29 October 2011

Is lying to ourselves the answer?

Unearned self praise can trigger depression

I like this piece of research because it correlates with what I believe about superficial therapies such as CBT and those that tout positive thinking and positive affirmation as the way out of depression. I do think that CBT and NLP have uses for specific behaviours but they won't affect the core beliefs of a person. Worse, positive affirmation may make a person feel worse, according to this research, if what they are trying to instill in themselves contradicts what they actually believe about themselves.

The main issue I have is that I believe that they do not address the reasons for depression and anxiety. People are not depressed or anxious because of the things they think. I believe that people think the
things they do because of underlying, fundamental (and often subconscious) core beliefs such as "I am worthless", "I am not worthy of love" "my needs are not important" and "I only deserve bad things to happen me" (not exhaustive by any means!). These are what leads to depression, not the thought processes that are symptomatic of these core beliefs. I believe that potent counselling will address the underlying causes through the therapeutic relationship.

I also think this piece of research is highly flawed. Basically, whatever you believe, you can find some research to back it up!

24 October 2011

Anger management and person-centred counselling

On Friday evening I attended a workshop on anger management hosted by a lady who works with groups in an NHS setting, delivering CBT-based courses on anger management. It was an interesting evening, particularly for me as a person-centred therapist. There was discussion on how "person-centred" it is to give clients techniques for dealing with their anger, with varying opinions.

Where do I stand? If somebody is struggling with their anger, particularly if it is very destructive, their relationship is on the line or if there is violence involved then I think it is appropriate and responsible of me to use the knowledge I have of anger to offer the client directly pertinent advice. I do believe, however, that this is of limited use and does not address the reasons for the client being in that place. My aim as a therapist is to help the client understand themselves more overall, not just in terms of "their anger" and this, in my experience so far, has led to a huge reduction in their unmanageable feelings of anger (or anxiety, or helplessness...).

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