Showing posts from November, 2019

Go On...Have a Negative Thought

There must be few things that are of as little use as the advice to ‘just think positive’; and this is coming from a therapist! It is the ‘just’ part of that advice that bothers me the most. If turning negativing thinking and attributions was a simple as just thinking positively, wouldn’t everyone do that? The act of challenging negative thinking is a tough one because it requires an individual to reappraise how they believe things are. It means having to change our position in the mental argument in our minds. We have become fixed on that way of thinking and it has shaped our expectations. Giving up that which we have spent time mentally building and having to admit to ourselves that maybe there is a more useful way to think about things, is not easy. Take one look at a social media post about politics and you will get all the evidence you need to support just how difficult it is for people to consider a different point of view.  Positivity is important when it grounds us in

What Personality Type Are You?

I am often asked: why do some people react differently to what happens to them in life? We sometimes hear stories of people who have experienced extraordinary life events and seem to have coped with them remarkably well, yet others seem to struggle with minor day to day hassles. Why?  Psychologists have many theories as to why this might be the case. Unsurprisingly, most of the time, it comes down to perception. You and I could experience the same event, but we would have a different perception of it. We would both ‘see’ and understand it in an individual way. This may be due to our previous experience of similar events or how we were feeling at the time, but it can also be down to our personality. While there are many definitions and descriptions of personality it is possible to sum them up as three basic types. While we are always a mixture of all three, the characteristics of one of the types will stand out as predominance. Being able to identify what type a person is can e

Angry? Send In The Clowns

There is little doubt that we learn some behaviours. Observation of our and other’s actions confirms that (at least in some part) the behaviour is a construct of our experiences. However, it also has to be acknowledged that we learn behaviours by  observing  others.  We witness the positive or negative  consequences  of behaviour and that informs whether or not we will repeat the same behaviour.  Social Learning Theory (Bandura and Walters, 1963) suggests that we not only learn by direct experience but vicariously learning through the observation of others. The  expression  of behaviour is influenced by the learning which has taken place previously. This concept can be used to explore the question of whether being exposed to aggression will lead to a person to display aggressive behaviour as well. The researchers created a now-famous experiment to see if aggressive behaviour would be vicariously learned.  What did they do? Two groups of children (between the ages of thr

So, what do you do? The Social Nightmare

It was the week before Christmas and I was at my third festive ‘get-together’. I have learnt the art of acquiring a drink and positioning myself within staggering distance of the buffet. All was going well, and I found myself being introduced to a couple who the hostess of the party had insisted I should meet. After pleasantries, I braced myself for the inevitable question. Like a train rumbling towards a damsel in distress, I knew there was no escaping it. “So, what do you do?”  Police Officers, Teachers and those that work in I.T, will know all too well the awkwardness that can be created by that simple question; and being a therapist is no exception. On occasion, I have fantasied about making something up. “I’m involved in international espionage…” I imagine saying, “…I could tell you more but then I would have to kill you.”  They would laugh nervously and I would legitimately be able to avoid the question.  Back in the real world… I told them the truth: I’m a H