjelgaard on Vimeo.

BTW I won’t try to fix you … you’re not broken (even if you feel like you are).

Are You Living In A State Of Emotional Apartheid?

Apartheid“You’ve got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
And latch on to the affirmative
Don’t mess with Mister In-Between”
– Johnny Mercer

In our culture positive thinking (and feeling) is highly prized.

We often describe our thinking and emotions as positive or negative, but this way of thinking and talking about them can set us up for a lot of suffering.

Our emotions are our internal signals and motivators, helping us to navigate our world. They are innate, part of the human package, tuned and refined over millions of years of evolution.

Categorising them as positive or negative can have a powerful effect on how we view them and how we experience them.

Read moreAre You Living In A State Of Emotional Apartheid?

From Carl Rogers To Identity Healing

Tony Mudd Memorial Lecture
Tony Mudd Memorial Lecture

On 22nd March 2018 I had the pleasure of presenting this talk to an audience of counsellors and counselling students at Tyne Met College.

It’s a personal account of the development of the Identity Healing processes that I use with my clients.

The talk is about how a shy introverted teenager who didn’t feel quite good enough developed the process that helped him and helps others.

This 40 year journey includes encounter groups, Carl Rogers, Buddhism, NLP, introductions to inner children, EFT (aka Tapping), how our younger selves get stuck and one way of getting unstuck.

Note: I recorded the talk on my phone so the sound quality is a little bit variable in places.

Tapping Into (And Out Of) The Resistance To The Resistance With IEP

Resistance

“What you resist persists”
– Carl Jung

The resistance and I go way back.

I have been very creative in finding ways to avoid and delay important work.

I have also been very creative in finding ways to identify and dismantle limiting beliefs and feelings so that I can move past the resistance and get things done.

Recently I noticed that I was avoiding doing some important work, then I noticed that I was avoiding working with the resistance and that got me thinking.

Our culture is full of references to working / fighting / overcoming the resistance to get to our goals. Books like (the excellent) “The War Of Art” by Stephen Pressfield talk about overcoming resistance, pushing through the things that get in our way to reach our goal.

We are encouraged to resist our resistance, to struggle with it and overcome it (even if that feels like wading through treacle).

Unfortunately, I’m rather more lazy than heroic, so my struggles have often been half hearted.

I realised that all the time I spent struggling with my resistance could be better spent doing the thing I was resisting. It dawned on me that struggling with my resistance was a large part of the resistance.

So how do (did) I struggle with my resistance?

Read moreTapping Into (And Out Of) The Resistance To The Resistance With IEP

What fake steamship stories can tell us about personal development

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
– H. L. Mencken

Steam ship
Image courtesy of Enrique L

There is an amusing and inspiring steamship story that is often told in trainings or workshops, it goes something like this.

In the days of the old steamships a passenger liner broke down just before the entrance to New York harbour.

The ship was helpless, there was nothing the ship’s engineer or crew could do. The liner lay dead in the water unable to make any headway.

The captain radioed the harbour asking them to send their most skilful engineer to solve the problem.

The engineer rode a pilot-boat to the crippled liner, where the captain showed him to the engine room.

To the captain’s surprise the engineer just wandered about. He walked around the engine room, putting his hand on the miles of piping and his ear to junctions and valves. He looked into the boilers and over the towering engine.

By now the captain was beginning to get impatient. “When is this man actually going to DO something?” he thought.

After half an hour of wandering around the engineer just scratched his chin, nodded to himself and asked for a hammer.

Read moreWhat fake steamship stories can tell us about personal development

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