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Norman M.
Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience:  ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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I have been mentally constipated for years. I continue to

Resolved Question:

I have been mentally constipated for years. I continue to move around from city to city and I have accomplished very little in my life that is worth anything. I am finding myself in a serious hole. I can't seem to move forward financially or make any decisions when it comes to a career. I will be 34 years old soon. I am scared. I feel very alone.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Norman M. replied 4 years ago.

Two things - sounds as if you have an anxiety problem, which is linked to your feelings of failure. I have two options for you that might help.

First,
I’m going to suggest that you would benefit greatly from a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It is a form of therapy that addresses problems in a direct and targeted way and is brief compared with most other therapies.

CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also cause the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.

These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.

If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,

the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.

Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.

Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.

Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.

Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:

http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/treatments/cbt.aspx

If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:

http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/cbtstep1.htm

Alternatively (or as well), on a very practical level, you may wish to consider life coaching so that you can decide what you really want and put things in place so that you get it.

Here’s a short Article I wrote about it recently:

Life Coaching – who needs it?

Feeling stuck? In a rut?

Life coaching aims to empower you to identify and change those areas of your life which you find unfulfilling or unsatisfactory.

Coaching has been around a long time, but usually in the areas of business or sport, where a business might call in a consultant to review its operations, or a tennis player might employ a tennis coach to improve his game. In these situations, the coaches or consultants were generally experts in their own fields.

Not so with life coaching. The life coach is not normally an expert in, let´s say, finance, even if the matters the client wants to discuss are financial. They will work with lawyers, builders, musicians, vicars and so on, but cannot claim any expertise in any of these areas.

The life coach’s job is not to directly advise you, but to empower you to explore the balance of your life in several major areas, to identify where you might wish to make changes, to set desirable, realistic and achievable goals in these areas, and then to assist in and encourage the change process.

So how would your ideal life look to you? What brought you here to where you are now? Was it a living dream in which your problems would disappear?

And how is it now? If you are really happy with all of it and things look perfect, you don´t need a life coach. Unfortunately for many of us, this is not the case, and life coaching may be the way to put things back on track.

In a first life coaching session, clients are often asked to look at what they might consider to be a perfect life – and it may be that in many areas, this has been achieved.

Commonly, life coaches will want you to examine several critical ´life areas´, and evaluate how you feel about them. Frequently, they include such things as health, work and career, family and social relationships, financial status and spiritual/emotional balance.

Once the low scoring areas have been identified –the ones that need attention, coaches often examine the client’s goals, personal strengths and weaknesses, and any blocks or challenges that might be in the way of their achieving change. Then they can set goals which identify the client’s desired outcomes, and identify strategies to achieve them.

Setting goals correctly is vastly important. People who set ´good´ goals usually achieve them. What constitutes a ´good´ goal?

It must be realistic, measurable, in line with your value systems, stated in positive terms, and must have a time limit, and should be measurable, so that you know when you’re getting there.

Your value systems are important and may change over time - so you need to be flexible.

So we look at the low scoring areas of our lives, identify the problem areas, and begin to set or goals. So what comes next?

The next stage – that of developing a strategy for change can be extremely challenging, as it often requires you to re-evaluate your position in relation to your family and friends perhaps, maybe your career, or maybe the way you organises your life. It´s challenging precisely because we do not often sit down to appraise ourselves and actually, that´s what this phase of the life coaching process is all about.

It means exploring, and facing up to one´s self, warts and all. Very often, people find out things about themselves that are pleasing and positive, but on the other hand, they are sometimes confronted by the spectres of unpleasant or ineffective attitudes or behaviours!

So, you want to quit the job, leave the wife and 2.4 kids, run off to Bali and spend the next 6 years smoking dope. Fine, if that´s what you really want.

However, when one looks at the likely (and some of the inevitable) results of this course of action, it may be that the goal has to be re-evaluated. Simply because, as John Donne is often quoted as saying, “No man is an island”.

What we choose to do impacts not only on ourselves, but also on our friends, family, employer, and our health, it is wise to ensure when we finally decide on our goals, that the long term impact of implementing them is something we can live with.

Now it is time to put in place the things we need to in order to progress towards them. This, like most tasks, is best approach in a planned and orderly way. We need to look at our assets and resources and decide if they are sufficient for us to achieve what we want to. If they are not – and this is frequently the case – what can we do to make them adequate. This might mean saving more, taking a course, getting fitter, learning new skills – in other words investing in ourselves in order to make our future what we want it to be.

At this stage, the life coach can be of great help. Vey often, simply through experience, he or she will be able to offer suggestions that can help to open up new opportunities.

Even after the client has started to implement his strategies and work towards his goals, the life coach´s job is not over. He or she needs to be there to help the client monitor his progress and adjust his strategies when this is necessary.

A lot of encouragement (and sometimes a little firmness) can be needed when early results are not forthcoming, but if clear and well thought out goals have been set and good strategies put in place to implement them it is very rarely that someone fails to reach their potential once they have put their mind to it.

Perhaps those last eight words say it all. With good coaching, planning, adequate resources, determination and effort, you – yes YOU – can change your future to be the one you want!

Norman M., Principal psychotherapist in private practice. Newspaper contributor, over 2000 satisfied clients on JA
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2536
Experience: ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), ECP, UKCP Registered.
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