The Voice of Reason or The Enemy Within

Those thoughts that drive you to distraction or reaction

Have you ever said to yourself “I don’t know why I just did that” or “I cannot believe I just said that” after a lack of concentration, after a squabble or simply when you were “out of your comfort zone”.

You are not alone! Many people lose concentration and even lose control and do or say the wrong things in stressful situations. These situations are often simply our defence mechanisms coming out to protect us when we are vulnerable or not in the right state of mind to be doing the task at hand. 

The problem is, these defence mechanisms are not the best part of our personality to be out in these times. So it’s a matter of making sure you have the right part out at the right time.

“That’s all well and good” I hear you say, “I cannot stop those thoughts”

Let me explain further, part of the answer is something psychologists refer to as self-distancing; a term coined by researchers Ethan Kross and Ozlem Ayduk. What spurred Ethan Kross to investigate the concept in the first place was an act of mindlessness: He accidentally ran a red light. He scolded himself by saying out loud, “Ethan, you idiot!” Referring to himself in the third person made him wonder if there might be something more to this quirk of speech, and if it might represent a method for changing one’s perspective.

The short answer is “yes”. According to Kross, when you think of yourself as another person, it allows you to give yourself more objective, helpful feedback.

As Pamela Weintraub writes in the May issue of Psychology Today:

“By toggling the way we address the self—first person or third—we flip a switch in the cerebral cortex, the center of thought, and another in the amygdala, the seat of fear, moving closer to or further from our sense of self and all its emotional intensity. Gaining psychological distance enables self-control; allowing us to think clearly, perform competently. The language switch also minimizes rumination, a handmaiden of anxiety and depression after we complete a task. Released from negative thoughts, we gain perspective, focus deeply and plan for the future.”

It’s all about being present and instead of reacting to the inner voice, listen to it and actually respond to it internally.

The other part of the answer is about being present (mindful) and having the right part out at the most appropriate time. This can be achieved by getting to know your different internal parts and their names. You may have a part of your sub-conciseness that controls the way you react to certain situations that are inappropriate.

Sometimes these parts do not behave in ways we would like them to behave: “I know I shouldn’t do it, but I just can’t seem to stop myself from checking the locks everyday”, or, “I can’t stop myself from eating sweets”. 

There are many behaviours people can find upsetting, yet cannot seem to stop from doing. Smoking and OCD behaviours are just two from a long list including, gambling, drug & alcohol addictions, cleaning, workaholics, eating disorders, and more. 

As Resource Therapists, we understand that there is an underpinning cause, and that the part of us that is doing the unwanted behaviour is not the cause, rather it is the part of us that is trying to protect us from feeling the bad underlying feelings that are held by another part of us. Feelings that are perceived to be so bad that a protective part of us will do almost anything to prevent us from having to feel them. Even if that ‘something’ is a behaviour that we do not wish to have, like an addiction to smoking or shouting at someone when you are stressed. 

Resource Therapy seeks to bring normality to all of our parts, recognising all parts of us as valuable resources that make us the unique individuals we are. Resource Therapy is a respectful therapeutic theory and practice, which acknowledges and validates the personality’s needs for internal and external health and harmony.

create a better lookout for yourself

In summary

Listen to your inner-voice, use your name in the third person – speak to yourself as if you want to be heard “Paul, do you think this is the right way to act in this situation” by using this simple thought process you may break the mindlessness cycle and be on the road to self discovery and success. 

If, however, you find self-distancing hard to do or you cannot change those “What did I just say or do” moments. Give me a call and we can discuss further options through Resource Therapy Intervention.

Resource Therapy enables treatment interventions that directly address the personality part in need of change, quickly, powerfully and effectively. Issues such as, but not limited to, OCD, depression, addictions, eating disorders and PTSD can be treated and resolved in a fraction of the time spent using most other therapies, including CBT. Resolving the pathology held by a Resource State alleviates the causes of psychological distress, and frees Personality Resources to resume positive functions.Until next time – listen to your inner voice and remember your name 

Are you coming out tonight? or are you staying in!

For many people the thought of coming out as gay to family, friends and workmates is terrifying. You may have spent many years acting against your true feelings. Hiding your emotions, acting in ways that make you feel an imposter and judging yourself as inferior, are all too common traits for the majority of people struggling with their sexual orientation.

Not only do these feelings inhibit our growth as human beings, they have severe side effects on our overall mental state to. We tend to disassociate ourselves with our true identity, this make life more manageable. It’s like tuning out the background noise on a busy street, you start to lead a double life in essence.

It can be painful to keep significant aspects of our self-hidden or to vigilantly separate aspects of our self from others. Constant hiding creates difficulties in accurately assessing other people’s perceptions of oneself, as well as recognising one’s own strengths. Dissociation’s impact on self-esteem can also make it difficult to feel one’s actual accomplishments as reflections of one’s own abilities. In some extreme cases this disassociated state leads to people becoming gay-haters or even gay-bashers.

Depression, anxiety and social withdrawal are all too common and, in some case, these thoughts of self-worth and disassociated states can lead to suicide.

So, what can I do to come out?

Coming out is the most commonly shared cultural experience that defines modern gay people today. “Coming Out” was an ironic reference to debutantes. Now it has far more reaching implications. 

Years spent “in the closet” can make the prospect of revealing oneself an emotionally charged experience. However, the process is not just about revealing oneself to other, in coming out, gay people integrate, as best they can, their dissociated aspects of themselves. It’s about coming out to one’s self first, being comfortable with how you feel.

Coming out to oneself is a subjective experience of inner recognition. It is a moment that is sometimes charged with excitement and at other times with trepidation. It is a realisation that previously unacceptable feelings or desires are part of one’s self. It is, in part, a verbal process, putting into words previously unarticulated feelings and ideas. Some people describe it as a switch being turned on. “Coming home” or “discovering who I really was” It can be exhilarating to come out in new and faraway places where one is not known to either family or friends. After making such a move, some people may completely (and perhaps disassociate) sever relationships with their past lives and feelings.

Coming out to oneself may be followed by coming out to others. Such revelations are not always greeted with enthusiasm, and fear of rejection often plays a significant role in a person’s decision about who to tell. The majority of the time, family and friends will share your honesty and will be happy for you and the more people you tell people the more support you will receive and the easier it will become.

But I still don’t feel comfortable, what do I do?

Speak to someone who understands your struggle, your closest friend, one of your siblings or even someone who is gay in your network. If you still cannot find anyone in your network of family and friends seek out a gay friendly professional councillor or therapist. A therapis is actually easier to talk to as they will not judge you or make you do anything you are not comfortable with. A therapist’s recognition and respect for individual differences allows multiple possibilities in the coming out process. There is no one single way to come out. A therapist fluent in the process of coming out can point out both obstacles to and inhibitions of the process.

Gay patients face a whole set of decisions unlike anything heterosexuals face. Hiding from oneself depends upon dissociative defences, while coming out to oneself holds the possibility of psychological integration. An implicit value of psychotherapy is that integration is more psychologically meaningful than dissociation.

In Summary,   coming out offers gay people the possibility of integrating a wider range of previously split-off affects and emotions, not just their sexual feelings. Greater ease in expressing yourself, both to you and to others, this can lead to an enormous enrichment of your work and relationships. To many, such activities result in a more productive and enhanced life.

Get in touch with Change Central. Why Change Central? Our therapist Paul truly understands your struggle, having worked with many clients on this subject for many years.

Trauma the invisible wounds

Trauma, physical, cognitive, behavioural, emotional.
Symptoms of trauma can be described as physical, cognitive (thinking), behavioural (acting the way we do) and emotional.

There is one thing for certain for most of the population, that is, we have all experienced some kind of trauma.

Everyone trauma is different and the degrees of trauma vary, incorporating a type of abuse such as, Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Psychological, Sexual or Verbal.

Trauma can be classified as – a very frightening or distressing events which may result in a psychological wound or injury.

Trauma can result in difficulty in coping or functioning normally. Everyone’s reaction to potentially traumatic experiences is different. Most people recover well with the help of family and friends and do not experience long-term problems. Some people experience problems directly after the traumatic event or much later in life.

For me I remember grade 3 kids at school teasing me because I had big shoulders. (These days it would be referred to as bullying). I remember feeling very upset and different. There was nothing I could do about my shoulders. I was a swimmer and at that stage was a young swimming champion.

I was already quite shy, but this made me retreat into myself even more and I felt very lonely. Emotionally I was not equipped to deal with this, I was different, I felt that I didn’t fit in and it was traumatic. I was personally attacked; my confidence took a dive and with it, my self worth and esteem.

Then, when I was in my 30s, I was wearing a lovely dress and for the first time in my life, positive comments were made about my shoulders. People making the comments said they had been working out at the gym and wanted shoulders just like mine. “where did you get them” I was asked. “Ahh I was born that way” was my response and turned around and walked away. Not wanting to relive those traumatic bulling moments of my childhood.

This type of emotional response became my way of “dealing with things” withdrawn and feeling worthless. This is how patterns of behaviour and negative responses to certain situations begin.

That’s how trauma works, trauma is effectively a protective instinct (good or bad) that comes out to “shield” us from emotional pain. Symptoms of trauma can be described as physical, cognitive (thinking), behavioural (acting the way we do) and emotional.

  • Physical symptoms can include excessive alertness (always on the look-out for signs of danger), being easily startled, fatigue/exhaustion, disturbed sleep and general aches and pains.
  • Cognitive (thinking) symptoms can include intrusive thoughts and memories of the event, visual images of the event, nightmares, poor concentration and memory, disorientation and confusion.
  • Behavioural symptoms can include avoidance of places or activities that are reminders of the event, social withdrawal and isolation and loss of interest in normal activities.
  • Emotional symptoms can include fear, numbness and detachment, depression, guilt, anger and irritability, anxiety and panic.

Have you ever noticed an adult having a tantrum, they display emotional response just like a 4-year-old. This is because they are reliving the original trauma. Emotionally they are stuck in the original traumatising moment (we call it the initial sensitising event).

We at Change Central understand how trauma happens and with particular therapy, we can teach you how to cut these ties and understand those old emotions and leave them where they should be, back in the past and without those feelings of distress and negative emotions.

9 out of 10 people don’t know the difference. Do you?

Do you know the difference

Psychological issues – defined

Stress is a common response to tough events or situations. Some stress is normal and stress itself is not anxiety or depression. However, severe and ongoing stress may be a risk factor if it persist. The type of anxiety experienced by people with an anxiety condition is more frequent or persistent, not always connected to an obvious challenge, and impacts on their quality of life and day-to-day functioning. Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of situations. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus over react for no good reason. A phobia is similar to a fear with one key difference: the fear you experience is so strong that it interferes with your quality of life and or your ability to function.

Substance Abuse and Addictions Defined

Addiction is a condition in which a person engages in the use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences. Have you ever wondered “am I a food addict?” Some of the signs and symptoms of food addiction include: food craving, disturbed body image, binge eating, secret eating, shame and fear about food.

Comment on this blog and get 10% off your next visit. Don’t forget to leave your name. If you are feeling any of the above symptoms, get in touch with us as soon as you can. If you don’t get help, then there is a chance that you will continue to suffer.

The Team at Change Central

Premature Withdrawal – why patients don’t return to therapy

No U Turns

It’s not uncommon for patients not to return to therapy after one or two sessions.

Whilst there are many reasons why people do not return, we will focus on four here today.

  • There is no need to go back “I feel better now”
  • It is too emotionally painful “I don’t want to talk about it”
  • I have to do the work “I thought the therapist would sort it out for me”
  • The fear of success “I don’t want to let go of these negative feelings”

“I feel better now”

Many times after the first therapy session, patients will feel a shift in their emotions. This is very common; simply talking to someone can have a positive effect. However, these feelings of euphoria are often short lived, the original issue (that the patient came in to see the therapist about) reappears, and then the patient thinks that the therapy did not work. On the contrary, your therapist should have informed you that this may happen and that you will need to be mindful of these powerful euphoric episodes and return for the next session, irrespective of how you feel.

“I don’t want to talk about it”

Part of the therapeutic process is to talk about certain situation that have been traumatic in the past. This can be very confronting for some people. There is a degree of subconscious conflict. Talking about painful experiences in your past can be difficult but as you work with a professional in a calm and safe environment, you will eventually be able to let go of these negative emotions, and in most cases feel rewarded.

“I thought the therapist would sort it out for me”

In some instances, patients after the first session, decide that the therapy isn’t working and it’s all too hard. Therapy is all about putting in the time. Your therapist will advise you that there isn’t a magic wand that will make your fears or anxieties disappear. Some therapy session can be one or two visits; phobias, for example, can be relived after only one session. Always remember you only get out of therapy what you put in. Your therapist will inform you how many sessions you are likely to require.

“I don’t want to let go of these negative feelings”

Therapy can provide many positive benefits, but in some circumstances, especially if someone has been holding on to a painful experience or emotion for many years, the feeling of letting go can be overwhelming. We tend to hold on to negative emotions as if they are our closest friends when in fact you need to say goodbye. If you are experiencing these type of emotions, inform your therapist, and you both will work it out. Don’t give up, remember, that’s why you went to therapy in the first place.

If you are feeling any of the above emotions (or anything else for that matter) call your therapist and talk to them. You will benefit in the end.

The Change Central Team

Three Tools Everyone with Stress Should Be Using.

Todays lifestyle can be tough and for many people the results is stress in both their work and personal lives. Longer hours, tight deadlines, higher expectations, the cost of living and family worries all contribute to increasing our day-to-day stress levels.

If there is one thing that all places of work have in common, it’s change. With change come uncertainty, with uncertainty come fear, with fear comes stress.

let’s look for a moment what stress is, stress actually a good thing! back in the days where we were living off the land, hunting for our food or running away from being food, stress kept us alive. Now instead of protecting us, stress is killing us, and in the thousands!

Stress is the combination of chemicals in our body that allows us to run faster, think more clearly and ultimately survive impending dangers.  This stress is more commonly referred to as the fight or flight response. 

What I am going to discuss in this blog is that quite a lot of people have become stuck in the flight or fight response reaction and every decision they make or meeting they attend is contributing to an unhealthy lifestyle. Have you ever had a reaction “when you see your boss’s name in your inbox or you are called to a meeting out of the ordinary” like there is a lion on the loose. Well you are not alone. 

If we are constantly running around fighting fires, meeting deadlines and trying to keep ahead of the game, stress can take over and start to rule our lives and before we know it, we are nowhere near as productive as we should be. In fact, we are mostly unproductive.

We start to have problems with:

| Anxiety | Memory Problems | Lack of ability to concentrate | Poor judgement | Running thoughts | Worrying too much | Moodiness | Agitation | Feeling isolated | Short temper & a general feeling of unhappiness |

Unchecked we can start to have difficulties with:

| Chest pains | Increase heart rate | High blood pressure | General poor health | Eating more or less | Sleeping problems & nightmares | Nervous habits | Increase consumption of alcohol | Increase in cigarettes |

We are all in some way, shape or form suffering from workplace stress. There are simple techniques you can master to help reduce stress in the workplace and have a good state of mental wellbeing.  

Mental well being is described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as “the state in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” WHO stresses that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or illness.

A simple technique to overcome stress is “Mindfulness” Many individuals and organisations, including Change Central, now offer mindfulness training. However, you can start putting mindfulness into practice with a few simple exercises.

One-minute breathing exercise

Sit with your back straight but relaxed. For the next minute, focus your entire attention on your breathing in and out, how air passes in and out of your nostrils, and how your abdomen rises and goes down with each breath. If thoughts start crowding in, gently let them go and refocus on your breathing.

Check in with yourself

Bring yourself into the present moment by asking yourself, ‘What is going on with me at the moment?’ You can label your thoughts and feelings, for example, ‘that’s an anxious feeling’, and let them go. You may start to feel more of an observer instead of someone reacting to thoughts and feelings.

Eat mindfully

When you’re having a meal, focus on your eating. Do not read or watch TV at the same time. Pay attention to how the food looks smells and tastes. You may find you enjoy your food more, and stop eating when you are full instead of automatically finishing what’s on your plate.

If you are feeling stressed don’t think it will go away, talk to someone, a work mate, a friend or your partner Visit which is a great site to gain information and learn how to not only cope with stress in the work place – but to overcome it.

If you would like to manage your stress you can contact us and we can discuss your situation.

Visit Change Central  to read more. Try and keep calm whilst working and start to overcome stress and anxiety.

The Change Central Team