This ones for the women (although it is ABSOLUTELY applicable to some men too!).
As a psychologist, I consult with many women. Women who are successful in many different roles in their lives. They are smart, resourceful, strong, value-driven and more amazing than most of them realise. Some of these women don't celebrate, or even recognise their strengths, because their mindset is often focused on perceived "failures". Their mindset is self-critical and demeaning, self-judgmental and often unfair.
It can sometimes be easier to focus on the things we do WRONG, rather than what we do RIGHT. We rationalise that if the focus is on the negative and we criticise ourselves, it can motivate us, help us, keep us GROUNDED or stop us from becoming conceited. We can CONVINCE ourselves that this driven, self-critical, bossy and demanding way of thinking keeps us striving to be the best we can be.
Perfection is good. Right?
Beating myself up if I make a mistake stops me making them. Right?
Wrong. Perfection doesn't exist. And we all make mistakes.
The tendency to play down our strengths and highlight our weaknesses might have been patterns we were taught as little girls. The idea that it is important not to brag, big-note ourselves or speak about our achievements in a positive way can be learned and entrenched as a normal thing whilst we grow up.
We may have stopped speaking up about our amazingness because we became afraid. Afraid to make others feel bad, create jealousy or competition, be judged, or perceived as different. So it sometimes becomes easier to default to self-criticism so we feel more acceptable, more comfortable, more palatable to those around us.
Perhaps we were regularly criticised by others as we were growing up, despite trying our very best and being wonderful in our own unique ways.
Maybe we witnessed important people in our lives criticising themselves. They could have been perfect to our eyes, but as we witnessed them disparage themselves this became our norm. Normal to speak of ourselves in the same way.
And our negative self-talk becomes stronger. "And even though I love them so much, they think something is WRONG with them. I don't see anything wrong, but they do. That must also apply to me. Something is wrong with me. Because if they are not ok, then I am not ok....."
We wondered that if our loved ones disliked themselves so much, then what does that make of me? I must also be awful if this beautiful person I love so much thinks they are fat/not good enough/hopeless/a loser/no good etc. We might have learned through these early life experiences, on very subtle levels, that it was normal and okay to speak about ourselves in this way. That it was okay to bully ourselves.
The truth is we are all flawed. Fabulously flawed.
Vulnerable and wonderful in our humanity.
Glorious in all our weakness.
The problem does not lie in having weaknesses. The problem arises when we ignore our strengths and beat ourselves up for the weaknesses. And because the self-critic struggles to recognise the wins, we succumb to increasingly higher self-imposed, unrealistic, expectations. We create beliefs, feelings and patterns in our behavior that sees women rushing around, time-stricken, reluctant to slow down, to stop and be calm.
Just giving ourselves permission for a moment of stillness.
And more often than not, when I speak of having moments of calm, I am met with a vacant gaze that reads, "I have no idea WHAT you speak of. What is this calm, relaxation and peace that you are talking about? What IS that? I haven't had THAT for so long. I don't even know what THAT is. And, in fact, even if I remembered what that actually is there is NO WAY I could/deserve/find the time to learn to create it".
They have, over time, succumbed to the mindset and thought patterns that they can't say no, they shouldn't sit down, take a break or stop working. The mindset that tells them that other women do it better, they suck as a parent, they should be earning/contributing more, exercising more, have more friends, be more patient, more caring, more, more, more. It sees them on a constant merry-go-round of self-criticism, judgement, guilt, and constant negative chatter. It creates a feeling of anxiety, stress, tension and the reality that there can be no peace when this constantly demanding mindset keeps pushing the bar higher and higher.
So busy and it seems like it never stops.
Even when you stop for a cup of tea, the busy mind will count all the other things you SHOULD be doing, painstakingly going over your "to do" list or remembering everything about the PAST or the FUTURE that makes you feel bad. At the core of it, this kind if thinking makes you feel like you’re never good enough. That there's always something else you SHOULD be doing. Not clever enough. Not organised enough. Not physically good enough. Not sexy enough. Not funny enough. Blah, blah, blah.
The fact is that it is wrong.
The fact is that you are ALWAYS enough.
There is NO OTHER CHOICE than to be who you fundamentally are.
You are not inherently and hopelessly flawed, you are exactly who you are for a reason. You are EXACTLY where you need to be RIGHT now.
There is always room for self- improvement but at our very CORE, we are good, we are whole and we are ENOUGH. If we work at understanding that, then we can heal, grow and develop with self-compassion, patience, understanding and peace.
Peace and calm.
Even in the middle of growth.
It's wonderful and entirely possible.
My number one tip on this journey toward self-love is to make a pact to be NICE to every part of your-self including the self-critic. Get to know that self-critical part of your mind, learn to understand it, why it does what it does and then pick and choose the aspects that improve your self-belief and allow you to shine. Knowledge is power and the more you understand why, how and what the self-critic is doing then the more self-aware and powerful you become.
You don’t have to believe everything you think because remember, your self-beliefs consist of learned patterns, experiences and others’ influences and do not necessarily reflect who you truly are. The thoughts and beliefs you have will either help or hinder your life and your ability to shine with confidence. So you choose which beliefs to believe and which to let go of.
You are more likely to feel encouraged, supported, positive and confident when surrounded by compassionate people.
Considering you are with yourself 100% of the time,
you are your own #1 ticket holder.
You can be your own biggest fan or your own biggest enemy.
You choose: Cheerleader or Foe?
Hypnosis is an altered state of consciousness, also described as a state of focused attention. This focus is induced by allowing a trained hypnotherapist to guide you into trance with the use of their words and voice. Hypnosis is usually accompanied by deep relaxation and is generally a very pleasant, calming and empowering experience.
When hypnotised, a person will be more likely to absorb and respond to ideas and suggestions made by a therapist. These suggestions assist the person to develop new thoughts and behaviours that underlie their goals. Hypnosis can be experienced as motivating and affirming.
In this relaxed state, the client is always aware of what is happening and remains in control. They do not enter a state of unconsciousness or sleep. The process requires free-will and can be terminated at any time if the client wants. Should any negative feeling or concern arise during the experience, the trained practitioner will work through the issue and restore feelings of calm and relaxation.
There are many examples of everyday, spontaneous 'trance states'. one common one is, after having driven for some time, 'suddenly' finding themselves at their destination or turn-off without consciously recalling the journey. Hypnosis is simply using this natural process of the mind to enhance wellness and quality of life.
Who will I see?
In our clinic, hypnotherapy is practiced by either a psychologist or clinical hypnotherapist. Each practitioner has their area of special interest and our administration staff will assess your needs and book you with the appropriate practitioner.
What to expect?
Hypnosis is considered an adjunct to therapy and is combined with other psychological strategies to achieve the desired outcome. Hypnosis is not a 'quick fix' for problems but will certainly strengthen and speed up recovery if the client is receptive and motivated by the practice. Clinical hypnotherapy is never conducted for entertainment or laughs. The client will never be guided to 'act like a chicken' or do anything else morally reprehensible to them. It is always conducted to assist in managing and coping with personal issues and problems that are within the competence of the therapist.
How can it help?
Anxiety and Stress can manifest as negative self-talk, irrational fear, physical tension, agitation, anger, sleep difficulties, tension headaches, fatigue, excessive worry, self-doubt, fidgeting, gastrointestinal problems and appetite changes all of which can be assisted with hypnosis. Research has shown that hypnosis can be effective in helping patients and clients change thoughts, attitudes and behaviours and can be ".....one of the most powerful methods for mental and physical relaxation, anxiety and stress control, in the treatment of all anxiety disorders" (Australian Society Hypnosis, 2013).
Hypnosis can also assist if you want to change your behaviour, lifestyle and improve your health. It can be used to increase motivation and maintain healthy behaviours, being the extra boost that can help kick it all into gear.
Clinical hypnosis can also be used to improve functioning in the following areas:
So, if you are curious to experience this natural phenomenon and want to learn how to use hypnosis in your life, contact us for your first appointment and get the ball rolling. There is no time like the present and we are waiting to help you!
Psychologist & Clinical Hypnotherapist
A psychologist is a health profession that is trained to understand and help change human behaviour, thoughts and emotions. They can help individuals, couples, families children and adults, from all walks of life, to heal and recover from trauma, loss, adjustment, emotional distress and everyday concerns that occur in ones life.
In Australia, a psychologist must have at least six years of formal training and education before they can register as, and be called, a psychologist. They are required to abide by strict ethical guidelines and are governed by the Australian Heath Practitioners' Regulatory Association (AHPRA).
By choosing a registered psychologist, you are assured that your therapist is competent to provide a high standard of evidence-based therapy. Every psychologist must participate in regular supervision and training to keep their registration which means they are equipped, and held accountable, to provide effective psychological therapy. Professional Development Standards are high and must be maintained to continue practicing as a psychologist. Clients are therefore protected consumers and can be confident that their therapy is being conducted by a PROFESSIONAL with very high levels of skill and training.
What Does a Psychologist Do?
A psychologist can help someone to change whatever is underlying their area of concern. This can mean helping to change thoughts and beliefs, understand patterns in thinking & behaviour, examine relationships and interpersonal trends, explore the development of the issue and how it is maintained in their current lives. Therapy goals are usually established (i.e. wanting to reduce anger, manage grief, improve public speaking, feel more confident or motivated, develop good parenting strategies), a treatment plan formulated and then an appropriate therapy, or a combination of therapies, is then suggested for the client.
What can I expect in a first session?
You can expect a warm welcome at our clinic for sure. You will be offered a tea or water, a comfortable seat and a friendly psychologist. During your first session your psychologist will begin to gather information regarding your health, lifestyle, living arrangements, employment, relationships, when the issue began, childhood, family of origin, personality, beliefs, coping strategies, thoughts, feelings, environment and functioning. The psychologist will gently guide the conversation in an appropriate direction so they can develop the treatment plan and establish your goals.
Each session is 50 minutes long. Most individuals will require at least six psychology sessions to really understand themselves, develop strategies to change and to have a good understanding of what they are working on. Further treatment can cover relapse prevention and move a person from managing the issue to really THRIVING in their life. In our experience, clients often form a life-long attachment to their psychology clinic. They may come in for different treatment episodes at different times in their lives. People can often resolve current issues, be absolutely fine for a long period of time and then something happens in their life that requires a psychological "readjustment" or "fine-tune". This is completely normal and, just like having any other health professional, you can return if you have a "flare up" or life get a tough.
Rebecca Pearce is a psychologist, a lover of nature, being active and finding ways to challenge herself, learn, expand and grow. She is partial to a music festival, a dance, good food and sunny days. Rebecca works in private practice, helping overwhelmed and confused humans to find peace and calm in their otherwise perfectly normal lives.