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ARTICLES

"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind"

William James

How Change Happens in Therapy?

Clients attend therapy to change something in their life, and change only happens with these conditions:

1. The client realizes that he/she is responsible for making the change.

2. The client believes that he/she is able to make the change.

3. The client realizes that he/she must change.

4. The client realizes that he/she must change now.

 

Therapy fails when the therapist is not aware of these conditions and does not communicate them to the client.

 

Reference: Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins.

How to use the clients'​ strengths to heal their weaknesses?

Clients come to therapy with problems. They know what is missing and they are in tune with their weaknesses. After investigating the problematic patterns, it's time to interrupt and reframe them. One of the effective ways to interrupt a pattern and reframe it is to talk about the clients' strengths. Once the clients talk about their strengths, the problematic pattern breaks. Their feelings, thoughts, posture, and tone of voice will change to match the new story they are telling, and essentially they move from the rituals of weakness to the rituals of strength. They feel confident and bring their confidence into their problem and look at it from a different angle. As Albert Einstein said: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Minimalistic Therapy

Yesterday, I heard a beautiful sentence from a movie director. He said, "I wanted to eliminate myself and my importance from the movie so that the actor could shine". He was explaining how he used the minimalistic approach in making the movie so that the movie speaks for itself. That reminded me of the beautiful moment in a therapy session when a client was expressing himself the way he has never done it before. He was all that was existed in the room and I was only a receiver of information.

 

When a therapist eliminates herself and her importance, the client will find an unlimited source of attention and permits himself to show his true self. This true self is mostly hidden due to the presence and importance of other things. In a minimalist therapy, there is no important thing rather than the client himself.

How to Spot a Good Therapist?

A good therapist does not interrupt you.

A good therapist summarizes what you said.

A good therapist does not bring her personal traits into the therapy session.

A good therapist does not judge you or at least does not show that she judged you.

A good therapist asks good questions and goes deep.

A good therapist absorbs your emotions like a sponge only a bit. She does not drown herself in your emotions.

A good therapist gives you her guidance only after she built the rapport and trust.

A good therapist ends each session in a way that you will feel satisfied with the service.

A good therapist minimizes the risk of disappointing you, like being late or changing the schedule.

A good therapist does not participate in your mind games.

A good therapist keeps boundaries no matter what.

A good therapist does not make the therapy about herself.

A good therapist believes in you, herself, and therapy.

A good therapist gives you some hope, verbally or nonverbally.

A good therapist is smart enough to recognize transference.

A good therapist addresses your emotions toward her.

Dance of Communication

Communication, at its best, is like a dance. It involves two partners who dance with the same music, at the same speed, and in the same place. Most people think that communication is what they do to others. Others think that communication is what others do to them. But communication is a mutual interaction. It is a reciprocal action that leads to satisfaction of both ends.

If you consider the example of dancing, you will see how bad and inappropriate it would be if each partner dance with different music. Imagine how it would be if one of them dance with Hip Hop music and the other one dance with Salsa music!

Miscommunication or lack of good communication is the same. You should tune your emotions and reactions to the other person you are communicating with and carefully check the level of interaction and make it deeper level by level.

Why do we resist change?

In therapy, we gain awareness of some of our unhelpful habits. We feel them again as if we are living by them. We see how they impact our life negatively. We feel emotional pain. We suffer and suffer. The goal is to let go of them once we become aware of them. But why we resist changing them? We resist change because we are associating more pain to change than being the same. Especially if it is an identity level of change, we might become very resistant. That’s why some people spend 10 years in therapy! Being the same is what we know. We survived with the same identity for years. Maybe it was not the best way of living, maybe it stopped us from reaching our goals, maybe it made us feel bad, but it also helped us to survive. Our brain likes familiarity even if it is painful. The only way to change is to associate so much pain to not changing and associate so much pleasure to changing so that we have no other choice rather than moving forward.

How to Create Motivation

When I am talking about motivation, I'm talking about a long term motivation. A motivation that doesn't go away easily. When you look into the research about motivation, you can see that everything is related to pain and pleasure. Every action, every goal and every step that we take is all due to our need to seek pleasure or to avoid pain. I have to credit Tony Robbins, a motivational speaker, who talks about pain and pleasure. Now, even though both pain and pleasure are a source of motivation, pain is much stronger.

Here is the example:

1. Brush your teeth, otherwise you will have a decayed tooth and a root canal treatment. 2. Brush your teeth and you will have healthy and strong teeth. Which one is more powerful? which one will lead to brushing your teeth? It is most likely that the first one will create 

more motivation for people to brush their teeth. Therefore, in order to motivate yourself to do an action, you need to have a concrete, big and painful consequence that will surely happen in the future if you do not do that action. It should be painful enough so that the pain of doing what you have to do is less in comparison to the consequence of not doing it.

Another point in building a solid and long term motivation is to make sure your motivation is intrinsic. Intrinsic motivation is driven by internal reasons. For example, if you brush your teeth because you internally care about the health of your teeth and you need to brush your teeth in order to feel good about yourself, it is more likely that you will keep brushing your teeth regardless of the situation. In the contrast, if you brush your teeth because you want others to not feel bad when they are looking at your teeth, it is less likely that you will keep brushing your teeth in different situations like when you are alone.

How will you feel in psychodynamic therapy?

Psychodynamic therapists let you talk about your current problems and ask questions to find the roots of the problem. They give you the power of deciding where the therapy goes. You can open up about each of your problems and process them one by one with your therapist, like the peeling of the onion. It can take a very long time and sometimes it feels like it never ends. You gain awareness of your problematic patterns of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors by talking about them and expressing them to your therapist. As Socrates said, " The unexamined life is not worth living".

Psychodynamic therapy might be confusing as you might expect to get some guidance from your therapist or it might be frustrating because you might want the therapist to solve your issue. It is important to know what to expect from therapy so that you don't get disappointed. In psychodynamic therapy, you are the one to figure out how you can solve your issues and the therapist creates a safe and non-judgmental space to support you throughout the way.

There are no therapists or therapy approaches that can solve your problems by themselves, simply because YOU are the one in control of your emotions, thoughts, and actions. But, if you are looking for a therapist who can give you the exact tools and techniques to use to solve your problems, psychodynamic therapy might not be a good option for you. You can look up for therapists who use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or integrative approaches. Like everything else, there are cons and pros of going to psychodynamic psychotherapy. In psychodynamic psychotherapy, you might open up old emotional wounds that are painful to tolerate. You can also get confused as you might feel ups and downs throughout the therapy. On the other hand, the benefits of psychodynamic psychotherapy tend to be long-term because you process the deeper levels of your issues. It is always a good idea to ask your therapists about their approach and make sure what you can expect from them.

How to reach your goals?

How to Reach your Goals? Step by Step Guide:

Think about your mind. Notice that there are certain things that we have control over it. They are our Emotions, Thoughts, Beliefs, and Actions.

Beliefs are a bunch of thoughts that were repeated many times with emotional charge.

Thoughts are way more than we could ever control.

Actions are just the result of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Emotions direct our behaviors and are easier to control.

To see the power of emotions, think about a person who has fallen in love, or think about an extremely religious person. Or look at champions of any sport.

All of them have huge emotional charges paired with what they are doing and that fuels all of their actions.

If you could use your emotions, you could achieve anything.

But What do you want to achieve? Some people don’t even know what they want. They only know what they don’t want. You can use what you don’t want in order to figure out what you do want. For example, if you know that you don't want to fight with your partner, what you want is to have a peaceful relationship with your partner. That’s how you will have enough clarity to start creating wanted things in your life. Write a list of unwanted things and change them to wanted things instead. Take a look at the list of what you want and choose the ten most important things that you want. Then, make a belief statement about them as if you already have them. For example, I want to have a peaceful relationship with my partner. Belief statement would be: I’m peaceful. Your belief statements should be general, short, and simple. You have to read belief statements just after when you wake up and just before you sleep. Because in those moments, your unconscious mind is ready to accept new beliefs. Now we want to use our emotions. From the list of what you want, pick 3 items that you want to create. For example, I want to have more money. The belief statement would be: I’m abundant. Pay attention to how you would feel if you were abundant. Write down your feelings. For example: happy, free, confident Practice feeling these emotions after reading belief statements. Besides using these 2 steps of reading belief statements and using your emotions, there is ONE crucial step, which is Releasing Emotional Blocks. Emotional blocks are what make your progress as slow as possible. There are many ways to release emotional blocks. But all of them are based on these principles: - Acknowledging the unwanted emotion, - Accepting the unwanted emotion, - Welcoming and feeling the unwanted emotion - Letting go of unwanted emotions. Breathing is one of the easiest and fastest methods to release emotional blocks. In this method, you have to focus on how you feel. After you feel that unwanted emotion, you should rate its intensity. How extreme is that sensation from 0 to 10? If you feel this emotion in your body, where is it? Focus on the unwanted emotion, on its intensity, and its location and breathe deeply and slowly for 5 minutes. Acknowledge, Accept, Welcome and Let Go. In the end, rate the intensity of unwanted emotion from 0 to 10 again and see how much it has decreased. You can repeat this process as needed. To summarize, there are three steps that help you achieve your goals: 1. Reading a belief statement 2. Feeling the wanted emotions 3. Releasing emotional blocks You should do these three steps every day to see how it affects your actions and how it helps you achieve your goals.

Divorcing Yourself

The phrase "love yourself!" is familiar as it has been heard, written, and said over and over. But what does it mean to“ Love yourself”? Not many people know. Here is a new way to figure out what it means to love yourself. Think about what you expect from an ideal partner? How would she/he make you feel, treat you, talk with you? Self-love is treating yourself as you want an ideal partner treating you. Self-love is treating yourself the way you wish others would treat you. Like with others, you also have a relationship with yourself. In the world of metaphors “You” and “yourself” are partners and you are in a marriage which is your relationship with yourself. This marriage will fail if you don't pay attention to yourself and treat yourself poorly. Do you think you are divorcing yourself?

16 Therapy Approaches

Learn different types of therapy approaches in one page.

How to not be shy?

First of all, there is nothing wrong with being shy! Shyness is one of the unconscious mind’s responses to danger. We tend to be shy to protect ourselves. And it is a good strategy to get what we want or to make sure of our safety. But, the problem is that sometimes shyness becomes our identity.

Just like how we practiced being shy, we can easily practice being confident. There are two ways to overcome shyness. First is the cognitive way. The cognition is how you think, what you think, and why you think. There is an old saying which says: If you want to think, think like a God! Most of the time, the things in the outside world are not under our direct control. Things happen, people come and go, and we are an audience to them. But, what kind of audience we are? How do we interpret things? How do we think about what happens around us? The key difference between human beings is their reaction to what happens. Therefore, in the cognitive part, we want to acknowledge that shyness is the reaction we chose. It is not necessarily right or wrong. It is just our way of reacting to what happens. We can change it whenever it is not a useful reaction for us.

The second way to overcome shyness is by controlling our physiology. Stand firm, raise your shoulders, have an open chest, and breathe deeply. Try to feel shy as you keep this posture. You will notice that you cannot feel shy when you have the physiology of a confident person. You can also use imagination to feel confident. Imagine a big board above your head that everyone can see it. There is something written on it: I am who I am, and I am proud of it! These two exercises alone can reduce your shyness. If you want to heal the deeper roots of your shyness, you can talk with a mental health therapist.

Art of Body Language

Body language consists of body postures and facial gestures. Body language can be conscious or unconscious. The influence of body language is much more than the words we use in our conversations. Almost any influential businessman or leader knows how to use his body language effectively. Have you ever paid attention to an influential person's body language? Think about Barack Obama, how does he talk? How does he move his hands while talking? How does he look at the audience? How is the tonality of his voice? Now compare him with a body language of a homeless guy near the street. How does the homeless guy speak? How does he walk in the street? You can easily see the difference in their body language. Here are some general tips for a better body language: - Avoid hand crossing and leg crossing: If you cross your hands while talking to others, it usually means that you are not agreed with them, or that you are not comfortable. - Have good eye contact: do not stare at people but try to keep your eye contact with them. - Mimic the body language of the new people you are meeting to create rapport. For example, you can put your hand under your chin if the other person did it. - Walk confidently! Imagine that your teeth are hanged to the ceiling with an unseen rope. It automatically makes you stand with an open chest and rising shoulders. - Always smile when you meet someone for the first time. Remember that a real smile employs muscles besides your eyes.

Belief and Discipline

Have you ever watched the show Supernanny? This show is about a professional nanny who helps families where the parents are struggling with their child-rearing. The supernanny loves children and believes in their capability of behaving well. She knows that all the children are inherently good and capable. She is also very strict and persistent in disciplining children. She never gives up on disciplining children no matter how they react.

If you look at the areas in your life that you are more successful at, you are actually doing the same thing to yourself as the supernanny does to the children. If you are a good student, you might have this general belief that you can study well and you will be fine in exams. You believe in your capability of studying and getting good grades. You might receive bad grades once in a while, but you know that you can make it up later and in the end, you will be fine. At the same time, you probably have some discipline in studying. You will study when it is required and not when you feel like it. You might stay awake at exam nights to study because you think it is necessary even though you do not feel like it. The combination of your positive attitude toward yourself as a good student and disciplining yourself to study is what makes you a successful student.

On the contrary, if you are not a good student, you might lack believing in your ability to study. You might discipline yourself to study one day but not the next day. You might also get a good grade once but that does not make you secure enough to believe that you are a good student. You might not give yourself enough credit because of your good grades, because you are afraid that these good grades are not permanent. This will lead to worrying and lack of motivation as if no matter how much you study hard, it does not matter. This starts a cycle of trying and not getting enough and not believing in yourself and you end up quitting studying out of worry and tiredness. This cycle can happen in any area of life that you are struggling with. The fact is that you are trying to do something positive but you are stuck. Sometimes, you are stuck because you don't believe in yourself in regard to that subject. Sometimes you are stuck because you don't have discipline in taking actions. Sometimes, it is both! It seems that they are like egg and chicken. You have to have discipline so that you get results and develop positive beliefs. You also have to have positive beliefs so that you can take action and remain consistent throughout the journey.

What is depression?

I start with what is not depression. Depression is not feeling down or being negative. It’s not being angry or sad. Depression, as a clinical term, is to have a depressed mood, loss of interest, weight loss or weight gain, insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, feeling worthless, and having suicidal thoughts for at least two weeks. There are more symptoms of depression but at least five of these symptoms should be present in a person to meet the criteria of clinical depression. There are many types of depression, but two common ones are major depression and dysthymia. Major depression is more chronic but lasts a short time and usually, it happens more than once in a lifetime. Dysthymia is milder but should last at least two years.

Genetic vulnerability and environmental factors can help each other to cause depression. Most people with major depression have at least one family member who experienced it, too. When a person is depressed, he thinks that no matter what he does, the situation won’t change, everything is out of his control and he is helpless.

7 core beliefs of successful people

1. The world is not spinning around me! Sometimes, we feel that it is all about us, it is all about our life or our situation or our problems. But the fact is, we are only a small part of this world.

 

2. The more I expect, the worse I feel! If you constantly expect certain things and focus on them, whether you get them or not, you will feel more stressed and more depressed.

3. Others' opinions about me are not important! If you care about others' opinions, your life will be hard. Their opinions have no actual influence on your life. Also, they are not even qualified to have a solid opinion about you.

4. Jealousy is very good! Jealousy is one of the main reasons for the improvement in our lives. It is a huge energy. You can use it in a positive direction or you can use it to destroy yourself. But, if you have ever used it to improve yourself, you know how useful it is to be jealous!

5. I am responsible for my life! If you are more than 18 years old, it is all up to you. It is not important how your family, your friends, or your childhood was. Now, you are able to take control of your own life. Now you are the only one who is responsible for your happiness or sadness, success, or failures.

6. What I focus on, I will get more of! The more you focus on bad things, the more you will have them in the future. The more you focus on good things, the more you will create them in your life.

7. I can be myself! It is so cliché. But if you understand the real meaning of it, you will know how good it feels. It is easy and liberating to think that it is okay to be yourself.

How stress can be good?

If you want to reach your goals, you need to have some amount of stress. Without stress, your physiology will not be ready to go for it. On the other hand, if you have too much stress, you will gradually lose your ability to cope with the situation. Manageable stress is what you need to pursue your goals.

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Depression

Anxiety

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Stress

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