Myself and those who I have studied with attribute this quip to Rudolf Dreikurs.  He used it to describe people who over use the word “should.”  It’s a simple word, but holds significant, and often unrecognized, meaning.  It means there is something has not happened, is not happening, or will not happen that we think ought to.  This is fine as so far as it’s limited to awareness.  Instead, it is often accompanied by feelings of sadness associated with inferiority.  You think a worthwhile and deserving person would be further or higher, and since you’re not there the only logical conclusion is that you’re not worthwhile or deserving.

Perhaps an example would help. Many of the people I see have issues with anxiety.  They think or say things like “I shouldn’t get so anxious” or “I should be able to shake this” and so on.  This means there is some ideal level of ability to manage anxiety or express your worries in a healthy way and you not possess that ability.  If this were where the though process stopped, that would be fine.  If it were only awareness of where you are and where you want to go, it would be a great step to getting there!  However, if this were as far as it was being taken, you would have thought “I need to manage my anxiety better” or even “I want to be less anxious.” 

Well, that’s not what you thought. You used the word “should.”  So you acknowledge where you are and where you want to be, but then placed some value on your self worth based on your perceived inferior position.  You are making the claim that you’re not good enough or don’t deserve to be where you would like to be.  The problem is if you don't believe you deserve better, you will not be willing to get better.

So know you’re going about life acting like a person who doesn’t deserve to be happy.  You hope somehow one day you’ll get up and act like someone who deserves to be happy.  I’m not sure why you would happen upon this motivation or encouragement.  Even if you were willing, how would you be able?  Getting down on yourself for not being where you would like and beating yourself up about the growth you want to make doesn’t give you even a hint of an idea about how to get there.  In fact, it occupies your time worrying about not being there rather than making a plan. 

AuthorRobert Rebecca

There are a handful of words out there that, if I had my way, I would do away with.  They are of absolutely no use to a healthy and happy person.  In fact, they get in the way, limiting our self-awareness and subconsciously affecting our daily lives. Okay, I admit I use them from time to time.  I do my best to catch myself when I do.  Perhaps we can call decide to help each other quit. 

They all seem innocent enough, but using them has great impact.  Often they are even used maliciously in order take a jab at someone or bring someone down, but not have to accept any consequences of doing so, because they are just innocent words!  After reading this I hope you are more willing to point out when someone is trying this on you.  Or, when you are doing it to yourself. 

Some of these have been written about before, but some have not.  I’ll do my best to give recognition to those who have done so in the past or otherwise brought them to my attention. 

Anyways, a mentor of mine used to refer to self-defeating and negative thoughts as “junk thinking.”  Taking his lead, I’ll call these “junk words.”  So, let’s start tossing them out…

AuthorRobert Rebecca

I have already written about anger, anxiety, and mischief., three reasons the majority of the people come to see me.  To finish out posts about areas in which I focus, I want to write about the whole reason for going to therapy: to be happy!  Unfortunately clients, and even many therapists, believe the point of therapy is to not feel crazy any more. 

I use the example of the dentist (please don’t be offended dentists!).  Many people only go to the dentist when they have a toothache or some problem.  Once the issue is all fixed, we’re out of there!  Sure the dentist harasses you a bit about not flossing well enough and then tells you should come in twice a year, but it’s been much longer than six months.  Oh, and the receptionist does her best to get you to schedule your next appointment, but you make some excuse or end up cancelling the appointment.

The point of therapy is not to get rid of an issue.  It’s not to stop being anxious, depressed, or angry.  The point is to feel happy. If you’re happy, you’re not going to be anxious or depressed.  Not to mean you will never feel these emotions, but you won’t be an anxious or depressed person. The point is to learn about yourself and grow.  No matter how much you know about yourself, there is always something to learn.  With this new awareness and mindfulness, you can be your own therapist! 

Therapy isn’t over once you stop feeling unhealthy.  This is when the real work begins.  When you stop dragging around all that garbage bringing you down, you can be free to go about however you would like.  The issue is, you have been dragging that huge bag of garbage around and may have never learned to balance yourself without it.  It can help to work with a therapist to practice your new way of going about until you make it a new habit.

So let go of the bag, grab your phone, and give me a call if you would like to talk. 

I have never had someone come to me and want to start therapy because of mischief.  When someone mentions mischief, we often think of children, not our own actions, and definitely not therapy.  Though no one has ever identified this as their issue at the beginning of therapy, most people who come to me engage in mischief.  It’s not just for kids!

Mischief is doing something that doesn’t need to be done.  To explain, I can use the two previous posts on anger and anxiety.   Anger, as a behavior, is acting out in order to get what you want.  Think of a child throwing a temper tantrum.  Anxiety, as a behavior, is doing things with the intention of solving some perceived problem.  Think about all the “what if’s” you prepare for.  The issue is, you don’t need to engage in either most of the time!  In my anger management classes we talk a lot about these mischievous moments to provide you with some insight.  When you toss your phone across the room because you can’t get a signal, when you give a sarcastic response to your spouse in hopes of stopping the conversation, and when you’re stressed and brash with other people, you are engaging in mischief.  You didn’t need to do any of these things.  At the time you were in a tough situation and thought these were the best way to solve a problem.  But, they’re not and you can choose to act differently.

Instead you could have reminded yourself that you didn’t have to use your phone right then or wandered over to a spot where you did get a signal.  You could have told your spouse you were irritated with whatever was going on before the conversation and let him or her know you needed a minute to yourself.  You could have identified what you are stressed about and taken the time to create a plan to address the issue.  Instead, you chose one of these nonsense things.  I’m not saying they’re bad necessarily, rather they are not needed and you’re taking your stress out on other people. 

It is more healthy to identify your frustration, because that gives you the power to make a choice about how to address the frustration rather than acting out in mischief.  This can be tough though because you have been practicing being mischievous since you were that kid throwing tantrums!  So, it’s going to take a while, but you can learn a new way of consciously addressing whatever is going on and with practice you will replace the old mischievous habits with new healthy ones. 

You can always give me a call if you would like support in changing your mischievous ways! 

AuthorRobert Rebecca

Since I started with my take on anger in my first post, I thought it might be best to continue with some basic issues for which people seek help. This is not to say these issues are simple, but rather they are common. And along with common, they are also often misunderstood.

Anxiety seems to be a trending mental health concern. We are all stressed about something. We all get nervous in certain situations. Some of us are anxious enough that it gets in the way of our daily lives and is severe enough for others that it costs them their job or damages their relationships.

I think using the word “anxiety” isnot helpful and breeds misconception. What we ought to be saying is “scared.” We are not anxious, nervous, stressed or whatever word you want to use. We are SCARED.  Anxiety is a mental health disorder.  Nervous is a physiological response.  Stress often refers to a strain or tension that we feel cognitively.   If someone is diagnosed with anxiety, they are scared of something or possibly more than one thing.  If they are nervous or stressed their fear is affecting them physically and cognitively. 

The issue with calling this fear or state of being scared “anxiety” is that you are less able to identify the actual problem and don’t know what to do about it so you can’t take power over it. 

Identifying when you feel scared:

Chances are you are not able to give me a good definition of anxiety.  If you search the web, you will find all kinds of takes on what it is. (Including this one). The fact is, there is only one correct specific definition, the signs and symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders V (DSM-V).

When you being scared meets certain criteria, a mental health professional can diagnose it as anxiety. We can then talk about it amongst ourselves to better understand how anxiety comes to be and how to address anxiety.  This exchanging of ideas offers you the opportunity to receive evidenced-based treatment for anxiety.  I admit this is absolutely beneficial, and would have it no other way.  But, it’s not useful to you in the moment.

In that moment you need to recognize that you are scared.  This could mean you have a physiological reaction, such as sweating, tense muscles, or increased heart rate.  You may also have a cognitive reaction like racing thoughts.  You can use these signs to recognize that you are feeling scared. 

Moving beyond feeling scared:

The problem is, you’re not a mental health professional exchanging ideas in a in a state where you feel safe.  When you are scared, you are not able to think logically or rationally.  The part of your brain that is capable of doing this shuts down and the part that says “Oh no, there is some scary thing that can hurt me! Be scared! Get your heart rate up and ready to fight or get the heck out of here!” takes over.  In that moment, you need to address the issue at hand: the overwhelming fear.  To do this you need to acknowledge the fear, as I mentioned, and have a choice of what to do about that fear. 

Sometimes once people identify the fear, they realize it’s silly to be scared about that thing.  Others choose to avoid situations where they may feel that fear.  Some want to overcome their fear.  Some plans are more appropriate for different people or in different situations and in therapy we can talk about what would be best for you. 

I find my approach to be helpful to clients and empowers them to take control of their emotions.  If you would like to know more about how I help people who are scared or interested in setting up an appointment about what scares you, please contact me. 

AuthorRobert Rebecca

I thought I would start with writing about one of the biggest parts of my practice, anger management.  There are a lot of misconceptions out there about what anger management is, and even misunderstandings of what anger itself is!  I would like to talk a bit about what anger is, signs that you may have an issue managing your anger, and a bit about the process of learning to manage it.

Anger is a basic emotion.  All people feel it.  All people will feel it all throughout their lives.  Anger is a normal response, emotional, cognitive, and physiological to some grievance, real or imagined that may take place or have taken place in the past, present, or future.  In the split second it takes you to get angry, you nonconscoiusly take into consideration your past experiences and possible future consequences to address the present situation.  A bit complicated, right?  Most people don’t think about it any longer than necessary.  I can’t blame them, because it can be scary!

If you’re wondering if your anger is abnormal, you can ask yourself a few simple questions:

·       Do I get angry more often than most people or more often than I would like?

·       Is my anger more intense than most peoples’ or more intense than I would like? 

·       When I get angry, do I stay angry longer than most people or longer than I would like? 

·       Is there something specific than gets me angry that wouldn’t get most people angry? 

·       Has anger caused difficulties in your friendships, relationships, or at work? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of these, you might benefit from working on managing your anger. 

In therapy we can take a couple of different directions:  We can dive into the source of your anger or start right off with understanding what anger is and learning tools to address your anger.  It all really depends on your preference and how severe your issues are.  We will talk about your childhood and how you came to understand anger when you were young to understand the source of your anger.  We will relate that to how you experience anger now and work to change the way you think about anger.  If we think it’s best to jump strait into addressing your anger, we will focus more on changing behavior.  Eventually after you change your behavior frequently and consistently enough, your emotions and cognitions will follow. 

You can always call or email me to set up a time to talk more about your anger.  Like with all my psychotherapy sessions, there is no obligation to continue on if you do not feel we will work well together.  You only pay if you wish to continue after that first session and I guarantee every session!  See the contact page for more info! 

AuthorRobert Rebecca

Thank you for taking the time to check out my site and taking a look at my blog!  While I created this site primarily to provide information about myself and the services I provide, I will also be writing regular blog posts.  These will be about unique ideas I have, mental health, different concepts, tools and techniques, and some other things thrown in there.  Check back regularly to see what I have written about, or if you have suggestions or requests let me know! 

AuthorRobert Rebecca