How Our Words Make Us Stuck And What To Do About It

Image courtesy of timo_w2s
Image courtesy of timo_w2s

People often feel stuck.

Stuck with a problem, not able to change the way that they think, feel or act because they are depressed, or their relationship is broken, or they can’t overcome their resistance.

One of the ways we keep ourselves stuck in these problems is the way that we talk to ourselves and each other about them.

Freezing The World With Words

Our language can freeze a difficult, but changeable, process into a solid thing that will resist change. Sometimes just a few words can transform a challenging process into an unchangeable problem.

What is this mysterious process of freezing problems and turning them into stone?

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The 7 Problems Of Miracle Cures

Image courtesy of David Light Orchard
Image courtesy of David Light Orchard

We have a love affair with miracles.

Most of us have been brought up on a diet of miracles in our fairy stories, our religious traditions and popular culture.

Ever since the princess kissed the frog turning him into a prince we have had a fascination with miracle cures – the single act that changes everything in a moment – the one thing that makes the problem go away in an instant.

It’s an appealing idea and people are often looking for a simple way to solve all their problems.

If they could just win the lottery, take the right pill or hear the right words of wisdom and all their troubles would just drop away.

But the miracle cure, or the idea of a miracle cure, has problems:

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Mr Rogers On Seeing The Newtown News Differently

After the recent traumatic events in Newtown, Connecticut it would be easy to lose hope under the weight of media coverage.

The news media focuses relentlessly on the violence and destruction of the event and the pain and grief of the victims and their families. Just watching the news can be a traumatising event (and just in case we don’t feel badly enough the media repeats the horror for us at regular intervals).

It’s very difficult to resist this onslaught of other people’s pain on display. It can be hard to keep any hope or optimism about the world and its inhabitants, but you don’t need to focus on what the media tell you is important.

You can direct your attention to another part of what you are seeing to engage a different perspective.

This quote from Fred Rogers an American TV presenter for children in the 60’s and 70’s demonstrates that you can find something other than despair in what you are shown and told.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers so many caring people in this world.”

This is a very different way of looking at calamity.

It won’t undo the tragedy of Newtown or ease the grief of those directly involved, but for those of us who are only “video bystanders” of what went on, it might be a helpful way to remind ourselves that there is some goodness in the world.

This quote comes from Brene Brown’s website Ordinary Courage

How To Draw A Better Map Of Your Inner World

Image courtesy of David Masters

Earlier this summer I climbed Scafell Pike, a mountain in the Lake District of Northern England. Like the rest of our wet summer this was a damp and cloudy day. Before we were half way up the mountain we were swallowed up in cloud and fog.

Fortunately I had a map and a compass and I know how to navigate by them.

The Ordinance Survey (OS) map I had was very detailed, the contours, streams, cliffs and paths were all clearly marked in fine lines. With this map and the compass I was able to get us to the top of Scafell Pike in the mist without difficulty.

In such a situation having a good map is a blessing. What made the OS map useful was its level of detail and the closeness of the representation to the ground being mapped. Being able to accurately match up what is on the map with what is on the ground allowed me to navigate confidently.

But just imagine for a moment that those fine lines of paths and contours were drawn by a child using a thick crayon. The detail would be lost, the map would still be sort of right in a vague, general way, but it would be much less useful for navigating in the hills, it might even be dangerous.

Most of us are navigating through our lives with maps drawn in crayon by our younger selves. The outlines are generally right but often miss out details and nuances in our inner and outer landscapes.

We all have mental maps, our own inner guide to the world. To make sense of our experience and manage our lives we create internal representations of the outer world.

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How To Cope With Your Client’s “Stuff”

In my recent article ‘Is your client poisoning you?‘ I wrote about the potential interactions between client and therapist and said

‘Afterwards I do work to dismantle those unhelpful reactions in me (this is why ongoing self-development and clinical supervision is so important for therapists).’

However, I didn’t say what I do to work with those reactions, sometimes referred to as transference and counter-transference.

Before I start: a short note readers who are not therapists.

I wrote this article for therapists, if you are a lay person who wants to get the best out of this article, I need to explain what this is all about, especially if you are a client or thinking about becoming a client.

In spite of what you may think, or have been led to believe, therapists are human beings just like everybody else. Hopefully they have been well trained and have many therapeutic skills, which is why you might want to see one in the first place.

But like all humans they are a work in progress and need to monitor their work and nurture their development to do the best they can for their clients.

In this article I discuss three ways that I use to improve my clinical practice so I can do the best for my clients. Other therapists use other approaches.

Now, back to the article.

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How To Find Your Limiting Beliefs With Just One Word!

Image courtesy of Jan Kroemer

Our limiting beliefs are a problem, not because they are hard to change, but because they are hard to find.

There are many ways to neutralise limiting beliefs quickly and easily with EFT or other techniques.

Unfortunately our limiting beliefs are often unconscious and unquestioned, a part of the fabric of our perceptions, which makes them hard to find.

Other people’s limiting beliefs can be easy to spot because we are on the outside looking in, but our own remain hidden. That’s why there will always be work for good therapists and coaches.

But what are we going to do if there isn’t a therapist or coach available?

Are we doomed to wander ignorant of our own limiting beliefs because we can’t see them?

Fortunately, there is a simple way to bring lots of limiting beliefs into consciousness using just one word.

It’s a simple word, readily available and deeply familiar …

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