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Behaviour Matters

Every time we interact with others, we are training them in how they will treat us in the future.  This goes for both adults and children.  For example, if we need to repetitively ask children to put away their toys, our repetitive behaviour is teaching them to ignore us.  The way this works is that we ask politely at first, but then with each subsequent…

A NEW BEGINNING

If there is one clear thing that I have learnt in over 20 years of clinical work at the Smart Therapy Centre it is this:  in the end, you are the ONLY person who can call yourself to account. You can lie and pretend to yourself until the cows come home but ultimately the buck stops with you. It doesn’t matter what others say or…

Family stress at Christmas

  Although the weeks leading up to Christmas can be wonderful, catching up with old and new friends and celebrating with work colleagues, sometimes Christmas Day itself can be difficult and even heart-wrenching. This is often because families have old, unresolved wounds that can result in all sorts of tensions.  These tensions can be bad enough that family members become so alienated that they end…

Desperate and unnecessary fighting tactics

It may surprise you to know that bothaggressive people and compliant people are scared to death of conflict and tryto avoid it, albeit by using different strategies.  This is intuitive with compliant people who clearly shy away from conflict, but completely counter-intuitive with aggressive people who always seem to be getting into the ring to smash up others and themselves in the process. But what…

What if… my anxiety comes back?!!!

I find in my clinical work that when people get over their anxiety by stopping paying it any attention there is almost always a period a few weeks later where a scary thought threatens to derail their progress. It usually goes like this.  ‘Wow, I can’t believe how great I feel since I stopped paying any attention to my anxiety – I’ve had no anxiety…

With just a little help and kindness…

Often in my work I see couples locked into bitter hatred of each other.  It becomes vengeful with neither party remembering who started the war but both parties keeping on fighting it. I find that it nearly always helps to introduce a couple of circuit-breakers.  Firstly, I ask couples to simply do several un-solicited acts of kindness every week for their partner and, in return…

Button your lip about anxiety

I have often talked about the importance of stopping paying attention to anxiety mentations.  But I know from my 25 years of clinical work that many people don’t realise that this means not only stopping an internal dialogue with themselves about their anxiety (like ‘OMG! I might panic if I do that’) but also stopping any dialogue with other people about their anxiety. So, to…

Conflict is a gift to engage in

I often find in my clinical work that people view conflict and subsequent debate as negative, hostile and rejecting.   But nothing could be further from the truth.  Instead, a recent large-scale study found that couples who freely argue, actually love each other the most.   So long as conflicts are handled kindly and respectfully (even if, very intensively) then they are gifts that provide rare…

Run your own race

A huge mistake I have often seen in my 25 years of clinical practice is people making themselves miserable looking around at what others achieve and then paying attention to bitter, envious or self-hating mentations.  Remember, the more we pay attention, the more we instruct our brains to build neural synapses specifically devoted to these (unwanted) themes, ironically making them a bigger and bigger part…

No dictator needed with assertion

    People who overuse compliance as a communication strategy are often very well liked.  They appear relaxed, calm, friendly and kind and they can frequently progress quite well in their careers because of these attributes. They are the sort of people who are often described as ‘my rock’ because they don’t make waves or contradict, and their apparent calmness soothes others who may be…