Don’t be afraid of failure

girl on swing

How often a fear of failure has stopped you from moving forward? What would happen if you knew that you can’t fail?
You can’t have a guaranteed success, but you can learn to look at failure differently.
Benjamin Franklin said: “I have not failed, I’ve had 10,000 ideas that did not work”.
Thomas Edison said: “Of the 200 light bulbs that didn’t work, every failure told me something that I was able to incorporate into the next attempt”.
The person who does not make mistakes is unlikely to do anything (Paul Arden)

Try a little exercise to help you build immunity to failure. If you are afraid of cold calling customers, do this. Set yourself a task to fail at least 20 times(the more the better). Start calling people. Every time your offer is rejected count it as a success and congratulate yourself. By the time you get to 20 you would be surprised how lightly you would take rejection and how easier it would become to chat to people. You will be surprised when your offer is accepted!(maybe even a little disappointed).

FAIL, FAIL AGAIN. FAIL BETTER. Samuel Beckett

You can achieve the unachievable!

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Inspirational quotes from advertising guru Paul Arden:

Firstly you need to aim beyond what you are capable of.

You must develop a complete disregard to where your abilities end.

Try to do the things that you are incapable of.

If you think you are unable to work for the best company in its sphere, make that your aim.

If you think your are incapable of running a company, make that your aim.

If you think you are unable to be on the cover of Time magazine, make it your business to be there.

Make your vision of where you want to be a reality.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE

КАК НАУЧИТЬСЯ РАЗГОВАРИВАТЬ С САМИМ СОБОЙ И ЗАОДНО НАЛАДИТЬ ОТНОШЕНИЯ С ОКРУЖАЮЩИМИ

talking in yourheadМы часто расстраиваемся от того, как к нам относятся другие – кто-то толкнул Вас в автобусе, начальник раскритиковал отчет, над которым Вы трудились две недели, собственные дети нагрубили. Все это довольно неприятные ситуации, но Вы когда-нибудь задумывались над тем, как Вы разговариваете сами с собой?

Одного моего клиента сильно третировал его начальник – придирался по мелочам, давал невыполнимые задания и вообще превращал работу в ад. Обсудив ситуацию в деталях, мы пришли к выводу, что начальник, конечно, не сахар, но что главным критиком является сам клиент. В его голове постоянно звучал критический голос, который включался задолго до того как начальник появлялся на горизонте. Внутреннему голосу не нравилось, как мой клиент выполняет свою работу, а также как он ведет себя с детьми, не занимается спортом и так далее. Критическому голосу в принципе не нравилось ничего из того, что делал мой клиент, поэтому когда в этот монолог включался еще и голос начальника, уровень стресса зашкаливал.

Когда Вы чувствуете себя обиженным или разозленным, остановитесь на минуту и прислушайтесь к тому, что происходит у Вас в голове. Что говорит Вам Ваш внутренний голос? Каким тоном? Скорее всего Вы выясните, что Ваш внутренний голос довольно негативен, часто гораздо критичнее Вашего начальника или свекрови. Вы будете удивлены, обнаружив, что Вы сами гораздо более несправедливы, агрессивны и критически настроены по отношению к себе, чем окружающие Вас люди.
Одну мою клиентку непрерывно критиковал муж. Что бы она не делала, все было не так, не правильно и не вовремя. Все оправдания вызывали только новый поток критики. Интересно, что и дочь клиентки постоянно критиковала любые действия матери. Разобравшись, мы выяснили, что моя клиентка – перфекционист и все, что бы она не делала, не соответствует ее собственным завышенным стандартам. Научившись относиться к себе снисходительней, клиентка очень удивилась, заметив, что поток внешней критики тоже уменьшился.

Если мы подвергаем себя непрерывной внутренней критике, мы становимся более чувствительны к любым критическим замечаниям извне. С другой стороны, если мы научимся обращаться к себе со словами одобрения и поддержки, негативные высказывания окружающих в наш адрес не произведут большого эффекта.

Мы не можем изменить поведение других людей, а также их мысли и чувства. Но в наших силах изменить то, как мы видим себя. Если из беспощадного критика Ваш внутренний голос превратится в Вашего друга, то Ваша уверенность в себе будет заметна окружающим, а агрессивный начальник скорее всего переключится на кого-нибудь более самокритичного.

О возможных причинах возникновения критического внутреннего голоса мы поговорим в следующий раз.

Анна Стори

Все имена и детали клинических случаев изменены с целью сохранения конфиденциальности

©AnnaStoreyCounselling

Как выйти из тупика? (чем Вам может помочь психотерапия)

depressedКОРРЕКЦИЯ СУДЬБЫ

У Вас никогда не возникало ощущения, что все неприятные ситуации в Вашей жизни похожи одна на другую? Как будто Вы живете по определенной программе, которая заставляет Вас каждый раз наступать на одни и те же грабли.

Ну например: Вас приняли на новую работу. Работа интересная, коллеги замечательные. Вас хвалят, у Вас все получается. Но в какой-то момент Вы замечаете, что начальник к Вам придирается. Дальше – больше. Устав от бесконечных придирок Вы нарочно невыполняете задание к сроку, окончательно портите отношения с коллегами, желающими помочь, и наконец, увольняетесь, хлопнув дверью. А скоро находите другую замечательную работу. И снова с придирчивым начальником.
Или так – у Вас завязались новые романтические отношения. Поначалу Ваш партнер безупречен. Но постепенно Вы замечаете, что он или она относятся к Вам все менее уважительно. У Вас возникают подозрения. Подозрения переходят во взаимные обвинения и наконец Вы расстаетесь со скандалом. Почему? – вопрошаете Вы. Ведь все начиналось так хорошо. Почему это опять происходит со мною?
Вы сами могли бы вспомнить множество подобных примеров: почему Вы уже не в первый раз раскручиваете успешный бизнес и каждый раз после стремительного взлета Вас поджидает неудача? почему Ваша знакомая уже третий раз выходит замуж и третий раз – за алкоголика? Почему другая приятельница каждый раз выбирает молодого человека, страдающего склонностью к рукоприкладству? Почему Ваш друг увольняется с очередной престижной работы и снова со скандалом?

«Судьба!» – вздыхаете Вы, – «Ничего не поделаешь.»
Вот тут-то Вы и не правы – это не судьба, а сценарий.
Эрик Берн, основатель теории Трансактного Анализа, считал, что каждый человек живет по своему сценарию. Есть сценарии победителей, сценарии неудачников и сценарии середняков, которые вроде бы и не совсем неудачники, но особых успехов в жизни не добиваются.
Как же формируются наши сценарии и почему они такие разные?
В детстве, когда наш мир ограничен домом и семьей, нам кажется, что этот мир – единственно правильный, и законы его абсолютны. Ребенку незнаком огромный мир за порогом его дома со всем его разнообразием и богатством выбора. Когда нам 5 или 6 лет, мы не можем выбирать, жить нам дома или уйти, слушаться родителей или принимать решения самостоятельно. Правила, установленные дома, становятся для ребенка законом, а поведение родителей – единственно возможным вариантом действия. Комплекс жизненных правил, установок и моделей поведения, формирующийся годам к 6-7, и называется жизненным сценарием. Позднее сценарий может дополняться и совершенствоваться, но основы его закладываются именно в этом возрасте.

И если у Вас возникает чувство, что Вы в тупике, что Вы в который раз наступили на все те же грабли, значит пришло время разобраться в своем сценарии. Характерные признаки негативного сценария – повторяемость ситуаций, сопровождающаяся знакомым ощущением (чувством вины, тоски, безысходности, гнева). Дело в том, что свои взрослые проблемы мы пытаемся решать средствами, изобретенными нами еще в детстве. И средства и методы эти абсолютно не соответствуют реальностям Вашей жизни сейчас. Неудивительно что, действуя подобным образом, мы получаем негативный результат снова и снова. Что в очередной раз подтверждает картину мира, нарисованную нами в детстве.

Что же делать, спросите Вы. Возможно ли изменить сценарий? Да – отвечает Трансактный Анализ, и не изменить старый сценарий, а расстаться с ним и жить, ежедневно совершая свободный выбор.

How to find a counsellor?

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I am often asked to advise on how to find a counsellor.
If you have never had counselling before, the process can be rather confusing, so I thought I will share a few tips here.

Your first port of call is of course your GP. Some GPs are more helpful than others, but you will probably be referred to a local counseling provider. If you are lucky, you will be able to see a counsellor in a few weeks time, but often the waiting list is a lot longer. Even if you do see a counsellor soon enough, you might not get more than 3 or 4 sessions.

So what to do if you feel you need more than that?

The only way to go then is to go private.
It does not necessarily have to be expensive – many counseling training institutions have their own counseling services, where advanced trainees can gain necessary work experience, and offer reduced fees. Some charities local to you might offer free or cheap counseling services, so it is worth asking your GP about it.

If you do decide to look for a private counsellor, www.counselling-directory.org.uk is a great resource. It allows you to search by postcode and all the counsellors listed have to provide a proof of their qualifications.

If you want to be absolutely sure that your counsellor has had an appropriate training and is qualified, you can look at www.bacp.co.uk
It is a website for British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy and it has a directory of counsellors. If a counsellor is registered as an Accredited Counsellor, that means that he or she has trained at the BACP accredited training institution and has had several years work experience post qualifying.

How to “read” your dreams?

dreams:seaIn my previous post I was talking about how understanding our dreams can teach us a lot about ourselves and the workings of our unconscious. The problem is, very often we forget our dreams as soon as we wake up. So what could we do to remember our dreams better?

Before falling asleep, focus on your intention to memorize your dreams tonight. When you wake up, try to keep your eyes closed and not move for 5 minutes, allowing the images from your dreams to enter your waking consciousness. Focus on your feelings first – are you feeling happy, scared, exhausted? As you will get in touch with your feelings, the images from your dreams will follow.

When you succeed in remembering at least a part of your dream, you can try to “read” it, to uncover the messages from your unconscious.
In turn, imagine yourself being every character in your dream – if you have seen an animal, be that animal. If there was a river – be that river. If you were taking active part in a dream – be yourself in a dream. When in character, feel and think about what is this particular character about? What do you want to do? Are you carrying a particular message? It helps to write all this information down.

All the characters in your dream are different parts of your unconscious and they all carry certain pieces of information for your conscious mind. I f you let them talk, you might get amazing insights into the workings of your mind, which, in turn, might help you find creative solutions to your problems in waking life.

HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM OUR DREAMS?

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Our dreams often seem bizarre or terrifying, but if we learn to “read” them, they can actually teach us a lot about ourselves.

One of my clients used to dream about her old school teacher, setting up a test for her. She was trying to do her best, but no matter how hard she tried, she could never please her teacher. In the meantime, she saw her young daughter running away to play, laughing happily.
After we have spent several sessions reflecting upon the meaning of a dream, my client realized that “the strict teacher” was her inner voice (called Critical Parent in Transactional Analysis terminology) that was constantly telling her to do better or that she was not good enough. My client’s mother used to be very critical and never gave any positive feedback, so my client internalized her mother’s voice and kept criticizing herself long after her real mother was dead.
My client also discovered that the little girl, running away to play, was representing her Free Self. In our therapy sessions that followed she learned to “turn off” the Critical Parent in her head and instead to encourage her Free Self to flourish.

Another client dreamt of hungry children, staring at him. Exploring my client’s life we came to the conclusion that he was “starved” of love and affection and did not have any meaningful relationships in his life. Acknowledging the situation helped my client to start reaching out and learning to form new fulfilling relationships.

Sometimes a dream can point out to an unhealthy character of a certain relationship. One client dreamt of having to carry a body – she had half a body and her mother had another half. Thinking about her dream, my client realized that, psychologically, her and her mother were indeed “a one body”. Being entangled in an unhealthy symbiotic relationship prevented my client from being herself – living her own life and making her own decisions.

So why not pay more attention to your dreams if you would like to find out more about the workings of your unconscious? In my next post I will explain more about how to remember your dreams better and also talk about different ways of reading your dreams.

Lost and Found in Translation – working as a bilingual therapist

dreams:seaI asked my client: “What is “Peter Pan” story about?”
As she was telling me the story, it became apparent how much she associated herself with Wendy and how the story she was telling was really a story of my client’s life.
But my question was not a carefully planned intervention. I really did not know what Peter Pan was about. In the country I grew up in it was not on children’s reading lists.

I am a UK qualified counsellor, but the language I work in is not my mother tongue.

“…it is not possible to be empathically attuned to someone if they are outside of your ken, for it is not possible to be powerful for someone whose mores and internal world we cannot understand, or do not have a lexicon for understanding” (Hargaden & Sills, 2002, p.105). Due to my extensive training, I was very much aware of the issues of difference, cultural diversity, class etc. I learned to pay particular attention to the process of enquiry. I avoided false interpretations. I was always very careful finding out what my client “really meant” in each particular case. But still…

Sometimes I questioned myself if I have chosen the right profession – what if, having grown up in a different culture, I can’t fully understand what my client is about? What if half of his or her story is missed? What if my last client stopped coming because he felt totally misunderstood?

On these occasions it was helpful to look back to my work experience in Russia and Kazakhstan.
My clients over there spoke the same language as myself, yet, as in my current work, it took me hours of enquiry to discover the real meaning of their words. The words were the same, but the meaning could be very different. For instance, there is only one “wife” in Russian, but there can easily be several in Kazakhstan. The whole meaning of a family and family life is different, so it took me a while to find out what it feels like to be a wife of a younger son and a mother of three girls.

Working with Russian clients now, after fully qualifying in the UK and having lived in the country for over 10 years, brought about a new set of challenges.

One of my clients was interested in learning more about modality that I work in and I found it difficult to translate therapy concepts into Russian.
But it was not just about terminology – my whole identity as a therapist was formed in English, so when I had to work in Russian I almost had to “reinvent” myself as a therapist, with a different style and a way of talking.
Maria Shukurova, a Researcher in Bilingualism at Kings College London states: “Linguistic identity is a challenging factor facing every professional working with multilingual individuals. Multilinguals would often more willingly talk about childhood memories in their mother tongue, but could easily switch to another language describing their everyday lives or referring to their present country of residence. This change of linguistic identity is explained by cultural, social and psychological settings and plays a crucial role in multilingual self-identification. In this light, the ability of a psychotherapist to understand and switch between languages during a therapeutic session can only benefit a multilingual client.”

What I noticed in the process of therapy with Russian clients, is that they would often use English words or expressions to describe their day to day experiences, but speak Russian when talking about childhood memories. At times, I found myself “stuck in transference” without realizing it. It was easier for me to spot incongruities in client’s story if it was in English. In Russian it was much finer work, especially if the client was about my age and grew up in a similar setting. I accepted some situations as “norm”, rather than assessing them critically, and had to be careful to look out for possible collusions.

Does it mean that sharing the same language does not necessarily make therapeutic work easier? I am still looking for answers.

My personal therapy is an interesting example of how emotions and language are closely connected.
I found it much easier to talk about my childhood experiences in English, rather than in Russian – talking in foreign language lifted the taboos and I found words for hard to describe or even preverbal experiences. It never came naturally to me to talk about my emotions in Russian, I would usually intellectualize instead. But speaking English created a certain level of safety for me to explore this unfamiliar territory.
Amati Mehler et al.,(1993) “when looking at the senses of self present in the bilingual speakers, found that each language provided an opportunity for the speaker to manifest and experience different aspects of self”. In that sense, my personal therapy was enhanced by the fact that it was conducted not in my language of birth. In therapy I was discovering parts of my Self that I did not know existed and the process was made easier by the availability of the new words to describe them.
Use of another languages allowed for interesting metaphors and made therapy process richer. For instance, during a visualization I once described myself as a “shell”. In Russian the word shell means only a marine shell, as found on the beach. Different uses for the word “shell” in English, of which I knew, brought about a startling insight.

So what does it all mean for my everyday practice as a counsellor?
What I have discovered so far, is that exploring each other’s cultural space, when both therapist and a client are being open and honest about it, may facilitate an establishment of a good therapeutic relationship.
With my Polish client we discovered that quite a few words have a similar meaning in Russian and Polish. These words, that we started using in our sessions, became little links between our two worlds. Not just between a Russian and a Pole, but between two adults with their own life stories.
Another Eastern European client gave me a postcard for my Graduation. It was written in Russian. My client studied Russian at school, had completely forgotten it, and now took the trouble to write a card with a help of a dictionary. For me it was a sign of acceptance of me as a therapist and as an individual, and of a developing therapeutic alliance.

At times, exploring the significance of having a foreign therapist brings about useful insights.
One client held a perception of Russia as a “scary country”. Talking about it brought up the meaning of fear in my client’s life, which he was reluctant to talk about earlier. Another client thought all Russian people were “friendly and warm”. Exploring what friendships and warmth meant for her allowed us to contact the lack of warmth and friendships in my client’s family of origin.

I have noticed, that not being able to use the wealth of a language to the full makes me work a lot with visual images. With several of my clients we have created so called “symbolic images”, which reflect certain aspects of my clients’ lives, and which we can subsequently talk about, transforming them or adding new details.
For one client such an image was a “greenhouse” – a clumsy, useless structure, that she had to assemble and re-assemble as her family moved from one house to another. The more my client talked about it, the more “the greenhouse” reminded me of my client’s relationship, that she had to work hard on, but that had lost its meaning long ago. I shared my thoughts with her and since then “greenhouse” became a word for my client’s relationship in our shared language.
Another client decided to write down a dream she had, so we can talk about it during our next session. She thought it was a “complete nonsense”. When we turned the piece of paper over, we saw my client’s shopping list – extremely detailed, precise and to the point. My client laughed. “Just like you?” – I cautiously suggested. She willingly agreed and our subsequent sessions became an exploration of the “complete nonsense”, that lay behind a composed and well controlled front.

I certainly don’t have all the answers. I read with interest about other therapists working in different languages or with a translator. I compare their experiences with my own and look forward to working with more clients from different countries.
The one thing, though, I am certain about. The process of therapy, amongst other things, is a development of a common language between two very different individuals. This process has to happen for therapy to be successful, regardless of the languages these two people are speaking.